Some weird headcanons of mine

I actually regard Barry Allen as Irish-American whereas Caitlin Snow’s actually Irish, tall (around 6″0) and intersex (she’s androgen insensitive); not that Barry Allen and Caitlin can’t be Irish, but that involves moving past stereotypes of sorts. Or perhaps more acknowledgement of Irish culture, where Irish folks and Irish Americans aren’t always drunk, angry and redheaded.

If you ask me, I have a hard time naming any Irish celebrity with red hair (I know two blonds: Ronan Keating of Boyzone and Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh of Altan) so by this logic, Barry and Caitlin are blond Irish. It’s actually not that strange if you’re exposed to these characters, but that involves any real knowledge of Irish culture that makes me think earlier writers didn’t get it.

(Or are unintentionally ignorant, which’s usually the case to be fair.)

Like I said, though redheaded Irish do exist I have a hard time naming any Irish celebrity with red hair so it defaults to brunettes and sometimes blonds based on what I know. On the other hand, it’s something not many writers have considered though that would be because they don’t know any better or don’t know much to pull off something.

On the romance reader

I do have my suspicions of people reading romance novels, but then again I have relatives who do read those and one of them doesn’t fit the stereotype to a t (not fond of cats, has two sons). It’s as if The Flash’s Patty Spivot’s actually into trashy novels, that I suspect people would be leery of her as well.

If I’m not mistaken, a good number of romance readers are diehard readers if I recall correctly (whether if Jane Austen’s novels qualify as romance’s up to your guess) and I do know folks who do read romance novels also read up on other stuff. (She reads romance, she also reads National Geographic.)

To avoid painting a broad brush, there are romance readers who do fit the stereotype and then there are others who don’t, though I suspect the latter might be well-read whenever they do read books of other kinds.

When the Devil cons people

As the Devil appears as an angel of light, Caitlin Snow appears as a superheroine with ice powers when in reality she stole that power from somebody else and is actually a werewolf out to drink people’s blood. Like the Devil, Caitlin’s skilled in conning people as a shapeshifter she can appear as Iris to beguile Barry.

But then again Barry Allen goes weary of her antics, getting all the more suspicious of her in the Justice League after being conned by her all the time. God does have enough of the Devil’s antics, but he also allows the Devil in some trials. Like as if Barry permits Caitlin to hunt mice, rats and other vermin.

(Barry Allen does eventually forgive her, or at least get her to become a professional hunter to do what she likes without hurting anybody.)

The wolf in disguise

Let’s not forget that when it comes to the wolf in sheep’s clothing, there’s always the problem of wolves killing livestock that it’s if Caitlin Snow’s a werewolf who turns into a wolf to get away with killing people, thus angering Barry Allen (though he does eventually forgive her).

As if the Devil’s good at conning people a lot, as if Caitlin Snow cons people just the same by shapeshifting into a superhero of light. She’s a ravenous werewolf that eats livestock, angering farmers and alerting Barry to the point where he makes her hunt vermin.

That’s to keep her on a tight leash, making her hunt within reason without hurting anybody else anymore.

Commes des filles

Like some girls, where I have the nagging feeling that if Caitlin Snow and Patty Spivot were to be portrayed as closer to most women that would be disappointing to those who always portray them as manic dream nerdettes in the sense of being like their male counterparts a lot.

It’s not always a bad thing as there are famous characters based on their male counterparts, whether as girlfriends (Hawkgirl), relatives (She-Hulk and Supergirl), acquaintances (Batgirl) and the like that it’s not necessarily bad in and of itself, what differentiates Patty from Hawkgirl’s the tendency to depict the former as MPDG.

Imagine if Patty Spivot’s depicted as being into romance novels, or if Caitlin Snow turns out to have a thing for gay porn that comes too close to reality to be properly escapist; actually there are fangirls that do slash fanfiction, just as there are those who fixate on their favourite couples.

They are nerds, but not one of the guys. Even if ironically several women are like this (some have a thing for gay porn, some like romance novels), that also ruins the fantasy nerd girl images for Patty Spivot and Caitlin Snow.

Manic pixie no more

When it comes to the way Patty Spivot was portrayed in the comics and to some extent, the telly until recently there’s the tendency to portray her as the right one for Barry Allen, if because she’s his female counterpart. It’s not necessarily always a bad thing, as a good number of heroines are conceived as female counterparts (relatives, wives/girlfriends and friends).

But there’s this part of me where it’s all the more interesting if she were portrayed as a more average woman: reads romance novels, gossips, watches soap operas and very into celebrity magazines in addition to being a scientist. But that also risks being too close for comfort in some regards: there are fangirls who do obsess over their favourite couples, gossip about others online and obsess over celebrities.

