With it being Mother’s day today, this sort of felt right.
The Oddball Choice: Jubilation Lee
Mother to Shogo Lee
Primarily used as an audience idenitification/Wolverine sidekick character, Jubilee was one of the many who filled that role originally set up for Kitty ‘Shadowcat’ Pryde. It was then handed to Jubilee, Armor, X-23 and others. Made more famous because of the 90’s animated series, Jubilee was then a charter member of Generation-X, but it became harder and harder to give her character something to do and she became a known victim of events. She lost her powers on M-Day, became one of the lesser remembered New Warriors after Civil War and became a vampire during Curse of the Mutants. During on the many relaunches of adjectiveless X-Men, she found a baby in the aftermath of an alien (sort of) attack and also being an orphan, took it upon herself to care for this abandoned baby that she named Shogo. Still fun-loving an effervescent, she is also a responsible and devoted mother. This is a drastic, but believable and well presented bit of character development, that avoids the trite-ness of the usual ‘make her a mother because we have run out of ideas’ trope prevalent in fiction. She went from mall-rat, to mutant hero, to creature of the night to single mum and teacher, not a bad character arc.
Recent Choice: Lois Lane
Mother to Jon ‘Superboy’ Kent
This isn’t the New52 Lois, but the pre-Flashpoint one seen in Convergence and is now the one running around in the Rebirth era of DC Comics. Able to stand as Superman’s equal, Clark Kent’s rival and a successful writer and kicking all kinds of arse on her own before motherhood, she is the how does she do it mum. She struggles but, won’t show weakness. The kind of mother that tells a kid who can throw tanks to go to his room and that kid will go to his room. With Jubilee, the changes motherhood put on her with overt and drastic, not here, this was just another layer of bad-ass added on, with more nuanced changes.
The Obvious Choice: Susan ‘Invisible Woman’ Richards.
Mother to Franklin and Valeria
Marvel comics first title was the era defining Fantastic Four. They subsequently became known as Marvel’s first family and for good reason. They are iconic by the way they are defined by very basic traits, with nuanced layers added on, but remain intrinsically the extremes they have always been.
Mr Fantastic: The smartest
Human Torch: The most impulsive.
The Thing: The strongest.
The Invisible Woman: The most powerful, most caring, most fierce, most determined, most undervalued and so on.
She’s a character that through neglect has lacked definition, unless you look at her as primarily a mother, then her entire character makes sense, a fiercely protective caregiver. Cross her and she can be both ruthless and fearless. She’s still criminally underused, but seeing her as a mother first and superhero second, informs much of her potential as a character.
The Everyday Choice: Debbie Grayson
Mother to Mark ‘Invincible’ Grayson
Debbie Grayson, Invincible’s mum, is the quintessential rock of the family type of character, that could easily be ignored in this kind of comic. She has an alien husband, a super hero son and all manner of bizarre-ness, and there she is just a good woman that loves them both. In the first dozen issues, there’s a twist that tears her life asunder in a number of ways. We see her fall apart and we watch her rise again. One of many supporting characters in that series, but clearly one of the best.
The best till last Choice: May Parker.
Mother to her nephew Peter Benjamin ‘Spider-Man’ Parker
Spider-Man should really be a villain if you think about it. He’s more than a bit arrogant, often self serving and if you read enough comics with him in, he’s a bit of a d**k. There’s loss, reveling in his power and his first thought with gaining powers isn’t saving people, it’s ‘the world can go f**k itself, am looking after me and mine’. But underneath all that is a foundation of goodness, of responsibility and the drive to keep fighting. The drive is his own past pushing him to keep going, the responsibility is what happened to Uncle Ben, but that goodness, that noble heart, that’s May. May raised Peter after his parents’ death along with Ben, then upto his college years without him and continues to do so. Look at it this way, she has lost everyone, her only family in New York were the Parkers, Richard, Mary and her beloved Ben, she lost them all and was left with Peter. She give a boy with nothing, everything he would ever need and then continued on, even as he lied to her and at times put her life at risk. (Donating irradiated blood, letting her take in Doctor Octopus as a lodger and a dozen other things besides) Despite being an aunt, clearly the best mum in comics.
These are as I see them the 5 of the best fictional mothers in comics.
Mums who rise to the occasion.
Mums who kick ass.
Mums who are fierce and indomitable.
Mums who are there day by day, no matter what.
Mums who make the people in their lives better people.
These are opinions of fictional characters, to be considered inconsequential and frivolous things, but I know someone in the real world who embodies all other items on the above list.
There are so many reasons why I love the MIGHTY Rosie, but one of them is that she is and always has been a wonderful mum. When I started writing this list, I realised that she is my standard for good mothers, real and not, so despite this being about not real parents, I couldn’t leave the best one out, simply because she’s real.
Parenting is hard, a good parent is worth their weight in gold, Rosie: Platinum.