I promised a friend a while back that I would make some sort of presentation of the history of the women that wore the mantle of Batgirl.  As to not over complicate things for her (a non-comics geek as I), I’ll stick to post-crisis Batgirls, and with those existing on New Earth (and these are really brief descriptions, so those that get mad that I left out stuff, I’m sorry – just trying to give an overview, and not write an epic tale of the Bat women I love…but now that gives me some ideas ;).

And then there were five.

Some may argue that only 3 should count, but if you continue reading, you will understand why.  But basically – once you put on the cowl, you are the cowl.  No one can take that away from you – even if it’s a brief wear-age.

The first and the best.

Barbara Gordon.  Batgirl.  Oracle

Ah yes.  Barbara Gordon, otherwise known as Babs to her friends.  What has she not done?  A super genius, a lawyer, and oh yes, a LIBRARIAN – a woman after my heart she is.  Had a rough year starting out (what hero doesn’t) – but made it very difficult for the great Bat and the Boy Wonder to keep her out of the club.  Yeah – the Joker ended up shooting her and paralyzing her from the waist down, really putting her in a depression (obviously), and eventually worked her way out of it, and found a new role to play in the world of capes and capers.  ORACLE.

Yes. Oracle.  You don’t need use of all your limbs to play a major role in saving the world multiple times over (umm, yeah, how many forum posts were there in recent months of Red Arrow losing an arm?? Sure he can’t shoot arrows with one arm, but it’s not like Babs can run around chasing after baddies?  Or what about Cyborg? That’s all I’ll say about that).  So she is the information go to person in the DCU.  Even the great Bat goes to her for resources.  I love it.  She’s had this on/off thing with Robin I/Nightwing/the Current Batman, but who knows where that’s going to go.  She runs her own operation now (thanks to the return of the Great Gail Simone to my favorite series) called the Birds of Prey, a group of women that can take care of themselves, while helping each other.

Helena Bertinella.  Batgirl II.  Huntress.

One of my favorite story arcs ever.  No Man’s Land.  In short, a major earthquake hits Gotham, just about everything is destroyed, the government declares it a No Man’s Land – not part of the country anymore, so that anyone who doesn’t get out, gets no help.  The great Bruce Wayne leaves Gotham to try and secure resources and help, and fails.  While Bruci is off brooding, the city is in turmoil. Gangs are taking over – not to mention all the super bads that escaped Arkham and other jails/prisons.

Helena Bertinelli.  Mafia Princess.  Child of Blood.  Her parents and brother were murdered in front of her when she was 8 (coincidently, the same age of Bruce Wayne when he witnessed the murder of his parents).  Everyone with the name Bertinelli, or blood of a Bertinelli was also executed.  She is the last.  After the horrific event, she was sent off to live with family in Sicily.  Her cousin basically took her under his wing, and made her decide to either have nightmares the rest of her life, or take control.  Blood cries for blood.  She picked her weapon of choice (crossbow), and he trained her.  When she was a little older, her cousin and uncle were arrested, and again, she was alone.  She went to college for mob studies, and eventually came back to Gotham – as the Huntress.  She wanted vengeance for her family…..oh, so back to the Batgirl part.  As I mentioned, after the cataclysm, Gotham was on fire (figuratlvely, and I guess also literally, in some parts) – Helena recognized what the symbol of the Bat meant.  Someone was looking after the city.  With Batman gone – the convicts/gang bangers, had nothing to fear.  Helena decided to put on the cowl.  And yeah, people started noticing, and becoming scared again.  Batman comes back, eventually, puts her to work, gets mad at her for failing one of her assignments (I’m sorry, 500 vs. 1, there’s no contest in that) – and strips her of the mantle – but really, he’s using Nightwing (her one time lover), no help manipulate her into feeling that she yet again has something to prove – by infiltrating one of the gangs.  Yeah, so in the end, Helena, as Huntress, saves the day by getting shot like 6 times by the joker, and saving the babies of Gotham

Later.  When Oracle’s ‘agent’ (later to be known as one of her Birds), Dinah Lance, the Black Canary — gets captured by Savant, it is Huntress who Oracle turns to rescue Dinah.  In the end, the day is saved, and since Canary is injured, Oracle keeps Huntress on to help out, eventually inviting her to be part of the team.  They’ve had years of having a love hate relationship based on methods, or Oracles jealousy of Helena’s (brief) history with Nightwing.  They had another falling out, when Helena found out about Oracle being manipulative in the ‘types’ of missions she was sending her on…eventually they made up.  I’m worried now that since Oracle disbanded the Birds a while back, now that the band is getting back together, how is Helena going to feel about the abandonment (something the Bat Family is known to do), and will it affect the team?  She is currently running around with Question (who I hope will at some point play with the Birds).  (Yeah, Babs may be the first and the best, but Helena Bertinelli is my favorite DC character 🙂 can you tell)

Cassandra Cain. Batgirl.

