Saturday, September 27, 2008

"Never Special," Introduction, pt. 3, 388 words

I suppose it would help if I looked more like a traditional superheroine, the kind you find with their own merchandising lines and comic books. Instead, I’m an unimpressive five-foot-four, with unmanageable brown hair, small breasts, and a bit of a belly. I don’t look anything like the big name heroes. You know the kind – Amaza, the Raptor, Kali Yuga, all that sort. They got in on the ground floor, I guess you could say, made it big before the powers population explosion back in the late Eighties. Now here it is, twenty years after the population boom and thirty-five after Amaza first appeared in the news, and here I am. The latest of the late-comers.

Growing up, Kali Yuga was my favorite… Well, once the comics and her publicity got a lot less racist, and my former-hippie mother finally let me read them, then she was my favorite. The so-called “golden” heroes of the Fifties and Sixties that never sold out, never compromised, were on their way out when Amaza and then Kali Yuga appeared. Amaza strived to act in the old style, but never quite met their standards. She was silver to their gold – beautiful, powerful, but able to be tarnished.

Kali Yuga didn’t even try to be golden. She was dark without being grim, full of Eastern mystery and Victorian refinement. Willing to kill if she had to, unlike her predecessors. An avenging spirit out of Hindu myth who affected the visual style of her people’s former conquerors, a postcolonial abduction and perversion of an imperialist fashion sense, fetishizing the sexually repressive garments of a politically repressive nation. Or so her apologists and publicist put it whenever someone expressed outrage about an Indian woman who seemed to have adopted the modes of dress and speech of India’s former British masters, who thought she was regressive and submissive and a sign of all that was wrong with the world.

Honestly, all that went over my head at the time. To me, she was just interestingly different from the “normal” crop of powered people promoted here in the United States and, so I eventually admitted to myself in my first year of high school, pretty hot. I didn’t even think about the geopolitical subtleties and controversies around her until I took a modern history class at university.

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