Thursday, August 23, 2018


Today is a bit of a rough day for me. My mom passed away this past Christmas. Today is her birthday and it's the first birthday we'll have without her. Rather than wallow in pity or grieve her loss again, I decided to put some thoughts down into this blog. She always encouraged my writing and acting. Well, since I can't act out this type of thing (I don't even know what that means), instead I'll write a cool little tribute to her.

My mom was a big geek. My favorite memory of her is her taking me to see The Mask of Zorro. I thought the movie looked really cool but for my mom, she grew up loving the old Zorro TV show. To her, this was a huge deal. It was her childhood hero she could share with me. She was literally cheering and jumping up and down in her seat. At 11 years old, at the time I was super embarrassed, but looking back I realize how much I'm like her. I mean I was cheering during Batman Begins and The Avengers. Who am I to talk? (Sorry, mom haha)

This got me thinking that throughout comics, our favorite heroes have been inspired by their moms to not just be good people but to be heroes in the first place. In some cases, motherhood wasn't an option but the characters stepped up to take on the hardest job in the world. I'd like to share my thoughts on some of comic book's best moms.

Let's put aside any thoughts you might have on Man of Steel for a moment and instead focus on Lara. Lara was given a little bit more of a spotlight than she normally does in Superman adaptations. Usually, the stories focus more on the relationship between father and son, Jor El and Kal El, but this time Lara had a little bit more to do in that she is literally the one that sends Kal El to Earth. She agrees with Jor El that the system Krypton has in place is broken and they conceive their child naturally. Lara is a great mom because she's willing to not only have a child that will have free will to be whatever he wants, she's willing to save his life by sending him to a planet where he will be able to protect himself. Lara never gets much to do, but it says a lot that every story ends with her willing to sacrifice herself to save her only son.

Here's one you may not have heard of. In the recent Marvel comics as written by Brian Michael Bendis, before he moved to DC, Tony Stark discovered that he was adopted and took it upon himself to find his real parents. Turns out his mother was a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent/musician, now music producer living in London. His father was a Hydra agent trying to convince his mother, Amanda, to switch sides to Hydra and they would protect her and the baby. She wanted to keep the baby safe from Hydra so Howard Stark agreed to adopt the baby. Years later, Tony found her and they reunited. Then, as these things go, Tony fell into a coma at the end of Civil War II and Amanda took over Stark Industries.
It takes a brave woman to admit that she can't keep her child safe and is willing to let him go. Then to have him find her, she wants nothing more than to be a part of his life. In Dan Slott's new series Tony Stark: Iron Man, she remains a big part of the comic, supporting Tony with everything he does. Just like a loving mother should.

Those who know me know that more than any other comic Ultimate Spider-Man was my jam for many many years. More than any other Spider-Man story I wasn't just excited to read the fight scenes and the new interpretations of Spidey's rogues, but I loved the drama and the fun of the high school setting. Also, I found myself genuinely tearing up many times whenever Peter would interact with Aunt May. May is a character that is extremely integral to Spider-Man's adventures. In the Ultimate Comics she was portrayed as slightly younger than in the regular Marvel books. This was to "update" her I guess. Either way, more than I had ever seen, she was a fully fleshed out character. She had hopes, dreams, fears, all made that much more dramatic and scary when she found out her nephew was Spider-Man. She didn't take it well at first, but then after a long talk with Peter she saw him for the hero that he is and embraced her new relationship.
There's a scene where May has had a heart attack and is lying in the hospital and Peter pours his heart out to her saying that she's his mom and he thinks of himself as her son. She wakes up and hugs him and says, "My boy." I'm tearing up just writing that up. Their relationship was just about perfect.

