The Femmes Invisible Database
A quick look at some women you can't see.
"How do I look?" — Sandy Martinson
Disappearing in: Stella, 1898 novel by C. Howard Hinton Note 1
How she got that way: Philosopher Michael Graham persuades her that being invisible is being perfect
Permanent? There is a countermeasure, but Stella vows to never be seen
Remarks: Stella lashes out at women who "dress and paint", but it doesn't discourage suitor Hugh Churton; acclaimed (at least in some circles) as the first FI story
Disappearing in: The Secret of Wilhelm Storitz, short story by Jules Verne, published posthumously in anthology Yesterday and Tomorrow, 1910
How she got that way: The Prussian chemist Wilhelm Storitz becomes obsessed with Myra, demanding that she forsake her fiance and marry Storitz instead; when she refuses, Storitz slips her an invisibility drug with no known antidote
Permanent? The invisible Myra marries her fiance anyway; he eventually impregnates her, somehow; when Myra gives birth to a normal male child, she regains visibility
Remarks: Verne is not explicit about the details of a visible foetus gestating inside an invisible woman; this story was filmed in 1967 for French television with Pascal Audret as Martha Roederich
Lua, of the Korlu Tribe
Disappearing in: The Valley of Invisible Men, short story by Edmond Hamilton, published in Amazing Stories, March 1939 Note 2
How she got that way: Stood in front of the "Shining God", a ten-foot-high crystalline radioactive mass, hidden in a cave deep in the jungles of Brazil
Permanent? The effect wears off in two moons
Remarks: Story runs like an Indiana Jones movie, complete with happy ending
Disappearing in: Invisible Scarlet O'Neil, 1940-54 comic strip by Russell Stamm
How she got that way: Exposed to mysterious ray; she vanishes when she touches a nerve in her wrist
Permanent? Touching the nerve again makes her reappear; she didn't vanish at all during the later years of the strip
Remarks: Also featured in 1943 and 1946 novelizations by Stamm; revived in graphic novel (2008) by Russell Stamm, Jr.
Susan Storm (later Richards)
Type: TFI if she's out of uniform
Disappearing in: Fantastic Four, comic magazine published by Marvel Comics Group, 1961-present, played by Rebecca Staab in 1994 movie directed by Oley Sassone, played by Jessica Alba in 2005 movie directed by Tim Story, played by Jessica Alba in 2015 movie directed by Josh Trank
How she got that way: Exposed to cosmic radiation during space travel
Permanent? Can turn it on and off as needed
Remarks: Can also radiate force field; married FF leader Reed Richards in 1968 (timelines, of course, shift); for some reason known as Janet Storm in France
Hirriwi and Keyaira, daughters of the Snow King
Disappearing in: Stardock, short story by Fritz Leiber, published in Fantastic, September 1965 Note 3
How they got that way: It runs in the family
Permanent? Definitely; if they want to be seen, they have jars of some greenish unguent
Remarks: Their father demands offspring, and Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser happen to be halfway up the mountain
Elizabeth "Liz" Train
Disappearing in: See Me Not, short story by Richard Wilson, published in sf Impulse, February 1967 Note 4
How she got that way: Asks the scientists at Lindhof Laboratories to make her invisible after her husband Avery takes two of Lindhof's invisibility pills
Permanent? Liz finally convinces Avery to go to Lindhof's to become visible again
Remarks: Always check your drugs; the invisibility drug was mixed up with a supply of sleeping pills
Disappearing in: The Girl Who Looked Like Barby, short story by Ernest Corbyn, published in The Sixth Ghost Book, edited by Rosemary Timperley, 1970
How she got that way: Died before her time — the recording angel forgot about leap years — so she had to return to Earth to reenact her death at the correct time
Permanent? "Off and on. As I wish."
Remarks: Doesn't make much use of her invisibility after using it to convince her old boyfriend that she's now a ghost
Disappearing in: Oh Say Can You See?, short story by Lester del Rey (writing as Erik Van Lhin), published in Worlds of Fantasy, Number 2, 1970
How she got that way: Buys a jar of vanishing cream from Dr. Aracelsus, who is selling his product to women's clubs
Permanent? She can reappear if she concentrates hard enough
Remarks: "Out of sight isn't always out of mind — though it's a good way to lose your mind."