What can I say about Cassandra Cain?  Yeah, not one of my favorite, characters, in general.  The daughter of Lady Shiva and David Cain -both assassins.  Oracle took her in during NML, and used her to gather information around the city.  Eventually Bats and O decide to let her be Batgirl. Argh — Eventually she gets adopted by Bruce Wayne, only for him to die.  She feels like she lost her purpose in life, so she gives her costume to Stephanie Brown – Spoiler.

Charlotte “Charlie” Gage-Radcliffe. Batgirl. Misfit.

Oh Charlie.  Red hair? Freckles?  Old school Batgirl costume?  Yeah, a little part of my heart squiggled a little – could it be, Babs? Back in the cowl? Naw – it turned out to be a teleporting teenager. She decided that she was just going to ‘be’ Batgirl. Charlie’s story is a bit tragic – well, who’s isn’t – but seeing how ‘happy’ of a girl she is, this darkness shouldn’t of happened.  Misfit is from a sh*thole part of Metropolis – a fire broke out in her apartment, and she was able to teleport herself out – not her mother, because she can’t take anything organic with her.

Oracle shows her a morgue picture of a girl with a toetag – Spoiler’s – as a way to scare this girl off.  She agrees to not be Batgirl, but she refused to stop helping/fighting.  The Birds basically adopt her.  After Oracle disbands the Birds, Oracle delegates Huntress (who Charlie has said she wants to be when she grows up (but blonde) to be her caretaker.  She did a brief stint helping out the Teen Titans, but really haven’t seen her in a while since her brief time with the Birds.

Stephanie Brown. Spoiler. Robin. Batgirl.

Oh Steph.  I think – at the moment, she is my favorite ‘batgirl’ post Babs.  I don’t know.  There’s just something about how she’s been written.  How she is more cup is half full, not empty.  The dark broody days of Batgirl are over.  Yeah — so reminds me of early Batgirl books, especially Batgirl Year One.  Love it.

Stephanie Brown. Daughter of the Cluemaster (villain) – but she’s of the light side.  She’s a bit like Huntress, where it was difficult for the Bat Fam to accept her, but she never stopped fighting.  She even at one point, donned the Robin costume (hmm, that would make her the 4th Robin out of 6th?  Here’s the chrono of those that are Robins:

Dick. Jason. Tim. Steph. Tim. Damian.

Then Tim got over himself, and went back to being Robin, she went back to being Spoiler, then the darkness began.  Basically she starts a gang war (one of Batman’s secret scenarios of how all destructive that can happen to Gotham, so he can practice how he’s going to save the day) not knowing that one of the key characters in the scenario is Bats himself, so sh*t hits the fan (read War Crimes), fighting everywhere, Steph gets captured by Blackmask, is beaten and sexually assaulted, Bats finds her, takes her to Dr. Thompkins, she fakes her death so that Brucipoo stops playing war with little kids.  Leslie takes Steph to Africa, Bats finds her and tells her to never come back (unknowingly that Steph is alive)….but guess what, they do.  Everyone is surprised (and there’s that moment of, uh oh, are tim and steph going to get back together – and please let DC retcon that whole, ‘steph had a random baby that no one ever saw, during NML)- but then pissed when Steph starts fighting with a mask on again. ‘You almost died!’ etc. etc. —- well a little reminder – how many times have Batman/Nightwing/Robin almost died?? Please, and there was no question that they would keep on fighting.  Yeah so when Bruce dies, Cassie gives the Batgirl costume to Steph – and hell yeah she puts it on!  Oracle was not happy at first – but soon realized, after Steph proves herself, that she has bloody earned it dammit.  Then there’s this whole sentimental, the old batgirl and the new batgirl need each other…well, yes they do.  Barbara Gordon has turned a bit dark in recent years, especially during the end of Birds.  Steph is helping her get out of it, while O is helping Steph come into herself as Batgirl.  I love it.  And yes – when DC announced there was to be a new Batgirl, you bloody well know that Stephanie Brown was first to come to mind in my heart of hearts that belongs to the Bat Family.  I mean, after EVERYTHING they did to this poor girl – she’s earned it.  This is her time – and I really hope it lasts.


