Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Woman’s Wasteland Month

For Women’s History Month I was toying with several different topics like my favorite female characters or stories of all time, but that theme is just way too big and overlaps too many other future topics. So, since I’ve been itching to talk about more post-apocalyptic stuff and as this blog is called Atomic Romance; I decided to list my favorite Female Wanders of the Wasteland. It was hard to whittle this down but here goes:

Princess Ariel (not the mermaid) is powerful sorceress that fights evil wizards in the Post-Apocalyptic cartoon: Thundarr the Barbarian. This show only lasted two seasons from 1980- 1982, but it is my favorite animated TV show of all time, and Ariel is one of the reasons why. You see, she’s the brains of a trio of adventures that wander the planet, freeing the world from tyranny. Her companions, Thundarr, and Ookla, are a little dense, so she gives them plenty of guidance. Ariel has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of earth’s past and great magic powers that have saved her group on more than one occasion. Also, she added some nice diversity to Saturday mornings, as she’s not white, but an Asian/Indian. The show was never specific about her origins not that it matters. Princess Ariel is smart, has magic powers, and roams a mutated world gone mad, what’s not to love about her. (note: I used the toy pic as there weren't any other good pics on the web)

Nadine Cross, a haunted survivor of a devastating superflu that swept the world and the maddened mate of Randall Flagg, in the Stand. I found her character the most compelling in Stephen King’s book and Laura San Giacomo nailed the character with her portrayal of Nadine Cross in the Stand mini-series. Once in a great while (i.e. almost never) I read something and the image in my mind matches with the TV/Film interpretation. Nadine Cross is one of those rare occurrences. It’s eerie but then Nadine’s reality is one of loss, terror, madness and death, so how could I not be drawn to her. Just look at the picture, man! Scary and alluring all in one.

Stilletta: A post-nuke, cyberpunk bitch with an assassin’s skill and dangerous looks. She appeared in the short-lived Hex comic from the 1980s, which was hugely popular in Japan and Europe. When the western hero Jonah Hex was hurled through time to a horrific post-apocalyptic future, he finally met a woman who was his equal in dealing death and one who could sooth his tortured soul. Stilletta fought all kinds of mutants, cyborgs and road warriors while looking hot as hell during the Hex series. She was at home wandering the desert or fighting in an urban landscape proving she was hardcore the whole time. I wish the Hex comic series had lasted longer than 18 issues so we'd have more Stilletta, as I’d choose her over any man to help me survive the wastelands.

Jessica 6 from Logan’s Run. Yeah, she made a big impact on me as a kid. Her world was a safe protected place where every desire is met. There is just one catch though; you only get to live to be 30. Despite having the good life in a disco dome, Jessica knew something was wrong. Idling the days away with pleasure in an environment that looks like a shopping mall until you get blown up is not any kind of real existence. I like to think of Jessica 6 as a comment on vapid consumer culture and the rebellion against it. Better to force one’s way out into the unknown and discover a collapsed world than live a short groovy existence of banality. Plus, I liked the fact that Jessica 6 had a realistic body, like someone I could actually meet and she wanted to have kids. See people were grown in test tubes in the Disco Dome; blah give me Jessica 6’s way.

Dr. Alison Mann from Y the Last Man. It’s tough for her being half-Japanese and half-Chinese, but then add being a lesbian and “bam” she’s out the door. So out the door that she runs away to the U.S. and changes her name from Ayuko Matsumori to Alison Mann just to piss off her Japanese father. But things go from bad to worse when all the men in the world die from a plague (except one) and Dr. Mann thinks its all her fault because of her failed experiments with self-cloning. She dedicates herself to the saving the human race and tries really hard to not let all the nookie around distract her from her mission. She fails at that but she’s only human. With the help of the Yorick, the last man, and Agent 355, Dr. Alison Mann may yet save the world. A woman who loves women is trying to bring back men. No matter our sexual orientation Dr. Mann knows we all need each other.

