Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Friday, May 04, 2007

More on the Earth-25 JSA:

I'm probably not going to let go of this idea for a while. It's hard to think of blogposts every day, damnit. So now that I've got a nice topic like this, I'm gonna milk it.

It's interesting really, that when it comes to the characters' personalities, there aren't necessarily that many changes that need to be made.

Some members of the Earth-25 JSA:

Green Lantern: Alana Scott is probably the most powerful heroine of the time period. Much like her male compatriot, she was a railroad worker (though perhaps not the engineer) when she crossed paths with the starheart. She would be very similar in personality with her Earth-52 counterpart, though possibly even more stern/unyielding. She's a woman trying to prove herself in a man's world, to use the cliche, and she can't afford to show any weakness.

The real bit of manuvering would have to be with regards to Obsidian and Jade, since it's a lot more plausible for a father to never know he had children than for a mother to not know that she gave birth. What may have happened though, is that the unbalanced Jekyll/Hyde (who took the name from the Stevenson novel of course, after the fact) took the babies and vanished. Unlike the unwitting Alan, Alana would have spent a good portion of her life searching fruitlessly for her children.

the Flash: Jane Williams (née Garrick) sought to follow in Marie Curie's footsteps, inhaled some noxious fumes and got all quick. The nice thing about Jane and her husband John is that their relationship probably isn't incredibly different from the relationship between Joan and Jay. Unlike Jay, Jane probably retired from her scientific career to become a homemaker. She provides a more traditionally maternal balance to Alana as the parental figures of the JSA.

Wildcat: Theodora "Ted" Grant's past diverges from Ted's in that, as a woman, she would not have been encouraged or allowed to compete in men's matches. She would definitely not have left it like that, however, and would have fought for the chance to prove herself. (She may have worked as a ring girl and general assistant while convincing the men to give her a chance.) She probably did get the opportunity to fight, but despite her talents, would have been treated more as a novelty act than a serious fighter. Fortunately, she would be inspired by the Green Lantern, to take up superheroics.

At some point she would have had a son and put it up for adoption. (As for personality...he's disturbingly turned into a boxing version of Samantha from Sex in the City, in my head. Which is more than a little weird.)

Sandman: Socialite Wendy Dodds probably isn't much changed from Wesley. She's still a socialite, still spent time abroad, and still ends up shacking up with a novelist. Eventually, Daniel Belmont ends up with custody of his young niece, Sandra. As he is not suited for parenthood, he turns the little girl over to Wendy, who could, presumably, raise her to be a proper lady. (And also, teach her to climb buildings with wirepoons) Wendy probably is not any smarter than her counterpart, however, she carries off the purple and gold better.

the Atom: Alice Pratt probably isn't really any different from Al. She's tiny. She's angry. She punches things. You can't really go wrong there.

However, for obvious reasons, she could not pretend to be the mother of Samuel Knight's son, so that would take some fixing around.

I'm not really sure what I'd do with the other characters yet. Any suggestions?


  • At May 04, 2007 9:40 AM, Blogger Steven said…

    You've left out my favorite JSA'er, The Spectre.

    Same origin, but instead of Jim Corrigan coming back as God's wrath, it is his fiancee, Clarice Winston, who was also killed by the same gangsters on the same night.

    As the Spectre, she's pretty much the same omnipotent force of terror, but as Clarice she's very different. Jim Corrigan went back to being a cop, pretending he was still alive. But Clarice can't do that. She has family and close friends who notice she isn't quite all there. After time she has to tell the truth to her loved ones that they've been living with a ghost.

    And what of Corrigan? Well, he went to Hell for being the bad cop that he was. And when he finds out his fiancee got a second chance at life as well as almighty power, he comes back with demonic back-up to take what is "rightfully" his.

  • At May 04, 2007 10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Mid-nite rights itself because the defining characterist is the blindness not gender.

    With the Hawks' simply flipping who knows about the past lives would make things quite interesting!

    And when this Earth's "Golden Girl" goes sand monster there's a whole new "Mother Earth" angle to explore.

    steven: that is a #$%@ing awesome idea!

