May 4th is the third anniversary of the Dragons, Zombies & Aliens blog. I have been truly privileged to be able to share my passion with the world, and I want to thank everyone who's been with me on this journey with free ebooks!
Through May 30th, everyone who enters the giveaway will have the chance to win four of my digital stories:
The Minnesotan Witch: a novella
"Tower of Dragons"
Diary of the Green Snake: "Tithes and Offerings"
How to Enter
To enter, all you have to do is sign up for the weekly Dragons, Zombies & Aliens newsletter. That's it! If you're already subscribed to my newsletter, then you're already entered to win!
Ten winners will be randomly selected from my newsletter list, and they will be contacted and announced on May 31st, the day after the giveaway closes. So make sure the email you enter is one you check.
C.T. Phipps is a lifelong student of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. An avid tabletop gamer, he discovered this passion led him to write and turned him into a lifelong geek. He is a regular reviewer at The United Federation of Charles and the author of Agent G, Cthulhu Armageddon, The Red Room series, Lucifer’s Star, Straight Outta Fangton, and The Supervillainy Saga.
DZA: You’ve dabbled in almost every speculative fiction genre: horror, urban fantasy, post-apocalyptic, cyberpunk, superhero, etc. Is there any genre that’s your favorite?
C. T. Phipps: I love coloring outside the lines and it's been one of the keys to my success, I think. If you throw enough darts at the wall then you're bound to hit the bullseye eventually. You're also likely to develop a fanbase who is willing to follow you round from multiple fandoms.
If I had to say what my favorite genre is, though, I'd probably say humor. No matter which universe I play in, I tend to have a lot of fun making fun of their conventions as well as history. I may not be the Mel Brooks or Terry Pratchett of genre fiction but I do consistently tell a funny yarn. Yes, even my horror novels are funny (See Straight Outta Fangton, Cthulhu Armageddon). I once referred to Cthulhu Armageddon as my “serious” novel and David Niall Wilson (my publisher) said, “It’s one of the funniest novels I’ve ever read.”
What have been some of the greatest inspirations for your work, and why?
I have to say the biggest influence to my writing is Joss Whedon, but also Terry Pratchett, Stephen King (his On Writing is something every aspiring writer should check out), George Lucas, H.P. Lovecraft, and plenty of comic book creators. Really, my influences are expansive and myriad like all writers.
I think the best influences on my writing are closer to home, though. The first was Jim Bernheimer, indie author of Confessions of a D-List Supervillain, who advocated that I try to write the kind of books I wanted to read versus what I felt would succeed. The second was David Niall Wilson; he introduced me to a lot of tricks that raised the quality of my books considerably. He also showed me how to reach a much larger audience. I credit him with helping turn me from someone dabbling in writing to a writer.
Much of your work is indie-published, and all of them digital and audio. Why did you choose to go this route instead of traditional publishing?
The market is not what it was twenty years ago and the entire way we interact with books has changed. Amazon and other online booksellers mean that the "shelf life" for books no longer has a set limit as long as you're able to keep it in the public consciousness. Books that went out of print decades ago can stay "in print" on Kindle and in warehouses forever. This has been a big boon to independents, self-published authors, and small presses. Audiobooks have also gone from a joke about "something blind people read" to the preferred method of reading for large chunks of the reading audience.
Given the difficulties of making a living as a writer at the best of times, seriously don't quit your day job. Even awesome heroes of mine like Tracy Hickman have struggled to make ends meet. Still, independent publishing is a big chance to take control of your literary financial destiny. I especially got good results working with Crossroad Press. I feel audiobooks, especially, reach an entirely different audience from traditional publishing.
A lot of your books are collaborative, working with one or more authors on the same story. What are some of the challenges and benefits of working with another author, and how did you choose who to work with?
My experience with co-authors has been mostly positive, but the two I primarily work with--Michael Suttkus and Frank Martin--are both seasoned professionals who have done a great job balancing the workload with me. The trick is to be very clear about what you're going to do and carefully planning each chapter ahead of time. Usually, I alternate with them on the writing while also brainstorming the concepts. If you’re not clear about matters then you can easily run into differences in style, characterization, plot, and ideas.
One of the biggest issues I’ve also run into is that it can be very easy to prioritize your own work over collaborations, and that’s unfair to everyone involved. Don’t do that if you decide to collaborate on a book.
