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I read an article (read it here) posted by a moviepilot friend, she knows who she is, and it really got me thinking about the topics brought up in it. I wrote a few weeks ago about the #GhostbustersGATE and was met with hostility even though my purpose for writing was to question the initial backlash against the film as it seemed that so many thought the movie was obviously a feminist plot for political correctness and gender equality. *start rant* Seriously, a feminist plot... grow up and realize that it's not a male world anymore *end rant* Regardless of your opinion on feminine influence in movie, comic and general geek-dom: it's happening, and I think it's great.
I read a second report in 2014, that had some statistics that I had never seen before. There was a informal census done through Facebook of self-proclaimed comic book fans: of 24 million registered users 46.67% were female. That's roughly 11,000,000 female comic fans, so obviously compared to say 10 years ago that number has changed dramatically.
While we don't have any market research, the eyes don't lie. If you go to conventions and comic book stores, more and more female readers are emerging. They are starved for content and looking for content they can relate to.
- Axel Alonso, Marvel's editor-in-chief
Now, I'm not claiming that Facebook marketing research is the most accurate representation of the true market, but it makes me believe that there is a nugget of truth behind the statement that Axel makes. There are comic readers out there starving for content to relate to, which is why I love the characters that I do - because there's a part of the character that I can relate to. I'm sure we all can say that we see something in the characters that we love, that make us feel connected to them. Regardless of their gender, male or female, there is something that draws you to that character.
With that being said, I would like to present to you my:
Top 5 Female Characters in Comic - Culture
Lets begin with Number 5:
She's been a part of comic lore since 1975 as the original Batgirl. That's right kiddos, Barbara Gordon is first on my list.
She started off as the original Batgirl, partnering with Dick Grayson (the original Robin). She filled this role until Alan Moore's vivid graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke hit the print, and hit hard. Shot through the spinal cord by Joker, she is left paraplegic while Batman continues his attempt to stop the Joker and all the other villains of Gotham. For a time, she was brought back as a new character: Oracle, an information broker and technology expert through Suicide Squad in the late 80's. Soon she is partnered with Black Canary for the monthly release of Birds of Prey.
Now thanks to the New 52, she has gotten a full reboot as Batgirl again, effectively altering the Joker's nearly fatal gunshot as well as the additional Batgirls of Cassandra Cain & Stephanie Brown.
Once again, she fills the role of Batgirl, but now struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder and has mild hesitation in fights when surrounded by gunfire. Both truly human responses, and ultimately adding to the characteristics that I can relate to. Whereas I don't struggle with post-traumatic stress, I did have a near death encounter and it makes me hesitate to do things that once came naturally. It's a human condition and it's something refreshing to see in a super hero character- regardless of gender.
Moving on to Number 4:
She's been a staple in the comic world since, basically forever. First gracing the comic pages in 1941. Her name is Diana Prince, better known as Wonder Woman.
Originally she fought some colorful villains, as well as fighting against the Axis powers. Which for the time, seeing as she debuted during World War II, was a fitting story line. As her character progressed she soon focused more on the mythology of Greece as she is an Amazonian warrior princess. She's one of the regular cast for Justice League through the years and usually a fan favorite in her own right. She's headstrong and fierce, but also compassionate and able to love without distinction. Throughout her tenure in comics, she's been brought to life as a relatable and sympathetic character.
That's something that sets her apart as a truly noble character. Whereas some heros can show sympathy, it seems like there's such an influx of vengeance and anger in so many heroes, it's nice to see the compassion that Wonder Woman carries and that's what draws me to this character.
Let's continue with number 3:
She's been retold in various stories since 1971. Mockingbird is her name. She's evolved a bit over the years, but I think what sets her apart is her lack of 'superpowers' as many other heroes have.
Mockingbird, Barbara 'Bobbi' Morse, is a trained S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who graduated at the top of her class. She's proficient in several forms of hand to hand combat and various other weaponry. Her weapon of choice is a pair of batons which can be combined into a bo-staff. Along with her physical prowess, she has a PhD in biology.
In her story line, she suffered a near fatal injury, and was injected with a serum similar to that of the Super Soldier Serum given to Captain America. Thus allowing her to have greatly enhanced strength and agility.
Her story of coming up from nothing and training to be a top spy is what sets her apart to me.
This brings me to number 2:
If you read my overall top 5 comic characters then you know that I'm about to introduce you to Hawkeye.
But wait!!! you say, Hawkeye is a guy. You are partially correct, Clint Barton is the original Hawkeye. Kate Bishop is the third character to take the Hawkeye name, which in an of itself is partly why she's on my list. She was not born into a warrior line as Wonder Woman. She was not genetically predestined to become a superhero. She was however a regular girl who was attacked and at that point determined her own fate. She would not let that happen to her or anyone else again. She trained night and day in martial arts, archery & swordplay. Her efforts as a rising hero are noted by Captain America who gifts to her Clint's old bow and arrows: noting her as Hawkeye. If the Cap thinks she's the real deal, then who am I to argue with that?
Kate's personality resonates with me through her time training and partnering with Clint. She takes the challenge of being his grounding effect (which takes its tole on her). She decides that she needs to venture off and experience the world and shows her independence and quirky fun side. At various times in my life, I've always been seen as the grounding personality in my relationships. I'm the realistic one when all is said and done, even though I try to stay optimistic, I'm usually the one that makes it a point to keep everyone settled.
Now to the top spot, number 1:
She claims the top spot for a reason. She plain marvel-ous. Let me introduce Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) -- see what I did there with the 'marvelous'?! Yes, I know I'm entirely too clever for my own good, but I digress...
She's my favorite for many reasons. She was introduced first as an Air Force officer, making her "badass" in my opinion. The fact that she entered the military in a time where women were not seen as 'equal' in that sense proves her inner character, and her hero-esque stature without powers. But once she gains powers, let me tell you that I wouldn't want to piss her off...
After her encounter with the original Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell), the Kree hero, she is merged with the powers of the aforementioned hero. She is a part of the Avengers (The Cap even tells her that she'll always have a place on the team) as well as frequently running into various X-Men. Most of her powers are the atypical powers: strength, endurance, stamina, flight and durability... yet one of her more awesome powers is gained during her stint as her pseudonym "Binary". She absorbs the power to manipulate stellar energy, basically giving her control of heat, gravity and electro-magnetics. Once again I say "badass." She can travel at light speed and can survive in space.
Although as her story progressed, that power connection was severed, but she still retained fractions of those powers allowing her to absorb energy and project it. Meaning she shoots lasers from her fingers... Thricely I say "badass."
Ultimately, she's tops on my list because of her pre-heroic characteristics. She saw fit to serve her country and protect it even though she may not have been seen as someone able to do so. It shows her higher than normal moral compass, and I see alot of similarities to Captain America and that easily puts her atop my list.