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 a favorite character created in the 1980s?
My daughter has recently discovered Elektra. I found a magnet playset of Marvel characters while cleaning my closet and handed it off to Aeris. She spent that afternoon making up her own stories, mostly about Spider-Man and “the red girl”. I explained the red girl was Elektra, we watched the movie and we’re reading the novelization, and she’s been dressing up and running about like a ninja for the past weeks. She wants to be Elektra for this year’s events and she’s made up stories where Elektra and Lara Croft go adventuring together. What’s interesting is that we own the movie and the novelization and a good selection of action figures because Aeris’ big sister had the exact same reaction to Elektra when she was that age. I’d always thought it was strange that Elektra, of all people, got to represent the women of Marvel in merchandise like the magnet set (Storm was the only other female character included, and the only person of color) or on the big screen (she remains the only Marvel woman to headline a movie). Elektra is an assassin in a skimpy outfit who suffers from some culture appropriation issues and that doesn’t exactly scream “role model for six year old girls” to me.
But six year old girls love her. At least my six year old girls do. And because of that I looked a little harder and I discovered that what Elektra represents is someone who strives to be better than the worst things about her. She doesn’t think she’s a good role model either and those tend to be the people who are.
The Internet has been abuzz, with good reason, at the news that Kelly Sue DeConnick will be writing a new Captain Marvel series in which Carol Danvers takes on the starring identity. All of us at Fantastic Fangirls are thrilled at that news.
The announcement did remind me, though, that Carol isn’t the first female character to take on the identity of Captain Marvel. Monica Rambeau was introduced in 1982, as a member of the New Orleans Harbor Patrol who exposed to “extra-dimensional energy” and decided to use her powers (like you do) to fight crime.
Monica is one of those characters with a sporadic publication history and at least seven different superhero aliases. This happened to a lot of characters created in the ‘80s. They existed, which someone occasionally remembered, and then had to figure out something to do with them. Monica fared better than most, serving as a full member of the Avengers for a run of issues. (If you’ve read her later appearances in Nextwave, you had better remember she was an Avenger; if not, she’ll remind you.)
Still, I always liked Monica’s no-nonsense personality, and her awesome character design. Whether in The Avengers, Nextwave, or the Marvel Divas miniseries, I’ve always enjoyed encountering her. She’s still hanging around the Marvel Universe (going by “Photon”, last I checked. I think. Probably.) As great as it is to have a new Captain Marvel on the block, I hope we’ll be seeing more of Monica as well.
She makes a damn great Avenger.
Jen will add her answer in when she gets a free moment.
I … I don’t even know how to say more than that. I was thirteen and a half when I started reading comics, and I fell in some sort of love, a love that was and remains an impossible blend of wanting to date Kitty and wanting to be here.
So what about you? Who is a favorite character created in the 1980s?