Favorite Female Characters in Literature # 5: Emma Frost - The White Queen
And so… at last, we’ve reached my top five favorite female characters in literature. We start right off with one of the few women in comics that I don’t mind being sexualized. Unlike my Supergirl rant from the last episode of these posts, sexuality really IS very much a part of the character of Emma Frost… and that’s okay. That’s great, actually… because one of the many things I like about Emma, perhaps the MAIN thing I like about Emma, is that she is very much in control of her own sexuality. Many / most of the other female characters feel like they’re being sexual to please male characters, or male readers. Starfire, anyone? Emma, on the other hand, has been rather consistently portrayed as a woman who does whatever the fuck she wants, in every part of her life. She enjoys sex. She enjoys being the one in control. She enjoys sex because it gives her control.
Frankly, I’m a bit amazed that her character has remained so consistent over the years, throughout many different creator changes. There really hasn’t been much in the way of ditzy Emma, or playtoy Emma… it’s been In Control Emma, and that’s what makes her a valid character.
So, I guess what I’m saying, this time I’m more than okay with the “naughty” aspects, because we’re all playing by Emma’s rules.
This is another of the reasons I like Emma, the way she's always been a high class fully cultured personality, but one who enjoys the company of base plebeians, even if she can't help but be a bitch about it.
It's her decadence that makes her seem more human than most characters. She has all the ingredients of falling apart, but it strong enough to keep herself together. That's her heroism. Not everyone is willing to save themselves.
I'm a huge fan of Frank Quitely. And this is easily one of my favorite images of Emma, the White Queen. I enjoy the insolence in her face and attitude, and I like that all her lady parts are quite obviously intact. That slight bulge down below saves her from being the inhuman barbie doll that is usually illustrated.
Some Frank Quitely designs for Emma. I love seeing artists working out how they want to draw characters, what aspects are to be stressed, what traits to heighten, etc.
Hey! Here's the White Queen hanging out with Frank Quitely! It's good to be king.
And here's a Frank Quitely drawing of Alan Moore. Why? Because... ALAN MOORE IS ALWAYS WATCHING YOU.
"Scott Pilgrim" creator Bryan Lee O'Malley capturing the whimsy and sexuality of Emma Frost all in one go.
I like the art of the cover, but not so much the characterization. Emma ISN'T a fainting frail who clasps the big strong man for protection. Emma IS her protection. Ahh... maybe I'll just write it off as her trying to make Scott feel better. The cover works if we imagine Emma saying, "Oh, you're so big and strong! Who's big and strong? You are, Scott! Yes you are!"
Emma Frost cosplay is kind of... interesting. It's a cross of innocence and decadence that stirs the blood, so I've kind of enjoyed looking on the internet for images of the White Queen, and... uh... wait a second. What is... I don't... arggh!
What the hell, internet? WHAT... THE... HELL?
Let's move on from that horror, shall we? Above is the original art for one of THE key issues in the history of X-Men comics. Uncanny X-Men #129 is the first appearance of the White Queen, and the entire Hellfire Club, and... as a bonus... Kitty Pryde as well. Meaning the issue has the first appearance of TWO characters that made my top 20 female characters of all time. Nice.
"Hello" says the White Queen. "I'm sure we're going to be great friends." And the young ballerina put away her reservations and began preparations for attending a very good school in Massachusetts.
A fake cover by artist Tony Fleecs. I would READ THE HELLFIRE OUT OF THIS BOOK. I'm a sucker for a good pulp novel, and a pulp novel with Emma as the femme fatale would be better than chocolate and peanut butter and puppies and kisses.
Problem-solving... FROST STYLE!
Problem-solving... FROST STYLE!
One can't / shouldn't talk about Emma Frost without talking about artist Greg Horn, who has done a wonderful amount of covers for everyone's favorite white queen.
One of my favorite pieces by Greg. Has a lot of life to it, and Emma radiates such fragility, which I find engaging when we KNOW what a powerful woman she is, both physically and mentally. No wonder the woman can turn to diamond. She's unbreakable.
Four more notable covers by Greg Horn. I really love how she seems like she could actually exist... like there's a real person, so you can read her life, get lost in her adventures along with her, rather than just reading a work of fiction.
My favorite part of this image is thinking of Professor X working with the interior desginers for his Westchester mansion, and telling him, "Looking good. Looking good. Now... we're obviously going to need to have our X symbol on freaking everything! Put it on the toilets. The doorknobs. And, oh... the mirrors. The mirrors for sure."
A sultry Emma by the artist Barry Presh / Rubio. Love that expression on her face.
Honestly, it doesn't look like a BAD world.
Emma is... an understanding and accomodating woman. Scott... you're a jerk.
Spidey, this is a very good question. I am engaged in this conversation.
I've worked with Emma Frost a fair amount in my Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man series. Like everyone in the Adventures line, she was an alternative version, and in this case I was dealing with her when she was a teen, during her first foray into wearing a costume, creating a persona called The Silencer mostly so she could have fun... and also maybe steal a kiss from Spider-Man.
Emma, in her "Silencer" guise, was designed by my pal Chris Samnee, who is INCREDIBLE to work with. Speed and genius... one of those artists who instinctively knew what I wanted.
The beginning of a rivalry, and a new style of fashion for young Emma Frost.
Romantic rivalries are super fun to write. Especially when one side is an innocent, and another side is Emma Frost.
Another alternate Emma. Another winner. She's an endlessly interesting character, because she's strong enough to beat everyone else, and almost strong enough to keep herself at bay.
Another thing I like about Emma is that she IS hurt. Like any of us, she has a wealth of mental problems, and she knows about them, and doesn't worry that much about stepping in or on them. She's not afraid to be hurt again. Not afraid to be innocent. Not afraid to live her life. Aware of the worst of life, but... not afraid.
I am unable to do a post that does not contain at least one piece of Darwyn Cooke art.
I think this is the single time that Colleen Coover has drawn the White Queen. Abysmally deficient. What is this world coming to?
Emma always knows how to make an entrance. And an exit. And everything in between.
Emma Frost has a message for us all.
THE “FAVORITE” LIST SO FAR…
#25: Scarlet Witch
#24: Chance Falconer
#21: Jean Grey
#20: Kitty Pryde
#19: Janet van Dyne
#18: Mary Jane Watson
#17: Hermione Granger
#15: Modesty Blaise
#14: Black Widow
#13: Sue Storm
#11: Millie (the Model) Collins
#10a: Blonde Phantom
#10b: Betty & Veronica
#10c: Lois Lane
#10: Wonder Woman
#9: Nancy Drew
#5: Emma Frost
——- DOWN BELOW IS JUST A REHASH OF WHY I’M DOING THIS LIST ———
I’ve been thinking about women, lately. Women characters in comics. Women creators in comics. Female characters in literature. And pretty girls riding around on bicycles or walking along the sidewalk, etc, etc. Because of this, I’ve decided to make An Entirely Useless List. Why is it entirely useless? Because it’s my top 25 female characters from comics and literature, and such lists change at whim and at a breakneck pace. It’s IMPOSSIBLE to quantify favorites… the term favorite is far too malleable. A list of my best friends from high school, for instance, would not include anyone with whom I’m currently in contact. Times change. Still… I’m making the list. Why? I suppose I just like thinking about women.