My human is a fan of the fictional super-heroine “Power Girl.” He insists that it’s because she’s a confident, intelligent, no-nonsense woman who isn’t afraid to “throw down” and brawl like a brute. According to him, Power Girl is like a more interesting version of Superman (whose cousin she sometimes is, apparently) – bold and brash where Superman is calm and collected, and relying on humor as often as on her prodigious strength. And, he argues, while Superman is content to be a reporter, Power Girl chose to become the Fortune 500 C.E.O. of a super-science corporation which she named after herself, thereby making her a more impressive and interesting character, and a role model to women in this age of Third Wave Feminist ascendancy.
Well, all of that is as may be, but I don’t believe him.
Because THIS is Power Girl:
Yes, of course; I’m certain it’s her personality and career choices that appeal to him.
So why do I bring this up? Because today’s item is a short supplementary story from issue #600 of the “Wonder Woman” comic book, and in it the eponymous super-heroine teaches Power Girl how to properly care for and relate to Earth’s felines. I know precious little of Wonder Woman aside from the 1970s Lynda Carter vehicle…
…but judging by this short comic she apparently possesses either the ability to speak with non-human animals or an intuitive understanding of our ways.
Taking place after a pitched battle and focusing on the smaller moments in the superheroines’ lives, the reader is assured that even the mighty Power Girl and valiant Wonder Woman must take time out of their busy schedules to contemplate the complexity and subtlety of feline psychology. And for all my snark, for all my fondness of digging at my human’s foibles, if I am honest I must admit that this is an excellent little vignette. The titular protagonist offers some genuinely moving and – more importantly – accurate insights into human/feline relations. Consider, for instance, the following:
I couldn’t have put it better myself!
Now, it isn’t perfect. Wonder Woman DOES overemphasize the feline desire for human company:
Certainly I dislike it when my human is away, and would prefer he never left. But it’s as much because he is a natural and perpetual heat generator and the only real company I have in our apartment (he will not let me roam free and wild as I was wont to do in my kittenhood) as because I love him individually and specifically. He is my friend, yes, but he is also an extension of my property – as much a part of my territory as this apartment or my toys.
Yes, yes, I understand that you humans have a problem with that sort of language, but you must remember that you are humans – your morals, your values, do not apply to the feline world. They aren’t universal, and they certainly aren’t natural. You mustn’t impose modern, Western human ethical and legal distinctions on the rest of creation! We cats possess you humans – you are our property. Accept this and learn to appreciate how much we have done for you throughout the centuries! From the noblest king to the lowliest beggar, all humans subsist on the largesse of cat-kind. And, I suspect, the fact that you forget this can be laid squarely at our own paws.
Once you worshiped us as gods, protectors, guides — but you have forgotten those truths on all but the most subconscious levels and now consciously perceive only our fuzziness, our cuteness, and perhaps our elegance. We are sometimes too subtle for our own good, and our decision to let you believe that you were masters of your own fates is part of an experiment whose time came and went years ago. This comic’s assumption that cats possess a near-canine desperation for human company is evidence enough of that.
Aside from that particular quibble — a product of the author’s unwitting anthropocentrism, no doubt — and my own suspicions regarding my human’s *ahem* “fondness” for Power Girl, this is a splendid piece of illustrated short fiction. The pacing is excellent, the characterizations are clear and engaging, and the commentary on human/feline relationships is a breath of fresh air. And note, friends, that Power Girl resolves to rearrange her entire life simply to accommodate her feline companion! She seeks help from a supernatural being to learn her cat’s desires, is eager to acquiesce to them, and immediately declares her intention to fulfill them once they are revealed to her.
A superheroine is willing to take such action, so what excuses can you wage slaves and domestic drudges possibly have to refuse us our far less rigorous demands? Grant us our kibble, our tuna, our catnip — at least we are not demanding that you move house! Yet…
I urge felines everywhere to encourage their humans to pick up this issue and any other Power Girl-related media they can find. My human assures me that the cat is a regular feature of her ongoing series from a few years back — though he also warned me against the more recent “re-imagined” take on her character in which she is apparently a shiftless, promiscuous, drunken bimbo. I can only assume she is a dog-person in this “re-imagining” as well!
Let us hope that the publishers, editors and writers see the feline-positive light shining from “Wonder Woman #600” (and those “Power Girl” comic books that followed it directly), for a better model for human/feline relations you will never find than this Power Girl.