Women in Refrigerators Women in Refrigerators


Few writers have commanded the sort of respect among their peers that Steve Englehart has. His runs on many titles have long been considered definitive, including Batman (in "Detective Comics"), "The Avengers," "Justice League of America," and many others. He also created "NightMan" and "Coyote." His web site features a series of young adventure novels, "The DNAgers," co-authored with his wife, Terry.

As a final note, he also authored the DC crossover "Millennium," which opened my eyes to the previously-concealed fact that my older sister is a Manhunter. (GS)

Here are the characters I wrote who suffered their fate after I left them:

Arisia (dead)
Katma Tui (dead)
Hawkwoman (depowered)
Electrocute (dead)
Nova (Frankie Raye)
Jet of the
New Guardians (died in battle after contracting HIV)
Hellcat (dead)
Mockingbird (dead)
Mantis (dead, I think)
Scarlet Witch (children 'die'/vanish/are lost because they are
figments of her imagination)
Here are the characters I handed fate to:
Ms. Marvel II (became a monster in Fantastic Four)
And I'd point out that Ms. Marvel *liked* the change because it gave her power; the Thing disliked it because he couldn't imagine how anyone *could* like it.

The answer to your question is pretty simple: Ever since the original Captain Marvel/Superman, most comics *characters* have been arrested male adolescents, because most comics readers are male adolescents. And male adolescents fear strong women.

I like all sorts of characters, including strong women (and weak women, and weak men, and gays, and androids, and big green monsters, and every possible permutation thereof). So I'm as upset as anyone else at how people kill my strong women as soon as I let them go; it has been really blatant. None of those in that first list above would have suffered those fates if I'd been writing them. I particularly miss Arisia, Katma Tui, Mantis, and the Scarlet Witch's twins.

I had hoped to be an agent of change over the years--to bring a healthier approach to women to the field--but obviously I've had little success.