In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments. But this week we bring you: the winners of the Fourth Annual Fantastic Comic Book Awards!
The crowd of well dressed, or at least dressed-up, superheroes stirs as the stage lights burst on and the orchestra starts to play. Most crane their necks for the first glimpse of tonight’s famous, and famously polarizing, host, Deadpool. But the Merc with the Mouth is missing; an elder gentleman calmly walks to the middle of the stage and opens his hands to the audience.
“Hello.” The spotlight shines on Alfred Pennyworth, dressed in a well-pressed if slightly old fashioned tuxedo. “Welcome to the Got Milk Theatre and the fourth annual Fantastic Fangirl Awards.”
Quiet murmurs and shuffling seats meet his words, but finally the applause swells. “I know the papers, or whatever it is they have in place of papers these days… Twitter birds and all that… You were expecting a Mister Dead Pool as host.” Half the audience answer with affirmative nods and whistles and the other half blush and giggle as they update their friends and followers on the no show and scan the hashtags for information and snark. “Well, as I understand it Mister Pool was called away at the last minute. For an emergency of some kind — to be frank I am somewhat entirely surprised you invited a ‘super hero’ to host your gala to begin with. Schedules are so difficult.”
Maybe ten percent of the crowd believed there was an actual emergency that only Deadpool, of all people, could handle. Most of the rest were placing bets on inappropriate or incendiary humor or behavior. The last few were swooning over Alfred’s accent.
“I apologize to all of Mister Pool’s fans and I will endeavor to fill his shoes with aplomb.” The audience applauded in good nature. “Thank you. Now, please join me in welcoming our first presenter of the evening, the lovely Miss Jubilation Lee.”
Best Character in Supporting Role, Male
Jubilee takes to the stage, wearing an elegant but modernly-cut yellow gown and black combat boots. She points to the audience and winks, then clears her throat. “In a world full of heroes, who can the best -” She cuts off, wrinkles her nose at the teleprompter, and shakes her head. “Listen, the big guys – and ladies – aren’t anything without backup, am I right? And sometimes the best backup is an even bigger guy.”
She clears her throat. “This year, the best male in a supporting role is the biggest guy I know… Bruce Banner of the Avengers.”
Bruce shuffles onto the stage. His suit is well-made but hangs a little too loose on his body and, although his dark hair has been carefully styled at some point, the dark curls have started to come loose and go wild. As Bruce speaks, he touches his hair, and it becomes increasingly disheveled.
He looks down at the statue. “Best supporting character,” he says, then repeats, “Best supporting. That’s something. Mixed feelings, I have to say. That is, I’ve been a title character since before — no offense to anybody here, but before a lot of you were created. A couple movies, my own TV show. But, well, who I’m I kidding, right?” With an uneasy laugh, Bruce touches his collar. “That was never really about me. It was always the other guy. What’s changed over the past year is that people are starting to notice me. Bruce Banner. And yes, to think about me in a supporting role. And I don’t mind that because ‘supporting’ means you’re part of a team. Being part of a team means you’re included and people want you around and — Dammit, I promised I wouldn’t do this.” He starts to sniffle andubs at his eye with a sleeve. “Joss deserves a lot of the credit of course, but please let’s not forget what Kelly Sue has done at ‘Avengers Assemble’ and Tony, no matter how much we’re at each other’s throats, all the good people at SHIELD, and Betty, I know things have been complicated but…”
Bruce seems unable to go on for a moment, and the orchestra picks this inopportune time to begin an all-too-familiar lilting piano theme.
“Don’t–” Bruce’s head jerks up. “Do – not – play – me – off.” The music ceases abruptly. “Thank you. That would have made me angry, and you wouldn’t like me –” A murmur of discontent runs through the audience, and Bruce sighs. “That was a joke. I’m bad at jokes. Maybe I should –”
A voice comes from the audience. “Hey, big guy! You done good.”
A smile lights up Bruce’s face. “Thanks, Tony! I’m just. . .I’m gonna get off stage now. Please don’t play that music? Thanks. But I’m serious. Don’t play that music.”
The orchestra obligingly goes for the theme from Avengers instead as Bruce goes back to join Tony in the audience.
Alfred returns to center stage muttering “…something about the name.” He stops at the microphone stage right. “I’m told our second presenter swept his category last year. Ladies and gentlemen, the enigmatic Shatter Star.”