  • At May 04, 2007 11:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "the Flash: Jane Williams (née Garrick) sought to follow in Marie Curie's footsteps, inhaled some noxious fumes and got all quick."

    What I want to know is this: Was Jane Williams puffing on a cigarette just prior to knocking over the hard water set-up? Her counterpart Jay Garrick did just that way back in Flash Comics #1.

  • At May 04, 2007 11:02 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    I am stunned.

  • At May 04, 2007 2:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Jenny Thunder - played up as one colossal dumb blonde, 7th Daughter of a 7th Daughter, controller of the mystic blue Thunderbolte.

    Why blue? Well, if Johnny's was pink and we're switching genders all around...

    And she eventually teams up with martial artist Daniel Drake - aka The Black Mallard.

  • At May 04, 2007 2:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Kalinara: Just thought of something perfect to help model this idea, "Sliders" had an episode where the group traveled to an alternate Earth where woman were dominant. It even had Hillary as president:) DISCLAIMER; NOT making political statement of any kind. Anyway it was explored really well with the male dominatesd group suddenly haveing to depend on their one female companion. Favorite Quote (an office discussion of why women are/should be in power) "Woman cycle once a month, MEN cycle every 15 SECONDS."

    See you tomorrow for Spiderman 3 Kalinara! And remember Y'all Saturday is also FREE COMICBOOK DAY. ENJOY!:)

  • At May 04, 2007 2:22 PM, Blogger David C said…

    BTW, while it's true that just "flipping" the entire Earth into a matriarchy is kinda pointless, it might be interesting to show how the example of these heroic young women shapes the 20th Century in different ways following their debut.

    On another angle, I was just thinking about how Johnny Thunder could be a fun character. Johnny's defining characteristic is basically being good-hearted but dimwitted, which leads to a counterpart who might fit a classic stereotype in other circumstances, but....

    Young blonde aspiring actress Jenny Thunder's identity, "dance hall floozy," was a little unfair, but... well, Broadway or Hollywood stardom didn't seem to be in the cards for this gal.

    Clumsiness and a poor singing voice were only overcome by two other prominent attributes to get her intermittent work in New York's smaller nightclubs, and work as a "cigarette girl" at other times. But her personality and willingness to try anything (some would say "gullibility") gave her some appeal to male audiences on top of her two attributes.

    Then, one day, while Jenny was belting out the popular number "Say, You Kid," she met an astonishing new acquaintance - a pretty, pink living lady thunderbolt!

    Jenny only dimly recalled a ceremony from her girlhood in Badhnesia, but the Thunderbolt seemed friendly and helpful, albeit hard to rely on. As Jenny notes, "Say, you can never tell what that t-bolt gal's gonna do from one minute to the next!"

  • At May 04, 2007 2:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    If you don't mind being a little sadistic you can use one of my personal favorites for giving a woman a child she never knew about, Crooked doctor tells her the child died during birth/surgery/intensive care and spirits it to whoever/wherever is artistically convenient.

    I don't know of anyone actually using this plot device, but I wouldn't be surprized, and it would sure as hell give a character motivation if they find out about it after the fact ;)


  • At May 04, 2007 3:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Lex Luther on Smallville just used it.

  • At May 04, 2007 3:33 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    These are great, guys! You're much better at them than I am!

    Sally: stunned?

  • At May 04, 2007 4:06 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    david: I was thinking about that actually. Considering how much of the fifties' gender conservatism was a backlashed reaction from the WWII-era independence, it may be that having so many female heroes might be more of a long term setback.

    (This could be compared to how abortion only really became a religious controversy after the feminist movement).

    On the other hand, greater conservative backlash could have led to yet greater feminist momentum in the 60s/70s.

    Which means honestly, I have no idea. :-) But it's fun to brainstorm about it!

  • At May 04, 2007 4:12 PM, Blogger David C said…

    What about the All-Star Squadron?
    Liberty Lad and Jenny Quick probably wouldn't need much alteration, though Jenny the sometimes bitchy hothead might be fun.

    How to do Robot-Girl? "Commander Steel of the Woman Marines?" The Shining Lady of Victory?

