Zamaron — A Green Lantern Femme-Site

{October 19, 2006}   Jade’s Death

Alex in Wonderland has a literal interpretation of Jade’s death:

I wonder if it is possible to apply that conundrum to other misogynistic occurrences in comic books? Is Jade’s death, and subsequent empowering of Kyle a literal image of how the public pain of a female lantern is sublimated by killing her, and then returning the power to the male character?

I’m still digesting the thought, but that paragraph notes that this is a surface symbolism of the fridge phenomenon.

We all know the basics, Jade suffers, and the story is not about her. It doesn’t make her worth reading. (I’ve yet to see the story that makes her worth reading.) It serves to make Alan and Kyle more interesting characters through their grief.

I know her powers went to Kyle, but her body disappeared when Alan was holding her. She was dissolved into both of their characters. In-story and metatextually. I know I’m not the only one who was angry with the literal enacting of the this. She powers his personality, his plot, his actual literal powers.

It’s just, instead of the regular ranting, this is someone pointing directly out that Jade is more representative of the WiR complaint that Alex ever was. That’s a thought that hits like a two-by-four.

I’m not up to organizing these thoughts this early in the morning (it’s very late as my day goes). I just wanted to share this one.


Every once in a while I’ll see an icon or meme putting classically sexist dialogue (such as “The fair sex belongs in the kitchen!”) into Hal Jordan’s mouth.  While I know these are merely a joke on the misogyny typically associated with the comics industry in general and the Green Lantern franchise in particular, the part of me without a sense of humor always goes a little bit cross-eyed.  My response, as always, is to get just a tad overanalytical.

See, as far as my understanding of Hal goes, he seems to be rather indifferent to those members of the fair sex who are spending their time in the kitchen.  The majority of Hal’s love interests break the mould as far as traditional gender roles.  Carol Ferris and Olivia Reynolds are the kind of driven career women that Forbes Magazine (everyone’s favorite feminist-rage inducer!) would disapprove of, Rose Hardin ran a farm on her own after the death of her husband, Dorine Clay is a rebellion leader in spaaaace!, and Arisia proved resilient enough to be a very good superhero from a young age.  Also, Hal apparently had a brief flirtation with Power Girl during his JLE years, which I haven’t read so I can’t really comment on, but it’s worth saying that no one says “woman kicking ass and taking names” quite in the same way that Peej does.

Of the women in Hal’s life who tend to fall into more traditionally feminine roles, Eve Doremus can be pretty fairly considered a case of rebound, and Iona Vane falls into the time-honored comics tradition of love-under-mind-control.  Kari Limbo, like Eve, can also be considered a case of rebound, though I would put her more into the category of a highly gendered Other than “traditionally feminine.”  Nevertheless, her category is probably closer to Eve and Iona’s.

So, as hard as it is for me to picture Hal saying “strong women are hawt!” in the manner of your average comic-babe loving fanboy, I do think he’s got a sort of natural inclination towards that particular “strong women” type.  Then comes the question I’ve always found difficult to answer– is Hal threatened by strong women, as well?

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{August 10, 2006}   A WizardWorld Adventure

I’ve procrastinated for nearly a week, but I was resting from the trip. Chicago’s a longer drive from Oklahoma than it looks. But I was there. Kalinara and I were at both DC Panels at WizardWorld last weekend. I was able to ask a Green Lantern question at each. Geoff Johns was there to answer.

My first one was clumsy, because I wanted to know about all three characters but would have settled for a vague idea that one of them would show. It wasn’t reported by Newsarama, but I think CBR got it. Sorry, Soyo, I know you wanted a Carol question but I thought this would be my last chance and I figured he’s say “No” in either case for Carol. I hedged my bets and merged to get “Are we going to see the Zamarons, Carol Ferris, or Star Sapphire soon?” Answered with a yes. Couldn’t get a clarification. Still, it was a ridiculously fun panel to attend. I say ridiculous because of the audience members who voted that Dick Grayson was a “bigger stud” than Hal Jordan when the question came up. I say fun because it was fun the entire time.

At the second panel, I saw Jim Starlin and Geoff Johns in one place so I got in line to ask about Cosmic Odyssey. There was a line of people approaching a microphone to speak, so I had time to think about my question while I stood there. I almost asked a question about feminism, but I was preceeded by an Identity Crisis complaint and a question on labeling, and my issues are much more complex than those. I didn’t want to get a defensive answer on the tail of them, plus I wanted to know about Green Lantern. I’m actually very glad I decided that, because the answer I got from this next question was too perfect. It was so perfect that it was already reported on Newsarama, and Kalinara mentioned it also. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

By the time they’d finished dancing around the issue of labels for the guy right in front of me, I’d made up my mind to ask about Katma Tui. Only I disguised the question so it seemed to be about John. Ended up with “Just a simple John Stewart fan question — he’s had a lot of specials like Cosmic Odyssey and Mosaic that haven’t been referenced in a few years. Do they still count in the new continuity?”