Let’s talk about your Supervillainy Saga. Most writers, when working in a superhero world, obviously choose a hero or anti-hero as their protagonist. But your main character decides to be a supervillain. How did that happen?
I felt like I was competing against the past hundred years or so of superhero storytelling. Despite doing this in novel form, I was still competing against the well-trodden storytelling history of comic book history. Instead, I looked for a new angle to explore the superhero-supervillain dichotomy, and it occurred to me that the origin of a supervillain might be an interesting one. I also liked the idea that Gary had a very romantic and idealized idea of what being an superpowered outlaw was in his world--an idea I gradually peeled back. Also, I think having a character gain great powers and deciding to abuse them for his own gain is something that automatically puts the audience in a somewhat sillier mood, which is great for a comedy like the Supervillainy Saga is.
I’ve also discovered that I prefer writing antiheroes to straight up good guy characters. Agent G, Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer’s Star, and Wraith Knight all star protagonists who lean on the gray side of morality at best. I think it’s a great idea to use characters with extreme emotions and backstories to press the limit of what the audience is comfortable with. I think a lot of us are perfectly willing to go along with heroes who are not lily white and may even do the wrong thing when push comes to shove.
You’ve done some editing, too, including the Blackest Spells anthology. What are some of the challenges of editing versus writing? Which do you enjoy more?
Editing is my personal bugbear when writing as it's the least creative part of the creative process. However, every author needs to be able to do their own editing if they want to succeed in this business. As much as I advise every author to get a second, third, and fourth pair of eyes for their work--it is something that is fundamentally necessary. But editing anthologies is a different sort of beast. Maybe even fun. I love gathering together people's stories and choosing which ones to publish in things like the Blackest Knights and Blackest Spells books.
Of all of your books, which has been the most fun to write?
That's a very tough call, as all of my books are fun to write in different ways. If I had to choose I'd have to say The Rules of Supervillainy, I was a Teenage Weredeer, and my upcoming Psycho Killers in Love were my three favorites.
The Rules of Supervillainy because it's a zany deconstruction of superhero tropes ranging from the Marvel Cinematic Universe to the so-called Dark Age of Comics. I was a Teenage Weredeer because it's a work that lets me talk about rural America, coming of age drama, and being a misfit in a small community that hits close to home. Psycho Killers in Love just because I'm a huge fan of 80s slashers and I enjoyed deconstructing horror tropes as much as I did superheroes.
What can we expect in the future from you?
As stated, I have an upcoming book called Psycho Killers in Love which is a loving homage to 80s slashers and horror movies in general. It's the story of the son of an immortal murderer who feels the same compulsion to kill, except he's decided to use it on other slashers because why not. He runs into a lovely Final Girl survivor of another killer's murder spree, now out for revenge. Such a fun pairing.
I'll also be releasing The Horror of Supervillainy, which is the last of my "crossover" books for The Supervillainy Saga. Gary Karkofsky has decided to become a superhero and he's terrible at it. However, he gets the chance to prove himself by investigating the kidnapping of a prominent politician's daughter that takes him into a region full of cults, summer camps, mad swamp monsters, and more. It's an homage to 70s horror comics, meaning I'm in a bit of a mood.
Finally, there's A Nightmare on Elk Street that is the third and final Bright Falls Mystery book. Jane Doe the Weredeer is invited to provide security on a movie set when the Boogeyman starts menacing her dreams. Is it just a lone monster or is she the center of a plot to take out Bright Falls, Michigan's only protection?
A huge thank you to C. T. Phipps for taking the time to come to my blog! You can find him on his website here.
The damsel in distress is not a bad trope. It's just written badly. This month's podcast is how to do it right.
This is what happens when I watch too much Disney: I watch Cinderella (again) and wonder, "What if the Fairy Godmother said 'Fuck it' and just murdered the entire evil stepfamily?"
This is the result of that psychotic brain child. Cinderella has been officially welcomed into my ongoing collection of short stories: Twisted Tales. Enjoy!
"The Black Slipper" by Christina "DZA" Marie
Editor's Note: This story is longer than our usual fare, contains mild violence, and addresses some adult themes. It's worth every juicy minute for readers 11+.
The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders
The City in the Middle of the Night is a book that needs to be digested after reading it. It covers a lot of ground with a lot of different themes, bad guys and good guys swap roles so often it's like they're playing hop-scotch, and it pulls directly from real-world issues and re-examines them through a science fiction lens.
