By Teague Bohlen
There aren?t a lot of moms in comic books, probably for the same reason that not many moms survive the first reel of Disney movies. Moms provide comfort, safety, a shoulder to lean on?all things that work against the dramatic structure of the building of a hero. Face it, most heroes have already lost one or both of their parents. That?s the basis for Batman’s entire schtick: his mother’s broken strand of pearls, lying in a puddle of Gotham gutter water.
Thankfully, there are some comic book Moms that have not only survived, but thrive. Some are supporting characters, some are heroes in their own right, but all of them deserve a card, some flowers, maybe some brunch. Here are seven comic book Moms of note.
7) Martha Kent
Ma Kent is the quintessential Kansas farm-Mom. Someone who bakes pies from scratch and leaves them on the winder-sill. She sewed his costume from an indestructible outer-space baby blanket. And she managed to raise what was arguably the most powerful being on Earth and at the same time instill in him a sense of honor and humility. Can’t ask for much better than Ma Kent. And it’s good that she was able to go by “Ma” a lot of the time, because her name sure changed a lot. First she was Mary in Superman #1, changed to Sarah in the TV series, back to Mary for a while, and then to Marthe (is that a name or a typo?) in Superboy #12, and then Martha from that point onward. (More recently, she entered MILF territory in Smallville by virtue of being played by Annette O’Toole, but since this is a Mom-friendly list, I’ll stop there.) Whatever her first name, though, her last name?Clark?became the first of many important gifts that she’d give her adopted son, and comics history.
6) Wanda Maximoff
So Wanda, better known as the Scarlet Witch, never really had kids. They were constructs of her mutant power of reality-altering chaos magic, or something like that, and later became symptoms of her long but certain spiral into bat-shit crazy (ass Avengers: Disassembled for details). But here’s the thing?Wanda was willing to destroy the world in order to save the children she thought she had. To paraphrase Shakespeare, there’s motherhood in her madness.
5) Dinah Drake Lance
Dinah Lance, the original Black Canary, was really only a mother in the sense that she disapproved of what her kid was doing with her life. But that alone qualifies her. And since this is DC, both she and her daughter have completely torqued origins. Dinah Drake Lance was the Golden Age heroine who moved from Earth-Two to Earth-One when her cop-husband was killed. (Apparently, in the Silver Age, moving from one dimension to another was sort of like moving from Cincinnati to Chicago.) Anyway, the weird thing is that once she got to Earth-One, she sort of morphed into her own daughter, and it was established that there was an older Dinah and a younger Dinah. At that point, her main role was to be a retired superheroine and disapprove of her daughter following in her fishnets. But the important thing about the Black Canaries was that they’d be an inspiration for Watchmen‘s Silk Spectre mother-daughter duo?two women who were far less charming, far more fucked up, and frankly far more interesting to read about because of it.
4) Crystal Amaquelin
An inhuman who dated most of the Marvel Universe before settling down with Pietro Maximoff (a.k.a. Quicksilver), Crystal is mother to Luna, who seems to have been four or five for about twenty years now. Still, Luna seems fairly well adjusted, and Crystal is a devoted and loving parent. Her only fault as a mother is in trusting Pietro too much, since he seems to flip out now and again, most recently in Son of M. Not only that, but there’s the odd trip (and I do mean odd) to see Bova, the mutated cow who was nanny to both Pietro and Wanda when they were small. Seriously, you wonder why the Maximoffs have mental issues? You try asking for some milk, and then watching your caregiver pull out a sippy cup and start tugging an udder.
3) Queen Hippolyta
The story of Hippolyta (originally Hippolyte until the Silver Age) is seriously screwed up?but then, that’s to be expected in DC continuity. In some storylines, Hippolyta was the original Wonder Woman?an intriguing idea which makes sense time-wise and at the same time has the added benefit of being sort of cool. Natural aging?even in a magical being like the Queen of the Amazons?is a rare thing in comics. But whatever her past, most of the time Hippolyta was not only the leader of her people (all women, natch), but mentor and mother to Diana. Hippolyta could be angry, dictatorial, meddling, and infuriating at times?but she did it all out of love. Moms haven’t changed much since ancient Greek myth, apparently.
2) Sue Richards
As the most powerful member of the Fantastic Four, Sue is also the mother not only of her son Franklin and her daughter Valeria, but also the rest of the team (which is sort of weird, since she’s married to one, older sister to another, and the long-held unrequited crush of the third?but that’s life in the Marvel Universe for you). One of Sue’s greatest strengths over the years has been her devotion to the people that she loves, and she makes certain that her families?both immediate and extended?are safe as she can make them. Which isn’t always all that safe, since both Franklin and Valeria have had to fight their way out of death, hell, and all sorts of not so nice places?but they’re alive, for now, so let’s just focus on that.
1) Aunt May
Okay, so she’s not Peter Parker’s mom, but really, she sort of is, for all intents and purposes. Whether she’s a doddering old widow about one missed prescription from certain death (during most of the run of Amazing Spider-Man), or a feisty fifty-something in power suits and a Carol Brady hairdo (Ultimate Spider-Man), she’s the woman that Pete depends upon above everyone else. Heck, just look who Spidey recently chose when given a devilish Sophie’s-choice between his incredibly elderly aunt and a long life with his gorgeous redheaded supermodel wife That’s right: Aunt May. Those wheatcakes must be really fucking delicious.