Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Make It a Movie May: Jenny Sparks

Continuing on our quest to talk about the women of comics who totally deserve their own movies, today I'd like to address Jenny Sparks.

Unless you're really into comics in a major way, you probably have no idea who Jenny Sparks is.

You are missing out.

Jenny Sparks is from a little comic called Stormwatch, and then later The Authority. Also known as the "Spirit of the 20th Century", Jenny is sort of like a combination of Captain America and Wonder Woman. She was born at the start of the 20th century, and acts as a guardian for humanity. She's also a British chain-smoker who brooks no argument from anyone, about anything, ever.

Jenny's power is the ability to manipulate electricity, even going so far as to turn herself into a huge cloud of it when the situation arises. She has this power because electricity is the power of the 20th century, and she's defined entirely by her era. At the end of 1999, she dies, and Quantum Jenny is born. Heavy stuff.

What makes her so interesting, though, is that unlike Captain America and Wonder Woman, Jenny has lived through the entire 20th century without aging, and without losing consciousness for any long period of time. History happened to her too. Her family died on the Titanic, she fought in WWII, she got stoned in the sixties, and was depressed during the eighties. She has lived, and by the time her story really picks up with Stormwatch, a group of superheroes based loosely on the Justice League, she was in her 90s. Sure, she looked 19, but she had the mind and spirit of a much older person.

And that's actually what I think would make for a good movie about her. Jenny Sparks not only has the kind of attitude and awesomeness that makes her compelling to watch, but the stories that you can tell with her are really unique. Telling a story about Jenny as she strives to thwart evil in the 90s, when she's in her 90s, gives you ample opportunity to reference her past while also taking advantage of her vast knowledge. Adding extra drama is the fact that she knows when she's going to die. She has no option there.

Or, maybe you want to set the film in the past--well, you have an entire century to deal with. You could pick up in the teens when she is mourning her parents and discovering her powers in the midst of WWI. You could follow her adventures fighting Nazis in WWII. You could plop her down anywhere in the 20th century and the story would be awesome because she is awesome.

You could even work in an interesting aspect of her universe, and tell a story about how she traveled to a parallel dimension called Sliding Albion and married a resident to help him gain power.

Personally, I would set a story in the time when she was working The Authority. While it showcases Jenny and her issues, it would follow her as she prepared to die at the end of the century and could include her last words, which are some of my favorite words said in comics.

"Save the world. They deserve it. Be better. Or I'll come back and kick your heads in."

But in terms of why Jenny deserves a movie, it really comes down to her story. While Marvel made their protector of humanity (Captain America) male, and Wonder Woman is a really a maelstrom of confusing gender identities, Jenny Sparks is very clear. She is here to save humanity. She was born for this, and she will die for this. She may be bitchy, sarcastic, and grouchy, but so would you if you were in your 90s and still expected to run around saving people instead of retiring quietly. She does keep saving people though, and she keeps on keeping on. She's British, cranky, and facing imminent death, but she is still the coolest woman I've ever read about.

Seriously. Movie. Her. Now please.


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