Zatanna DC Comics' most powerful sorceress leads a dual life. She doesn't have a secret identity so much as a civilian life where she performs stage magic for audiences. Her other life is spent fighting crime and protecting people from dark magical forces. Her powerful incantations are spoken backwards and until television versions started appearing, you had to imagine what it sounded like.
Throughout her superheroic career, she has changed costumes many times, but ultimately has returned to her magician garb complete with fishnets and top hat. It was with this outfit that she premiered on television with in the early 90's on the Batman: The Animated Series. She has continued to appear in animated form in shows like the webseries Gotham Girls or the newer show Batman: The Brave and the Bold. It is the classic Bruce Timm style that she's appeared in most often that I like best. Her costume is an easy one to duplicate for cosplay at comic book conventions and that was the only way you could see a live action version of Zatanna. At least that was the case until Spring of 2009. Zatanna appeared in an eighth season episode of Smallville played by an actress with a magical sounding name herself, Serinda Swan. She came back in the ninth season and hopefully will make another appearance in the tenth. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
Fire & Ice The Global Guardians were an international group of heroes that teamed up with the Super Friends in the comic based on the television show. Two members to appear were Green Fury and Icemaiden. When they joined the Justice League, they changed their names to Fire and Ice.
Fire’s history has been changed and altered many times. She started as Green Fury, the Brazilian hero who could breathe mystical green fire. When she joined the Justice League with Icemaiden, they changed their names and Fire eventually developed the ability to change herself into a being of green fire due to a metagene bomb. When the creators of a new version of the Justice League brought the two characters as members, they created a new secret identity for Ice. They had not realized that Icemaiden was Sigrid Nansen from Norway. So Tora Olafsdotter became the new Icemaiden and changed her name to Ice. When Ice died in battle, the original Icemaiden took her place. Luckily, Ice returned and Fire and Ice were reunited.
In 1997, a pilot for a new show was filmed called Justice League of America. It never aired, but Michelle Hurd and Kimberly Oja portrayed the heroines.
Lousy special effects and casting missteps (David Ogden Stiers as Martian Manhunter) guaranteed that it would never become a series. Regardless of the quality, it was the first time live action actors were portraying Fire and Ice.
When Justice League Unlimited aired, our DC heroines were part of the backdrop, but got special moments of action and Fire actually had speaking lines. Though these female heroes are not the top tier of characters in the DC comics line, they have developed a following and maybe this won’t be the last time they appear in action on TV or film.
I know FemForce is a girl group of heroes drawn in "good girl" art style published by AC Comics, but none of those characters will be appearing in my upcoming posts. I started off trying to think about all the female superheroes that have made it to live action and animation so I could make a list of not only how many there were, but to also determine my grouping. Characters like the live action heroine Black Scorpion and the animated Jana of the Jungle will not be included in these posts. I love those characters, but I want to concentrate only on the comic book heroines that have jumped off the pages into action. Some will be short while others will be longer. Some characters will have more than one post to cover all the media versions I can. My thanks go out to the actresses that have filled the costumes and given voices to some great characters. Many more thanks for the writers and artists who have created these characters and the comic book companies like DC Comics and Marvel who keep them around.
With Marvel's Captain America making magazine covers and Ryan Reynolds starring as Green Lantern, I've decided to dedicate this month's posts to superheroes. Well not just any superheroes, but heroes of the female gender.
I've always liked the female heroes in comics, but it was rare that I got to see them in action in movies or on TV. At least, that's what I thought. I started thinking about all of the women who have appeared as masked crimefighters, caped crusaders, or spandex starlets and realized that there have been a lot of wonder women that have appeared across my television or movie screens.
Granted, the men always got more exposure like Superman and Batman. Each appeared in early serials: But they've also graced the small screen, and the big screen. Other heroes have had their own TV shows like the Flash, or appeared with many other heroes in animated form like Hawkman.
Well, ladies, it's time to shine! Each post will feature either one heroine in her many formats, or it may be just one specific show or movie that will be spotlighted. I will tell you that Wonder Woman, Batgirl and Supergirl will each get posts, but other lesser known supergals will also be mentioned like Black Canary, ElectraWoman, and Isis.
Now, while I do like Marvel characters, most will be from the DC Comics roster.
An obscure witch from an obscure TV show is featured in today's Witch-A-Day post. In the early 80's a short-lived TV series called Tucker's Witch starred Catherine Hicks. In the show, Catherine played Amanda Tucker who worked as a private investigator with her husband played by Tim Matheson. This husband and wife team worked to solve crimes each in their own way. Tim's character Rick Tucker used old-fashioned detective skills while his wife used witchcraft. She had a Siamese cat named Dickens and her mother, also a witch, was played by Barbara Barrie. Though Amanda's telekinesis worked fine for the most part, some of her spells didn't work properly and caused some problems, but everything worked out in the end. Well, except for the show. Moved around on the schedule a few times, Tucker's Witch never developed an audience.
