by Camela Thompson
This week I'm in chilly (but sunny) Colorado visiting the nieces for the US holiday. They are neat little ladies and the eldest went on quite a tirade about the lack of super hero options for women. She also expressed that Super Girl's moxie impressed her on multiple occasions. (Did I mention she's seven?) In my nieces' make believe world, they are ninja-princess-super-hero-scientists because girls should be able to be all the things. At once. And when they have time, they rescue the boys.
My nieces are awesome.
The girls enjoy Super Girl and Wonder Woman, but my eloquent niece was correct about the deficit of options. Comics have a history of providing gorgeous and dispensable female supporting cast members with very few exceptions. And those are the super charged crew. The rest are wives or girlfriends who are killed in a gruesome manner to fuel the hero's need for vengeance. It's a thing called fridging and we've even done a podcast episode on the phenomenon. The ploy is used over and over because it's effective, but it's time to grow up and move on.
My favorite heroines don't exist in comics. I think of Furiosa from Mad Max: Fury Road, Ripley from Alien, and Sarah Connor of Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The key to their power wasn't necessarily strength (although they all had it). It was the determination that allowed them to pick up the pieces when everything seemed utterly impossible and continue the journey. They had pain and growth.
I've been rereading my work and realized I also crave more superheroes who are women. Physical power is a plus, but intelligence and resilience are key. In fact, the superpower I favor is resilience.
For those of you who are sticklers for the traditional definition of superpower, I choose regeneration/health like Wolverine. Which is really just another form of resilience. So there.
If you were to construct your ideal super heroine, what are must have attributes? Do you favor any online comics that feature a female lead? If so, what makes her awesome?
Freelance writer and Dark urban fantasy author featuring vampires with bite.