Tuesday, February 09, 2010
I saw my first Superhero when I was seven. She wore a bikini with stars, and
her breastplate was like that of an eagle, its wings outstretched, just like
her arms, covered from wrist to elbow in metal. She wore a tiara and carried
a lasso and she rocked my world.
Wonder Woman is the ultimate icon of feminine power, but I didn't admire her
because she fought alongside Superman and Batman. Nor did I admire her just
because she was beautiful, powerful and brave and had awesome hair. I admired
(and still do) her because she reminded me of something. Of someone. But that's
another story for another time.
And then, when I was nine I had my first glimpse of the things that may or may
not have influenced the whole superhero mythos. Things so old they may have
inspired greek myths of titans. All I know is one night, when I was a kid, I
saw a being that was no ordinary woman.
I was coming across the yard, from my grandmother's side of the house to my mother's.
It was late fall and I knew the door would be locked. It always was, because even if
I did call my mother to open it, it still took her a million years to come downstairs. Or so it seemed. I think that when you are a kid everything seems slower
than it actually is.
All I know is that in the space of time it took for my mother to come downstairs, I rang the bell like a mad child. Insanely, feverishly, and fearfully. Because peering
at me from the gate, down the hill and out into the street was a woman in black. She
was covered from head to toe in a slick black material that looked like liquid and
under the street lights she seemed almost purple. Violet even.
Her entire face was covered, like a ninjas, save for her long ponytail that seemed to jut out from a hole in the back of her head piece/mask. In the mere seconds it took for me to blink she managed to speed from one end of the gate to the other. An entire
span of 20 feet or so...in less than 5 seconds.
Needless to say, I was scared shitless. So scared I pressed on the doorbell till my finger went numb. And then, just like that, this woman/thing zoomed across the street in a streak of speed reminiscent of the Flash...and up the tree she went. How, I don't know. She could have flown. All I do remember is the tree shaking violently, until a swift smack knocked me back into the moment.
My mother was standing there, pissed off and wondering why I was ringing the bell so frantically. The woman/thing was gone but the memory I have of her to this day is as fresh as the last comic book I read (Buffy Season 8, ahem). In fact, she's the reason I got into comic books in the first place. Whatever or whoever she was, she wanted me to see her, and to this day, when I walk through a crowd of people, I search their faces carefully, trying to distinguish the regular Joe's and Jane's from the people who just don't belong.
Do I believe in Superheroes? Never say never.