Disappearing in: Alabaster, 1971 manga (later anime) by Tezuka Osama
How she got that way: Born with it: she is the granddaughter of Dr F., inventor of an invisibility ray that is usually lethal to life forms
Permanent? Yes, and the evil Alabaster, now in control of the ray, has forced her into a life of crime
Remarks: Is eventually overwhelmed by guilt; story summary here
Maire ní Donnall
Disappearing in: Too Long a Sacrifice, 1981 novel by Mildred Downey Broxon
How she got that way: Given the gift by the King of Faerie
Permanent? She can reappear at will
Remarks: With her husband, the bard Tadhg MacNiall, they find themselves immersed in the conflict over Northern Ireland
Veronica (last name not given)
Disappearing in: Veronica The Invisible Woman, 1983 twelve-panel comic written by Harvey Kurtzman and drawn by Sarah Downs, published in Playboy, July 1983
How she got that way: Living by Three Mile Island
Permanent? "The EPA says it's temporary!"
Remarks: Boyfriend Victor seems to appreciate her more when she's dressed
Susan (Sue) Kewley
Disappearing in: The Glamour, 1985 novel by Christopher Priest
How she got that way: Side effect of the growth process
Permanent? She can turn it off if she so desires
Remarks: And she wants to turn it off for her new boyfriend, Richard Grey — to the annoyance of her previous boyfriend
Stella (last name not given)
Type: Transcends mere categorization
Disappearing in: The Invisible Woman, short story by Rosaleen Love, published in Writing Women 6, 1988 Note 5
How she got that way: She is a woman, and her light makes her transparent — or at least capable of infinite shading and nuance
Permanent? Think of it as a lifelong adventure
Remarks: Sometimes we can't even see the evidence before our eyes
Disappearing in: Call of Madness, 1990 novel by Julie Dean Smith
How she got that way: Hitherto-undiscovered (and undesired) powers of wizardry, inherited from her father, Kelwyn, King of Caithe
Permanent? Spell summoned as needed
Remarks: Followed by Mission of Magic, in which brother Durek, succeeding to the throne, seeks to rid the land of magic
Disappearing in: Now You See Her, 1994 novel by Whitney Otto
How she got that way: Being ignored all those years starts to take its toll
Permanent? Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all
Remarks: Some women — but apparently no men — could detect her
Disappearing in: The Invisible Woman, short story by Thomas M. Disch, published in Asimov's Science Fiction, January 1995
How she got that way: It just sort of happened after no one noticed her anymore
Permanent? True Love cures more than heartache
Remarks: Just ask her boyfriend
Disappearing in: The Woman Between the Worlds, 1995 novel by F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre
How she got that way: All persons from her parallel universe are apparently invisible in this one
Permanent? Unless she moves back home
Remarks: Seeks out a London tattoo artist to render her visible in this world, thus invisible to the evil-doers she left behind
Elisa Cameron, also known as Ghost
Type: Either, depending on circumstances
Disappearing in: Ghost, comic magazine published by Dark Horse Comics, 1995-2000
How she got that way: Apparently killed at the behest of a mogul named Crux, for sticking her reportorial nose into his business
Permanent? She can materialize or dematerialize almost at will
Remarks: But nothing is permanent in Arcadia, except chaos
Dr. Lois Doberman
Type: Sort of FFI
Disappearing in: The Lady Vanishes, short story by Charles Sheffield, published in Science Fiction Age, November 1996
How she got that way: Developed a computerized bodysuit and cap to feed the image behind her to a liquid-crystal array in front of her
Permanent? Only so long as she keeps it on and the computer doesn't crash
Remarks: And this was her ticket out of the American intelligence community
Melisa (last name not given)
Disappearing in: Slippery Woman, feature by Eduardo Risso, Carlos Trillo and Sebastian Izaguirre, published in Heavy Metal, September 1997
How she got that way: Doesn't say
Permanent? Seems that way
Remarks: And once you, er, see her, nothing else matters; men have spent their lives in search of her
Disappearing in: The Invisible Woman's Clever Disguise, short story by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, 2000 Note 7
How she got that way: A "gradual fading that happened over the years"
Permanent? Apparently, but it may not matter so much in New Orleans
Remarks: The Krewe of Melusine, who requests her presence at a Mardi Gras fest, consists largely of people who can see — and presumably appreciate — the invisible