After a bit of a hiatus, maybe because I was pissed at the world of comics for all the crap that came out in the past year(s) (Final Crisis = Yuck, Secret What? Who’s Initiative? and Who’s Dark this Week??) — and finishing my stint in grad school (yay, I’m a full fledged librarian/archivist) – Here I am.  This past month had some sad news, yet some snippets of joy — and now I will share.

The joy:

Gail Simone returning to my heart…I mean, she’s back on writing Birds of Prey!  My favorite ‘team’ series I must say.  Huntress, Oracle, Dinah, and yes Lady Blackhawk are back with a few new members that haven’t been announced yet – but I have a few ideas of who they may be.

The sad:

Rumors of the death of Lady Blackhawk  — and speaking of BoP members — yeah, my heart sank in the ‘fake’ Justice League (you know, the one that Hal and Ollie created because they can’t handle being old men and not in charge), yeah, so who had a 3some with Huntress and Lady Blackhawk?  Hal?? If Gail had been at the helm of that book, yeah, no. Never would happen — and isn’t Ms. Bertinelli having a bit of fun with a certain Cat of Man?  Yes.  I do think so.

Hmm. Oh the Justice League.  Yeah.  I stopped ‘reading’ it (ok, buying it – I still snuck some reads in at the store) when Black Canary stepped down as Chairwoman, especially when Ollie and Hal made their own ‘League’.  I mean – I had hope – John Stewart did say the only reason he was hanging around JLA HQ was because he hoped Dinah would be back – because she’e the best leader ever! Argh.

I tried to be supportive of GA/BC, the book that is — does anyone hope Dinah will get back together with Doc Mid-Nite (or any other nice lad, or lass for that matter) — but I just couldn’t handle GA’s dominance.  I mean, she is Black Canary.  She would never allow for anyone to ever put a sword down her throat.  To have a husband knock her out –  for him to decide what was ‘best’ for her.  That goes against everything Dinah Lance is.  We’ll see what happens now that Dinah is returning to the Birds, and that Ollie is a fugitive.

More sad:

Rucka is gone.  He’s leaving.  No more Batwoman, no more Question.  Yeah, my heart sunk when I read the announcement.  Batwoman in Detective Comics was one of my favorite books this year.  Sure, I want Kate and Renee to rekindle their love and  be together for ever…but having them in the same book, not together, but still trying to save the day, made me happy.  Especially with Question running around with  Huntress — another character, I believe really helped bring Huntress back into the mainstream – made her more gritty, but solid in the Bat continuity.  Yeah.  Helena Bertinelli is one of the characters I adore most, and Simone writes her great….but I don’t know who can handle Kate and Renee if not Simone…I doubt DC will give her all the awesome ladies to write in BoP.  DC doesn’t want anyone else to write these women…but you have to wonder if it’s because they are the most ‘Out’ lesbians in DC books.  I  mean, yeah, we have Knockout and Scandal, but Knockout got killed pretty quickly – and sure the new gods are ‘back’ – but where??

Speaking of Simone and writing awesome ladies,

Another sad:

She saves Wonder Woman from the depths of Tartatus…..and now she’s back on Birds, but of WW. By the Gods, why?? Did anyone read how Rucka wrote WW in her Blackest Night books?  Ha – yeah, I trust him with her, but really, how many truly excelent, not so tacky, WW runs have there been?  Yeah, I’ll give it a chance.  I mean, it is Diana, how can I not?  Speaking of Blackest Night — oo is the great Bat truly the object of Diana’s affection?  Maybe they will do something right by Bruce and Diana this time around (after Brucipoo is done playing with dinosaurs and pirates) and not have them kiss in the heat of battle, try to go on a date, but end up saving the world instead, then deciding to just be friends…..yeah, that’s kind of a pattern it seems — like the whole thing with Zatanna….argh, I won’t get into that.

ok, time for more


The Cat is back 🙂 Selina Kyle. Her heart is back in her chest, Bruce loves her, but  he’s dead, she took revenge, and now is kickin it with her girls trying not to do bad things.  Yeah the trio of Selina, Harley, and Poisin Ivy has been a fun read — woo hoo Gotham City Sirens.  I’m just waiting for some acknowlegement of what Harly and Ivy were to each other – or that they get back together – or maybe even bring back Holly (Catwoman II) – who disappeared really after Countdown, AFTER she and Harley were going to shack up….blah, another dissapointment – but, expected.  These are comic books afterall, the happiness only lasts for so long until your heart, or mine, gets crushed.