    Ooh, Miss Terrific, Woman of a Thousand Talents could be a fun character, because she's demonstrably better than just about any man!

    Teen hero Irma "Iron" Munro? Hourgirl? And, of course, the Red Bee?

  • At May 04, 2007 4:20 PM, Blogger David C said…

    The way I was thinking, the "backlash against the backlash" might be a lot stronger when a number of women aren't just building tanks and trucks and airplanes... but can also pick them up and throw them at you!

    And there's a difference, in that the men can go back to the factories and replace the Rosie the Riveters... but replacing the Green Lantern or the Flash? Not so easy, and I don't think they're planning on just fading away.... (I'd ditch the silly "McCarthyism" plot here - and on "Earth-2" and "New Earth" for that matter, if I had my druthers!)

    There'd be an awful lot of prominent, independent role models for young girls to look up to!

  • At May 04, 2007 6:01 PM, Blogger Will Staples said…

    Instead of "Alana Scott," maybe "Ellen?" It's phonetically closer, I think.

  • At May 04, 2007 8:59 PM, Blogger Neil said…

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • At May 04, 2007 9:02 PM, Blogger Neil said…

    Theresa Edwina Knight: As a girl, Theresa was always misunderstood. She was a complete klutz at the things a woman "should" know, like sewing, cooking, and cleaning the house (by this I mean things a woman was expected to know at the time, not things I think they should do well at).

    What she was good with was mechanical things. Much like the elves in the fairy tale about the shoemaker, she would often tinker with inventions that her husband, Ted, left around, half finished, abandoned in favor of his first love, art.

    In trying to improve a flashlight, she stumbled upon a way to draw power from the stars. Like always, she left it mostly done, inspiring Ted to finish it, in order to boost her husband's ego, making him believe he was the one who made it.

    When the War hit and Ted was drafted, she took the identity of Starwoman, protecting Opal City from crime with her Cosmic-Torch (rod, to me, sounds too "masculine," for obvious reasons).

    Eventually, she gave birth to Danielle and Jaclyn. Danielle strove to be like her mother, and, when she was old enough, was the first in the family to figure out that Theresa was Starwoman (though Ted might have figured out earlier and kept it to himself).

    Jaclyn seemed to favor her father, but admired her mother's quiet determination. She was devastated when Ted died, which led to fight after fight with her mother.

  • At May 05, 2007 2:24 AM, Blogger Unknown said…

    Neil, while a cool scenario, doesn't quite work for one reason; Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A woman wouldn't be allowed to contribute to the manhatten project, and so much of Robinson's version of Ted was the residual guilt of what his discoveries did, and the realization that anything could be corrupted and life is very fragile, which was compounded when his girlfriend was killed by the mist with cooperation of her Father. Finally realizing this and the need for heroes is what put him back in the costume and defined his ethic as a hero.

    I'm not exactly sure how you would translate this maybe having an invention of hers used by an enemy to destroy a factory?

    But Jack would be very easy to traslate and whenever I think of a woman Shade I think of a black-clad victorian woman holding a parasol, but in the most imposing way possible

  • At May 05, 2007 3:22 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    This isn't really in my area of expertise, but I can say that there definitely were women involved (or approached to be involved) with the Manhattan project.

    Lise Meitner whose work was instrumental in the discovery of nuclear fission was actually offered a position on the project but turned them down, because she wanted nothing to do with the bomb, but that doesn't change the fact that she was asked.

    There's also an interesting looking book on the subject here. I've never read it myself, I admit.

    But definitely, there's no reason Theresa Knight couldn't share Ted's angst.

  • At May 05, 2007 3:29 AM, Blogger Unknown said…

    ... wow, well thanks for putting me in my place, though that comment caused me to pick up some of my old issues, which is rarely a bad thing

  • At May 05, 2007 3:34 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Happens to all of us sometimes. :-)

    And reading old issues is NEVER a bad thing.

    also, I LOVE the image of the Shade as a victorian lady with a parasol. Especially if she has one of those brooch things.

  • At May 05, 2007 10:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    For your gender-reversed Wildcat, how about making Theodora a wrestler instead of a boxer. That way she could compete under a mask as a guy. Maybe the Wildcat costume was her wrestling outfit a la Ultimate Spider-Man or Stan Lee's reinterpretation of Batman.