Best Character in a Supporting Role, Female
After his name is called, Shatterstar comes out onto the stage. He walks briskly to the podium, then nods to the crowd before tugging at the waist of his white tuxedo jacket to straighten it, even though it looked fine. “Yes, hello and it’s an honor to be here to present this year’s award for best female in a supporting role.” He’s clearly reading off the teleprompter, but he’s not nervous about it, more matter-of-fact.
“This year, there is a tie.” He pauses as the audience murmurs. “These two women are not as different as you may think upon first glance. Each plays an important part in the lives of those around her, even from outside of the spotlight. I am… happy to present this award to Helena Wayne, and Leah Helmaid.”
Shatterstar starts to clap and backs away from the microphone as Helena Wayne takes to the stage. She’s wearing a sleeveless, deep purple gown, with a high collar. There are a few whistles from the audience, and she rolls her eyes.
The award handler approaches her and gives her two statuettes. He hefts one as she steps up to the mic. “They told me Leah couldn’t be here tonight – something about a journey and mystery – so I’m going to take both of these and give one to her at the after party.” She grins. “Probably.”
There’s some chuckling from the audience. “I’ll keep this short, I promise. I’d like to thank my dad and mom, who taught me everything I know and died saving my planet.” The camera cuts to Bruce Wayne, who mouths different Earth, as Damian Wayne sits next to him, scowling. “And I’d like to thank my partner in crime fighting, my best friend, the other half of my story, Kara – uh, Karen Starr.” Now a reaction shot of Power Girl, wearing a low cut, elegant white gown and a large red ruby necklace set in the center of her plunging neckline. She blows a kiss towards the stage.
Helena shakes her head, but she’s smiling. “Thanks again, everyone. It’s been a hard few years, stuck on a planet that’s not quite home. But knowing you’re pulling for me – for us – makes it a little easier to face the day. Have a great night!” She turns and walks off the stage.
Alfred tries to suppress it but his pride in the Wayne family, in any universe, is evident across his beaming face. “Well done. Now,” he turned to the audience, “We move on to the leads. Our next presenter is, pardon me for saying, unsinkable –” The assembled Batfamily groan but Alfred looks quite pleased with his cleverness. “Miss Stephanie Brown.”
Best Character in a Leading Role, Male
Stephanie gets to the microphone and pauses. She gasps, “Oh wow. You guys. It’s just– it’s really, really great to see everyone. I miss you all so much.” She takes a deep breath. “I should probably stick to the teleprompter, huh?” Steph smiles, “Okie dokie.”
“A leading man is often thought of as suave, debonair, and charming. This year’s winner isn’t really any of those things. He is clumsy, impulsive, and snarky. But he is also honest, courageous, and despite his best efforts, a true hero. The award for best male in a leading role goes to Clint Barton. Yay Hawkguy!!”
Clint slowly gets up from his seat. He looks mildly uncomfortable, but after Kate Bishop shoves him into the aisle he makes for the stage. He’s wearing a crumpled suit and his now-signature purple Converse All Stars. He takes the steps two at a time and gives Steph a big hug before he takes the award. No less than three women in the audience facepalm.
“She’s got great fashion sense. Can’t go wrong with purple.”
Steph pushes in and towards the mic. “Eggplant.” No less than three Robins facepalm. The award handler pulls gently on her elbow as the audience laughs.
Clint grins. “If you’re looking for a new place to hang out, I can always use another sidekick.” An arrow whizzes past his head. “What? I said sidekick, Kate. Geez.”
“Uh, anyway.” He rubs the back of his neck and leans into the mic. “Honestly, I didn’t expect to win any awards for what I do. I get into more trouble than I can fix. My superpowers are being in the wrong place at the right time, and having good backup. So I’d like to thank that back up. I wouldn’t be where I am without the Avengers, after -” Another arrow whizzes by his head, but he ignores it. “All. My creative team, led by Fraction. And, of course, the best Hawkeye I know, Kate Bishop. Luckily she’s too drunk to shoot straight tonight.”
Clint waves to the crowd, then back to the balcony section. “Nah, I’m kidding. Kate’s a good shot even drunk. Thanks again, everyone.”
Alfred’s expression is disapproving but he claps politely as Clint exits. “And now another youngster, please welcome Master Miles Morales.”
Best Character in a Leading Role, Female
Miles comes out onto the stage, looking very sharp, but mildly uncomfortable, in his well-cut tuxedo. He looks out at the crowd, stands up straight, then leans into the mic. “Tonight’s winner would probably tell you that there should be just one category for best lead, because there’s no real reason to separate the men and the women.” Miles’ eyes go a little wide. “Really?”