Nova from Planet of the Apes: This goes with the duh category, what fanboy wouldn’t get hot under the collar seeing the gorgeous Nova roaming the wastelands. But Nova is more than just a curvy cavewoman; she’s the proof that the human race is worth saving. Her capacity for love and affection demonstrates that while humans have devolved into near animals they could come back. Plus she isn’t totally out of it as she chooses the smartest guy around as her mate that being the astronaut Taylor from the past, and as Commander Oefelein has shown, those astronauts sure got the right stuff if you know what I mean. Bringing the human race back didn’t quite work out since everybody ends up getting blown up in Beneath the Planet of the Apes but Nova represents how sad that really was. What’s extra cool is I met Linda Harrison, the actress who played Nova, a few years ago at a comic book convention.

Mother Sarah: usually when I think post-apocalyptic, I think mad Max or some such. But Mother Sarah breaks the mold in Katsuhiro Otomo’s The Legend of Mother Sarah. The earth has been devastated by ecological collapse. Most Humans had been living in space stations above the planet until a terrorist attack forces humanity back to the surface. Mother Sarah journeys the wastes looking for her children, which she was separated from during the evacuation. She brings nurturing and tenderness to the harsh world she finds herself in, but she has more than enough strength to defend herself. Just think of The Legend of Mother Sarah as the opposite of Fist of the North Star.

Jet Girl from Tank Girl. When I was younger I would have said the crazy wild tank girl was the one that would light my fire but as the years have gone by I realized that Jet Girl is the real ticket. She’s smart, attractive, and has a jetfighter to blow away the bad guys. Tank Girl is the kinda chick you fool around with while Jet Girl is the kind girl you marry. Plus I think I like Naomi Watts looks better with dark hair.

Princess Nausicaä from Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. What can I say about this character from Studio Ghibli that hasn’t been said? She’s a great character from a great film. Princess Nausicaä lives in a post-apocalyptic world 1000 years after the great burn were most of the earth is enveloped in toxic fungi forests with horrid giant insects. As a thoughtful leader of her people she strives to tame the giant insects of the toxic forest and defend her home from aggressive neighbors, Nausicaä seems almost mythic in stature despite her youth and she is indeed inspired by two myths. One is the Japanese story of the "the princess who loved insects" and the other is the Bernard Evslin version of the odyssey's Nausicaa. The best thing is, if the animated movie doesn’t give you enough Princess Nausicaä, you can read her continued story in manga form, which was also created Miyazaki.

Rosa Winter: in a world were America’s economy has collapsed and the environment is in shambles, the United States finds itself geopolitically isolated for it’s past greed. Sergeant Rosa Winter, half Anglo half Mexican, navigates what’s left of her country while confronting Emanuel Santana, a Hopi Indian on a vision quest to kill the four monsters, and Rosa’s past lover. Rosa appeared throughout Timothy Truman’s Scout comic book series, which has recently been reprinted by Dynamite Entertainment. As an Army ranger she was my first visual experience of a woman in uniform trained for combat. Rosa also holds the distinction of being the first fully nude character that I ever saw in a comic book. It was presented in a flashback sequence when both her and Emanuel were young lovers and it was very tastefully done. The Scout comic blew my teenage mind and I realized that you could tell very adult stories in comics. I guess Rosa Winter was an important milestone on the road to manhood if you know what I mean.

Honorable Mention

Hannah Dundee: a pulp adventuress who fights dinosaurs in the Xenozoic Era

Axa: A porny heroine who finds her destiny outside the safely her domed city to become the ultimate barbarian woman of the wastelands

The Warrior Woman: She had no name but she kicked ass until she went down fighting in Mad Max 2: the Road Warrior

Helen from Waterworld, global warming never looked so dam good

Alice from Resident Evil: Looks like the third movie will give us that zombie apocalypse we’ve been looking for

Kidda proves she’s the best in The Blood of Heroes

Krysty Wroth: that Gaia worshiping redhead from the Deathlands books, which I haven’t read but I keep meaning to.

Tate from the Warrior series by Donald E. Mcquinn, tough as nails marine revived from suspended animation into a world reduced to tribalism.

Trinity: the best part of the Matrix, including the effects, plus she must really have superpowers to get real emotions out of Keanu Reeves



Pandabonium said...

You said, "Idling the days away with pleasure in an environment that looks like a shopping mall until you get blown up" - isn't that the American way?

I have a favorite. I know you're going to say she isn't a "Wander of the Wasteland", to which I say "what greater wasteland is there than a high school campus these days?"

