Chris Roberson's Top 5 Ladies That Kick Butt
Top 5 Ladies That Kick Butt
by Chris Roberson, author of CINDERELLA: From Fabletown With Love
Bill Willingham’s take on Cinderella in the pages of FABLES transformed her from a fairy tale princess into a superspy who kicks butt and takes names. This reimagined Cinderella proudly took her place in the pantheon of femme fatales and lady spies who have high-kicked their way through pop culture. And who were some of the kick-butt ladies who came before? Here’s a few of my personal favorites, all of whom were influences when I sat down to write Cinderella’s first solo miniseries, CINDERELLA: From Fabletown With Love.
Irma Vep – This gal was the original femme fatale. Portrayed by music-hall performer Musidora in Louis Feuillade’s 1915 French silent film serial Les Vampires, Irma Vep was a member of a secret society of thieves and villains called “Les Vampires,” and she slinked around on rooftops in form-fitting catsuits. She set the standard for all of the butt-kicking ladies who followed in her footsteps.
Emma Peel – Diana Rigg wasn’t the first female companion to Patrick Macnee’s John Steed on the long-running UK television series The Avengers, and she wasn’t the last, but she was for my money definitely the best. No shrinking violet or damsel-in-distress, Rigg’s Emma Peel was a champion fencer, a martial artist, and was quick with a quip.
Wai Lin – The 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies is far from perfect, but that doesn’t stop Michelle Yeoh from being 100% awesome in it. As James Bond’s opposite number from the Chinese People's External Security Force, Yeoh’s Wai Lin is if anything even more of a dashing badass than Bond himself. It’s been more than a decade since, and I’m still waiting for Michelle Yeoh in a Wai Lin solo vehicle—From Beijing With Love, anyone?
Sydney Bristow– Speaking of “far from perfect,” the last couple of seasons of J.J. Abrams’ Alias left a sour taste in the mouths of a lot of viewers, myself included. The resolution of the Rambaldi subplot that had been threaded through the show since its first season was a disappointment, among other sins. But the fact that the last seasons didn’t meet up with the high standards set by the earlier seasons shouldn’t detract from those first couple of seasons, in which former college student Sydney Bristow, played with panache by Jennifer Garner, kicked butt from one side of the planet to the other, through a dizzying array of costume changes, wigs, and cover identities.
Black Widow – Cinderella is far from the first female superspy to grace the pages of a comic book. I don’t know if Black Widow was the first, but after Cinderella she might be my next favorite. A few years ago Richard K. Morgan did a couple of stellar miniseries with the character, and this very week my old pal (and Clockwork Storybook stablemate) Paul Cornell has just started a new one, Black Widow: Deadly Origin. And if the first issue is any indication, it promises to be a fun ride.