And some more joy:

Sasha Bordeaux.  The Black Queen lives!! Ok, she may not be a Queen anymore in Checkmate, but I don’t care.  Let’s see if DC actually uses her (yup since Rucka left Checkmate, yeah nothing going on there) – maybe in the JSA? She and Mr. Terrific seem solid, and the JSA is a ‘family affair’ so maybe there’s hope for Bat’s former body guard to put in some work.

And some sad:

Quasar & Moondragon.  Can’t say more about that – other than I loved the Annihilation stories, then Marvel made Guardians of the Galaxy, Moondragon came back, then Phylla went crazy and isn’t dead, but lost somewhere…

More marvel sad:

Yay for the Runaways coming to the big screen, but what about the book?  What about Nico and Karolina?  Why do they show them getting closer, to having Nico kiss Chase and End.  Frustrating.

And some joy:

Black Widow
Cloak and Dagger

all getting their own books

and the Sadness:

Jessica Drew.  Sheesh, the Spider-Woman motion comic & book were awesome!! Bendis please come back – i know it was a whole lot of work, but promise to come back!!  I already have the HC on preorder.

some major joy:

KITTY PRYDE!!! She’s back! Alive! Not evil!  but here’s the kicker:

scene: Pieter runs forth to pull Kitty into his arms – but what, after being phased to a Giant bullet for so long, he runs right through her.
end scene.

WTF.  I’ve been waiting for how long for her return?  and for her to be reunited, again, to Pieter, and this? I knew there was to be a catch.

I’ll leave it at that.  And if you have made it through my ‘catch-up’ rant, consider yourselves lucky for me not going into Final Crisis or all the Marvel ‘events’…for now.

I spoke too soon.

So begins the end.  Damn.  Catwoman is dead.  Figuratively that is.  This week marked the final issue (#82) of the current run of the femme fatale.  What should I say?  I hated it.  Boo.  I suppose I could be more grownup about it and just say that this issue (if not the last 50 or so issues) displease me, greatly.  Fine.  Give another popular female DC character the can.  The axe.  It would have been even more satisfying if DC had Hammer and Sickle do the deed – not the (spoiler alert), ‘I’m crazy, and I like running around and being bad thing – oops, I stole the Batmobile – hahaha – see ya later!  Catch me if you can Bats!’

A bit unnerving.  And this is what becomes to our Selina Kyle?  One last romp on the roof tops with her ill-fated sometimes lover?  Please bring Ed Brubaker back?

When I think Catwoman, I think a woman with a hell of a backbone.  The anti-hero.  Even Oracle admits, that she’s god damn reliable.  Selina.  The best mother.  Loyal like a cat.  Never lets go.  Never forgets.

I still can’t get over that she gave up her kid.  ‘Out of love’.  ‘Safety’ my a$$.  Seriously.  Sure she lives a dangerous life.  Baddies everywhere.  ooo. the Danger.  the Horror. Selina protects the East End.  And the East End protects her.  She’s got Holly (granted, haven’t heard much of her post Countdown, probably romping with Harley – but did she officially break up with Karon?  I only remember Holly leaving town to lay low for a while), Slam, WildCat – and yes the Bat Family as well.  So I guess this will lead into a new discussion.

Women and Babies in comics.  As it’s late – I will just poke at the topic, so please amuse me.

Why do the (majority) of women in comics not keep their babies and men do?  Let us create a short list:

Women (baby abandoners for the ‘greater good’)