What I'm trying to say is, it's awesome.
First, a crash course on astronomy. Not all planets rotate. Earth rotates, allowing almost every part of our planet to be warmed by the sun and then cool off. This allows us to survive, not being burned alive or frozen to death. But when a planet is tidally locked, only one side of the planet ever faces the sun. That side of the planet is literally on fire, as the surface temperature is hot enough to cook anything less sturdy than a rock. The side of the planet facing away from the sun, meanwhile, is a total frozen wasteland. The only way human life could survive is by staying in that thin habitable layer between the two extremes, and that's where the people of January make their homes.
The story is told through two different perspectives: Sophie and Mouth. Sophie's chapters are all first person POV while Mouth's are third person POV, and I have no idea why Anders did it this way. (Honestly, it's my only real complaint. Just use third person POV for both so we don't get confused and move on.) Sophie's a student who is executed for stealing a few dollars, the police tossing her out into the night. Luckily, she runs into a "crocodile"--a creature of the night a lot more intelligent than people assume--who saves her and takes her back. Sophie is traumatized by her execution and spends the book trying to heal and move past it. Problem is she can't, because she keeps getting dragged into social uprisings and revolutions. (Damn politics.)
Mouth is a smuggler, and the last survivor of a race of nomadic people called the Citizens. When she's not moving questionable goods and people between the cities in the habitable zone, she's working through a whole cocktail of issues centered around the ghosts of her past. One of the other characters accuses her of valuing the ghosts of the dead more than people who are alive, and that sums her up pretty well.
The emotional core of the story is the relationship between Sophie, Mouth, Bianca, and Alyssa. Sophie has a huge crush on Bianca, who is a radical revolutionary roping Mouth and Alyssa into her schemes, while Mouth is trying to use Bianca to get a lost artifact from the Citizens even though she knows it'll get Bianca killed, and Alyssa just wants to retire but she's Mouth's best friend and also really believes that Bianca can make positive change, and it's all a big, beautiful mess.
Despite the fact that it opens with Sophie's execution, the story itself is relatively slow. Act One is spent in Xiosphant, Bianca and Sophie's home city. Tidally locked planets don't have sunrise, noon, sunset, midnight, etc. So Xiosphant created their own time system and makes everyone stick to it religiously. It's so strongly enforced that even uttering the phrase, "Sleep when you're tired, play when you want" is enough to get you executed. Through various shenanigans, all four characters get kicked out and go to the city of Argelo, which is the exact opposite. There is no time measuring, and there is no authoritarian government, so the entire city is run by crime families.
While the characters are running around from various authorities, building and re-building their lives as fugitives, Anders also has them deal with really harsh themes of grief, trauma, extremism, authoritarianism, poverty, hope, environmentalism, and our responsibility to other people. It's not a happy story, but it's not a tragedy, either. It's a bittersweet tale with the moral of the story being, Horrible things happen, and they will continue to happen unless you break the cycle.
Welcome to the Favorites List, City in the Middle of the Night!
The Star Wars franchise evokes a lot of emotions from its fan base, so making an episode about it is tricky. This is my (probably unsuccessful) attempt at an unbiased approach.
The winners from the F*ck COVID Giveaway are:
Kelly Danielle Houk
Congratulations, guys! If you haven't yet been contacted by me regarding the details of shipping you your goodies, contact me right away!
The Good Place
The Good Place is a town where those who have been good throughout their lives go once they have passed away. Michael is the architect who oversees the town--and this is the first one he has been in charge of creating.
Eleanor arrives at the Good Place and realizes they have her name right, but everything else is wrong. She isn't meant to be there at all. With the help of Chidi, her soul mate, Eleanor tries to right her wrongs, seeking to finally earn her spot in the Good Place.
(Quick reminder: anyone who still wants to participate in the giveaway can. Prizes include books, posters, notebooks, and more. Click here to learn more.)
This is officially my favorite comedy, and currently my favorite fantasy show, hands down. It is four seasons of absolute perfection.
It kicks off with Eleanor being told she's dead and now in the Good Place, basically Heaven, which she very quickly realizes is not where she's supposed to be. She spent her life as a human trashbag, stealing, lying, and cheating, all of which absolutely horrifies her soulmate Chidi. But she manages to convince him to teach her ethics, anyway, since he was an ethics professor in life and doesn't want to see her condemned to the Bad Place (Hell) if there's a chance of redemption.