Hey, another Bendis one! I guess I kinda liked that guy's Marvel stuff! Now most of you probably know Jessica Jones best from her self titled Netflix series. While that is a great show and Krysten Ritter absolutely nails it, the Jessica I first met was from the New Avengers comic book where she was on the run from the government for failing to register with the Superhuman Registration Act with her husband, Luke Cage, and their newborn baby. You might be thinking, "Jessica Jones? The hard ass detective with the chimp on her shoulder and a drink constantly in her hand?" And I'd say, "Yepp!" She may not seem like the maternal type but trust me when I say she stepped up to take care of her baby when needed.
She's a great mom because despite having a less than ideal life, at least for a while, with her husband and other Avengers friends on the run, she stood up for what she believed in and wanted to make that clear to her child. She wants to be a role model for her child. A hero not just because she has superpowers but because she stands up for what she believes is right. A damn good role model if you ask me.
Lois Lane is another character that I definitely wouldn't have thought of as maternal. However, given that she married the world's biggest softie, Clark Kent, it was expected that they would have a child. Not just any child but another Superboy, Jon Kent. Raising a child with superpowers is essentially like having a special needs child. It's a lot more complicated than just having a normal son. This one comes with special requirements and a much more caring hand as he grows up with powers and abilities that will take time, patience, and endurance to control and embrace. It'll take a strong woman to be able to deal with that kind of workload on top of being the world's leading investigative journalist. Luckily, she has an ever dependable partner with Clark/Superman. But Lois has proved time and time again that she's more than capable of tackling any challenge. She's a great mom because she never gives up on the people she loves.
I think this one speaks for itself. The Fantastic Four are commonly referred to as "Marvel's First Family." More than other characters in the Marvel Universe they are defined by their relationship to each other. While I've read comics with the characters spread out among other groups, it's never quite the same. The Fantastic Four are at their best when they're with each other. And Reed and Sue have never shined brighter than when they became parents. Reed was already a nerdy dad to begin with and Sue always seemed like a woman ready to raise kids to be heroes/explorers like herself. 

Sue is amazing because she puts the ones she loves above everything else. She is protective of her children but isn't afraid to let them have their own adventures because she knows they can take care of themselves. She's a hero to the Marvel Universe and one of the greatest moms a kid could hope to have.
Most of the best heroes we look up are forged in tragedy. For Captain America/Steve Rogers, he had to watch his loving mother suffer at the hands of an alcoholic and abusive husband. Back then, if you recall, Steve wasn't the Cap we all know and love. Back then he was a scrawny, shrimp of a man, even smaller as a boy. He watched helplessly as his mom would be smacked around by a terrible man. She reminded him that he should never back down from a bully. She says, "You always stand up." Those words stayed with Steve his entire life and informed his mantra when he became Captain America. Sarah is Steve's hero and he is the man he is today because of her.

It's crazy to think that Batman: the Animated Series was made for children because there were plenty of very mature stories that were told throughout it's run. Early in the show, it's established that after Bruce's parents were murdered, he was looked after by his father's close friend, Leslie Thompkins. Leslie was also a doctor and acted a bit as Bruce's personal therapist when he was younger. In his older years as a crime fighter she works as his personal M.D., tending to his wounds when he's near her clinic. She's not afraid to look at him and tell him that what he's doing is dangerous, but she never turns down a patient in need. She's a constant, caring figure in Bruce's life. She treats him like her own son. She loves him and wishes he would give up his violent life but she still cares for him.
When it comes to all time hero moms - Nora Allen might just take the cake. She was Barry's hero as a kid due to her seemingly unending wealth of wisdom and love. But then Eobard Thawne, a crazed scientist from the 25th century who became obsessed with the Flash, went back in time and murdered Nora for no other reason than to piss Barry off. Barry had finally had enough and went back in time to stop the Reverse Flash. Technically speaking, Barry succeeded in saving his mother. Unfortunately, he messed up everyone else's life and created an alternate, nightmare timeline where Atlantis and Themyscira are at war and have decimated half the planet, Bruce Wayne is dead and Thomas Wayne is a murderous Batman, Kal El has been captured by the government and experimented on his whole life, and Barry is not the Flash.
When Barry finally gets his powers back and realizes the hell he's created he tries to think of a way to fix everything including saving his mom. Barry confides in her and she says, "You have to let me go." It's a heartbreaking moment but Nora is a brave woman. She's willing to die to save billions of lives and inspire a hero in the Flash. Lucky for Barry, he was able to keep the memories of his life with her when everything was put right so he'll always have her close to his heart.
Superman is who he is because of his parents. Two humble farmers that were blessed with a child from the heavens that would one day grow up to be Earth's greatest savior. But when you're raising a young man with powers that he can barely control on top of the usual hormones and growing pains, the job is a lot harder. Martha was more than up to the task. The moment she laid eyes on Kal El she fell in love with him. She said that "he found us." Throughout all of Clark's trials and tribulations as a teenager into young adult she was standing behind him, encouraging him. She's a great mom because she was patient, loving, kind, and Clark's biggest fan. The love that she had for her son was stronger than anything else in the world and she proved that on a regular basis throughout the series. 
My mom always encouraged my geekiness. We actually used to watch Smallville together and she seemed to be more excited about it than I was on certain nights. I know she's out there somewhere looking out for me. Thanks for taking the time to read this, Comic Junkies. Y'all are the best.
Till Next Time!
JJ - the Comic Junkie! 

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