She is a character created for television that was later featured in comic books - you even mention her in the Comic Book Show post: Isis. "Secrets of Isis" as you no doubt know aired in the 70's. Adrea Thomas is a high school science teacher who found an ancient Egypt amulet with which she can turn into the goddess Isis. Rather than "kick ass" she would use her powers to stop people from doing wrong and teach them to change their behavior.

The series will be available this year on DVD.

Joel Bryan said...

What a fantastic list! Funny Nova should be on there... when I was first figuring out this crazy thing we call "the Internet," I got hooked on eBay and ended up with 4 autographed photos of Linda Harrison.

She had that big an impact on my personal development. Enough about that though...

I may have to make a list, but there'd be several duplicates from yours. Although I'd put Hannah Dundee in the write-up part and add both Hopey Glass and Dani Moonstar.

Thanks for at least giving us a Hannah shout-out. I often forget about her and she's a great character. Smarter than Jack Tenrec!

Seymour said...

I can't believe you left out Major Motoko Kusangi from "Ghost in the Shell". I'm sure its an easily explained oversite, but come on.

The Major is the best female character in anime and would give 'She Hulk' a run for her money in terms of combat ability.

If you haven't been exposed to GITS, do yourself a favor and check her out.

Also, I'd like to vote for 'Grandma Ben' (Rose) from the "Bone" series by Jeff Smith as the best female hero of all time, bar none.

If you can outpace a racing cow when you're eighty and outpunch a fifty foot rat creature, then you're ready for the Big Times.

Seymour said...

Both these characters apply to the post-apocalypse brand as well, so don't sue me!

Dean Wormer said...

Mmmmmm Nova...

She'd make you forget the maniacs blew it up (damn them all to hell.)

Swinebread said...

panda yeah its totally the American Way see ya, in the dome…
As for Isis, I remember the show, barely… it was one of the better live action Saturday morning programs if I remember. Did you see my post on the Portland Comic Show? I had a nice chat with the producer of the Isis DVD Andy Mangels.

Joel It isn’t hard to get hooked on Linda Harrison that’s for sure… As for Hopey and Dani they are some of my favorite comic characters of all time… (Just not post-apocalyptic). As for Hannah, I wish Mark Schultz would finish Xenozoic Tales…

seymour yeah, Ghost in the Shell is a great movie, I own it. But for me, GITS is definitively in the cyberpunk genre, but you knew I was going to say that… Maybe I should have picked Junko Asagiri from Desert Punk… it’s a great post-apocalyptic anime series you might like.
As for ‘Grandma Ben’ she is indeed the best character of all time, but again for me, not part of the sci-fi post-apocalyptic theme I was going for, although I would agree that she is the survivor of a fantasy apocalypse. Hmmm that might be a good idea for a topic.

dean It wouldn’t be too bad if Nova were the only girl in town.

megomuseum said...

Mmmmm,Krysty Wroth was really hot in the Deathlands TV pilot.

I'd also mention Giara in "After the Fall of New York:

She-Hulk's Bitch said...

stick-she hulk in the desert and she's got my vote

Swinebread said...

megoI've never seen “After the Fall of New York”... I've heard it was cheesy goodness

Too bad that Deathlands TV movie wasn’t better.

SHB yeah whatever...

Joel Bryan said...

Wow... I stupidly overlooked the postapocalyptic theme! What the hell's the matter with me these days? Oh yeah, I'm dating someone and my brain's turned to tofu.


I always loved the 1997 cataclysms described in Thundarr's opening sequence.

Although I was never quite sure what the elemental was Princess of...

megomuseum said...

After the Fall of New York must be seen! It's like a mix of Escape from New York with a ton of Kamandi comics thrown in.

I'd also add the TV Jessica, Heather Menzies to this pile, no where near as hot as Agutter but still sexy.

Swinebread said...

Jonny me neither... maybe lust (yuk yuk)

mego I'll have to watch ATFONY was just scared it was bad bad and not bad good. Maybe they'll put out a logan's run set when the new movie comes out.

Liberality said...

I vote for Trinity too! She is super cool and can really kick ass.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe you left out Lt. Ripley from the Alien trilogy! Sigorney Weaver PWNED the role of the smart, strong and independent, while still tender/nurturing women in every way imaginable.
Good list though other than that!