Disappearing in: Planetary, comic series by Warren Ellis and John Cassaday, 1999-2001, resumed 2003
How she got that way: She and three others were granted powers, more or less randomly, by superhumans in exchange for control of their home planet after 50 years; she also does force fields and such
Permanent? She can turn it on and off as needed
Remarks: When invisible, she can't see without special goggles
Disappearing in: The Bod, comic series by Larry Young and John Heebink, half of Double Image comics, 2001; also in Young's Proof of Concept (trade paperback, 2005, in B&W) [hat tip: 13 black]
How she got that way: Accident during a Hollywood special-effects gig
Permanent? Certainly, um, appears to be
Remarks: Apparently was originally going to be named Jenny White
Joseph Thomas "Josie" Everett
Disappearing in: Invisible Woman, novel by Elizabeth Kingsbury, 2001
How she got that way: Appropriates invisibility experiment conducted by snippy fiancé Larry Laws
Permanent? She thinks so, but she has a delightful surprise coming
Remarks: Her parents wanted a boy, hence the name; the author has said she would like to see Sandra Bullock star in the presumably-inevitable movie version
Disappearing in: Things Not Seen, novel by Andrew Clements, 2002
How she got that way: Strange defect in a Sears electric blanket
Permanent? It doesn't have to be, but she prefers it this way
Remarks: The story is told by teenager Bobby Phillips, who has the same model blanket, and who, in an effort to find other invisible persons, traces Sheila, living in Florida and in no further need of blankets
Disappearing in: Out of Sight, novel by T. J. MacGregor, 2002
How she got that way: Combination of technology and Ecuadorian herbs administered to her and her husband Tyler as part of the mysterious Tesla Project
Permanent? Were it easily reversible, there would be no plot
Remarks: An effort to extend the process to an entire village also "shrouds" a family of three
Disappearing in: Dancing with the Devil, novel by Jacqueline Silvestri, 2004
How she got that way: Comes with being dead and ghostly and all
Permanent? She can briefly materialize
Remarks: Having been killed (defenestration) by then-husband John, she vows revenge upon him and his previously-undisclosed array of girlfriends
Princess Mei Ling
Disappearing in: Wei Lu and the Mysterious Mushrooms, novel by M. J. Isham, 2004
How she got that way: Given a cup of mysterious-mushroom tea by the intrepid Wei Lu, who seeks her help to rescue children held captive by the evil Zu Bing
Permanent? One trip to the toilet and it's gone
Remarks: And all the children get tea, to facilitate their escape
Disappearing in: StrykeForce, comic series by Jay Faerber and Tyler Kirkham, characters created by Marc Silvestri, Top Cow comics, 2004
How she got that way: Never really explained
Permanent? Can usually switch it on and off as needed, but fades out when she's nervous or scared
Remarks: "Her outgoing personality is ofen at odds with her stealthy abilities."
Disappearing in: Phantom Jack, comic series by Michael San Giacomo, Image comics, 2004; reissued in "Absolute Edition" by AtomicPopArt Entertainment, 2007
How she got that way: No information presently available
Permanent? Invisibility has become her natural state; can appear visible but it takes concentration
Remarks: Last of a series of invisible agents working for "Miscellaneous"; teams up with "Phantom Jack" Baxter on his mission; her invisibility is a risk factor for liver disease
Disappearing in: The Trouble with Moonlight, novel by Donna MacMeans, 2008
How she got that way: Inherited from her mother's side; she was born during a full moon while her mother was in "full phase"
Permanent? Gradually reappears as the moonlight diminishes
Remarks: James Locke catches her in a petty theft, and trains her in the fine art of espionage on behalf of the Crown; reissued in 2014 as Bound by Moonlight [hat tip: 13 black]
Lady Hermione Marlowe
Disappearing in: Tempted by the Night, novel by Elizabeth Boyle, 2008
How she got that way: While wearing Milton's ring, which unbeknownst to her grants wishes, she utters a desire to be "a phantom from sunset to sunrise," that she may discover the secrets of Lord Rockhurst
Permanent? She reappears every morning
Remarks: Rockhurst turns out to have secrets beyond her imaginings; her older brother Sebastian was featured in Boyle's His Mistress by Morning (2006)
Type: Mostly TFI (she apparently has invisible clothing, but you can see her hat)
