10 Comic Book Characters with Okie Roots
12:04 PM EDT on April 18, 2018
Oklahoma City may not have as many superheroes as Metropolis, vigilantes as Gotham or mythological goddesses as Themiscyria, but when it comes to comic book writers, artists and creators, the Big Town has been assuredly crafting itself a decent-enough origin story over the past few years. Now it's finally on the verge of its own “great power/great responsibility” moment, with the inception of Oklahoma Contemporary’s Comix OK exhibit.*
Dedicated to exploring the “thriving artistic culture of comics in Oklahoma,” the Comix OK exhibition has been single-mindedly dedicated to “comic books, zines, graphic novels and related forms of sequential art, as well as the universes created by comic artists of superheroes, fantasy, mythology and science fiction,” especially on a local level, showcasing the work of many Okies working hard behind the capes. The folks behind the exhibit wanted to represent the great diversity both on and behind the pages of Oklahoma comics. In addition to the expected superheroes, COMIX OK features characters, artists, illustrators and writers from a variety of backgrounds, genders, sexualities, races and careers.
The program reaches its apex this weekend with ContempCon, a free comic book convention that runs April 21st and 22nd at Oklahoma Contemporary, 3000 General Pershing Blvd on the Fairgrounds. The con will feature workshops, drop-in studios for kids and adults, panel discussions, 45+ artist, publisher and vendor booths, storytimes, board games, a movie screening and other activities for families, artists and fans of the genre. Click here for more info including event schedules.
As someone who’s covered various conventions for The Lost Ogle on a very sad, very lonely regular basis, the event inspired us to revisit what role Oklahoma has played in the history of both the DC and Marvel universes. With a nod towards a possible cosplay idea or two, here are 10 comic book characters that have straight-up Okie roots, no matter how insignificant or embarrassing.
Marvel’s Wyatt Wingfoot is a proud member of the fictional Keewazi tribe and was born and bred on their reservation in central Oklahoma which, inaccurately enough, is depicted as a Navajo village with multi-storied adobe homes, like those you’d find in the deserts of New Mexico. After accepting a scholarship to Metro College in New York, he becomes the Human Torch’s token minority roommate. When offered the title of Chief from his people, he declines, instead preferring to stay in New York and bang She-Hulk on the regular. Not that I blame him.
DC also attempted to beat the Native drum in the late-70s with the barely fleshed-out character of Owlwoman; of Cherokee decent, jeweler Wenonah Littlebird is a member of both the Super-Friends and the Global Guardians, aiding both those super-teams when they make the occasional side-trip to Oklahoma. Born with the owl-like ability to see in the dark, glide on the wind and snap a neck in two thanks to a pair of freakishly long fingernails, while much hasn’t been seen or heard from Owlwoman in the past few years, she’s seemingly long-overdue for a proper update and I’m not talking that DC One Million nonsense.
Not to be confused with our current President—but almost just as lame—Z-list baddie Trump, aka Carlton Sanders, was born in Bartlesville and, like many of those born there do, became a Greenwich Village stage magician who would hypnotize his audiences and then rob them silly. He made the yuuuuuge mistake of doing that when Captain America was in the audience on a date and promptly got the ever-lovin’ red, white and blue knocked out of him. Blind superhero Daredevil has also been known to give this dunce the business on occasion as well.
One of the few men who knows what it takes to sexually satisfy an Amazon warrior—I’m thinking brutal sissyfication role-play—Enid-born and -raised Steve Trevor was a dashing World War I pilot and adventurer that crash-landed on the hidden island of Themiscyria, home to Princess Diana and about a few thousand other chicks who’ve never seen a totes brah before. Together, Wonder Woman and Trevor trotted the world over smashing dastardly Nazis, bloodthirsty Commies and a horrifically stereotyped Asian madman named Egg-Foo. I know it was a different time, but jeez Louise, DC.
Straight out of the Jewish community of Tulsa comes Dr. Leonard Skivorski, Jr., the Gamma-infused psychiatrist of the Marvel universe better known as Doc Samson (thanks to his luxurious green hair that takes away his super-strength when cut, natch). Doc has spent many years trying to cure Dr. Bruce Banner and his tendencies to get angry—people don’t like him when he gets angry—but eventually concedes and instead teaches Banner how to deal with the monster inside him through meditation. At least that’s what was going on around the time in quit reading comics in the mid-90s. Apparently some other dumb stuff has happened to him since then.
The tragedy of the Murrah Building bombing affected all of us differently, but probably not in the way it did Anti-Cap: while little is known about him personally, it was later revealed that as a teen in Sayreville, his 13-year-old girlfriend died on that horrific day in April. This triggered an intense hatred of terrorism in him and as soon as he could, he joined the Navy and participated in an experiment, much like Captain America’s, to boost his abilities and become a Super-Sailor by the name of Major America, the Anti-Cap. Veering constantly between American hero and American psycho, he’s kind of one of those cases where the writers tend to almost always walk that fine line of tribute and “Too soon!”
Perhaps the most mainstream comic book character with transplanted Oklahoma roots, Thor’s ethereal home of Asgard was located outside of Broxton, Oklahoma in Caddo County during the post-Civil War “Avenger Initiative” re-boot because, naturally, the Heavener Runestone is located in Oklahoma. They celebrated with ice cream. Sadly, a year later it would be destroyed when Norman “The Green Goblin” Osborn became the head of SHIELD and decided he didn’t want no ancient gods on American soil. I can think of many Oklahoma lawmakers—ahem Steve Lankford—who’d probably do the same thing.
While technically not a character, just by donning a white labcoat, carrying a clipboard and swiping of a makeshift badge, anyone can become a generic employee of DC Comics’ Scientific and Technological Advanced Research Laboratories (S.T.A.R. Labs), the scientific research facility and organization that is best known for creating scientific mishaps such as the half-man/halk-machine hero Cyborg, as well as employing some incarnation of the Flash, they’ve recently opened a location in Tulsa, but, knowing DC, it’s expendable and will probably be destroyed within the year.
Somewhere in DC Comics’ multiverse lies Earth X, a timeline where the Nazi won World War II. True to form, one of their home-bases is in Tulsa, which makes total sense—and it is up to the illuminating leader of the Freedom Fighters, the openly gay laser-light show the Ray, using his power of light to bring down those bastards as the BOK Tower and Route 66 bridge loom heavily in the background.
Not to be confused with DC’s Enchantress, Marvel’s equally dumb take on the character places nubile Broxton, Oklahoma jailbait Sylvie Lushton front and center, imbued with the numerous magical powers including mental manipulation, thought-control and teleportation by Asgardian jerk Loki in another one of his evil plans to usurp the Asgardian throne from Thor. If you’re going for real authenticity, Marvel, maybe the next multi-issue crossover even can have this Okie Lolita getting pregnant and we spend the whole summer trying to find out who the father is. We could even call it Crisis Center of Infinite Births!
* Oklahoma Contemporary is a TLO advertiser and we love them for it.
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