Q&A #90: Who is your favorite comic book redhead?

In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments.

Who is your favorite comic book redhead?



Anika

I have a thing for superheroes. This is not news to anyone who reads this blog, but even in my offline life, if you know anything about me you know I have a thing for superheroes. But the funny part is that it’s not about the superpowers. It’s about the agency. Superheroes do what normal people only dream of. It’s making that choice that so interests me. My favorite super-stories have very little to do with any extra special abilities and everything to do with the extra special attitude that one person trying makes all the difference.

I love Rescue. I love everything about her, everything she has in common with Iron Man and everything that’s different between them. I love her story and her voice and her name. But Pepper Potts is not my favorite because she now has a shiny suit and a snappy name and a membership card to the Association of Marvel Superheroines. Pepper Potts is my favorite because she doesn’t need any of that to help save the day. And she never did.


Potts.
Tony, are you okay?
Listen to me. We have to overload the arc reactor and blast the roof.
Well, how are you going to do that?
You‘re going to do it!



Caroline

If you’ve been reading this site for, literally, a week or more, you’ve seen me wax rhapsodic about various comic-book redheads on a regular basis. Yet while I do, in many particulars, want to be Batwoman when I grow up, the redhead of my heart is Jean Grey. The original Marvel Girl, of a sixties teen team that hardly knew what to do with her, she grew up to be a team leader, wife, sort-of mother and literal goddess. That’s a hell of a resume, and keep in mind, this is the character that gave Twitter the catch phrases “not feeling very Marvel Girl” and “Jean Grey would not put up with this bullshit.” The most important redhead, anyway, in the history of my Twitter account and my Photobucket, thank you very much.

Jean is not currently with us in comics, though (unless you count Ultimate X and since it hasn’t come out for about six months, I think you don’t). However, Jean does have a biological (if alternate universe-based) daughter, Rachel, who took on the Marvel Girl identity and was last seen floating around space with Havok and Polaris. Rachel has been part of some pretty damn great stories about discovering and coping with her mother’s identity. Or she’s been part of the start of some great stories, which then get forgotten about when she’s sucked into space, or a different dimension, or college, or whatever. Basically, Rachel gets my vote for “redhead with most potential”. As much as I’d like a story where she and Jean have a cup of coffee together and talk about legacy, I’d take a story where somebody figures out where Rachel is.



Jennifer

There’s a team of mutants in the Marvel Universe that exists far from Scott Summers’ Utopia, where it seems the X-Men have X-iled almost every living and earthbound redhead (and Catholic, for that matter) that they have left. That team is known as X-Factor.

First there’s Theresa Cassidy — Siryn, now Banshee — who has been a member of the team throughout the book’s tenure. She’s strong-willed and badass (she was on X-Force, after all!), with a voice that can shatter steel. She has her share of issues, from alcoholism to coping with her father’s death to her — well, let’s just call it a miscarriage. But even though she’s clearly shaken, particularly in matters of faith, she remains competent and integral to the team. In the most recent issue of X-Factor, Jamie notes in his narration that she’s probably the most natural leader of the group, and he’s absolutely right.

Then there’s Rahne Sinclair, recently returned to the team, a character who has grown from the timid, self-hating little girl she once was into a vibrant young woman. She, too, has her issues, and after her recent stint with X-Force, and the discovery of her ex-boyfriend’s relationship with another man, she’s not currently at her most stable, or noble. But I’ve always found inspiration in her ability to recover from an abusive childhood, as well as her religious faith, which she staunchly defends against all critics but doesn’t push on others, and I have high hopes for her future.

Finally, we have Shatterstar, the second redhead that Rictor has dated (perhaps he has a type). Since Peter David brought him into X-Factor, he’s grown leaps and bounds from his confusing, mulleted, Rob Liefeld origins. He’s a young man raised in an alien culture obsessed with entertainment and violence, finally learning to be a human being, and a sexual being, in the modern Marvel U. He makes for great comic relief, especially when he hits on everything in sight, but he’s also part of the most complex depiction of a male-male romantic relationship in Marvel history, and I can’t wait to see where PAD takes him next.

Three awesome redheads. One team. Is it any wonder X-Factor is the best X-book on the stands?



Sigrid

Don’t get me wrong; I will always, always love the Summers-Grey women. But my favorite single red-head in comics is Barbara Gordon.

Babs is so many things. She’s fiercely determined, unstoppably willful, she’s arrogant but can also admit when she’s wrong. She is oh-so-very intelligent. She is determined, she is a good leader. She is incredibly emotionally repressed. Barbara Gordon is, in short, exactly the kind of woman I have been falling for in fiction since forever.

But here’s the thing — I’m not sure I ever want to meet her. She is often a bully, manipulating her closest friends and loved ones and then not really apologizing for it. She is a paranoid, spying on the people she loves. She is a great, great character and I adore her, but I don’t think I have Dinah’s strength of character to be Babs’s friend.

