I love superhero stories. They appeal to my imagination and my sense of fun. They are so full of the wonder of “what if?” What if you could see through walls? What if you could fly? What if you were super-strong? I’ve read comics and watched superhero shows and movies all my life. I consume the high and low brow, the full gamut of production values. The Avengers down to the Toxic Avenger.
As a child of the 70s and 80s, I loved Wonder Woman, Charlie’s Angels, Batman and Robin, Shazam, The Hulk and The Greatest American Hero, as well as my cartoon heroes like the Superfriends, Underdog, and Mighty Mouse. My mom would let me buy ten-cent used comics from the bookstore on the avenue and I’d load up on Red Sonja, Spiderman, and Fantastic Four. My imaginative landscape was rife with capes and spandex.
I don’t remember particularly being aware that most of the characters I was reading and watching were men. Though I do remember thinking that I was going to need to grow an impressive set of breasts if I was going to be able to face off against the bad guys. It looked like you’d need them to hold the costume on. I imagined myself the hero easily enough and wore my fair share of capes made of blankets or wielded cardboard swords with my friends in those years before mass produced superhero play sets.
The superhero geek in me has loved the way superhero stories have moved into the mainstream, with A list actors playing them and blockbuster budgets supporting the special effects. But, even as my kind of stories come to the forefront, I feel alienated from them. I’ve lost that child’s ability to see the heroes only as heroes and not as men--men with very few women among them. I don’t see myself in the story the way I once did.
In a way, it feels like a step backwards. Wonder Woman was considered wonderful enough to headline a hit television show in 1975, but here forty years later, there’s debate about whether she’s a character worthy of a movie. And Wonder Woman’s not even that edgy or confrontational. You’d think she’d be a safe bet.
Having daughters has highlighted that even further for me. Women make up half the world, but they definitely don’t make up half the cape-wearing, butt-kicking heroes in these stories. And, when there is a fun female character, like Gamora in the recent Guardians of the Galaxy movie, they leave her off the merchandise. Really, Disney?
So, that’s part of why I wrote Going Through the Change: A Menopausal Superhero Novel. It’s a book about women--grown women with children, jobs, families, issues…and superpowers. It was a way to get back into the stories I’ve always loved.
About Samantha Bryant
Samantha Bryant is a middle school Spanish teacher by day and a mom and novelist by night. That makes her a superhero all the time. Her debut novel, Going Through the Change: A Menopausal Superhero Novel is now available for pre-order and will be released by Curiosity Quills on April 23, 2015. You can find her online on her blog, Twitter, on Facebook, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on the Curiosity Quills page, or on Google+.
A Writer's Tale
Scarlett Van Dijk
Writer of young adult, fantasy series, the Sky Stone series, poetry and short stories.
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