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Gail's Favorite Comic Book Heroines

Ramping up for Comic Con I thought I'd keep with the theme.

I'm a self-confessed Marvel girl, Gentle Reader. Yes, I read some DC but it was always Marvel that I collected. I like the idea of being a mutant, of being special. I branched out to Dark Horse once or twice, but in the end I prefer to read about teams, superheros working together. Partly because, early on, this was my only chance to see more than one female superhero in action. I mean X-men had, like, three! (God forbid there actually ever be more females than males on a team. Or that the female be in charge of the team on a permanent basis, and not be a bad girl . . . but I digress.) In case you hadn't guessed from my own writing, friendship is a theme that appeals to me.

I've never been one for the Hero's Journey, one man struggling against the universe blah de blah. I find Batman totally lacking in appeal: rich man with dark past and too many toys all on on his own taking on the bad guys? Yawn fest. Add Robin into the mix and a little homoerotic tension and I perk up, but basically meh to the Batman, Spiderman, and Supermen of the world.

So who are some of my favorite female super heroes?

I may be the only person in existence who actually collected New Warriors comics. But they were my team. I loved them so much. I knew when the next one was due to come out and I would haunt my local comic shop waiting for the shipment.

As the series progressed I became a particular fan of Speedball but it was Angelica Jones who drew me to pick up my very first comic ever. I adored her on the Spider Man and His Amazing Friends cartoon when I was a kid, so I hunted down the comic that featured Firestar as a main character. I loved that the New Warriors were all teens ~ that their concerns felt more personal to me as a result, and that their character arcs were all about learning to work together, building friendships, and relationships, very like my own journey through high school. (Only I couldn't shoot microwave energy out my hands, sadly. Life would have been so much better if I could.)

Shadow Cat
Kitty Pryde had one of the coolest super powers, phasing through solid matter. She was part of the X-Men but I didn't start reading her until she'd joined Excalibur. I adored her character and she came complete with pet mini-dragon.

Why do we love Anna Marie so much? The ultimate Romeo and Juliet relationship with Gambit, of course. Gambit, only the hottest X-man ever. No, not Wolverine, Gambit.

French bad boy who can charge and throw deadly playing cards, ex-con and thief, develops a mad passion for the sweet southern belle whom he can never touch. Le sigh. Yeah, Rogue's powers suck. But unrequited love with a hot snarky bad boy? Mmmm. Plus after sucking Ms Marvel, Rogue can fly.

White Queen
Leaving aside the abysmal portrayal of Emma Frost in recent movies, she's a wonderful character. She wavers from being an all out bad girl, with her Hellions, to having some good moments, to eventually taking on teaching duties, building Generation X and even joining X-men. I liked that her strength was in her mind, that she was the leader of her group, and that she was a very strong woman. I also loved her costume. What can I say? I'm shallow like that.

Of course, who did I really want to be when I grew up? She Ra, Ceetara, or Xena. I'm not picky. So, what about you? Any comic readers out there? Who's your favorite comic book heroine?


Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Super Heros

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
Tips for writing a synopsis

Prudence ~ The Parasol Protectorate Abroad Book the First: Working rough draft. Release date Fall 2013.
Etiquette & Espionage ~ Finishing School Book the First: Release date Feb 5, 2013. Working promo schemes.Deportment & Deceit ~ The Finishing School Book the Second: Third draft handed in to editor, awaiting edits.
Manga ~ Soulless Vol. 2: (AKA Changeless) Reviewing chapter by chapter, each drops on YenPlus by subscription. Print release tentatively Dec. 2012.

BIG FAT SPOILER ALERT on the Parasol Protectorate series! Really, DON'T READ THE BLURB ON AMAZON if you haven't read the other books first!

The Omnibus hardback editions are limited run through the SciFi Bookclub only.

The manga editions, Vol. available in print, Vol. 2 by subscription to YenPlus.

Most short stories available in ebook form world wide!

The first Finishing School book ~ Not yet Released

Book News:
Nicole gives me a fun shout out.

Quote of the Day:
5 funny quotes from SDCC 2011.

Daisypath Wedding tickers


What can I say? I was born behind the Iron Curtain, and back then they had about... phew... 1.5 comic series here. You can imagine how many female main characters that made - exactly, zilch. I still devoured whatever I could get, understanding or not, as at least they were quite fun for adventure-loving boys. Plus girls like me who seriously didn't understand why a woman shouldn't wear armour like a male knight (I still don't understand. I refuse to understand. I WILL wear armour one day, samurai if I can make it. HURR.). So when we finally got western TV and my cousin insisted on watching Batman and Knight Rider, that was like a revelation to me. Just as all the other kids in my kindy group (I must have been about 4 years old...), I wanted to be Batman, purple tights and all. I simply didn't care about my gender, as long as the cool parts were all taken by males, I wanted to be in their place, as my own self, and that was my last word. =P I'm afraid I still have a bit of a weakness for the fluttering bat-face, but that might be because there's a bunch of pretty fine artists who've drawn his adventures recently. Mm.

