When James Brown sang, "It's a Man's World," clearly he had never visited the Marvel Universe.
Since Sue Storm first stood shoulder-to-shoulder with her Fantastic Four teammates back in 1961, women have been carving a mark all their own in the world of Marvels and pulling their male counterparts out of the fire more often than not. This past week saw the new Lady Liberators band together in HULK #7, Lady Bullseye running wild in DAREDEVIL #112 and Carol Danvers facing her past in MS. MARVEL #32 in just a few examples of girl power spreading through the Marvel U.
We asked Marvel creators and editors to select their personal favorites from the House of Ideas' vast catalogue of fighting females and here's what we got back.
It's Friday, so kick back, relax and enjoy.
MIKE PERKINS (artist of THE STAND: CAPTAIN TRIPS):
I think that two of the most
interesting female characters in the Marvel Universe—and the two I would most like to approach creatively—are Elektra and the Black Widow. Natasha Romanov has such a rich back story and has interacted with so many of the Marvel characters that it would be a real pleasure to work on such a "shades of grey" character, as well as taking a closer look at the espionage aspects of her craft. Elektra works in those same shades of grey but also has an added hint of insanity and darkness lurking there—something well worth exploring. I just loved the catlike, mischievous expressions on her face when John Romita Jr. illustrated DAREDEVIL: THE MAN WITHOUT FEAR.
Of course, the real answer for this question is Mystique as she can be any Marvel female—and male—that you care to mention!
NATE COSBY (Marvel assistant editor):
Sue Storm-Richards is the best, especially when Mark Waid or Jeff Parker write her. I get the impression that Mark and Jeff have/had strong, authoritative women in their lives, and have no problem accepting that those women are in charge. Sue exudes a calm, no-nonsense authority, making intelligent decisions in the heat of whatever ridiculous situation the boys have gotten themselves into. And she's hot.
BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS (writer of SECRET INVASION):
Spider-Woman—read AVENGERS ANNUAL #10!
SKOTTIE YOUNG (upcoming artist of THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF OZ):
My favorite females in the Marvel U are without a doubt the ladies of NEXTWAVE: AGENTS OF HATE: Monica Rambeau (the former Captain Marvel), Tabitha Smith (Boom-Boom/Meltdown from X-FORCE) and Elsa Bloodstone. You don't get better than these ladies when it comes to kicking ass! Monica will make you laugh every time she mentions being in the Avengers as we've all known someone who won't let you forget that they've been special at some point in their lives. Bloodstone can kill you with just about anything she can pick up. Tabitha brings a little more of youthful excitement to blowing any and everything up! This is the greatest trio of female characters in comics today!
DANIEL KETCHUM (Marvel assistant editor):
My favorite Marvel character just happens to be female: the X-Men's Storm.
I think her extreme versatility as a character intrigues me most; she's been an orphan, a thief, a goddess, X-Men team leader and now Queen of Wakanda. She's also a female character who brings a strong presence and a weight to stories. And as an Asian kid (who also happens to have been orphaned), I love seeing a character of color taking charge and kicking ass.
Case in point, check out the X-MEN: WORLDS APART limited series I've had the privilege of editing. It's four issues of Storm demonstrating exactly why she's my favorite Marvel character.
MARC GUGGENHEIM (writer of YOUNG X-MEN):
Kitty Pryde. First, she joined the X-Men in the very first issue of UNCANNY X-MEN I ever read: #139. Second, she's Jewish. Third, she's a geek. Fanboy wish fulfillment.
TONY ISABELLA (former writer of CAPTAIN AMERICA):
I have two favorites. First, there's Tigra, my 1970's revamping of Greer Nelson into a super-heroic avatar of an ancient cat goddess. She's still one of my favorites.
Then there's the Blonde Phantom. The 1940's version. I've only read a couple of her adventures, but I love the notion of a super hero fighting crime in an evening gown. As they would have said back then, it tickles my fancy. I'd love to write her someday.