What follows is a hilarious series of misadventures involving Eleanor and Chidi trying to dodge Michael (the Architect and all-powerful supernatural being in charge of everything), as well as the chaotic mess of the other major characters: Janet, Tahani, and Jason.
One of the greatest strengths of this show is its theme of morality. What--exactly--does it mean to be a good person? Eleanor isn't the only one who struggles with this, especially when later in the show the characters discover some major issues with the system of determining which souls go to which Place. Given the amount of scholarly debate surrounding ethics and morality in the real world, it's no surprise that the show plays around with several different issues, dedicating entire episodes to exploring major themes while progressing the plot. The general conclusion it comes to is that morality is subjective depending on the situation, and also comes from your connection with other people. All of the characters are horribly flawed and fall into bad behaviors when they're on their own. But when they're together they're an ethical, demon-fighting machine.
Another thing that caught my attention right away is the complete lack of toxic masculinity and abundance of women and characters of color. Though we never see her in a relationship with a woman, Eleanor is definitely bisexual. The show passes the Bechdel and Mako Mori tests for both women and characters of color. None of the leading male characters display the toxic traits seen in most other major male characters.
There are, in fact, only two characters who display toxic masculinity. One is a demon who helps run the Bad Place, and is 100% villain. The other is a soul we meet in season four who's destined for the Bad Place specifically because of his toxic masculinity traits. Namely sexism, racism, and self-centeredness.
The story itself is excellent. Even though all the characters start off dead, there's some real stakes involved. Namely, eternal damnation. All the subplots--even the romantic ones--are designed to further our understanding of the characters and/or contribute to the main story. And almost every episode ends on a cliffhanger. Which was bad for my health, because I lost quite a bit of sleep binge-watching this entire show in two weeks.
There is only one real criticism I have, and that's the frequent memory wipes. For one reason or another, several major characters lose their memories at the end of each season, which means they lose most of their character development as well. Story-wise, it makes sense. I won't get into the specifics because of spoilers, but this isn't the medically inaccurate soap opera amnesia. The memory wipes are built into the magic system and work well with the story. And when they happen, the story usually shifts gears to focus on the character(s) who don't lose their memories, allowing them to go through a new part of their narrative arc while the amnesiacs are brought up to speed.
But it can get a little tiring and frustrating to see the characters' progress suddenly get ripped to shreds, especially where Chidi and Eleanor are concerned. I'm not counting it as a spoiler: the soulmates have a romantic subplot and eventually get together. Several times. Because their memories keep getting erased. We'll see them get together, then someone snaps their fingers and they're strangers again. Get together, memory wipe. Get together, memory wipe. Get together, memory wipe...
Other than that...it's excellent. If anyone likes off-hand humor that dives into deep moral philosophy while telling an engaging story that will occasionally make you cry--especially in the season 3 and season 4 closers--then this is the show for you.
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Your support makes this blog possible, especially in these ridiculously crazy times.
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The giveaway starts today (March 22nd, 2020) and will end on April 3rd at 11:59pm. Winners will be announced on Sunday April 5th. We will mail the prizes out immediately after.
Click here to enter the giveaway!
(Questions, concerns, etc, be sure to contact me and I'll reply as soon as I'm able.)
"Worst Tropes" started as a playlist on my YouTube channel. I'm now also including it on my written blog. Basically I discuss all my least favorite tropes in speculative fiction and list ideas on how to do them right. Enjoy!
So. The title of this week's post might be a little confusing. After all, I’m a feminist. I like femme characters. I’m constantly advocating for more femme characters in positions of power. Why on Earth would I object to female/femme mentors?
I don’t object to them. I object to how they’re written.
For the most part, mentor characters in our speculative fiction media are men. When you hear “mentor character” in relation to sci-fi, fantasy, or other action-based genres, the first image that pops into your head is Obi-Wan, or Gandalf, or some other old white dude. Sometimes they get to be Asian or Black, in which case their already-slim chances of surviving to the end of the story drop to nearly zero.
Whatever the case, it’s usually a guy. And from a cultural perspective, this makes sense. Guys are “supposed” to be smarter than girls, and they're expected to be better or at least more experienced at all the fighting and survival stuff than the girls. Why wouldn't the action mentor be a guy?