  • Selina Kyle [gave up little Helena (and hello – is it or is it not Bat’s baby?  I’m sorry, I’m not believing it’s Slam Jr’s baby.  Nope.  Not with the name Helena.  Nods to Earth-2 baby making with hubby Brucipoo.)]
  • Shiva [Batgirl III Cassandra Cain – sure I probably would not trust Cain nor Shiva with my kids – but you can see, later, that Shiva does love her kid, in her own special way.
  • Black Canary II, Dinah Laurel Lance [Adopted Sin only to send her to boarding school indefinitely.  Of course Green Arrow was okay with it… probably, for once, because he was not the baby daddy – and can’t handle another human that gets more attention than he.  Ironic.
  • Talia al Ghul [Damian.  If I understand correctly – the original story was retconned – she left Damian at an orphanage, only to retrieve him years later.  Now Bats knows about it.  Funny.  She’s finally standing up to her father (I’m convinced that she’s not a true villain – just an anti-hero-esk character.  If she were truly evil – she would have let Bruce die numerous times… only committing criminal acts for the love of her father – but the Batman and Son storyline is giving Talia a new respect, and perspective.  I’ve always liked her.  Remember, she was what gave Bats the kick in the rear to get him to return to Gotham during No Man’s Land]
  • Cheshire [Red Arrow has primary custody of Lian, though, I think she’s hoarding her kid she produced with Catman somewhere…and I suppose with Gail Simone’s upcoming Secret Six series, we’ll find out what Mr. Blake plans on doing about his kid]

Men (who hold the real family values in the DCU…right)

  • Green Arrow, Oliver Queen [Biological (that we know about)-Connor Hawke.  Adopted, Roy Harper, Mia
  • Red Arrow, Roy Harper [Lian.]
  • Black Lightning, Jefferson Pierce [Thunder, Lightning]
  • Green Lantern, Scott Allen [Jade, Obsidian]
  • The Flash’s [Jay, Wally, Barry…all have kids]
  • Batman [Biological-Damian.  Adopted, Nightwing and the current Robin (Tim Drake)]

So.  Explain to me.  How is Roy Harper better equipped than Black Canary to keep his little girl safe?  Now that Dinah has been sucked into the world of Team Arrow, god help me, wouldn’t Mr. Muscly Harper be able to protect little Sin as much as Lian?  Wait – Dinah is the Chairwoman of the JLA right?  Resources.  She has them… along with Martian tech – hello, security much?  Both male and female heroes in the DCU create risks for their children being who they are.  Equal risk.  So why the disparity?  The women I listed are some of the High and Mighty in the DCU.  League of Assassins on your tail or not, in my gut, I think these ladies can protect their babies something fierce.  A mother’s instinct.  You do what you have to do to protect your child – and giving them up doesn’t solve anything.  That’s just my opinion – and if someone wants to kill you, or find someone badly enough, they will – so better to keep the precious close to you right, rather than sending them to the Himalayas where there is  nothing you can do if the school/adoption agency/whatever falls under attack.  [oh geez – flash back to Queen Amidala on the birthing table – dying of a broken heart.  WHATEVER – I’m sorry – whatever happened to living for your kids?  Princess Leia is supposed to reflect her mother… yet I never once remember Leia ever putting down her lightsaber when her kids needed her most…. that’s another topic.]

Alright Selina.  I wish you luck over in Detective Comics – I totally hope that works out for you and you don’t die, literally.   OOOhh — or is it full circle??  Hush storyline, again.  The first time around, Bruce and Selina declare love for each other, then Bruce gets uber-paranoid (very surprising, I know), and dumps her.  And now here is Hush again – and another fight for Bats affections? Who’s in the running, Zatanna (won’t happen), his current girlfriend Jezebel Jet, and of course Selina.  Bruce isn’t good enough for Z or Selina… don’t care much for Jezi.  —  I guess I won’t speculate too much – things don’t usually go my way for my hopes and dreams of my favorite lady characters.


The downfall of humanity will be brought to us by, well, a woman.  Any surprises there?  I’ve been on a brief hiatus from posting my thoughts these past few weeks, but here I am – back – with maybe more bitterness than before.

