Years ago, genius cartoonist Derek Kirk Kim did an illustration set called “Models of Manhood,” of all his childhood heroes. I can’t find it online now, so instead I order you to watch Derek’s new YouTube sitcom Mythomania, which will answer all your questions about cartoonists and raise oh so many more.
Okay, done catching up on Mythomania? Good. The point is, I always wanted to do a “Models of Womanhood” set in inadequate homage to Derek’s illos, and recently I went on a bender and did it. And here they are.
Childhood Heroine #1: She-Ra
I loved the Masters of the Universe cartoon, although, watching it now via Netflix, I’m amazed that any six-year-old had the patience to sit through what was essentially half an hour of nearly-motionless drawings vaguely paired with weirdly distorted voices, much less millions of us. And yet He-Man was a thing. But I also loved stuff with girls in it, so you can imagine how thoroughly my developing mind was blown when She-Ra was unveiled.
To be honest, I can’t remember much of anything about the cartoon except the presence of She-Ra, which, Netflix has taught me, is just as well. I barely recall the backstory of She-Ra’s strange parallel universe of Etheria, a planet in even worse shape than He-Man’s Eternia thanks to the despotic reign of the evil Hordak. I don’t remember much of the enchanted forest where Princess Adora and her friends hung out, or her love interest with the pornstache and the heart on his chest, or the multiple comic-relief sidekicks who managed the improbable feat of making Orko look good. (Actually, I was always a little scared of Orko, because you never saw his face and I assumed it must be terrifying.)
No, in my mind all details were obliterated before the might of She-Ra, with her armor and sword and super-strength and well-conditioned hair and, most importantly, her horse that turned into a flying unicorn.
I mean, a flying unicorn. As in a unicorn with wings. Rainbow wings.
The best Christmas ever was the year Santa left my brother a He-Man costume and me a She-Ra costume. With swords. He-Man’s sword made battery-powered noises and She-Ra’s just glowed, but otherwise that was a perfect celebration of Christ’s birth.