Author Laura Bickle (Anya Kalinczyk, The Hallowed Ones,
and the Oracle series written as Alayna Williams) has stopped
by today to discuss one of my favorite topics. She's sharing with
us her favorite comic and cartoon heroines and the effect that
these strong female characters have had on her.
I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!
As a little girl, I was fortunate to be surrounded by comic books. Every time my mom would take my brother and me to the little corner store, we got to pick out a comic book. I had the privilege of meeting all kinds of gals who kicked butt and saved the world through those comics and through cartoons on television. My comic book and cartoon habit really shaped how I wanted my own heroines to view the world and manage their own power – whatever those talents may be.
Wonder Woman was my first super-heroine. My mom bought me one of the Lynda Carter dolls, and she was my absolute most favorite toy. I think I dressed up as Wonder Woman every year for five consecutive years in grade school. I loved everything about her –“beautiful as Aphrodite, wise as Athena, as strong as Hercules, and as swift as Hermes.” She was the first self-rescuing princess I read about. I can’t really recall a time that she was sitting on her hands, waiting to be rescued.
When She-Ra was introduced in the mid-eighties, I was excited to have more female action figures. I had already been introduced to my brother’s He-Man and the Masters of the Universe characters. I already owned Teela, Evil-Lyn, and many of the male figures. But I was super-excited to see a line of female figures. She-Ra was their leader, the sister of He-Man and the most powerful woman in the universe. I tuned in to watch her adventures every day after school, wishing that I had my own flying horse and magic sword. But I made do with my pink plastic sword and the family dog (who was less than thrilled about being dressed in construction-paper wings).
As I got older, my taste in heroines changed. My next idol was Dark Phoenix, from the X-Men. She was a telepath who had been possessed by the alien Phoenix Force, making her both the ultimate creative force and destroyer of worlds. Dark Phoenix was “the fire and the light” of the universe, beyond morality, an elemental force of nature. Through college, I had a light up Phoenix action figure perched on my desk. She was both a hero and an antihero…a woman who didn’t always play nice.
These ladies, among others, helped me think about the world in a different “what-if” way. What if life and adventure were really unlimited, and I could create and defend the ideals I chose? What kinds of heroines could I develop with my own crayons, magic markers, and pens? What if there really were no rules about how a heroine “should” be?
I still have a lot of those comic books and old toys boxed away. I don’t think that I could get rid of them…they are too much a part of what I loved about being a child. And these heroines paved the way for what I wanted to create for the future in my stories.
Who were your favorite heroines when you were a kid? What did you love about them, and how did they affect how you saw the world?
Laura Bickle's professional background is in criminal justice and library science. When she's not patrolling the stacks at the public library, she can be found reaming up stories about the monsters under the stairs.
She has written several contemporary fantasy novels for adults, and THE HALLOWED ONES is her first young adult novel. Laura lives in Ohio with her husband and five mostly-reformed feral cats. For more about Laura, please visit her website at: www.laurabickle.com.