Final Crisis #3.  The formerly sweet, good, and righteous Mary Marvel (she has to be evil, she is wearing Black) is a minion of Darkseid (as we learned from Countdown).  Darkseid wants to end the world – and to help jump start that job, he needs a carrier for a virus that’s been cooked up.  Hmm.  Who is the perfect carrier?  The chosen.  The worthy.  Wonder Woman!!  Of course it’s Wonder Woman.  Who else is there to destroy humanity than the one person trying to save it?  Just another Typhoid Mary (funny how it’s Mary Marvel who infects Diana).  Now Diana looks crazy and wants to kill superheroes.  Great.  Just something else to add to the list of how women will kill us all.  Let’s see.  If a pregnancy occurs, it’s the woman’s fault.  If she gets an std, it’s her problem – if she wasn’t ‘promiscuous’ there would be no issue.  A woman president?? Oh no, what would she do when she’s PMS-ing, push the red button, of course.  I don’t know.  I just wish that it was someone else.  Supes and Bats have yet to really ‘forgive’ Diana for saving the world from Superman when he went on a bit murder-frenzy under the mind control of the deceased (and may he stay that way) Max Lord.  She killed Max because she had to – and didn’t allow the real taped footage to be released in her trial (given to Kate Spencer (her attorney, and awesome Manhunter) by the (now) Black Queen of Checkmate, the beautiful Sascha Bordeaux.  If the truth were revealed, the world would be terrified of Superman.  She couldn’t have that.  Diana will be a martyr if there ever was one.  SO.  By her possibly going on her own murder-frenzy (we will see what happens in the next few issues of Final Crisis), after (somehow at some point) regains her sanity, what will the boys club think of her?  They turned her back on her when she did what was right, and with this – they will see her as a God that can be controlled, and try to subdue her (oh – does this sound familier?  Superman almost killing Batman (twice) and trying to kill Diana – yet, covered up that incident so that the world wouldn’t know that Superman, also, can be controlled.  Circles, cycles, trinities, hmmm.

Oh – anyone find it interesting that in FC the evil doers launch a cyber attack, and then read on CNN about the Russian-Georgian conflict cyber attack — leading into further discussion of how cyber attacks are going to be the next big thing.  DC beat them all!  Sadly, if the great Oracle doesn’t have the virus protection to stop this, then I have no chance.

So my boss has been bugging me to start a blog about my comicbook infatuation.  My response, until now, was to decline his idea.  Why me?  What do I know about comics?  I read a lot of them, I do [shout out to comic book Wednesdays!] – but do I need to be an expert that works in the comicbook industry to comment on what I read?  I guess not.  My somewhat closeted comicbook fan (at least in the academic community that we work in – though, I believe that he will soon revolutionize how classes are taught – bringing everything back to the themes in comic books) of an awesome boss sent a link to another woman’s blog on janera.com [Wanted: Superheroes Seeking Smart & Strong Women].  I was not too happy.  The vast majority of my following account is taken from the scathing email response back to my boss of my thoughts of this woman’s post, which after sending it to him, saw it as an opportunity to re-use for the grand opening of this blog (or am I just un-superheroine like and really just, lazy – praise to the copy/paste functions).  So finally – with his encouragement – my first post [ha – let us see how long I can keep this up!].

At first I was not sure how I felt about Gulati’s blog post – but then it hit me that, well, I had very strong feelings about it.  Gulati and I have different views on western comics regarding women.  Sure, the main target is for straight white males as it always has – but in regards to female characters – ‘other than Wonder Woman’ – are “likely just voluptuous bodies” – that I have to STRONGLY disagree [and come on, isn’t Wonder Woman’s body one of the most praised and drooled over?].  That these other female heroes have nothing more to offer other than to stare at their bodies?  Please.  You can’t be a female superhero without having brains!! Otherwise they would not be able to run with all the ‘big boys’.  Let’s see If I can list any female superhero, other than Wonder Woman, that has more going on than her curves:

*Oracle – Batgirl I – Barbara Gordon: Genius to the mega-extreme

*Invisible Woman – Dr. Susan Storm: Genius, specializing in biology – but really gives her husband a run for his brains – though, would rather tend the safety of their children than to boost her own ego helping whoever [righteous or not] will allow to complete new experiments – regardless of the consequences on everyone living, close or not.

*Huntress – Batgirl II – Helena Bertinelli – well – To make things easier – you can not be part of the Bat Family without having some quality brains to you – And Helena, certainly does.

*Spider Woman I – Jessica Drew: To be able to be a triple agent [not even Cap or Iron Man can claim that] – you have to be strong, mentally.

*Ms. Marvel – Carol Danvers – retired U.S. Air Force Intelligence agent turned NASA Security Chief – current leader of the Mighty Avengers: enough said.

*The Vampire Slayer – Buffy Summers: hmm, I wonder – the chosen one, leader of all the slayers, has saved the world how many times?? I bet it’s just because she is blonde.

