Thursday, December 15, 2005

Favorite Women of DC Comics Part I: The DCU At Large

Some of what you've heard is true.
I have no love for Jade, Donna Troy, or Cassie Sandsmark.
I did cheer at the news of Spoiler's death.
My hatred of Jeph Loeb's Supergirl has only just slightly started to ebb.

But I do love the Women of DC Comics. So, when Spencer Carnage (Of Course, Yeah! on the sidebar) accused me of being a "double agent" or worse, Devin Grayson, I felt a need to respond.

So I present to you a Written World First:

A Positive Post About Female Characters!

Below are just some of my Favorite Women of DC Comics (along with the titles that introduced me to them):

Death (The Sandman)
-- Yes, everyone loves Death. But she loves everyone back, so its okay. Man, she was totally unexpected. A perky, pale Poppins fan. A genuinely nice person with a kind word for everyone she meets, no matter who they are. Precisely the person you want to meet on the last day of your life.

Ice (Justice League International)
-- All of the best of classic femininity in one sweet little package. Ice was everything idealized in sweet, demur, quiet modest ladies of a bygone era, but with a core of quiet strength that came out when she was needed as a protector. She dressed up to fight evil, but wore a tee-shirt over her spandex costume. She liked sweet little puppies and plush animals and thought that if she looked deep enough into Guy Gardner she'd find the ideal man underneath. I'm sure people think I should hate her, but I loved her. I want her back. I want her dating Guy again. I wouldn't object to her marrying him and settling down to cook and raise the kids, because I know if a supervillain showed up at the door he'd better be well-prepared, or at least have an electric blanket in his getaway car.

Power Girl (JSA)
-- Any feminist brazen enough to walk around with a hole in her shirt...

Hope O'Dare (Starman)
-- Next to Shade, my favorite character from this series. She's a legacy cop, standard tomboy complete with older brothers, but has a definitely refined feminine side. I know that doesn't sound like much, but you have to read the series to understand her appeal beyond that. I couldn't do her justice.

Madame Xanadu
-- I like Tarot cards. She's got this mysterious fortune-teller thing going on. She's just plain cool.

"Surprise Girl" (Seven Soldiers: Shining Knight)
-- If you read this series, you know who I mean. If you haven't read this series, read it. I love King Arthur legends. This is a young lady from a King Arthur tale who is noble, uncomplaining, and heroic. She is a quiet, simple, plodding person who moves steadily towards her goals. In a very short time, she impressed me as one the strongest teenaged girl characters at DC right now. I'd like to see her interact with Wonder Woman.

Batgirl, Cassandra Cain (Batgirl)
-- I must admit, she's contrived. But she's also highly compelling. Same appeal as the above Seven Soldiers character, but without the purity. Cassandra's past is tainted by her own actions an regret, while the above girl is pure nobility.. I sincerely hope Cassandra makes it through the One Year Gap. I've got my fingers crossed she'll be in Birds of Prey.

Crazy Jane (Doom Patrol)
-- She sprang fully formed from the twisted mind of Grant Morrison, a thousand fun female characters in one! Multiple personalities, each with a different superpower. What a concept. I was surprised Driver B actually turned out to be a female personality, I'd always pictured an older male when she took over.

Black Canary (JSA, JLA, Birds of Prey)
-- Despite her poor taste in men, or perhaps, because of it; Dinah has long been a down-to-earth relatable woman. She's the sort of person you admire even when she screws up.

Oracle, Barbara Gordon (Birds of Prey)
-- Easily the most intelligent and valuable person in the DC Universe, without ever leaving her chair.

Lady Blackhawk, Zinda Blake (Birds of Prey)
-- She calls Oracle "Skipper," throws perky salutes, and wears a cute mini-skirt uniform, but she still kicks more ass before 6 AM than most women in the DCU do all day. And there aren't nearly enough lady pilots.
I think she should hook up with Hal Jordan. Not just because of the job, but because she's a fun-loving person and he could stand to cut loose for a night.