    Just a thought.

  • At May 05, 2007 10:35 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    I am stunned, in that these are some fabulous ideas, that would never have occured to me.

  • At May 05, 2007 1:52 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Everyone DOES have great ideas here, don't they? :-)

  • At May 05, 2007 2:09 PM, Blogger Neil said…

    Actually, given my "shoemaker fairy tale" inspired idea behind Theresa's inventions, it could be that she steered Ted towards some key component of a nuclear bomb. Thus, Ted thinks he did the work himself and Theresa keeps her help quiet, feeling guilty for both her contribution to the Manhattan Project and her husband's (mostly misplaced) guilt.

  • At May 05, 2007 11:07 PM, Blogger Erich said…

    Here's a Golden Age character who could have an interesting Earth-25 counterpart, even if he was never actually in the JLA: Captain Triumph.

    When Michael Gallant died in the crash of a sabotaged plane, the Fates granted him a second chance to "live" through his twin brother Lance. Whenever Lance touches his T-shaped birthmark, Michael's spirit enters his body, and the merged brothers gain superhuman powers as Captain Triumph.

    The Earth-25 twist: Rather than a simple reversal from two twin brothers to two twin sisters, Captain Triumph could be a brother-and-sister team.

    The big question is, which permutation would be more interesting: The sister's ghost occupying the brother's body (Lance and Michelle), or vice versa (Michael and Lana)? And what happens to the living sibling's body when they transform into Captain Triumph? Is it simply a matter of the ghost possessing the host body, or does the host actually physically transform into a duplicate of the other sibling?

  • At May 07, 2007 7:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Just an idea, but in this world most superbeings are women. Maybe superheroics would be dismissed as "women's work"? Could make the wonder woman analouge's job harder.

  • At May 08, 2007 6:36 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    It's a neat idea, but I have to admit, I personally would have to severely suspend my disbelief that an otherwise pretty "normal", patriarchal world (like ours in a sense), would relegate a martial activity like superheroics to women.

    This Earth, like ours, would probably be far more discouraging of women in that sort of role, given concerns of weakness, fragility and childbirth. (The superheroines would face a lot of similar issues as women serving in the military here would, I'd imagine, which would be interesting to explore)

    It would make a good notion for ANOTHER gender-swapped Earth though! :-)

  • At May 08, 2007 2:27 PM, Blogger David C said…

    The thing is, I don't think this Earth *would* be very discouraging, because there'd be such an overwhelming majority of female supers.

    It'd be like, to analogize... suppose through some odd quirk of human evolution, women had, on average, much, much better vision than men. As military aviation develops, it becomes clear that (as in reality) superior vision is a crucial element in making good combat pilots. There might be some resistance, but there'd be a huge amount of pressure to get women in uniform and flying. A country that did *not* do this might find itself at a huge military disadvantage.

    It'd be the same with supers, I think - there'd be lots of qualms and hand-wringing, but the practical benefits of encouraging female supers would be obvious.

  • At May 08, 2007 5:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    No, I was thinking the male supers would have the trouble. Might be seen as a girly job.

    Would be different.

  • At May 08, 2007 10:01 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    It doesn't make sense that superheroics would be considered a "girly job" though when you consider what traits are considered masculine or feminine traditionally.

    Strength, martial prowess, control are all considered to be 'manly' traits, passivity, weakness and emotionality are considered 'female' traits.

    It's not really plausible that a patriarchal society would relegate fighting as 'women's work' without a severe overhaul of what's considered masculine or feminine. Which would then completely negate the point of e-25, which is the traditional superheroes as women and how that'd work.

    David, i think that a modern set of superheroines wouldn't have trouble, but a JSA era set, the forerunners as fighters and combatants probably would.

    And there are still people who irrationally argue that women shouldn't be in wars, regardless of ability, because it endangers the possibility of giving birth. (Imagine for a moment what the child carried by Superwoman might be capable of.) That probably would be a crackpot position to take, but someone out there would probably take it. :-)


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