What girl wouldn't want to have special powers? Flying, shooting fire, going invisible. Sign us up! However, traditionally in books and movies, it has been males that have been the superheroes. But no more! Today Laurie Boyle Crompton, author of the comic book inspired story Blaze, discusses her favorite super-heroines.
The term ‘Superhero’ tends to conjure the image of some muscular dude decked out in a cape and unitard. It’s easy enough to picture him standing there; hand on hip, looking off into the middle distance with the woman he just rescued slung over one shoulder. Women in comics tend to play the roles of victims or love interests or sometimes the objects of ridiculously complicated revenge plots. But the comics I like best allow the girls to join in the bad-guy-skull-busting fun. Sometimes female superheroes even get to stand in triumph staring into the middle distance themselves. Thank you for this chance to go a little fangirl over these women who seriously kick ass, oftentimes while wearing stiletto boots.
Most people even outside the realm of comic book geek-dom have heard of female superhero characters like Susan Storm, Jean Grey and Wonder Woman. Not everyone can list their superpowers (invisibility, telekinesis and a kick-butt collection of accessories including a boomerang tiara respectively) but the names are recognizable. Most people have even heard of characters like Rogue and Elecktra. But what small percentage of the general population is aware of the fact that Godiva is more than a delicious type of chocolate? I’d like to highlight a few of the female characters who have been flying under the radar. Literally.
Batgirl and Supergirl are well known, but did you know there’s also a She-Thing and She-Hulk? How about a character named Thor Girl? I didn’t think so. All of these gals are obviously derivatives of male superheroes and their names make clear each one’s shtick and powers. The She-Superheroine-girl’s moniker even hints at her outfit’s basic color scheme. (Guess who’s rocking all green?) In comic land it’s important to be all matchy-matchy with your main man. But my favorite superhero namesake has to be Spider-Woman. She wears a slick red and yellow costume and was originally created as a one-off character for Marvel to secure the trademark on the name. She’s gone on to have her own series as well as an impressive superhero career completely separate from everyone’s favorite web head.
Medusa is more than a monster from Greek mythology – she’s also a superheroine in the Marvel Universe. Originally forced into villainy by The Wizard she eventually joined forces with the good guys and is a powerful force to be reckoned with. Medusa’s superpower is… wait for it… all about her hair. Yes, that’s right, she has the power to fight crime (or commit it as the case may be) using the super-strength of her long auburn tresses. This ability is similar to another superhero from the world of DC named Godiva. That’s right, two super-haired ladies. Godiva’s crazy long and strong hair is blonde and like Medusa she can capture opponents and lift objects weighing tons. Surprisingly, there has never been a male superhero with any sort of follicle capabilities. It’s a pretty insane superpower to have, but it does make for some sick artwork and I’m thinking these ladies could really rock a shampoo commercial.
The Scarlet Witch has a standalone name, but her origins are steeped in family connections. She’s the daughter of Magneto and twin sister of Quicksilver. Talk about putting the fun in family dysfunction! Despite her villainous paternity she became part of the second generation Avengers shortly after arriving on the scene. She currently appears in Uncanny Avengers, but my first introduction to her was in a vintage Marvel issue that was part of my stepfather’s massive comic collection. I absolutely devoured that ah-mazing collection back in high school and it was the inspiration for my debut YA novel, Blaze. While I do remember being impressed with the Scarlet Witch’s powerful hex spheres, I must confess I mostly associate her with the swoony relationship she had with a character named Vision. (Back then even comics were all about the swoon.) The fact that the other Avengers originally objected to their relationship made it all the sweeter when love overcame all obstacles and the two of them got married. This made sixteen-year-old Laurie very happy and I stopped reading the Scarlet Witch’s storyline at that point since everyone knows that in comics the only relationship that can truly last forever is between Batman and Robin.
- Laurie Boyle Crompton