Wednesday, August 22, 2012

An Open Letter To Mr. Joss Whedon

Dear Mr. Whedon, 

Firestar #1 cover art by Stephanie Hans
Since you're now officially on board to direct the sequel to The Avengers, and since you've mentioned how you'd like to add more female characters to the mix, I thought I'd take this opportunity to reach out into the internet ether to advocate on behalf of one of my favorite characters. 

And so I submit for your consideration:  Firestar.

Let me start with a little background: when I was a kid, my sister loved the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman TV show.  (Who didn't?)  Not being a comics fan until much later, Carter's Diana became the image in my mind for what a female superhero looked like.  Then I saw an episode of Spiderman and His Amazing Friends and was introduced to Miss Angelica Jones.  I was instantly enamored – a fellow redhead!  With superpowers!  This, to my child self, was the coolest thing ever. 

Years later I would discover a chewy nerd center beneath my ginger shell and would come to realize that while about 2% of the real world's population are redheads, about 40% of the comic book world's population are redheads.  But my sentimental attachment to Firestar remained. 

She's not the most appreciated of characters.  She's spent most of her career relegated to the background, a supporting character to the "real" heroes.  And since she was only ever a short-term Avenger, I'm not saying she needs to be added to the principal team.  She'd work well as a supporting character – someone on the level of a Maria Hill or (dare I suggest it?) a Phil Coulson.* 

Please don't hold the disco windbreaker
costume against her. She's a modest girl...

 In fact, given that poor Angel never developed a natural immunity to her abilities, you could even pull a Coulson on her and have her go down with radiation poisoning as a result of having to use her power during some random attack on S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ. (Because come on, we all know there's gonna be an attack on the HQ.)  That way she gets to do something cool, make a graceful exit in Act II, and perhaps drive the action of the principal team forward. 

I could go off on a tangent about how she could probably relate well to Bruce Banner as she'd share his reluctance to be a superhero and relate to the involuntary nature of his condition, or how she could provide a contrast to characters like Iron Man and Captain America for the same reason.  Or about how a Guardians of the Galaxy movie is confirmed and her ex-fiancee might be a bit connected to those guys. But that would make it seem like I've put way too much thought into this, and I wouldn't want to look like a crazy fangirl.  So we'll just skip all that business. 

Now I know what you've been thinking this whole time:  Firestar is a mutant, which means she's technically an X-Men property, which means she's owned by Fox, which means a Disney-Paramount owned property like the Avengers can't touch her.  And this is true.  But let's be honest here... I doubt Fox is itching to put her in X-Men: Days of Future Past, and nothing says you couldn't work around it by just referring to her as a "scientific anomaly" or something.  It's not like you'd be asking to pilfer Charles Xavier.  

...and she didn't want to wear this.
(It's my favorite of her costumes, though.)
There is also the question of canon, of course.  Firestar's involvement with the Avengers team comes along pretty late in their existence, and the movies have just picked up at the team's origin.  But if we were going to get that pedantic then the first movie would have involved Ant-Man and the Wasp instead of Black Widow and Hawkeye.**  Plus we'd be talking about Scarlet Witch right now which would bring us right back to that Fox problem anyway. 

And I realize that I keep going on about Angelica Jones, while technically the movie universe lines up with the Ultimates titles, and Ultimate Firestar is Liz Allan.   Call me a purist; I'd much rather see the original article up on the big screen.  

But back to the pitch. 

Angelica Jones/Firestar is the sort of character you don't see much in comic book movies.  She's quiet and modest.  Faced with the events of Civil War she chose to retire and lead the quiet life of a student.  She'd fit in well as a second-tier S.H.I.E.L.D. agent – someone who feels a responsibility to use her unique abilities to help people but who isn't interested in the spotlight.  She's the sort of character who would create a spin on the superhero genre you don't see very often.  Instead of someone who seeks out a certain destiny, she was handed a set of circumstances and chose to bloom where she was planted.  She's not dark or edgy, but she's still got potential to offer a fresh perspective on the definition of a hero. 

I might have some level of investment
in ginger Marvel heroines...
Plus, it would really help salve my rage after that whole Marvel Divas thing.  But I don't expect that to sway you overmuch. 

One of the things people discussed most about The Avengers was the way it managed to focus on the personal interactions between the characters without skimping on the action.  If you ask me, adding a character like Firestar helps this along, especially in the (assumed) absence of Coulson.  She's as close to an Everyman as you're likely to get in a super-powered heroine.  Added to the supporting cast, she could add some dimension to an already well-developed stable of characters.

And so, I write this overly long and perhaps too-researched diatribe in the vain hope that my old sentimental favorite will get her chance to shine on the silver screen.  I realize it's a long shot.  But heck, superhero movies are supposed to make us all gooey with wide-eyed wonder and belief, right?  You can't blame a girl for dreaming.

So... Viva La Firestar!  And if you just want to use her as a glorified extra,  I don't really have much in the way of acting experience, but I do have some limited experience with superhero-styled spandex.  Which I don't add in to be pathetically fangirly at all. 

Love and Kisses,
Ginger Fangirl At Large

*I'm still a little mad at you for what you did to Son of Coul, Joss.  That was cold. 
**But since we brought up Hank Pym, he did design the costume that would eventually protect Angelica from her radioactive powers, and there's rumors he'll be added to the next film... just sayin'.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Fumbling Towards Byzantium

I haven't posted in a while.  Sorry about that.  But after writing about my dad, it's been a little hard for me to make myself post anything that will cause his image to scroll further down (and eventually off) the page. Something about it just seemed... wrong, somehow.  Like if I could just keep writing and let that post move through the queue I'd be erasing him or something. 

On the other hand, that post got such a response (both online and out in the meatspace) that I feel like I need to write more.  I've ignored that, whether out of lack of inspiration or out of fear of letting Dad's post go, or something else entirely.  But I want to get back into it. 

Some of what you may see here will be mindless drivel.  Or me babbling about pop culture, or me whining about why the Mets can't just play consistent baseball, or me scheming on how to get Firestar into Avengers 2.  Some of it will be higher quality content when the inspiration and ability strike me. 

And some of it will be continuing to talk about mental health.  I promise this is not going to become Tara's Depression Blog.  Pinky swear.  But some of you have said my posts on that topic really helped you, and writing things out always helps me to organize them in my brain, so I'm going to stick with that while trying to interject some other stuff as well. 

In a way I feel like I owe this to my dad a bit.  A lot of people at his wake and funeral asked me why I'm not a writer and I didn't have a good answer.  The best I could come up with was, "I don't really know how to be a writer."  But I'm reminded of the advice Neil Gaiman says he always gives to young writers:  "Write. Finish things."  So that's what I'm going to try to do.  Maybe it'll go somewhere, maybe it'll just help me keep my head organized and allow me to connect with all of you who read these things.  Either way I feel like it's a win. 

Post title is an unholy mashup of this Sarah McLachlan song and this William Butler Yeats poem.  Don't you judge me; I'm a complex woman.