Childhood Heroine #10: Maleficent
Disney’s Sleeping Beauty gets some feminist flank for having a heroine whose major achievement is sleeping, but it’s a pretty good girl-power fantasy if you assume it’s about the battle for supremacy between the three good fairies and the evil Maleficent. Which, as a kid, I did. The good fairies–Flora, Fauna and Merryweather, natch–have some pretty boss powers for women shaped like levitating teapots, but even they’re overshadowed by Maleficent, Mistress of All Evil, with her raven, her weird henchmen, her awesome hat (referred to as the “horns of the devil” by the Disney animators), and her turning into a goddamn dragon.
Put it simply, Maleficent is a class act. And she was animated by Marc Davis based on concept art by Eyvind Earle, which is a team you can’t beat without bringing in Mary Blair.