JF Ptak Science Books Post 1548 [Abdullah Cigarettes Revisited]
Here's a not-usual question: when was the first image printed of a woman pointing a gun in the commission of a felony who was NOT an American Western leather-slapping, bronc-ridin', Buffalo gal? I have a funny feeling that it wasn't until relatively recently, 20th century, or thereabouts. I thought about this when I saw this ad in the Illustrated London News for 21 August 1926, calling for women to rush out and buy the ciggy that was worth stealing--Abdulla ("Superb") cigarettes.
The doggerel of the poet-izer F.R. Holmes that decorates this page (and who recognizes that the clerk named Archibald who was handing over the cigarettes was chattering through "store-teeth", which is kind of nice) did absently grind out a factual bit when he referred to the packaging of the Abdulla cigarettes as "Caskets". Of course he had something else in mind in line with his time, but he did mistakenly have a peep into the future when he labeled the box of coffin nails so, though not so "fragrant" as he was thinking. (I also like the masked male accomplice peeping into the scene from the safety of the getaway car.)
Offhand, though, I cannot bring up an earlier image of a non-cowgirl-performing woman pointing a gun at someone to achieve a criminal end--especially not in an advertisement.
It is interesting considering this ad as a statement of sorts of women in the marketplace purchasing stuff that had previously been considered male terrain. Woman had been he target of cigarette manufacturers in some small ways in the late 1880's and early 1890's, but it seems not until after the War and then after the Vote was there a full-on effort to sort women into some consuming fields that they had been excluded from previously. Unfortunately, in this case, the advertisers recognized that they were missing perhaps half of their possible market, and that new market was pursued and resulted in tens of millions of cancer-related deaths.
Well! Now that I've finished this short post, it just came to mind that a good alternative and much earlier source might be images of she-pirates, though it might still be a stretch to find one of those women with their sword at someone's neck...