Zitkala-Ša, also known as Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, was the most amazing woman you’ve never heard of.
A writer, editor, musician, teacher and political activist, she was born on February 22, 1876 on the Yankton Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Her mother was Sioux and her father, who abandoned the family when she was very young, was European-American.
When she was eight, missionaries came to the res and took Zitkala-Ša along with several other children to the White’s Manual Labor Institute in Wabash, Indiana, one of many such institutions where Native children were forced to assimilate into white American culture. She studied piano and violin and eventually took the place of her teacher when she resigned. When she received her diploma in 1895, she delivered a speech on women’s rights.
She earned a scholarship to Earlham College, where she continued to study music. From 1897-99, she played with the New England Conservatory in Boston and played at the Paris Exposition in 1900. She collaborated with composer William F. Hanson on the world’s first Native American opera, based entirely on Sioux melodies that had previously existed only as oral tradition. She would play the melodies and Hanson transcribed them. The Sun Dance Opera debuted in 1913 to warm reviews, but I can find no recordings of it, and it seems it’s never performed.
Zitkala-Ša also wrote a number of collections of Native American stories and legends. She wrote them in Latin when she was at school and then translated them into English. She was the first Native person to do so in her own words, without a white editor or translator. In addition, she wrote extensively about her schooling and how it left her torn between her Sioux heritage and her assimilation into white culture. Her writings were published in The Atlantic Monthly and in Harper’s and she served as editor for the American Indian Magazine.
Unsurprisingly, most of her writings were political. She was a fierce yet charismatic advocate for Native American rights. Her efforts helped pass the Indian Citizenship Act and the Indian Reorganization Act. Having founded the National Coalition of American Indians, she spent the rest of her life fighting to protect our many indigenous communities from exploitation.
Her accomplishments were incredible- but have you ever heard of her? I had never heard of her either. Just another example of a history-changing woman omitted from the history books.
Just in time for Con Season, Dave Filoni has a few tips for making a Hera costume from Star Wars Rebels.
Attack on Castle Cousland.
Artist : http://ranmacmh.deviantart.com/
WHOSOEVER HOLDS THIS HAMMER, IF SHE BE WORTHY, SHALL POSSESS THE POWER OF THOR.
ACTUAL GODDESS NATASHA ROMANOV
I always knew she was one :D
As is so often true of comics, a lot of the awesome is in the details. Natasha can’t move the Hammer when she first reaches it. What makes her worthy at the end when she apparently wasn’t worthy just seconds before? Look at panels 2-3 again. Natasha’s got that big ogre right on top of her with his club already going back to strike … and instead of shooting it to save herself, she uses her last shot to bring down the flying reptile that’s chasing that fleeing shuttle. That act of self-sacrifice in the face of certain death is what made her worthy.
As I discussed in an earlier post, pre-Comics Code comic books are full of fascinating women superheroes who’ve been more or less forgotten in the decades since WWII. Born in the era of Rosie the Riveter, when there was a national campaign to get women into workplaces, these costumed heroines were brassy, hard-assed, snarky, and sometimes just plain weird. They displayed remarkable grit and independence, and were portrayed as better crime-fighters than the inept, sexist cops that got in their way.
Even removed from their intriguing, important place in sociocultural history, these stories are compelling bits of pure comics nerdery - eg, the fact that 1941’s Spider Queen was almost certainly the unacknowledged inspiration for Spider-Man. These characters deserve to be better known. Happily, the astonishing www.digitalcomicmuseum.org hosts full-issue scans of scores of public domain pre-Code comics. Which means you can read these comics right now, for free!
Here are a few of my favorite lost superheroines from the 1940s. Click on a character’s name to access an archive of their adventures!
FANTOMAH - Arguably the first woman superhero, and to this day one of the strangest. Fantomah is a near-omniscient (blonde) jungle spirit with incredible magical/psionic powers. She is always threatening her enemies with “a jungle death!” and she turns into a green skull with beautiful hair when she’s angry.
LADY SATAN - Sometime Nazi-killer, sometime occult detective, Lady Satan roams the land in her stylish automobile, using gun, garrote, and fire magic to take out Reich agents and child-snatching werewolves.
MOTHER HUBBARD - Looking like a cartoon witch, speaking only in rhyme, Mother Hubbard uses her bizarre occult powers to battle everything from fifth column saboteurs to Disney-esque dwarves that steal kids’ eyeballs.
THE WOMAN IN RED - A gun-toting jujitsu expert, the Woman in Red is a sort of costumed private detective. She’s the bane of both criminals (especially those who prey on women) and inept male cops. But to the women she saves she’s quite…tender.
THE SPIDER QUEEN - A chemistry lab assistant becomes a wise-cracking costumed herowho uses wrist-strapped web shooters to swing around the city and tie up bad guys. But this is 1941, and our hero is a woman.
THE VEILED AVENGER - Although she’s the frilliest-looking of 40s superheroines, the Veiled Avenger might be the hardest. She uses her crop to make criminals shoot each other…and themselves. And in her civilian life as a District Attorney’s secretary, she scolds dumb cops who endanger witnesses.
Sadly, these heroines all disappeared by the 1950s. As the national project of getting women out of the workplace took hold, bold self-sufficient superheroines became scarce on the ground. Despite some great work by amazing artists over the years, comics still doesn’t have enough of them.
[And now, a plug: I’m working on a longer piece on these heroines, and on some other stuff you might find interesting. You can learn more about all that here.]
Michelle Rodriguez wants you to read LAZARUS.
(Well, actually, I think she wants to play Forever, but, you know, the one could lead to the other…).
Mostly, I’m blogging this because it’s MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ and she likes our book! And that’s reason enough. So there.
Visual Communications 4 project:
Character designs and Key frames presenting a redesign for Super Mario Bros. in which Princess Peach, aided by a mysterious Toadstool Merchant, sets off on an adventure to rescue Mario from the evil Bowser!
This project was a lot of fun for me! I wanted to really push myself with the shapes and proportions of characters and try a different style. Usually my work tends to be on the cutesy and conservative side so this time I wanted to make something a bit edgy and tongue-and-cheek. It was fun re-imaging a series that I’ve grown up with and finally giving Peach the spotlight. (We won’t mention the DS game they made for her….)
Thanks for playing!