But that’s okay. Because I don’t have to know her, or tell her what I think of her cunning plans. I get to read about her every month, and watch this brilliant woman refuse to give in to anything the world can throw at her.

Team Oracle, all the way.


So What about you? Who is your favorite comic book redhead?

  • While I also like Babs, I have to go with Roy Harper on this one. He’s way hotter. Well, to me anyway!

  • Wally West, he’ll always be my Flash and he’ll always be the redheaded character I’m mostly likely to buy a book for.

  • Anika

    I’m glad you guys picked some boys — I’m not a Roy fan but Wally is my favourite Flash. And just as an aside, Hawkgirl is my OTHER favourite redhead.

  • genaverse

    I insist that Rogue is a redhead despite the last decade-or-so’s change to brown hair.

    C’mon, Nick Fury used to call her “Red” as a nickname!

    Then again, sometimes Chris Claremont gets confused and switches facts around…

  • If anyone is shocked that I picked the Russian redheaded spy — Natasha Romanoff — where have you been? *grins*

    Although Kate Kate is coming on strong in the favorite categories…

  • Caroline

    There really is a lot of awesome to choose from . . .
    Terry Cassidy might be my favorite Marvel redhead who is still actually in stuff.

  • sigrid

    It broke my heart to not pick Rachel Grey, but, honestly, these days, it’s Babs, and THEN Kate Kane and THEN Terry Cassidy and THEN Rachel. So many red-heads!

  • Caroline

    So there is no truth to the rumor that I had to wrestle Sigrid for the right to blog about Rachel.

    Also, how sad the only way I could find a pic of Rachel & Jean together was the action figures? (Though I have that Jean figure and I want the Rachel. . .

  • Redheads are totally awesome. 😀 But my answer is Babs. Favorite. So much. 😀

  • xenokattz

    I’ll have to go behind Team Oracle with this one although I have big, big big love for Shatterstar & Jean. Massive love. Gargantuan even. But Oracle is… well, she’s ORACLE. 😀

  • Menshevik

    So many to choose from…
    For me, in the male division it’s a tie between Guy Gardner (the One True Green Lantern) and Obelix (just big-boned), with an honorable mention going to Wally West.
    But in the female division, that’s where one really is spoiled for choice. Rogue is of course my favourite superheroine and her hair counts as red in-story, even if it is not as bright a red as that of Jean, Madelyne, and Rachel. And looking back at childhood memories, the most memorable redhead back then was the little red-haired girl that Charlie Brown hankers for. But in the end I’m afraid my vote goes to
    Mary Jane Watson/Watson-Parker
    in her various incarnations. Not just a character I’ve always enjoyed reading, but also a character who is amazing on a meta level, by Stan Lee’s account able to shape her destiny whether her creator wants to go along or not.

  • Let’s face it — I think ALL of us could have written about Jean if we’d had the opportunity! But I like that we have such a wide range of answers.

    No one’s mentioned Daredevil yet, so even though he’s not actually a favorite of mine, I’m throwing his name in here!

  • Caroline

    Matt wins red-headed dudes for me, yeah. Though it’s (colorist) Frank d’Armata’s fault I had no idea he was supposed to BE a redhead for the first while I was reading that comic.

  • Anika

    I didn’t know Daredevil was a redhead!

    And yay for Mary-Jane <3

  • Caroline

    Depends on the colorist! But generally, yeah. In a lot of the classic stuff he’s a total carrot-top.

  • renniejoy

    Rachel Summers, obviously, also Jean and Barbara. :)

    My first favorite redheads, though, were in “ElfQuest” – Leetah, Nightfall, Ember, and Redlance. I wanted to be Leetah. :)

  • Theresa Cassidy is far and away my favorite Marvel redhead!

  • Menshevik

    Tintin could also qualify, come to think of it, although some would call him reddish blond.

  • Bisonomy

    Mmm, from non superhero comics, what about Obelix? Or Laureline, from the Valerian comics. She gets to stomp Valerian’s head in when he’s being an ass (which is most of the time) and she is amazing solo. I think the crown tho for me has to go to Violetta, shadow knight from Girl Genius, the minion’s minion who is tasked with bodyguarding her ungrateful idiot cousin Tarvek (also a red head!) She really embodies the exasperated and terrified semi normal person surrounded by mad scientists, but has really awesome skills to hold her own. Yay redheads!

  • Menshevik

    Darn, forgot about Laureline! Since we’re bringing in non-American comics, I’d also like to mention Brabax (the smart one) of the (East) German “Abrafaxe” (published in “Mosaik”).
    Also, since Obelix has now been brought up twice, I’d like to mention that chief Vitalstatistix, another redhead, is also a force to be reckoned with when roused. And of course the head pirate is a parody of the Barbe-Rouge (Redbeard).