A sidenote on the show: The first pilot of the show was called The Good Witch of Laurel Canyon and starred two actors from the film Porky's. Art Hindle played the husband while the witchy wife was played by Kim Cattrall. After filming on the pilot was completed, Porky's came out and the network executives were appalled at the raunchiness of the film, specifically Kim's scene in the locker room, so they immediately called for recasting and changed the name of the show to Tucker's Witch. It's funny to think they passed up on the gold mine of using Kim to market the show because she might have found the audience that the show never found.
This Witch-A-Day post is on Charmed. After the death of their grandmother, the Halliwell sisters find the Book of Shadows and discover they are witches, each with a unique power. Prue (Shannen Doherty) had the power to move things with telekinesis. Piper (Holly Marie Combs) could freeze (not in the ice sense) objects. Phoebe (Alyssa Milano) had premonitions. Over time, their powers increased and they discovered new ones. Together, they were the most powerful witches fighting against evil and demons. By combining their might in "The Power of Three" they could vanquish powerful demons and defeat most foes. Sadly, Prue died at the end of season three and it looked like "The Power of Three" was broken, but luckily, their mother had an affair with her guardian (Whitelighter) and the girls found their half-sister Paige (Rose McGowan). While the mythology became muddled over time, the show was entertaining enough to last a total of eight seasons.
In Bell, Book, and Candle, Gillian Holroyd (Kim Novak) met her upstairs neighbor (James Stewart) and was intrigued. When she found out he was about to marry her old school rival, she cast a spell using her cat Pyewacket to make him forget his girlfriend and become infatuated with her. Though he eventually finds out about the deception, it's too late...he's fallen in love. Unfortunately for Gillian, she fell in love, too. The problem...when a witch falls in love, she loses her power. Sadly, in addition to losing her power and her familiar, she loses all sense of style. In the end, Gillian is no longer selling exotic tribal art or dressing in cool, dark and sexy clothes. Now that she is mortal, she is selling seashell flowers (yawn) and dressing in boring white bland clothes. It's a good thing that didn't happen to Samantha on Bewitched, or the show would have been over by the pilot and eight seasons would have been lost to us.
A little sidenote...Mom Smackley and I have a cat that we named Pyewacket because of this movie.
Three witches headline today's Witch-A-Day post. Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy starred in the Halloween feature Hocus Pocus. Bette Midler played Winifred, the leader of the pack who is also able to fire blasts of energy. Sarah Jessica Parker played Sarah, the dumb blonde (which isn't saying much because none of them are all that bright). Sarah had the power to put children under her thrall with her melodic voice. Kathy Najimy played Mary, who could sniff out children from their hiding places.
Why would the Sanderson sisters need children? To suck out the lifeforce of kids to restore their youth and beauty.
Two-for-one on today's Witch-A-Day post. In 1977, Lisa Hartman headlined the short-lived sitcom Tabitha as the title character. This Bewitched spin-off had the Stephens' daughter as a young adult working at a local Los Angeles television station. Adam was also on the series, but displayed none of the powers he exhibited at the end of the parent series. In fact, he was now Tabitha's older brother and was just as nervous about Tabitha using her powers like his father Darrin was with his mother Samantha.
It may not have been a true continuation of Bewitched with minor changes in established history, but appearances by Abner and Gladys Kravitz, plus a special appearance from Dr. Bombay, helped in connecting the audience with the past.
Along for the ride, was the Endora-like character of Aunt Minerva. Aunt Minerva was not mentioned in Bewitched, but from the looks of things, she was always involved in Tabitha's life. She encourages Tabitha to use her powers and is a bit of bad influence on the young witch. Karen Morrow does a great job as Minerva who is kind of a cross between Endora and Serena.
I'll do an actual review of Tabitha's short half-season run in a future post.
Today's Witch-A-Day post presents Angela Lansbury as Eglantine Price in Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Miss Price had been enrolled in the Emelius Brown Correspondence College of Witchcraft. She didn't realize that it was a con and the spells she received were found in an old spellbook of a sorceror named Astoroth that Professor Brown jumbled up and gave a flair (which changed the results of some of the spells). She wanted the Substitutiary Locomotion spell which would have given life to inanimate objects so she could help with the war effort against the Nazis. Though the spells were just a bunch of words to most people, Miss Price had the power to make them work.
Agnes Moorehead has starred in many classic films like Citizen Kane, The Opposite Sex, and Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte, but it was her role as Endora in Bewitched that made her a household name. Eventhough Endora was against the mixed marriage of mortal (Darrin) and her witch daughter (Samantha), the role could have been hated for all the torture she put her son-in-law through, but her charm and class came through thanks to Agnes. She may have set mothers-in-law back 200 years, but Endora will always be timeless. You can't do a Witch-A-Day feature without including the great Agnes Moorehead.
Not all witches wear pointy hats and ride around on brooms. Granted, when the word witch is mentioned the image that comes to mind may be just that, but Pam Grier proves that witches don't always fit the stereotype when she played the Dust Witch in Something Wicked This Way Comes. So for my Witch-A-Day post, here's Pam Grier!
Spolighting a Witch-A-Day for the remainder of the month, I had to include one of the first sexy witches portrayed on film. Veronica Lake starred in I Married a Witch. In the film, her character Jennifer is seeking revenge on the decendents of the man responsible for her and her father's burning at the stake. Love, however, conquers all, as did the beauty of Ms. Lake.