Where’s my superhero?


It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s superhero stamps from the U.S. Postal Service. That’s right, ladies: Run, don’t walk, to the nearest post office and snatch up those brightly colored goodies depicting Elektra and Spider Woman. Wait, Spider Woman? Who the heck is Spider Woman? She’s one of two female comic book characters depicted among the ten new superhero stamps just issued. The new release includes Marvel heroes such as Spider-Man, the Hulk and Captain America.

This is this second set of superhero stamps to be released by the USPS. The first came last July and included ten heroes from the stable of DC Comics. Again, the powers that be found two female heroes they deemed worthy of inclusion. Both Wonder Woman and Super Girl made the grade.

I’m no comic expert. In fact, my exposure to the intensely colored world is exceptionally limited. But I had heard rumors that the number of female superheroes was somewhat sparse. The fact that the USPS managed to find four worthy candidates from such a limited pool of applicants was something I found mildly impressive. That being said, I still don’t have any idea who the heck Spider Woman is. One or two of the male representatives also escape my recollection, but I’ll leave that discussion to the fine folk over at AfterElton.com.

A quick trip to Marvel’s website, and I learned that Spider Woman is two people. OK, that’s not exactly accurate. It’s more precise to say that there are two different characters who use the name Spider Woman, three if you count the evil one who steals the powers of one of the good ones. Confused? Me too; maybe that’s why I avoided comics as a child.

However, my curiosity was somewhat piqued. So I began to poke around over at the DC Comics site as well and found myself slightly less impressed with the USPS. I don’t mean to say the choices they made were poor, just that I’m a bit disappointed by at least one name that was left off the list. Now, I can completely understand why they would not include the Invisible Woman. Who wants a blank stamp? But to leave Barbara Gordan off the list is like failing to see that Gotham is a symbolic representation of New York City.

Barbara Gordan, aka Batgirl, aka Oracle is definitely outside the typical superhero mold. As Batgirl, she was one of Batman’s closest allies in the fight against Gotham’s worst. That is, until Joker got the best of her with a single shot from a less-than-super handgun. The bullet left her paralyzed, effectively ending her crime-fighting, superhero career. But Barbara Gordan is no ordinary superhero. She re-invented herself as Oracle, using technology and intellect to regain super status. The whole story reminds me of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s famous last words, or his last living words at any rate. “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.” Knowledge is power, baby, and Oracle proves it. So tell me, oh decision makers, why not include her?

My only other question is, when will my favorite female heroes get their due? (As in 41-cent first class postage due.)

If I could carry these ladies to and from the mailbox every day, I might be persuaded to use email less. Of course, I would also have to remember how to actually address an envelope.

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