Since it’s the twenty-first century, we’ve been getting better at subverting sexist tropes and ideas such as this. It started with “Why can’t a woman be good at fighting,” and has gradually been turning into “Why can’t she be the awesome mentor character that everyone idolizes and looks up to?”
And this is great! The idea of the female mentor is coming from a good place. There are so few of them out there that any writer who wants to give their mentor character a bit of estrogen should be encouraged to do so.
The problem is in the execution. Broadly speaking, male mentors are allowed to stand with their students, while female mentors stand behind them. Basically, and this is not exclusive to mentor characters at all, the guys are allowed to take a more active role in the story. And also aren’t shunted off into a romantic subplot with their protégés. That happens a lot, even when the female mentor is done right. (See, Avatar: the Last Airbender and Edge of Tomorrow.)
It’s difficult to find examples of this trope, simply because, as stated previously, there are so few female mentors in SFF. One of the more iconic examples is The Matrix.
Trinity isn’t actually a mentor per se, not the way Morpheus is, but she does help Neo navigate the ins and outs of the Matrix and the real world, so in the fundamental way, she counts. She’s got a great opener, she jumps out of helicopters, she helps Neo murder a bunch of innocent security guards in a lobby, all that jazz. She's your standard "strong female character" who manages to have a solid characterization and more personality than a brick wall.
And yet, her biggest contribution to the story is...kissing Neo back to life? And then cheering him on from the sidelines?
I get it, I get it, it’s Neo’s story, not Trinity’s. The fact that Morpheus also has to stand aside in the climax takes a lot of the sting out of it. But you can have an amazing movie centered around a guy who works with the women rather than shunting them off to the sidelines. Go re-watch Black Panther and you'll see what I mean.
But there’s this...thing...in modern media. It's not even really a trope, but we've all seen it. You've got an action movie that centers around Joe Average, an ordinary guy with an ordinary job and an ordinary life. Through a series of weird events, he ends up being caught in some sort of spy conspiracy theory or supernatural underworld or whatever. All well and good, until he's suddenly shooting terrorists and fighting vampires right alongside the people who have been training to do this very thing for years. Joe Average gets maybe one scene where he's in over his head, and then after a brief training montage he's James Bond.
It's a power fantasy, designed to delude the audience (particularly the male audience) that if they were plucked from their everyday lives and tossed into a death trap, they'd be totally fine. The best, even.
You can throw all the “chosen one” crap you want at me, but at the end of the day, you need training to win wars and battles. Years and years of it. Joe Average's fifteen-minute morning yoga ain't gonna cut it. Just make another James Bond sequel and be done with it.
It’s one of the reasons why I sympathize with Tiger in Kung-Fu Panda. She puts in a lifetime of work to become a great warrior, and then this guy—literally by accident—steals the title from her? And then after one training montage covering—at most—a couple weeks, he manages to defeat the big bad who defeated the five best fighters in the world?
No. I call bullshit.
An even better example of this is one of the most infuriating movies I’ve ever seen: Ant-Man.
I love Marvel, but I hate this movie, and this is the reason why.
Hope Pym is just better. At everything. She knows how to use the suit. She knows how to control the ants. She knows how to fight. She’s been in the company the good guys are trying to take down for years, so she knows the people, security, and weaknesses better than anyone else.
But no. Clearly the best person for the job is the random thief who broke in last week to steal the Ant-Man suit.
I can already see the comment section: “But Christina! She’s Hank’s daughter! How could you expect him to let her do something so dangerous as to break into a high-security facility run by a sociopath?”
First: “let her”? Let her?! She’s a grown-ass woman. Why is Hank treating her like a little kid who doesn’t know how to do jack shit?
Second: remember all those “chosen one” stories that center around a guy? It always seems to me that the other characters can’t get the boy out the door fast enough. “Well, son, seems you’re chosen for greatness. Who am I, your parent/guardian, to stand between you and a mountain of horrors and bloodshed that will, at worst kill you, and at best, traumatize you for life? Go fulfill your destiny, boy!”
More than often than not, the guy will be “burdened” with the chosen one thing, and the support characters will literally have to force him to take up the mantle because “no one else will.”
But if it’s a girl?
“No, she’s too precious and pretty to put at risk! How could you even think such a thing?”
Even Moana suffers from this. It's not an in-universe problem in her case, as her island culture practices excellent gender equity. That's more of a "this movie was created by Americans who don't practice such gender equity" problem. Moana has to jump through hoops that her male counterparts (think Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Neo, etc.) never had to deal with.