The audience titters as he goes off script, but he recovers quickly. He’s suddenly worried about meeting the award winner, though. “Uh, maybe I should just skip right to the end?”
Clint sticks his head in from offstage. “Good call, kid.”
“This is going well.” The audience claps supportively. “Before I get hooked off of stage, tonight’s winner for best lead, female, is the one and only Ms. Carol Danvers.”
Carol is forced on stage by a Jessica on either side. She is wearing Prada, because obviously, and her hair is twisted on top of her head. She accepts the award from Miles with what she thinks is a comforting smile, he musters a grin and takes two steps back.
“So that’s something.” Carol fidgets with her hair absently. “Well, okay, first of all Spider-kid is wrong.” Miles pulls at his collar. “I mean, yeah, everything being equal, leads are leads and that’s what we, all, over at Captain Marvel HQ are out here proving — so thanks for noticing Spider-kid and all the readers of Fan Fan Girl.” She grins and waggles her award. “But, look, let’s celebrate women!”
Carol raises her award over her head. “Tracy, Helen, Jess, Monica, Chewie, Kelly Sue, Emma, Wendy, Kit… Mom, other Jess, Pepper who made me do my hair like this, Natasha, you know we all envy your movie career, Anya, I miss you girl… and my boys, okay, you too. Steve and Peter and Dexter and Stephen and Filipe and Frank and Jamie and yeah you all know who you are.”
The orchestra starts playing Black Sabbath. Carol rolls her eyes. “Oh, God, how much did that cost?” She winks at Miles. “I take it back, kid, I absolutely want to compete with the guys. So I can beat Tony Stark.”
A voice is heard from off stage. “He wasn’t even–”
“And Clint Barton.” She waves to the audience. “Thanks everybody.”
The audience applaud as Alfred returns to center stage.
“Well, now, this is going swimmingly. Before I announce our last award I want to take a moment to congratulate all our nominees, and as there were a significant amount of write-in votes — everyone in this theatre is a winner. And on behalf of the Fantastic Fangirls, I would also like to thank the readers for participating.” The applause swells.
“Now, the award for Best Ensemble goes to: the Avengers.”
The cast of Avengers Assemble fills the stage. Steve Rogers accepts the award from Alfred while Tony Stark, in a new David August suit, makes signs of Victory with his fingers. Carol reappears and drags a half-hiding half-glaring Jess Drew up on stage with her. Clint waves. Natasha cocks her head in calm acceptance. There is a shuffle around the microphone, but finally Steve takes the lead.
“Thank you.” The crowd settles. “If every Avenger joined us on stage it would fall into the basement.” The camera panned to the audience, some laughing quietly, others looking at their watches. Damian Wayne caught the camera’s gaze and mouthed ‘Sounds good’ with a mischievous sneer. “There are, of course, a cast of thousands behind us–”
Tony put his hand over the mic. “And Steve here would name them all given the chance.” His voice was projected across the room with the aid of Stark Tech. “Suffice it to say, we are grateful.”
“Tony, I think we should at least acknowledge–”
“Sure.” Tony salutes to the crowd. “He’s acknowledged.”
Steve purses his lips. “Well, how about–”
“Oh, right.” He blows kisses. “Her.”
Clint cuts in. “Maybe someone else should give the speech.” Steve nods and attempts to step in front of Tony, but Tony side steps and is now hovering slightly above the stage.
“Well, we know what you would say.” Tony points to Carol who rolls her eyes again. “And this one.” His eyes linger over Jessica Drew but she ducks behind Clint. Tony takes a second to mentally dismiss everyone else on the stage. “Maybe Cap’s best after a– Wait, where’s Bruce? He should get a chance to finish and everyone likes a–” Natasha whispers into Tony’s shoulder. “Oh, well, that’s no reason to hide. Come on, big guy, the stage is yours.”
The audience’s eyes follow Tony’s up to the scaffolding and the Hulk who sits watching the stage. Everything is quiet a split second before the assembled Avengers scatter as Hulk jumps down onto the stage.
“Hulk thank—” His next words are drowned out by the cracking of the stage as it falls into the basement of the theatre.
“Yes!” cries Damian.
“Well… my.” Alfred shakes his head and gathers as much dignity as he can being cradled in Captain Marvel’s arms. “Thank you, Miss. And thank you, all, for watching. Good evening.”
This post is a collaboration between four Fantastic Fangirls — and everyone who participated in the Fantastic Comic Book Awards. Thank you all!