Mike S. (aka Martinex1) is back again today with another of his $1 Challenges. We've had some fun in the past with these (click that link you just passed to check out his other posts), and I'm sure we'll get some good conversation again today. Thanks, Mike!
Sheroes. The Super Heroine $1 Shopping Spree.
Mike S.: Here we go again. We are taking a trip to the ever changing, ever evolving comic store with only loose change in our pocket. It is time for another round of “If I Had A Buck…” This time around, the spinner rack selection has only heroines, superwomen, and female champions from which to choose.
There has been much talk in the comic industry recently about the attempt to reach female readers and to embrace strong female protagonists. There are numerous titles on the stands today with women headliners and that is a good thing. The cinematic Marvel universe has yet to create an A list film for a heroine. Earlier endeavors in the cinema with Red Sonja, Elektra, Catwoman, and Supergirl starring were less than stellar. Recently some of the Marvel films have established strong women in team efforts with Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, and Gamora. And there is great anticipation around the Ms. Marvel solo film. Hopefully someday we will see the Wasp, Tigra, Valkyrie, Batwoman, Raven, Huntress, and others on the silver screen.
In comics, Wonder Woman was always the grandmother of all heroines. Her costume is iconic and she ranks as a great character in a pantheon alongside Batman and Superman. Her comic has endured in one form or another for many decades, she was the subject of a successful live action television show, and she will be reappearing on film soon (hopefully arriving in her invisible jet). Honestly, I never read much Wonder Woman until George Perez took over the creative control in the 1980s, but always recognized her stature particularly in the JLA.
The late 70s brought to Marvel Comic fans an array of female headliners that have definitely stood the test of time. Many of these characters were initially derivatives of their male counterparts and were used to shore up marketing trademarks and licenses. But characters like Spider Woman, She-Hulk, and Ms. Marvel have evolved with distinct personalities, traits, and conflicts. There have been many compelling takes on these characters over the years.
Spider-Woman’s initial series ran for fifty issues, which is no small feat. She starred in a Saturday morning cartoon show as well. The comic established Jessica Drew’s uniqueness (despite her derivative name) with her base of operations on the West Coast, with a bizarre cast of villains who had horror leanings, and a rather convoluted and evolving origin. Her series had her battle weirdos like the Brothers Grimm, Daddy Longlegs, and Gypsy Moth. She teamed regularly and also fought against the Werewolf By Night. In her introduction, she was evolved from a spider (though that origin quickly changed) and she emitted an odor or creepiness that turned people off. Today she is a consistent star in the Avengers titles and continues to grow in a new solo series.
She-Hulk likewise went through many iterations. She started off with a very lame origin of a blood transfusion from her cousin Bruce Banner; her initial series was fairly mundane. John Byrne advanced her character in his run on the Fantastic Four and in a new solo title in which the heroine regularly broke the fourth wall and had many humorous adventures and interludes. Her most recent solo title is critically acclaimed as it focuses on Jennifer’s legal expertise and relationships.
Throughout the last five decades Marvel advanced many diverse female characters in their team books and solo titles. In my opinion these characters were just as compelling as their male counterparts and often drove very interesting stories with complex characterizations and problems. The list includes but is not limited to: The Cat, Moondragon, Mantis, Thundra, Firestar, Aleta, Nikki, Tigra, Snowbird, Aurora, Hellcat, Valkyrie, Darkstar, Sif, Medusa, Crystal, Nova, Jocasta, Sheena, Storm, Kitty Pride, Dazzler, Dagger, Rogue, Marionette, and Songbird. Some fared better than others over time. Marvel also established some memorable female villains in Black Cat, Deathbird, Typhoid Mary, Moonstone, Mystique, White Queen, Destiny, Morgan LeFay, Madame Masque, Nebula, and of course Dark Phoenix.
Over at DC, we saw Fire, Ice, Dove, Power Girl, Huntress, Oracle, Black Canary, Supergirl, Catwoman, Hawkgirl, Jesse Quick, Batgirl, and many others.
So today, in this discussion there are nine titles to choose from, with nine female leads (I cheated a little to get Thundra in play), and only $1.00 to spend. I am curious what you would buy if there were only female characters on the spinner rack.
But even more importantly, I am curious what you think about the many heroines. Who are your favorites? What stories are worth reading? Who has better offerings in this category, Marvel or DC? Who would you like to see more of and should have their own series? Who should lead a team? Who would you like to see get a solo movie?
And as always, have fun! Here is the list:
The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl #7; $0.60
Dazzler #8; $0.50
Huntress #8; $1.00 (Yeah, I know you would have to spend all of your money, but that is a cool Staton cover!)
Marvel Chillers featuring Tigra The Were-Woman #5; $0.25
Marvel Two-In-One #56 starring Thundra; $0.40 (That punch had to put it on the list!)
Ms. Marvel #21; $0.35
Savage She-Hulk #10; $0.50 (with a Michael Golden cover!)
Spider-Woman #32; $0.50Wonder Woman #5; $0.75