Random thoughts and bits of life of a coffee loving artist

Monday, April 20, 2015

Not Your Typical Hero

With the entertainment industry remaking and rebooting everything from super heroes to cult classics from my youth, I can't help but feel disappointed in Hollywood with their lack of originality. Then there is the fact that I'm finding myself disconnected from the rest of my geeky and nerdy peers. I watch how they are upset with how there is no Wonder Woman movie at the moment and their disappointment towards some other movie adaptations of comic and video game characters and can't help but think to myself that I really don't see what they do. Even as a child, I actually never liked comic book characters, or at least your standard fictional female personas. Not that there is anything wrong with the characters that people enjoy but I am not personally drawn to them. It's as if the writers at Marvel and DC, no disrespect to either company, are unable to find a balance in depicting a strong woman who may have a sensitive side. It's either one extreme or another then once the character has lost their appeal or the writers are not sure how to further develop them, they are killed off in some dramatic way. Of course the same is true with male characters as well. Even in other genres, I find the same problem so when I do finally find a character that I like, I discover that for the most part other people see them as an after thought.

With this in mind, I thought that perhaps it would be a good idea for me to explain who I see as my fictional female heroes. Of course I really don't have many but those who I can call heroes are dear to me. 

Nichelle Nichols as Nyota Uhura
Star Trek 
Since I grew up with reruns of shows from the 60s and 70s, I would have to say that my first major fictional female would have to be Nichelle Nichols's character of Communications Officer Nyota Uhura. As a mixed ethnic child growing up, to see that there was not only a beautiful woman of color on my TV screen but knowing that she was in such a powerful position gave me hope for being destined for something better then a desk job. Why did I think that she had a more important job then captain or commander? It was because she was in charge of listening and giving information. Without that kind of flow of information, events that the Enterprise crew found themselves in could have easily been much worth then they were. 

Lysette Anthony as Princess Lyssa 
One of my favorite 1980s films, Krull was just loaded with strong male characters and typical cheesy affects that was common with low budget films of the time. However, though her appearance was minimal in the story, Princess Lyssa ( Lysette Anthony ) made me root for her through out the film. Sporting a massive amount of curly hair (I'm not ashamed that I was thrilled to see that there was someone with the same amount of poof that I had at the time), Lyssa was clever, quick witted, and did well to resist against great temptations, I remember telling her image on my TV screen to not give the evil force the power that she held. 

Michelle Pfeiffer as Isabeau

Another of my favorite 1980s films, I enjoyed the witty and clever thief Philippe but I found myself looking up to Michelle Pfeiffer's character Isabeau. Though not given that much screen time and was soft spoken for the most part, the gentle female character had a strength and determination that I greatly admired. To see her stick to what she believed in a lengthy dark time in her life to be rewarded in the end was uplifting to me and gave me hope that if I stuck to what I worked to do that I too would be successful. 

Whoopi Goldberg as Guinan
Star Trek - Next Generation
When my parents showed me Next Generation, I remember enjoying the various episodes and how the characters interacted with each other and evolved. Of course there was one character that I found myself drawn to who sadly, in my opinion, wasn't explored enough. Whoopi Goldberg's character of Guinan was mysterious, kind, and with a hint of a warrior's strength hidden behind a mother-like eye. The best way to describe why I looked up to her as a character was that she had the sense of a medicine woman or priestess. There was a feeling of awe when I would see her in an episode and wanted to learn more about her but her appearances were too few and her background was never explored. 

Xena: Warrior Princess
Renee O'Connor (left) as Gabrielle
Lucy Lawless (right) as Xena
Since her first appearance in the Hercules series, Xena (Lucy Lawless) was a captivating female character. Though her dark background, she was shown as a strong female character who worked at overcoming her past. Gabrielle (Renee O'Connor) was the perfect balance to Xena, being sweet, educated, and willing to learn how best to overcome her own difficulties. For a lack of a better comparison, Xena was the sword while Gabrielle was the sheath. While growing up, I looked forward to watching these two on a weekly basis. As the series progressed, it was always so fascinating to me to watch how the two characters evolved, dealt with heartache of loss, became closer, and showed that even in the darkest of times that the best way to get through it is with a friend willing to be by your side.