Apart from that, I agree with you. X-Men is probably the one comic book series I'd get into first if I had the funds and access, mostly for the diversity of character (-relationships), same for Xena. My parents didn't know/like Xena, so we never watched it on TV, and now it's off repeat. It might sound funny, but to me it's easier to get into the basics of chemistry compared to what it takes to understand the basics of today's most popular fandoms (I won't even start about Dr Who, or Star Trek). Given that I'm a geekgirl by nature, this is painful! Painful it is! //Yoda

I think I'll generally more open to comic books once especially the female characters look a little more realistic, and more discernable. Two thumbs up if the changes include behaviour and status. Oh~ one may but dream... or scribble on.

PS: That's an incredibly well-working reconception of a kimono in today's parasol shot.
Oh God, is that a ramble I left up there... anyway, I forgot to ask: did you see the X-Men movies? What do you think about them?
I loved the first one, liked the second, couldn't get into the third. I actually didn't like First Class, the accents were too all over the place for me. Never saw Wolverine.
I see! I didn't see First Class, because Wolverine was actually only bearable for the set design (in the beginning) and Hugh Jackman's physique during the rest... which was a bit too much even for his build.

I think #3 could have been better concerning the ending. Mm. So many interesting questions raised... tut tut.
Gambit has always been my favorite X-man. Sexy cajuns are the sexiest. There should be more stories with sexy cajuns.

And I loved Spiderman and Friends as a kid because of Firestar. I haven't thought of that cartoon for years!

Jubilation Lee

Jubilee (Jubilation Lee) has always been my favorite comic book character. I bonded with her in X-Men, followed her to Generation X, Gambit and the X-Ternals, and her transformation to Wondra. I have not read her current incarnation as a vampire, but little Miss Firecracker will always be the character that got this dyslexic to start love reading.

Re: Jubilation Lee

Jubilee is another great character that is overlooked or sidelined when comics move to more mainstream media.

I love that there is an X-man out there for everyone. :)

Re: Jubilation Lee

I do love her too, but somehow never really identified with her.
There's a rumor that another female Avenger will be appearing in The Avengers 2. I'm hoping for Firestar or Ms. Marvel. Well, I REALLY want Mockingbird, but realistically I want Firestar or Ms. Marvel. I adore Bobbi Morse, but she's not the best-known. And it's always awkward when she and Hawkeye and Black Widow are together (although Widowmaker is probably my favorite comic for that exact reason).

Also, a couple of months ago, I found a whole bunch of white hair growing in (I've been dyeing it constantly and hadn't realized how much there was). Most women would probably be upset to find white hair at age 27, but I went "OMG it's all in one spot above my right eye, if this grows in just like this I'll have a streak like Rogue!!!" I know of other female geeks who've had a similar reaction and it makes me happy.
That would be awesome, she's an overlooked character. But was Firestar ever part of the Avengers?
She was in the mid to late nineties, if my memory serves. Right after she moved on from New Warriors.
I have a code for a free month's subscription to Marvel, I guess online? I really don't know. "1 Free Month of Marvel Comics" is what it says. Would you like it?
Oh that's very kind, but I don't think I would have the time.
I was a marvel girl, a bona fide my heart belongs to Magneto why are they the BROTHERhood of evil mutants
right up until i was in an accident and was stuck watching cartoon network in bed and happened upon the first episode of Batman beyond and then it happened, I was swayed to the darkside
it was the continuity that did it, and the manipulations and cruelty and that marvel movies are generally sucky in comparison to the DC animated ones (the best batman film is a toss up between return of the joker and under the red hood, chris nolan comes in around number 4)
and it had nightwing, oh how we love the most metrosexual character in the universe and put him in spandex kevlar and let him just bounce around the place flirting with anything with a pulse and staring at batman's butt.... I cried when they cancelled it and he got promoted to batman
but considering you were talking about marvel superheroines did you see these?


the mystique, for some reason not on that page, is stunning, she's in full knee slide with semi automatic weapons, and is wearing the white comic dress not the movie scales!
there's also a diamond form emma frost
(also that site's really dear, you can get them much cheaper than that with a quick google)

and did you catch the X-men anime? one of the very best Emma Frost's I've seen portrayed - she was both kick ass and nurturing, but the voice acting is.... you might want to see if you can get it with subtitles
the Blade one is better mind
~(there were four, iron man, wolverine, X-men and blade)

I was obsessed with Firestar as a child, thanks to Spiderman and his Amazing friends. There was also a comic character named Amethyst I used to read around the same time.

I liked X-men, but I honestly identified more with the male characters than the female ones. If I had to pick a favorite from that series, it would probably be Magik.

Honestly, my favorite female comic character is Jenny Sparks from The Authority. She was the team's leader and a BAMF. Also, I liked the concept she represented, since she was the literal spirit of the 20th century.
I too was an X-Men reader during the early 2000s and had to quit it after the Age of Apocalypse events started crossing over into modern continuity.

