Thursday, April 2, 2015

Batgirl and Invisible Girl

The Invisible Girl/Woman was unique among other super-heroines when I was growing up in that she was also a mother.  Indeed, it is still a rare trait in comics. For some reason publishers felt that marrying characters or having them become parents would age them too much in their young readers' eyes.  It never bothered me as a kid, in fact I thought it was pretty cool that Sue Storm was a mom.


AirDave said...

Here's what I liked about comics: Reed and Sue; Barry and Iris; Ralph and Sue; Carter and Shiera; Jay and Joan. I liked the stability. I realize that not everybody - not every comics fan comes from a two-parent family, or even a "traditional" family, but why not make room for all varieties? Is it that irritating to see Barry and Iris and Ralph and Sue. I liked it that Carter and Shiera were one of the first comic book couples. The Fantastic Four was unique because it was about The Batman Family ;)

Anonymous said...

Great cover!
For my two cents in this debate, I don't know that it was *necessarily* the idea that having kids made the characters seem older. I thought that when I was a younger man but now that I'm ancient, I suspect a larger part of the concern was that parents don't have the time to go fight crime or Galactus all night. And if they do, who's watching the kids?
Having said that, I *do* like, as AirDave said, having all kinds of types, married, unmarried, parents, loners, etc., represented in superhero comics.

Bob Greenwade said...

Even as a kid, I was bothered by the fact that the characters didn't seem to age. In Marvel, they did age, but very slowly (at a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio with reality). The problem with that quickly became clear: tying a character to a historical event quickly made that character younger and younger as the event got further into the past. In the 60s, Professor X and Magneto were middle-aged men who were young men at the end of WWII; by the time the most recent batch of movies started, they were older men, but the WWII events had to be reworked.

In the late 1980s I set about with the intent to create a superhero universe where time went by at a 1:1 ratio with reality. It was filled with potential legacy characters, just as Green Lantern and the Flash have been, and Batman could have been. The company never got off the ground, but I realized a while ago that it would have been coming on its 20th anniversary so I scripted out a would-be "company-wide event" on the model of the big Crisis/Secret Wars things that DC and Marvel do. It was fun, and three or four mantles were passed to their successors.

By now you may have guessed that the Richards family has aged and grown has always been one of the things that I liked best about them.

And, of course, you have a winner of a cover here, Ross. I'm not aware of Sue Richards being able to make other things invisible and not herself, but this is, after all, the Earth-STF version (see, I follow along enough to know what your answer's going to be!)

I don't know if you're aware of this, but the title "Girls' Night Out" (the plural rather than singular possessive) was an episode of Batman: The Animated Series, featuring Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. It's one of the series' better efforts.

Ross said...

Bob, no need for the STF excuse - I did not change the dialogue at all from the original MTU cover where Sue was using her powers on Spider-Man.

Alaric said...

Sue's been able to make other objects and people invisible, while remaining visible herself, since Fantastic Four #22, in the early to mid '60s. That was the same story where she got her better-known ability to create force fields, and her rarely-used ability to make invisible things become visible. (For the first 21 issues of FF, her only power was the ability to turn herself (and her clothes) invisible.)

Bob Buethe said...

The catch was that she could only make one person or thing (or Thing) invisible at a time, herself included. IIRC, Ben had a fun time being invisible in FF #22, convincing some bill collectors that the Baxter Building was haunted.

Bob Greenwade said...

I stand very much corrected. :)

(And very politely and gently done, too. Thank you.)

Anonymous said...

Well, being a parent can certainly age the parent, him/herself, fast enough in the real world. LOL!

Tom said...

"It never bothered me as a kid, in fact I thought it was pretty cool that Sue Storm was a mom."

Yep. And as well, I thought it was cool that Reed was a father, as it gave him a gravitas and sense of mature, level-headed authority that no other hero had, even Superman. If there was a true role model in comics for young boys to look up to, it was him.

It's not that an unmarried man with no children can't be a role model; quite the opposite, obviously. But Reed Richards always felt to me like one of my friends' fathers, and seeing a person like that also be a super hero made fatherhood and adulthood much more accessible, and desirable.

Anonymous said...

P.S. to Mr. Greenwade: Marvel. themselves, introduced a parallel Earth where the FF and other superheroes _had_ aged in real-time. Jeff "Snood" Christiansen (who now does all of Marvel's explanatory handbooks) dubbed it "Earth-1961." And, it made its literary debut in an FF annual where Ben Grimm was accidentally teleported to it while on his way to the annual FF/Avengers poker game.

Glenn said...

Sue Storm is a true MILF and I do not like blondes in general.

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