Johns nodded and said yes. I was very surprised by this.

“The end of Mosaic is still in continuity?”

He answered yes again, not seeming to see why I didn’t believe him. At this point a terrible thought struck me. Maybe he didn’t remember the ending of Mosaic. I almost asked specifically about it, but stopped myself. Suppose he changed his mind once he knew?

I felt like I’d stolen a pair of really expensive shoes and had to get out of the store before the clerk noticed. I immediately started for my seat, then nervously stepped back to the microphone and gave him a Thank you! Then I resumed sneaking to my seat.

This had to have been fun to watch, since we had front-row seats and I was attempting to be invisible, walking down the center aisle with a thief’s posture. Dan Didio watched from his podium, where even leaning forward he towered over writer and fan alike. I was directly in front of him, and had to move closer to get to my seat.

“Can I just ask one question?” he said, scaring the living daylights (not to mention the recently passed on nightlights) out of me. I suspect I may have paled, but I smiled and nodded quickly. I think.

“What happens When Fangirls Attack?” He asked.

I blinked, then realized what he meant. My shirt! I had the When Fangirls Attack shirt on! He’d asked the same thing yesterday, and Kalinara had had a nice pithy response (“Wouldn’t you like to know?”) I was relieved, and drew a blank. Kalinara was sitting in the front row, I was all alone on the spot! I badly wanted to say “Your writers get tricked into resurrecting awesome female characters” but didn’t. I just smiled, looked down demurely and continued to my seat. I was aware of some vague joking between the panel and the audience while I did.

I think it was very nice of him to give me a second chance to advertise the website again, but I was too nervous and happy to take it. After the panel, we approached the Green Lantern writer. I asked if he’d read Mosaic‘s ending. He nodded.

“Oh, then you know Katma Tui was resurrected at the end?”

The look on his face was beautiful. Just beautiful. I swear, you could just see the light bulb fire up above his head. That look was worth the drive.

Just asking that question was totally worth the drive.

Okay, seriously, this is not funny. I just looked over Lamashtar’s Green Lantern Master Fic list (still being compiled). She found Donna Parker fic, but her two Jade stories are actually about Obsidian?

Where are all you Jade-fans who came out of the woodwork when she died to complain? Where are the resurrection stories and the alternate universe stories where Kyle died instead?

I mean, I’ve laid out my reasons for hating her on numerous forums and blogs, and no one’s been able to convince me not to, but honestly, there has to be someone out there who likes her enough to write a story that’s just about her that’s not actually about Alan, Kyle, or Todd. Don’t tell me she really is all green skin. Someone had to have liked her for her personality and not her character design or family relations, right?

A woman defined solely by her appearance and her relationships to men.

That is depressing.

Lake Desire of New Game Plus will be hosting the next issue on August 3rd.

The issue’s theme–or writing prompt–is the present through origins. This could be a reflection on how your feminism and geekiness came to intersect, a post that traces the the evolution of women in a particular genre, a revisitation of the old school canons, a look at fresh and new things that are starting a revolution of their own, a memoir of finding that first great book or game or comic that really clicked for you, or whatever you can imagine.

Submission deadlines are August 1, 2006 (although I’ll still consider late submissions if I have time). Please E-mail them to or use the web submission form.

Crossposted on Written World and Earth 2.

It’s a common strategy, when discussing women in Green Lantern, to mention that Kyle Rayner has had three girlfriends die — Alex DeWitt, Donna Troy, and Jenny Hayden (Jade). This argument is intended to capture all the misogyny in superhero comics in a single blow. It covers not just a civilian love interest thrown away for the development of a male character, but two fully powered and fully developed heroic female characters, both with a longer history than the featured male character. The number is important, it adds overkill. With three dead girlfriends, you can almost see the writer smirking as he finished the third one’s death-story. I suspect nearly everyone on the blogosphere has made a joke at Kyle’s expense about it, and I’ve heard more than one reader express disgust with Kyle’s character over this.

The argument is very sound, effective, and difficult to rebuke.

It’s also one-third incorrect.

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When I first read Warrior #42, “A Gender Bender in the Blender”, I didn’t really think anything of it. It was the standard silly macho boy-turns-into-girl story. It made me laugh but wasn’t particularly noticeable.

But then, while wandering the Blogosphere a few months back, I stumbled onto a review panning the issue. They called it stupid and sexist. Now the stupid part is debatably true, depending on your particular tolerance for silliness. But sexist?! That surprised me because I hadn’t actually thought it was.

What was this guy seeing, I asked myself, that I wasn’t?

So I read it again.