Disappearing in: Enjuhneer, Web comic by Jenny Blanchard, 2008-
How she got that way: A reflection (hee) of the fact that there are no females in engineering schools or on the Internet, magnified by exposure to, um, radioactive toast
Permanent? Nothing to indicate otherwise
Remarks: Refuses to remain inconspicuous; has a well-deserved reputation as a merry prankster
Disappearing in: Calling Invisible Women, 2012 novel by Jeanne Ray
How she got that way: Drug interaction: the combination of three common prescriptions, conveniently made by the same pharmaceutical firm
Permanent: It fluctuates at first, but doesn't go away until the drugs are out of her system
Remarks: It took several weeks for husband Arthur even to notice that his wife had disappeared; invisbility also seems to confer a relative insensitivity to cold, a handy feature when you're having to go without clothing
Disappearing in: See Through Love, 2014 novel by Rodd Thunderheart
How she got that way: Old family recipe of Amazonian herbs, though in her case extreme emotion can induce the condition by itself
Permanent: It wears off with time, or with calming
Remarks: Originally serialized in a Yahoo! Group, beginning in 2005
The Junior Division:
Mabel Prowse, about 11
Type: FFI, although her clothing appears when removed, and her shadow remains visible
Disappearing in: The Enchanted Castle, 1907 novel by Edith Nesbit
How she got that way: Accidentally putting on a magic ring while dressing up as a princess
Permanent? Only until she takes off the ring, which can be done only at intervals of seven hours (she winds up taking 21)
Remarks: A woman named Eliza turns invisible later, but only for seven hours; the ring also has the power of bringing statues to life; complete text is available here
Mavis Desmond, about 12, and Kathleen Desmond, about 7
Disappearing in: Wet Magic, 1913 novel by Edith Nesbit
How they got that way: They rescue a captive mermaid, who turns out to be a princess; the queen temporarily enlists them in her underwater forces and gives them enchanted coats which will make them invisible at the touch of a button
Permanent? Touching a different button returns them to visibility; yet another button makes them intangible
Remarks: Brothers Bernard and Francis are also along for the adventure; a drink from the Oblivion Cup makes them forget anything ever happened; complete text is available here
Dina Din, looks about 14
Type: Possibly TFI
How she got that way: Like her cousin Dani Din, she drank of the Violet Water invented by Professor Katros
Permanent? Apparently not
Remarks: Introduced in issue #21 of Dani Din, circa 1970, written by Shraga Gafni as "On Sarig," disappeared after issue #27; details here
Ada Garcia, 10
Disappearing in: The Invisible Girl, 1974 short story by Pamela Sargent, from collection The Killer Plants and Other Stories, edited by Roger Elwood
How she got that way: She bumps into an invisible man, making him temporarily visible, and asks if she could try it, since nobody would miss her anyway
Permanent: It wears off at the exact moment she realizes that they would too miss her
Remarks: A small but heartfelt tale by a writer who usually works in serious grownup SF
Mildred Hubble and friend Maud, each about 10
Disappearing in: The Worst Witch, 1974 novel by Jill Murphy
How they got that way: Accidentally made invisibility potion instead of laughing potion
Permanent? It starts wearing off after a few minutes — "a very slow process."
Remarks: The rest of the story is about other witchcraft powers; later filmed with Fairuza Balk in the title role
Violet (last name not given), 8 or so
Type: FFI, except that rubber objects like boots and elastic don't fade
Disappearing in: Now You See Me, Now You Don't, 1979 short story by Marjorie Darke, from collection The Cat-Flap and the Apple Pie, edited by Lance Solway Note 6
How she got that way: Sniffing oil for cleaning horses' hooves
Permanent? She appears and disappears at random until it wears off
Remarks: Being invisible won't stop her from winning the gymkhana
Vicki Bates, 13
Type: TFI at first, until the stuff really starts to spread
Disappearing in: Vanishing Vicki, 1980s graphic novel, Judy Picture Story Library for Girls (UK)
How she got that way: Trying an experimental range of beauty products invented by her uncle's company
Permanent? It wears off after a couple of weeks — until then she can be seen in dim light, but disappears in bright light
Remarks: Her uncle has sent out free samples to various people, and an invisible girl is just what's needed to get them back before anyone else disappears...
