Captain Marvel-The New Superhero

The comic book world has always been a boys club. Even when empowering female characters have been introduced over the years they are almost always dressed for the purpose of being eye candy for the boys and men reading. Why Wonder Woman doesn’t wear pants has been one of the great feminist questions in pop-culture history. One big reason why good empowering female comic book heroes have always been lacking has been an even bigger lack of good empowering female comic book writers.

Both DC Comics and Marvel (the two powerhouses of the Comic Book world) have not exactly been known for their concern regarding female equality in the comic book world, though we hope that change is on the horizon. Though last summer DC Comics announced they were going to make a push to hire more female writers (something I haven’t exactly seen move forward yet) it seems that maybe Stan Lee and the folks at Marvel may be leading the charge in not only trying to reach the ever growing female comic book fans, but to simply incorporate more gender equality in their characters.

Marvel announced recently that the character Carol Danvers, once known as Ms. Marvel, would take on the legacy of a legendary hero in Captain Marvel. This new ongoing series will launch in July and will be headed by a female and male writing team, Kelly Sue DeConnick and artist Dexter Soy.

Now neither Carol Danvers OR Captain Marvel are by any means new to the Marvel Universe.  Carol is a former NASA scientist and Air Force pilot. As Ms. Marvel she was married to the former Captain Marvel, Chuck Yeager. The title Captain Marvel was also once held by Monica Rambeau an African-American woman in the 80s who would lead the Avengers for a time.

“Carol's the virtual definition of a Type A personality. She's a competitor and a control freak. At the start of our series, we see Carol pre-Captain Marvel, pre-NASA even, back when she was a fiercely competitive pilot. We'll see her meeting one of her aviation heroes and we'll see her youthful bravado, her swagger. Then over the course of the first arc we're going to watch her find her way back to that hungry place. She'll have to figure out how to be both Captain Marvel and Chuck Yeager—to marry the responsibility of that legacy with the sheer joy being nearly invulnerable and flying really [expletive] fast.” Explains DeConnick on the Marvel website.

I’m not going to try and offer a long explanation of the history of Captain Marvel or even other female Marvel characters. Because right now is the perfect time to introduce fresh characters into a new generation of girls desperate for awesome Superheroes.

The thing about Captain Marvel that has me more excited than anything (well aside from the characters history involving previously working for NASA and being in the USAF) is the costume.

For the first time I can remember, we’re seeing a female Superhero dressed in a costume that not only makes sense, but that I would totally let my daughter wear. Assuming at some point we’re able to see Captain Marvel be popular enough to generate Halloween costumes…

The costume was designed by artist Jamie McKelvie who had this to say, “Our idea was to give her a kind of swash-buckling costume that invoked a sense of her history as an Air Force officer. Her hair is slicked back at the sides when in costume - so her Kree-style helmet can form when she needs it.”

Yes, a Superhero in pants, with short hair and suit that looks practical versus sexy.

Maybe to some a costume redesign and short hairdo may not seem like much in the grand scheme of things. But it’s these kinds of changes that help genres like that of the Comic Book world take one more step towards including the girls.

I hope that Captain Marvel does really well becomes one more piece of proof that the young SheHeroes of today are desperate for role models they can look up to both in reality and in comic books.

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