The thing that occurred to me on second reading was how few of the really sexist cliches of gender-shifted stories actually were used in this one.

(Caution: Spoilers)

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A story of Freedom…

Evil’s Might is an Elseworld story set in old New York. It’s about Kyle Rayner, a gangmember by day, political cartoonist by night who ends up discovering something special about a dusty old Lantern and becoming a hero.

However, as much as Kyle might be the titular hero, Evil’s might isn’t really his story. The true story centers around another.

Her name is Carol Ferris.

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Since my posting record is growing increasingly pathetic in comparison to that of my distinguished peers, I figured it was high time I did a post of my own. While I was bouncing ideas around, Ragnell suggested I do an Arisia-related post. The advantage of this is that I have a lot to say about Arisia. The disadvantage– well, it’s also that I have a lot to say about Arisia. So the challenge, here, is finding a balance between saying what I want to say, and not going off on too many tangents, and if I continue this paragraph any further I’ll probably end up doing just that.

Ultimately, I decided to narrow my focus down to two particular issues– #205 and #206 of GL v2. For those of you, like myself, who have trouble associating a random number with a random event, these two issues mark the beginning of the Hal/Arisia romance. They also skeeved me out but good, which is why I decided they were worthy of analysis.

Interestingly enough, upon re-read, I found that #205 and #206 were not irredeemably skeevy material. The events in the story do make for a very problematic set-up, but the climax of the story presents a choice: Hal and Arisia’s choice to pursue a relationship. Unfortunately (and I say this from over here on my feminist soapbox) I think Englehart ended up making the wrong choice for the characters.

But, before I’d like to get into the ends of the story, I’d like to discuss its means.
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I didn’t answer Ragnell’s survey. The truth is, I’m not sure what some of my answers will be. I did find the results interesting.

Particularly the predominant emphasis on having an Earth-born female Green Lantern.

Why, I wondered, is this particularly necessary? There’s never been a female Flash for example. Some female speedsters but not a female Flash. And yet Flash manages to avoid the same accusations.

The thing is, there are a lot more notable female characters in the Green Lantern franchise than there are in almost any other superhero set. Batman has Batgirl (Oracle’s since moved to the Birds of Prey), Superman’s got Supergirl…Wonder Woman’s got a lot, but hell, she’s Wonder Woman.

But we…we get Carol Ferris, who, regardless of any other character assassination over the years, was a strong woman capable of matching Hal Jordan.

We have Brik, Boodika, Laira, Arisia, Katma Tui…women that were as important to the Corps during their times as Kilowog, Salakk, Kreon or Mogo.

We have characters like Harlequinn or Jade who might not appeal to everyone but still have many people who love them.

Yes, bad things happen. Yes, they’re disproportionately tied to women, but that’s not a solely Green Lantern thing but rather one tied to nearly any Superhero comic franchise. Is it right? No. But stop trying to make one group a scapegoat. The problem’s in the industry as a whole, and that’s what we should be targetting. Not just one book.

As for Earth-born Lanterns…well, fine, Jade’s gone. But have you considered:

The Lantern descendent of Kyle Rayner in the Legion of Superheroes (Post-Zero Hour) crossover is a young woman.

During Circle of Fire, three of the six “alternate Lanterns” were characterized as women, regardless of their ultimate origin.

A funny pseudo-Western/post-apocalyptic story in a Warrior annual had three female descendents of Guy Gardner fighting an evil female descendent of Hal Jordan. All of whom had rings.

Heck, if you count the Justice League issues, Ice once found herself using Guy’s ring, managing to use it in a way no one thought possible.

As a matter of fact, if you look at a lot of Green Lantern Elseworlds, you have a number of female, Earth-born Lanterns. Off the top of my head:

1001 Nights- Scharazade is a female Lantern that uses her ring to illustrate her stories.

Evil’s Might- Kyle Rayner is the main character of this Gangs of New York-style AU, but in the end, the one bearing the ring is suffragette Carol Ferris.

Heck, the Tangent Lantern was female too. Notable because her Lantern just washed up in the DCU proper.

Simply though, the Earth Lantern base is crowded. What with Hal, John, Guy and Kyle, there really isn’t room for another Earth-based girl Lantern out there. Not really.

Not without clearing the path, and I love the characters too much to want to go that direction.

But there’s a wide universe out there. And nothing says that the Earthman must always be the main character. Katma used to show up Hal with some frequency. Soranik is as much the star of Green Lantern Corps right now as Guy Gardner (and if you honestly think she’s dead right now, I’ve swampland in Florida to unload).

I genuinely believe, that when it comes to sheer possibility and potential, the Green Lantern concept is the greatest in the world. I think that the Green Lantern franchise gave birth to some of the greatest female characters in DC comics history, and to ignore that merely because they’re not from Earth is a crying shame.

et cetera