TOM BRENNAN (Marvel assistant editor):
May "Mayday" Parker, the Amazing Spider-Girl, of course! She's everything that makes her dad, Peter Parker, great: a smart-aleck-y teen with a great sense of humor and an even greater sense of responsibility (whose adventures can be seen on-sale this month in AMAZING SPIDER-GIRL #25—on sale now!) and on top of that, unlike her father, she actually has high school friends (those friends can also be seen in this month's AMAZING SPIDER-GIRL #25—on sale now!). May's the best of both of her parents, Peter and Mary Jane Parker (still married in this month's AMAZING SPIDER-GIRL #25—on sale now!)—lively, funny and honorable to a fault. Her unique lifestyle, as hero by day/high schooler by night, forces her to face any problem, from a villainous cult out to kidnap her famous father, to being trapped in a supernatural dreamscape, to
an obsessive ex-boyfriend to a mysterious clone who has replaced her in her family home (hey, all of that happens in this month's AMAZING SPIDER-GIRL #25—on sale now!). But she faces it all with the grace, courage and responsibility that we've come to expect from the merry Marvel heroines. Mayday is, like her father before her, a definitive Marvel Universe hero. And hey, if you want to jump in on her adventures, pick up this month's background-covering AMAZING SPIDER-GIRL #25—on sale now!
JEANINE SCHAEFER (Marvel assistant editor):
I've always loved Rogue. I've gone on at length about this to pretty much anyone who'll listen, so I'll try to be brief. From a pure story standpoint, she's a great character. She has a back-story that keeps on giving, her power is one that a good writer can bring something new to without destroying what came before, she's "grown up" over the years without losing what made her accessible to, say, a young girl just getting into comics, she's a strong and independent female character, which we can never have too many of in comics. I love how strong she is, both physically and
mentally, I love that just seeing her bare hand can be sexy, I love her Southern accent, I love that writers constantly send her on road trips. Also, hopefully not negating anything I just said, she was wearing a totally rad Savage Land bikini on the cover of the first comic I read, and she looked awesome.
WELLINTON ALVES (artist of NOVA):
I love Emma Frost because she is one of the sexiest and most beautiful female characters at Marvel and has a very different costume from what you usually see.
DAVID AJA (former artist of IMMORTAL IRON FIST):
The Black Widow—who cannot fall in love with a red-haired Russian spy?
JORDAN WHITE (Marvel assistant editor):
Well, like pretty much all geeky boy X-fans, Kitty Pryde was always my favorite. However, I did not read UNCANNY X-MEN back when she first appeared, I got to know her through EXCALIBUR. She was smart, she was funny,
she had doubts and fears, but she always pulled through and did what was right. And, when Alan Davis drew her—by far my all-time favorite depiction of her—she was very pretty. I was completely smitten with her, I wanted her to be my girlfriend so badly. But it was a very young and innocent love. I was too young for sexual feelings, so I would fantasize about holding her hand or—gasp
!—stealing a kiss. It would be embarrassing, except…well, I look back on it fondly because of the completely innocent and pure nature of it. That and the fact that I was probably just one in a group of thousands and thousands of boys who felt the exact same way.
Of course, at the time, she was an older woman. I was only 11, she was 15. I don't know the exact year when I became older than her, but I do remember realizing that it had happened. That was weird. Of course, now I am older than Peter Parker. Sigh…
WILLIAM MESSNER-LOEBS (former writer of THOR):
I always liked Sue Storm. I thought she had the most potential. We've never dealt well with invisibility in comics,
but even before the force fields she was the most powerful character in the real world!
KEVIN GREVIOUX (writer of NEW WARRIORS):
Thundra, without a doubt, is my favorite female character. She was tall, strong, tough, and remember, she beat the Thing in hand-to-hand combat at least twice
. But what was really cool about her was that even though she started off as a villain with affiliations with the Frightful Four, she had a strong sense of respect and honor. I'm really surprised that she never became Marvel's premiere super heroine shortly after she was first created.
