Super Sunny and the Role Models

Super Sunny3

Those aren’t bunny slippers. They’re supersneakers!

Sunny loves superheroes.

She reads superhero comic books and graphic novels.

She watches Young Justice, Teen Titans, and Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes  on YouTube and  Justice League Unlimited with her father.

She loves live action superhero shows and movies, too.

She hasn’t outgrown her Super Sunny bedtime stories, either.

And at recess, she plays superheroes with her friends. She’s Flash’s daughter.

I asked her why, and she said they had decided to be superkids, because there weren’t enough girl superheroes that anyone wanted to play.  Her friend Kira had called being Wonder Woman’s daughter.

“I didn’t care, though, because I want to run, and Kira says Wonder Girl wears these high-heeled boot things like her mother, which you can’t run in. That’s why she flies, I guess.  Flash Girl can’t fly, but she wears supersneakers. If I wanted to fly, I could be Hawk Girl, um, Girl . . . but that sounds weird. Plus, we aren’t allowed to hit stuff at school and that’s all Hawk Girl does.

This is a great attitude, but it also made me think about female superheroes as role models.

Traditionally, one would be forgiven—if not entirely correct—for thinking that the majority of female superheroes were originally created or significantly modified by artists who were into silicon-based porn and also extreme wish-fulfillment.

Some of them also maybe didn’t like or understand women that much, either, outside of some clichéd, stereotypical roles, which were the norm at the time, so perhaps they might be forgiven, too.

Times have changed, though, and are also changing for female supes, too, sort of. People are starting to question the the plausibility of a universe in which all female supes and mutants are equipped with incredibly strong Cooper’s ligaments and supporting back muscles—or localized anti-gravity powers over their upper torsos—paired with the inherent ability to keep their nipples (or whatever those things are on non-mammalian-based species) almost covered with whatever is passing for a costume, even while doing the MMA version of twister.

The Hawkeye Initiative  in particular has brought attention to the differences between the way men and women supes are depicted on covers (and other comic-based art), simply by putting the decidedly male superhero Hawkeye (or his bros) in the costume and position of the woman in the original.  It’s surprisingly effective and intentionally hilarious.*

But we’re still in a strange time when female supes are allowed to be smart, strong, and deadly but are still being drawn or dressed in tight leather catsuits or body paint and using sex to sell their stories—and their “action” figures.

And now that the holiday gift giving season is coming around, I’m looking for superhero stuff for our tiny superhero that will let her play without marginalizing her—or giving her a head start on the body issues that the fashion industry will start giving her any minute now.

Luckily, her Aunt Watson is on it.

A week ago, my SIL sent me sent me an article from Time Magazine about a new kind of female superhero, based on the actual proportions of a real human woman.


Not only can these figures do anything a male action figure can do—like sit with their knees together, because their hips work as nature intended instead of what plastic can force them into—but they aren’t locked into backstories or ready-made storylines, either.

They’re power based female superheroes who can be whomever the kids imagine them to be.

When I showed them to a friend who has almost given up finding super figures who match her children’s racially-mixed identities, she said, “Even their skin tones can be any shade you want!”

Bravery, Energy, Honesty, Industry, Enthusiasm, Persistence, Fear

These are the kinds of superhero role models** I want for my kid. Because she will essentially—elementally?—making her own.  The website even asks kids to send in elementalselfies to proclaim their own powers.

I bought the whole set the same day. I almost bought two, but my husband assured me that Sunny would let me play with hers.


I hope so—I could use a role model or two, myself!

An interesting two-part YouTube interview with the creators is here and here.


*The fantastic and utterly flexible Jim C. Hines did the same challenge—personally—for fantasy covers depicting women in anatomically suspect poses. The poses are hilarious, but it’s his description of the effort and pain involved that really drives the (pressure) point home.

** With the exception of Fear, maybe, though you can’t really have Bravery without her, right?



Random Thursday: An Assortment of Super Stuff

It’s Thursday!  It’s Random! It’s Random Thursday!

Seem that when you out yourself as a big ‘ol Marvel-loving nerd, people send you superhero stuff. 

Who knew?


Princess Power


Sunny said Princess America was the prettiest, but Jane said Princess Man had the best dress.

We all agreed that Captain Aurora looked like she could beat up the most bad guys.  Maybe it’s the stance?

I’m personally just a tad envious of Iron Belle’s thighs .  . .

(Four people sent me this—I love you guys!)


“The extraordinary person in the ordinary circumstance”

grrl power

Speaking of Awesome Time Sucks, and it wouldn’t be a Thursday around here if I didn’t, I’m completely hooked on Grrl Power, the weird and wonderful webcomic brainchild of  David Barrack.

The story so far has revolved around Sydney, a scrawny übernerdette with delusions of might and fury* that, against all reasonable odds, she can actually back up.  More or less.

Armed with a ping-pong ball of a brain, incredible chutzpah,  and a mysterious case of even more mysterious floating orbs, she is currently in the process of being assimilated into a team of slightly more standard superheroes.**

But I have a feeling it’s going to end up the other way around . . .

If that doesn’t sell you, here’s what Mr. Barrack has to say about why he’s doing this particular comic.

To me, the most memorable moments in comics and shows are the scenes with amusing character interaction, you know the issue the X-men spend playing baseball, or the moments where you see the ice queen warming up to the underdog nerd character, or the scene that establishes that two tertiary characters have a buddy cop thing going. I find that’s the stuff I remember and enjoy the most, not what villain they fought that episode. If Wolverine fights Sabertooth for the 47th time, who really cares? But if the artist draws him drinking a Strawberry Yoohoo afterwards, that’s the sort of thing that people remember.

I wanted a comic that focuses mostly on those interstitial scenes I enjoy so much. So the comic is largely “day in the life” It is still a superhero comic though, and there will be some fighting of course but I suspect that any fighting Sydney gets involved in will be a little more slapstick than you’d normally get.

What are you waiting for?  Go grab a Strawberry YooHoo*** and check it out!^

(Thanks, Rochelle!)


Archers We Love and Respect

Archers We love

Methinks, lords and ladies, you have all been served.

By a man in tight tights.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

(via Watson—who else?)


Super Little Library

Little libraries are random and super, so it fits, okay?

And Nolita, New York, knows how to do ’em right:

Nolita NY Little Library

Is it wrong to imagine Superman using it for a quick change?

Yeah, I know, rhetorical, sorry . . .

(Who sent me this?  Did I find this on my own?  When did I have time?)


Adam WarRock Rocks

Adam Warrock, musician and comic book aficionado, wrote an ode to female superheroes a few years back—he’s a serious fan of Jubilee, by the way.

When he heard negative comments about Brian Wood’s new all-female team in X-men #1, he rewrote the lyrics to promote as many female supers as possible.

If you like it, the download link is available here on The Mary Sue, which is also one of my favorite amazing places.  The lyrics are posted there, too.



*The first thing I thought of when I saw her in action was the time my six-year old balled her fists and said, “Feel my tiny wrath!!” in her fiercest helium squirrel voice.  Bemusement, yes.  Intimidation . . . no.

**Not that they and their powers aren’t unique—they are.  But when you look at them, you think “superheroes.”  When you look at Sydney, you think “Ritalin dosage?”

***Or don’t.  Yuck.

^I will warn you to look through it a bit before you hand it off to your kids so you know if it and your House Rules match up.  There’s no nudity, per se, but there are still a lot of superheroes in very tight Lycra and discussions of same.  Plus, as Mr. Barrack admits, Sydney has a mouth on her.