Disappearing Trix (last name not given), 13 or so
Type: FFI, with the odd exception
Disappearing in: Buster Comics, British series, middle 1980s
How she got that way: It happens in the blink of an eye, usually if she's being pestered by some yob of a boy
Permanent? A second blink brings her back
Remarks: A typical British schoolgirl, except for this disappearing business; vaguely reminiscent of Val's Vanishing Cream, which originated in Cor!! in 1973 and moved to Buster the following year
Sheila (last name not given), 14ish
Isobel "Billie" Stoner, not quite 11
Disappearing in: The Invisible Day, 1997 novel by Marthe Jocelyn, illustrated by Abby Carter
How she got that way: Applying some stuff she found in a lost makeup bag
Permanent: Jody, 15, who invented the stuff and lost the bag, has a cure, but it's yecchy and involves chewing lots of gum
Remarks: In the first of two sequels, Billie's dog disappears; in the second, Billie's not-exactly-friend Alyssa vanishes
Vanessa Cleveland, 15ish
Disappearing in: Goddess of the Night, novel by Lynne Ewing, 2000
How she got that way: Born with Molecules of Invisibility, which react to strong emotions or to the full moon
Permanent? Switchable on or off, up to a point; at age 17, a decision point is reached
Remarks: First of a series; Vanessa is one of four daughters of Selene, the Moon Goddess, selected to do battle with Atrox, evil incarnate
Sabrina Spellman, 14-17ish
Suzie (last name not given)
Disappearing in: Issue #49 of Suzie, published by MLJ/Archie Comics, Spring 1945
How she got that way: While temping as a lab assistant to Professor Boltzenutz, samples his "vanishing cream"
Permanent: It washes off in the shower
Remarks: Although numbered #49, this was the first issue of Suzie, which continued through the 1950s
Disappearing in: Lois Lane issue #38, 1963, and issue #101, 1970; also episode of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, ABC-TV series, 1993
How she got that way: LL #38, sampling a serum by Professor Potter; LL #101, via machine (in effort to win Superman over by getting into greater-than-usual mischief); L&C, donning special suit to catch thieves who have stolen similar suits from the inventor
Permanent? Not even
Remarks: I suppose this makes Lois more of a three-shot than a one-shot
Explanations and acknowledgements:
Why does this page exist in the first place?
TFI versus FFI:
1. Collected in Scientific Romances (Second Series), 1898, reprinted 1976
The original Femmes Invisible Web site, created by Dennard Summers, is where it all began, and it remains the definitive source of FI information.
For story buffs, Paul Cwick has opened up an Invisible Woman Story Archive.
In memory of Dennard Summers (1967-2005)
Femmes Invisible, the title, was created by Mike B.
Logo by Mike B., based on a possibly-recognizable theme.
Ghost tm is copyright © by Dark Horse Comics, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Photography by Imagemakers.
Scene from The Invisible Woman copyright © 1940, renewed 1968, by Universal Pictures.
Oscar® is a registered trademark of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Levi's® is a registered trademark of Levi Strauss & Co.
Double Image is copyright © 2001 by Image Comics. All rights reserved.
The Bod is copyright © 2001 by Larry Young and John Heebink. All rights reserved.
Smallville and Clark Kent are trademarks of DC Comics Inc., a Time Warner company.
StrykeForce is copyright © 2004 by Top Cow Productions, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Incredibles is copyright © 2004 by Disney Enterprises, Inc./Pixar Animation Studios. All rights reserved.
Nikki the Invisible Girl is copyright © 2007 by Tall Tales Audio. All rights reserved.
My Invisible Sister is copyright © 2010 by Beatrice Colin and Sara Pinto. All rights reserved.
Descriptions for Stella Hollies, Lua, Liz Train, Lucy Phillips, Terry Vance, Maire ní Donnall, Dawn Mills, Athaya Trelane and Elizabeth Black researched and mostly written by Bill Bonfili.
Descriptions for Barby Ashington, Mabel Prowse, Violet, Mildred Hubble and Vicki Bates by Paul Ingerson.
Description and video captures for Sheila, Cam and Dr Canyon by Paul Cwick.
Description for Elvira Condomine by Miss Pippa Moran.
Scans for Cleara Glass by Dale Jackson.
Photo manipulation and video captures for Sabrina Spellman by Paul Cwick.
Video captures for Barbara Richards and Buffy Summers by Paul Cwick.
Video captures for Yin Chu produced by Mike B. and provided by Dennard Summers.
Video captures for Shirley Manson produced by Mike B.
Description for Vanessa Cleveland suggested by Marsqurine.
Research and description for Myra Roderich and Marjorie Reynolds, research and linkage for Mavis and Kathleen Desmond, and linkage for Mabel Prowse provided through the kindness of F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre.
Research and description for Maria Rodriguez and Fran Drescher by Gabe with the assistance of McGillustrations.
Scans for Suzie by Paul Cwick.
Research and description for Madison Blue, Pearl Andrews, and the latest Sue Storm by 13 black.
Your pagekeeper would like to thank Rosaleen Love for kindness beyond the call of duty.
This page would not have been possible without the kind assistance of the Hole in the Air Gang, whose members have changed greatly over the years but whose devotion remains constant.
This compilation and all tabular descriptions except as otherwise noted copyright © 1997-2015 by Charles G. Hill. All other photographs and related indicia are trademarked and/or copyrighted by the respective owners of same. We celebrate; we do not snitch.
The latest invisibility developments are reported at Kitty-Carroll.org, an affiliate of this page.
Most recent update: 20 December 2015