Featured Image: Women of Marvel covers by Alan Davis.
Four days ago, the world lost Stan “The Man” Lee at the age of 95. Arguably the most influential writer and publisher in the comic book industry, Stan Lee was a name that required no introduction for Marvel fans. He was so deeply embedded in pop culture, even if you’re not a huge comic reader, you’d understand his significance. Case in point: The Marvel Cinematic Universe. That was how most of the uninitiated would grow to know, and recognise, his name.
From the Avengers and X-Men to Black Panther, Stan Lee was the brain behind hundreds of these characters, and even paved the way for heroes and heroines that he didn’t create such as Shuri, Storm and Carol Danvers a.k.a. Captain Marvel (we’re so hyped for the movie coming out in 2019!). My favourite thing about the heroines and villainesses Stan Lee did create, however, wasn’t their hourglass figure or their beauty. No, I loved how they kicked ass.
They were strong. They were independent. They thrived. They suffered. They were simple. They were complex. They were everything – heroes, enemies, the everyday woman, secret agents. The heroines Stan Lee created let us believe that we could be anything we wanted to be, even if we couldn’t control the weather or lift pesky people with our minds.
Here are some of the heroines created by Stan Lee that are downright empowering and inspiring:
Introduced as a Russian spy and an antagonist of Iron Man, Natalia Alianova Romanova or Natasha Romanova later defected to the United States, becoming an agent of fictional spy agency S.H.I.E.L.D. and a member of the Avengers. Black Widow possesses no supernatural abilities, but has a gifted intellect and can quickly process multiple information streams to rapidly respond to changing tactical situations. She also displays world class athleticism and is an expert martial artist and markswoman.
While Captain America and Iron Man usually lead the Avengers, she has shown to be such a good tactician that she has led the Avengers, and even S.H.I.E.L.D., on one occasion. If she can hold her own with gods, billionaires and sorcerers even without supernatural powers, you know she’s a #boss.