These are only a few examples – though, you know I could list off at least a hundred more.  These women are gorgeous.  They are curvy and thick.  You know – I would suspect that they would need bodies like that to be able to do what they do.  Of course they have muscles and size – How do they stop planes from crashing, buildings from toppling over hundreds of civilians?  And the men?  They run around in little spandex revealing a whole lot as well – but that’s okay right?  Why don’t we tell all the female gymnasts that are going to Beijing this summer that they can’t do the vault, the balance beam, or the floor exercise wearing only their leotard.  I bet they would tell us it’s hard to do all those flips wearing much more!  Don’t suspect that I choose to ignore the size of these illustrated women’s breast.  It’s kind of hard to miss – and I may not support completely the massive size of their equipment [though who am I to judge how Kryptonians/aliens/Goddesses look like – in a fictional world], but we have to remember to see beyond breasts – that these women are in-fact strong, smart, and capable.

So all the superhero summer blockbusters are with male protagonists.  Seriously, who cares?  Sure I would love to see some lady action (considering that most what I read I look for strong female leadership), but then again, I don’t want the movie, intended for mass audiences (especially non-comicbook readers) to ruin my favorite female characters, nor do I want them to lend the idea to non-readers a different image of what the true essence of these characters are – and act like they are experts on the subject.  There is a Wonder Woman film in the works – but it has been so difficult moving forward with the project because the writers can’t all agree on the storyline, because they expect perfection, because that is Wonder Woman.  There is a true respect for the character – of this Woman who is trying to save mankind – she expects the best from us, so we try to honor her too, to show the world her best – and it is very difficult to do that in 2 hours, with an audience that doesn’t know what or where Themyscira is.

“American superheroes and villains are either pure good or evil, whereas Japanese manga have complex characters with whom readers can relate”  seriously?  Then what was Civil War? What was House of M?  What was Identity Crisis?  Pristine images of Right and Wrong – Black and White has not been around since the Pre-Crisis period.  What side of the Civil War were you on?  There were numerous readers like me that could see both sides of the issue – and possibly argue for both [but my loyalties were to Cap – of course].  It’s hard to see where the line was drawn [though Susan Storm’s force field kind of did it for me – Thank the Goddesses, that was beautiful].

I like things not being crystal clear – non apocalyptan (as I learned from my favorite grad school class on Globalization/Democracy/Violence). Comics becoming so controversial, full of symbolism and politics – yet still fighting the good fight.

Okay – so maybe the western ideal of a man is super macho sexist or anything else you feel like stigmatizing.  If you judge a comic book solely by its cover, then I suppose it would appear this way.  But to say that men in these books don’t have feelings, sympathy, heart?  I don’t think so.  I think the bleeding hearts of the industry are the male heroes.  They are soo emotional – which makes them overbearing and protective.  Batman, for example, is seen as the most closed off character [and if you are reading Trinity currently, as I am, they list off everything that is Batman’s personality (along with Supes, and of course, fair Diana) – but underneath that cowl is the most sensitive man.  He still feels guilt for not having done justice for all those whom were hurt by the Joker (um, Batgirl paralyzed, Huntress shot 6 times, the murder of Robin II…) so he punishes himself.  Or what about feeling so much after the murder of his parents, that he even has to put the cowl on to protect himself, his emotions, his anger – even his love.  And really – if Batman felt nothing – and really didn’t care deeply about his fellow comrades – what about his recent action of putting the choco cookie on Martian Manhunter’s coffin (if you haven’t read Final Crisis Requiem – you NEED to)?  Yup – can we say tears in my eyes (not a common occurance as it seems)?  And Superman.  All he does is try to please everyone, he loves humanity so much than he wants to be human – then he broods (like a similar Bat we know) because he really, in-fact, is not – and he forgets this simple fact sometimes, well, all the time.   Being best friends with Wonder Woman does not help the situation because, to him, she is a reminder of this fact because she too, is not human.  The funny thing is that whenever Wonder Woman shows her love for the world of humans – Superman is usually the first to remind her of her ‘made out of clay’ origins.  It is only fair that she too reminds Kal-El of his Kryptonian origins.  So if the western comics were so sexist [and I do agree in many ways they are – but so is every other aspect of life in and out of comic book world] then why are the leading teams in the books led by women??  Black Canary is Chairperson of the Justice League of America, Power Girl is Chairperson of the Justice Society of America, Ms. Marvel is leader of the Mighty Avengers, Oracle/Huntress run the Birds of Prey, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is leader of thousands of slayers [and these books aren’t targeted for women, but rather, men are still the primary readers]!  So even if the chicks show off a little skin, or have enlarged body parts, or even have story lines that end in disaster – I have to say that regardless of the women in refrigerators fact – female characters do have a strong and respected standing in western comics.