Here come the comments again: “But Christina! Marvel made a sequel that does make Scott and Hope equal! Ant-Man and Wasp.”
Hank had superior technology like wings and blasters and didn’t give them to Scott when they were all risking their necks—including the neck of his daughter that they made such a big point about protecting—to steal the yellow suit in the first movie? He made Scott fall through a tube toward deadly lasers without wings? What a dick! No wonder Howard Stark didn’t like him.
More comments: “But Christina! Ant-Man is about Ant-Man! It’s about Scott Lang becoming a hero! Not about Hope Pym. She’s just a support character.”
Well, that’s an easy fix. Take out Ant-Man.
I’m serious. They should have just made a Wasp movie. The primary tension would have been her strained relationship with her father. Hank has to come to terms with the fact that his wife chose to sacrifice herself, just as he was going to, and he has to respect the fact that Hope might do the same thing. (This is something that families and friends of enlisted soldiers could easily relate to.) While working on the heist, Hope will grow closer to her father, atone for the mistakes she’s made in the past, and be the one to go super-small to defeat the villain, just like her mother did.
Only unlike her mother, she gets to come back. And in the sequel, Wasp and Ant-Man, while she and her dad work to bring Mrs. Pym home, their technology is stolen! Some jerk named Scott is trying to sell it on the black market!
Then it turns out that Scott is only doing it to get back to his own kid, Cassie. And once he realizes what that stolen technology is for, he helps them, putting aside his own needs to reunite the Pym family, and become Ant-Man. With his mentor, the Wasp, showing him the way.
Also, this way Marvel would have beaten DC to the honor of “First Female Superhero Movie in Theaters,” and we all know how much Marvel loves beating DC.
Back to the original point. Female mentors in action genres are very few and far between. Which is why it hurts even more when their characters and arcs are botched. When they’re used just long enough to turn Joe Average into Joe Chosen One, and then tossed aside to cheer him on in the background.
If you’re going to create a kick-ass woman awesome enough to train your main character, then you can use her in the story beyond training the main character.
And here’s how to do that.
Female Mentors Done Right
Edge of Tomorrow--an awesome sci-fi action movie with an even better soundtrack--has a female mentor who trains unwilling time-traveler Tom Cruise to fight the aliens. What’s interesting here is that while Cruise’s character has the “chosen-one-ness” power of live, die, repeat, his mentor, played by Emily Blunt, used to have the same thing. By the time she’s finished training him and it’s time to take on the head alien, she doesn’t stand aside and let him do it alone. She goes with him. In the end, they’re both equal.
Doctor Strange also re-vamped The Ancient One as a woman, instead of keeping her as a man as in the comics, which is pretty cool. And, unlike Edge of Tomorrow, there is no romantic relationship between the Ancient One and Dr. Strange. Unfortunately it loses points for casting a white actor to play this Asian character, and also permanently kills her off so our dude hero can save the day, so I give it a B+ for effort, D for execution.
For our final example, let’s bring out the ol’ broken record and talk about Avatar: the Last Airbender.
Of Aang’s three main bending teachers, two of them--Katara and Toph--are girls, both of them beautifully written, one of them with a major narrative arc and striking character growth. In addition, the writers practiced power balance within the group. Aang may be the "chosen one," the master of all four elements while all the other benders only get one element. But the other members of the group, especially Katara and Toph, specialize in certain abilities that Aang does not have.
Aang cannot use his powers to heal injuries, nor can he bloodbend. Katara can.
Aang cannot bend metal, a material used in abundance by their enemies. Toph invented metalbending, allowing her to crush entire ships.
This creates a power balance in the group as a whole, where each character remains vital to the quest because of their unique abilities. Katara and Toph can’t hang back and cheer Aang on as he fights the villain. Their specialized skills are mandatory for the team’s success.
In other words, while the story centers around a guy, if the Avatar writers had treated Toph and Katara the same way Marvel treated Hope Pym, the entire world would’ve been taken over by the Fire Nation.
Know any other good femme mentor characters in sci-fi and fantasy? Drop them in the comments so I can check them out!
The first Dragons, Zombies and Aliens blog was started in 2015. Somewhere between college coursework, paying rent with door-to-door sales, and keeping up with my sorority sisters, I wrote reviews, rants and commentaries on books, TV shows, and movies. Now, this blog has moved, improved, and the sky's the limit!