LAUREN SANKOVITCH (Marvel assistant editor):
She-Hulk: free-spirited, intelligent, and accomplished in her own right, the Jade Giantess has always been a favorite of mine. With her can-do attitude and Hulk-sized heart, she can smash
through any obstacle in her path. And when her "smashing" (more than) occasionally gets her into trouble, Shulkie's indomitable spirit continually endears her to new and loyal fans alike.
BILL ROSEMANN (Marvel editor):
In the spirit of the self-plugging Stan Lee, I'd have to say the hero-hating, headline-hunting, trying-to-quit-smoking, mother-phone-call-dodging Daily Bugle rookie reporter Kat Farrell is my favorite female character. Check out the now out-of-print DEADLINE collected edition—featuring swell art by the great Guy Davis—for her very first appearance. Hey, who wrote that acclaimed murder mystery? [EDITOR'S NOTE: That would be Bill Rosemann. Hey, wait a minute…]
MICHAEL HORWITZ (Marvel assistant editor):
Ack! So hard to choose! But ultimately my heart firmly belongs to one Dakota North.
Back in 8th grade, the kids I knew who actually read comics were into Spider-Man and the X-Men, but somehow I got my pudgy 13-year-old hands on an issue of the old DAKOTA NORTH limited series, the one with rocking 80's art by Tony Salmons. Understand, for a kid whose favorite book at the time was "Valley of the Dolls" (blame Grandma) this comic was Valhalla. With her jumpsuits and stilettos, motorcycles, and fiery red hair, Dakota was everything I wanted to be. This private eye jetted across the globe with a hardcore 'tude and style to spare. Heck, the book's house ad was a picture of her toting a handgun with "STYLE" in a honk-your-horns-big font as the tagline. And best of all? Dakota always
gets her man.
TOM DEFALCO (writer of AMAZING SPIDER-GIRL):
My favorite Marvel female character is—and I'm sure this comes as no surprise—May "Mayday" Parker, Spider-Girl. It has been my honor and privilege to script this wonderful character for the last 11 years and I've had a blast. I like doing a character who is basically optimistic and does the right thing merely because it is the right thing. Someone who shows what it means to be a hero each and every month!
PAUL CORNELL (writer of CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MI13):
I really love my two, Spitfire and Faiza, but then I would say that, wouldn't I? Otherwise, I'm a great fan of Emma Frost, who is secretly British, and thus a member of MI13, only she's had that information wiped from her brain. It's that combination of haughty banter and joie de vivre that makes her so compelling. If only she dressed better. But she wears those clothes because she can.
SEBASTIAN GIRNER (Marvel assistant editor):
The X-Women always strike a chord with me, especially Rogue, who seemed to have all the best superpowers, despite that pesky "never being able to touch anyone" thing. But it's hard to feel sorry for someone who can fly and
punch a hole through an aircraft carrier.
Mistress Death also rates very high: the only thing poor Thanos wanted was a kind word here or there, but she wouldn't even acknowledge him until he killed half of all sentient life in the universe with his magic glove. Now that's
And lastly Betty Brant gets a mention, because for a short time in the 90's in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN she stopped being J.J. Jameson's boring secretary, left that loony cult she was in, learned Kung Fu, got a load of guns, started wearing leather jackets and bandanas and went totally Punisher to clear her husband's name, who, it turns out, was framed for being the Hobgoblin.
Girl had problems…but knew how to solve them!
PHIL JIMENEZ (upcoming artist of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN):
Almost all of my favorite characters at Marvel are female, although my favorite incarnations of them tend to be older ones—Storm, Emma Frost, Jean Grey, the Invisible Woman, the Scarlet Witch, Magik, Magma, Mirage, Rogue, Mystique, the Black Widow, Spiral, the Black Queen, Aurora, Snowbird—these are fantastic
characters when used properly; they are powerful, regal, demanding, haughty, sexy as hell—played properly, these women command a room when they walk in the door. They could literally destroy the planet with their powers or turn it into a life-giving Eden. Marvel boys can keep Captain America, Wolverine, or the Human Torch—and give me these ladies—in their most vibrant incarnations—on a team any day, and watch them kick ass
without even breaking a sweat—or a heel.
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