Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Mother of all Superheroes

Speaking of the central dichotomies that power likeable characters, here's page 1 of a project I'm preparing to submit to comic publishers:

The Matriarch is a superhero who is also a single mother, and continuously finds herself torn between two sets of (often) mutually exclusive duties.

As Sherry’s charismatic but ethically wayward boss, Jawaharlal Jalil, says of an advertisement featuring a female fire-fighter: "When you go to the movies and Toby Maguire goes off and saves the day, the worst thing that happens is he blows off his model girlfriend. But replace Toby with, say, a single mother who has to choose between saving the world or neglecting her child -- it's repugnant. You'd lose half the audience."

Obviously there are other viewpoints to consider, and we get to exploring several of them in the first issue. I'm finding it to be a wonderful complexity that stems from a tension so simple and elegant it can be expressed in three panels, and doesn't really even need words:

In the top panel here we see Sherry (the Matriarch) waving to her son as he runs onto the soccer field; in the second panel, we see her sneaking away behind his back -- a fairly heinous act, really; and in the third, we see that she is in fact a superhero, which (for me at least) raises the possibility that she has other, presumably serious demands on her time.

Neither duty can really take precedence, not even when viewed with a specific lense, such as feminism provides (though specific kinds of feminism -- and, certainly, individual feminists -- may see one duty as clearly taking precedence over the other).

Click here for a look at the pencil pages and a bit more on the concept.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's his mother? It looks like his older sister. Nothing in the drawing will convince me that this woman is older than 19- or has had a child.

4/30/2006 11:19 AM  
Blogger Robert Burke Richardson said...

She uses Oil of Olay and he's drinking milk. :)

4/30/2006 12:29 PM  

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