This is the master post for the Carol Danvers Appreciation special edition of the carnival. It’s basically Kelly Sue DeConnick’s fault.
Take a second to read through all the posts, because they’re fantastic. Big thanks to all our contributors, and everyone who shared links around.
So I was chatting about the debut issue of Captain Marvel on Twitter, and then suddenly I was setting up a roundtable discussion. It’s kind of mysterious, really. On Saturday, Skalja (FuckYeahSpiderWife), MeganB (ComicBookCandy), Liz, Valtyr, Alisdair, Cohen (Reign In Hell), and I got together and hashed out what we liked, loved and didn’t love, about Cap #1.
Yup, more Carol Appreciation. Just one more post to go after this one!
- Megan Byrd’s review of Captain Marvel #1
- Valtyr’s ode to Ultimate Carol
- Garrideb’s look at Carol and female friendship
Damalur of Fuck Yeah Carol Danvers hit me in my Carol feels with this one:
When I walked into my comics shop on Wednesday, the owner–goes by the name of Steve, rarely seen without his Captain America shirt–greeted me with, “Hey, Captain Marvel day!” I resisted the urge to respond with a grabbing motion and instead went to dig through his backstock. “You know,” he added, “I’ve been meaning to ask what it is that draws you to that character.”
I stammered out something along the lines of, “Well, you know, she–she has a cat named Chewbacca, and she’s a pilot and my mom’s a pilot, so–and I like that every time she’s knocked down, she gets back up. Um, also editorially.”
It’s difficult to pinpoint why we’re drawn to our favorites. Some combination of luck and timing? The characteristics her or she have collected from a dozen writers over fifty years? That one team-up with Wolverine? I didn’t pay much attention to Carol Danvers for the first decade of my sequential life, except in as much as she was a part of Rogue’s story. In fact, I didn’t pay her any attention at all until I was nineteen, off at my first year of college, suffering from depression and a whole host of related complications that looked worse on paper but were really nothing more than symptoms. I needed a hero.
Another day, another guest post! Carol Appreciation week(end) continues with an article about Carol Danvers’s relationship with other women.
One of the most insidious forms of sexism is the valuing of stories about men above stories about women. An obvious symptom of this is the gross outnumbering of male characters to female characters (in a list of Best Picture Oscar winners, in a list of television show leads, in a list of superhero comics, etc..,) but even when a female character is given the spotlight, there are many ways to keep men at the forefront.
This is why the third step of the Bechdel Test is so important; that moment when two women talk about something other than a man is a moment where women’s stories are being prioritized not only by the
script, but also by the fictional women who are interacting. It’s a sort of textual infinity mirror — women reflecting their struggles and goals back and forth at each other, to the very rare and refreshing exclusion of men’s stories.
Carol Danvers is a prime example of this phenomenon, because when we read a story about Carol Danvers, we are reading about a character who values and prioritizes the stories of women.1 In a character burdened with spotty feminist intentions and anti-feminist backlash, it is one of the purest and most beautifully feminist things about her.
But don’t take my word for it; here are five examples of Carol promoting the stories of women.
So we’re doing a series of Carol Appreciation guest posts this weekend. First up is Valtyr, with her undying love for Ultimate Carol:
“Please stay within indicated boundaries and with your handlers during the red condition, or I will arrest you, no matter how many times you outrank me.”
We meet her as Captain Carol Danvers, Air Force, director of security at a spaceflight facility. She’s pleasingly efficient, and when unscheduled alien interventions occur, Mahr-Vehl (the Ultimate answer to Captain Marvel) wakes up with a lump of plastique explosive on his neck. They couldn’t get his weird alien suit off, so that seemed like the next best option.
She’s very goal-oriented and ruthless. It’s a pretty familiar trait in Ultimates; I like it in Captain America, and I like it in Fury. One of the reasons I like it so much in Carol is that she’s not superhuman. In Ultimate Fantastic Four, she’s flown up high and then dropped, and she calls her location in for an airstrike while plummeting to her doom. It’s easy for Cap to be calm in those circumstances; he’ll be fine. Carol fully expects to be a pancake in the next twenty seconds, and she’s still doing her job as best she can. (Spoiler: someone catches her. But the principle stands.)
Back to Mahr-Vehl. She interrogates him, she doesn’t buy his story, she gets in his face and tells him it’s come clean with her, or go to SHIELD for “interrogation on the surgical level”.
He comes clean. She has the most beautiful air of disgusted acceptance. A previously unknown alien military is infiltrating the base, and she takes it in stride.
Megan Byrd of Comic Book Candy reviewed Captain Marvel #1 for us—check it out!
The character formerly known as Ms. Marvel, though having been introduced over forty years ago, has had a rocky road through obscurity. She’s been in Avengers, Defenders, and X-books, with long absences in between. Though she’s had a larger presence in the the Marvel U since the early 2000′s, her biggest claims to fame are still a fight that gave Rogue her powers and a story line where she gives birth to her rapist (only in the silver age). With two ongoing series spanning thirty years, why hasn’t the female namesake of Marvel stuck? Ask any casual reader to describe the character of Ms. Marvel and they will probably describe her various costumes, her job titles, or the aforementioned moments of her history. That’s not to say there haven’t been writers that have done her justice, but no one version stands out as definitive amongst a wider audience.
Captain Marvel #1, written by Kelly Sue DeConnick
SHE’S BACK! The ‘Mightiest’ of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes! Ace pilot. Legendary Avenger. 100% pure bad-a$$. Carol Danvers has a new name, a new mission … and all the power she needs to make her life a living hell. Guest starring Captain America.
Serious retro feel.