Hawkgirl, Kendra Saunders (JSA)
-- I've just liked her since her first appearance. I don't know why. She's drowning in melodrama, but I don't really mind it. I loved that her grandpa had to talk her into doing the hero thing. I love that she freaked when she found out how she got reincarnated. I love that she didn't want to date Carter at first and ran straight into Sand's arms. I absolutely adored her being on the JLA in Obsidian Age. "Harpy."

Stargirl/Star-Spangled Kid II, Courtney Whitmore (Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.)
-- She started out the way a teenager would have. Stealing her stepdad's stuff and sneaking out. She had major attitude problems at the beginning, but I've been able to watch her grow out of them to become the emotional anchor of the JSA. Her own series was light and funny, and she carries a little bit of that with her no matter how mature she is.

Alanna Strange (JLA, Starman, Adam Strange, Rann-Thanagar War)
-- She's from a world where the men were so wussy they had to kidnap a Terran to protect them. She went straight for the one real man on the planet, even if he had to be away half the time. Every time I've seen her, her life (as the hero's wife) is threatened somehow; but she is always threatening right back. She is the first to grab a blaster in a crisis, and the first to rally the rest of Rann to fight alongside her. I have never seen an Alanna Strange appearance where I wished she hadn't been there.

Supergirl, Linda Danvers (Supergirl)
-- An impressively complex character with a sense of humor who's merits are well-documented across the Internet. She's another tough act to follow.

Big Barda (JLA, Mister Miracle)
-- She's tough. She's strong. She's gorgeous. She's perfect for any gender role-reversal joke. She loves her husband and still kicks ass. She's Big. She's Barda. How can you not love Big Barda?


  1. Nice list. I'm with you on all of these women you've listed, esp. the lesser-appreciated ones like Zinda Blake, Crazy Jane, and Big Barda.

    Looking forward to future installments. And since this post is clearly labelled as "Part I," I will refrain from the requisite snarking about who hasn't made it onto your list.

    Wait ... Huh ... What!? I spoke too soon. This one hurts. (Choking back tears.) It just hit me: Where is Diana?

  2. Good post! It's nice to see what kinds of females should get to escape the refrigerator for once. :-)

    I remember being incredibly annoyed at Ice's death. :-(

  3. Right there with ya on Hawkgirl especially (especially since DC decided that Hawkwoman was no longer worth keeping around and made her die stupidly in that horrid pile of comic that was Rann-Thanagar War). I really dig Kendra.

    Right on with Ice, and Batgirl too.

    Big Barda...eesh. It's probably just my natural distaste of everything associated with the New Gods malarkey talking, tho.

    What about

  4. Its nice to know that my powers of snarky sarcasm can be used for good.

    Thumbs up on the list. Throwing in the O'Dare was a nice touch. Ladies that I would add include:

    Abigail Arcane - She looked past the jumble of weeds that was Swamp Thing's body and fell in love with the man inside. Plus, she had mad love for the less fortunate. That's aces in my book.

    Rose Walker - She was the punk rock goth girl that was a dream vortex in Sandman's Doll House. Rose was just awesome.

  5. Man, I thought about Rose but couldn't remember her last name. She was great, especially for that description of love in The Kindly Ones. Her, Barbie and Hazel were great additions to the cast from Doll's House. But I didn't think of them last night when I made the master list, so they didn't make it.

    I've got 3 more parts. It was all going to be one post, but I took so long on several women I decided split it up. Part IV is all one person, and it's probably not a woman you would expect on one of my favorites lists.

  6. I don't have any problem with the people on her, and wholeheartedly support Cassandra and Power Girl's inclusion, but I got to ask. Why cheer the death of Spoiler? Not being critical of your opinion, just wondering. I always liked the fact that she kept doing the vigilante bit to the end. Birds of prey won't train, she keeps going. Batman fires her as Robin, tells her to stop, she keeps going. She was determined, she just wasn't good enough.
    Anyway, that's really all i had.

  7. Calvin -- She mostly just annoyed me. Robin's tagalong girlfriend. Nothing specidic, just generic irritation at her. I was glad I wouldn't be seeing her again.