Also just about got pissed when Chris Bachalo left GenX and Emma and Banshee became messy :/

Honestly, not a fan of Emma after that series. I think she's a good, strong figure but the fact that they wrote her into a relationship with Scott makes me puke inside. (I just hate him and wish the telepaths would all gang up on him for his obvious douchebaggery.)

Or maybe I'm just bitter. I loved Banshee/WQ in early GenX. I thought they were equals and she and he were perfect for each other while Bachalo/Lobdell were on that title :/
Oh lord, Jenny Sparks. Jenny Sparks was made of awesome. Her run in The Authority is probably my favourite run of any comic I've read.

Oh Gail, not Rogue!

She's SO WHINY! I can't STAND her! "Oh woe is me, I can't touch anyone!" Bull. She could have Beast turn some of that mutant power suppression tech into some fancy jewelry and BOOM! Touching everyone! She's also not good enough for Gambit. She flirts with anything male and is always sleeping with Magneto behind Gambit's back. Remy has got to get over the little tart and find himself a woman who doesn't sleep with bad guys.

I swear if Rogue could touch people other than Magneto, she'd be one of those women on Maury with at least 20 different men taking a test to see which one's her baby's daddy.

And it won't be Remy.

I've always been partial to Jubilee myself. But the women I like best in comic books are the Aunt Mays and the Mary Janes - the ones on the sidelines who support the heroes. (BTW - It's Spider-man, with a hyphen.) But will from time to time step in and kick bad guy butt even though they don't have any super powers or special training. It's got to be hardest on them, seeing someone they love put their lives on the line for people who don't appreciate it. Having to help patch the physical and psychological wounds. Then kiss them goodbye once again.

And every now and again smacking Doctor Doom upside the head with their purse.

As someone who was around for the early days of Kitty Pryde (I think I read Claremont's rip-off homage to Alien featuring her before I ever saw the movie, she'll always hold a special place in my heart. First super-hero crush...sigh.

Emma Frost was probably my first introduction to corsetry. Also sigh. But she was definitely a villain back then.

Girl Genius

You ask about my favorite comic book heroine, and you receive a post about the wonder and glory of Girl Genius.

Agatha Heterodyne is the most badass mad-scientists girl heroine you could ask for. Phil and Kaja Foglio are the genius behind the web comic, and they deliver far more than you could ever ask for. It's fun, drama and action packed into a wonderful gaslamp fantasy. (Yes, they coined that term. Yes, it's fabulous.)

I initially read these in print, before I realized that they had also been released online, and I like to read them online as they go up, but holding a comic book just feels so much nicer than reading it on a computer.

all the best,

p.s. I'm also a sucker for the Rogue/Gambit storyline, but Storm will always be my #1 girl.
. Gambit, only the hottest X-man ever. No, not Wolverine, Gambit.

HECK. YES. I could not agree with you more here.
Sue Storm from the Fantastic Four is one of my favorite super-heroines! Her earlier comic incarnations were not exactly a portrayal of a strong woman, but later drawings made her the mainstay of the team and a formidable opponent in any situation. Making that woman mad was a VERY BAD IDEA.

I too love Rogue. She's tortured but strong in mind and body, and she'll do anything for her friends :)

I'll think of more :)
I read this post and wondered if somehow we were psi-linked because just about everything you wrote is something I've said at one time or another (although *hides* I never read New Warriors).

Kitty, Rogue and Emma are three of my favorite X-Women (Also love Polaris!) and some friends of mine just got me the comic with that Rogue and Gambit cover!
Mystique. Always and forever Mystique. Morally ambiguous queer immortal shapeshifter? I don't think it gets any cooler.

Although I do love Storm and Rogue also. And, weirdly, the version of Wasp from the Earth's Mightiest Heroes cartoon (which just got cancelled. Because god forbid we have good cartoons), because she's feisty and the big guys listen to her when she tells them to do things.
Just gonna put it right out there that Nextwave has three female heroes to two males, and the leader is female. And it is full of delicious, delicious crack.

Kitty Pryde

I loved Kitty Pryde! I was a big Excalibur fan at one point. Three female superheroes! And Nightcrawler! My favorite was probably Rachel Summers. I just loved her.

Are you aware that there is a musical act called Kitty Pryde? She's a dirty female hip hop act. I felt bad about myself after watching one of her videos.
Love me some Gambit. So much so that when we adopted a cattle-dog mix with a black mask over his eyes, and we were looking for a thief/mask-like name for him (Bandit? Zorro?), I said "Of course we're naming him Gambit."

Which made it awkward when the Wolverine movie came out. My husband and I were talking about Gambit's appearance in the movie, and our poor dog was about to have a heart attack of excitement because we kept saying his name over and over.

Edited because my Gambit icon seems to not work. Huh. Here's one of my puppies instead. Gambit's in the middle.

Edited at 2012-07-05 11:23 am (UTC)