To the point where rather than being a cool girl, Patty’s one of those girls that bother the lads a lot.

Not your ideal girlfriend character

Though this isn’t always the case with other writers and stories, I do get the impression of some writers treating certain characters as if they’re so idealised as to be almost unrelatable and even Mary Sueish. As in the idealised reader surrogate that some fans live vicariously through and unintentionally bothering others, which I think’s the true hallmark of a Canon Sue.

As for Kitty Pryde, this isn’t to say she lacks flaws (she does have a habit of losing her temper to the point of being vindictive and ruthless that some stories do play up the ruthlessness) but I have a feeling she’d actually be less Mary Sue if she’s less idealised girlfriend/reader surrogate and more like what Psylocke and X23 ended up as: a ruthless ninja.

(Kitty Pryde got trained to be a ninja, Psylocke only got ninja skills through a body swap and that’s saying, as if writers ironically forget canon at times.)

Not to mention, she does have a habit of losing her temper and even violent that the Age of Apocalypse version played up this trait as a ruthless assassin or at the very least, an antiheroine who’s as practical as she’s conniving.

(Actually if they portrayed Kitty Pryde as more of an antiheroine, that actually involves taking her to where she’d logically become like a ruthless ninja who uses the focused totality of her intangilibility and also somebody who’d bend the law to her own will when the situation suits it.)

As for other characters, I still think flawlessness doesn’t always make a character Mary Sue but rather a form of vicarious fan identification that makes it harder to not idealise that’s often different from your usual semi-autobiographical character fiction.

(I did have a Mary Sue character when I identified with a certain character before.)

Whilst not always the case, there’s the problem with trying to turn Patty Spivot into Barry Allen’s girlfriend but because Iris West is his girlfriend the longest and the one with a deeper impact (I always said that the storyline where Barry’s doppelganger kills her and Barry himself avenges her got repeated in later stories).

It could even be argued that Iris West might have more in common with Barry than Patty does that if writers did depict Patty as obsessed with romance novels, gambling and soap operas but Barry’s into hunting, reading comics (Patty doesn’t like that) and the occasional soccer then that’s proving my point right.

Possibly the case with canon to some extent, but that involves realising that either Patty’s not that incompatible with Barry or if she didn’t make a big impact or whatever. (But it could be argued that some writers do depict her as an idealised girlfriend figure, even though there’s the possibility of her liking romance novels much to Barry’s chagrin.)

Both characters aren’t necessarily Mary Sue because of apparent flawlessness but risk being Mary Sue due to over-eager fan idealisation that keeps them from going where they’d logically become or in some cases, be human even if that’s not always the case.

A kind character

I do think God’s kind enough to those who’ve been hurt or desires are hurt in some way, that this is if Barry Allen knows Caitlin Snow can’t stop hunting in the form of a wolf that he kindly allows an outlet for it (by hunting vermin) that she can do it without hurting people.

That’s the most merciful God could get to somebody, where he knows your heart’s desires and finding ways to answer it. Like say you know you don’t want to have children with somebody, then you don’t have to go through it when they die young. He might make them marry somebody else.

Likewise Caitlin Snow always screws up whenever she has a habit of drinking blood in her wolf form, but Barry permits her to do this to vermin that he’s being merciful to her.

I always considered him as such

I actually always considered Barry Allen to be Irish American, at least on his father’s side whereas his mother would be from Continental Europe (going from Germany to Italy, thanks a lot Dante). Actually this might not be a stretch given there are Americans who’re Irish and German American (Grace Kelly) or Irish and Italian descent.

As for blond Irish and Italians or simply those with lighter hair in general, they do exist that for the Italian side you have Nitro and Patty Pravo, for the Irish side there’s Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh and Ronan Keating. Barry Allen could be Irish or Italian American and still be blond or light-haired anyways, though that involves any real familiarity with Irish and Italian cultures.

(To this day, I have a hard time naming any Irish celebrity with red hair since the Irish celebrities I know best are brunets and blonds. There’s Milva, who’s a natural redhead and Italian to boot.)

Patty Spivot

For some odd reason, I imagined her as the sort of woman who reads romance novels in her sparetime but still not entirely unintelligent either (she’s a scientist). Certainly it doesn’t show up in the canon but that’s not to say it’s necessarily out of character as much as she might not be that well-developed and that’s saying.

(As in, it’s one thing to depict say Black Canary selling flowers for a living and presumably growing them in her garden but another to have Patty Spivot read romance novels in her spare time, let alone without insulting her to say something.)

Surely I’m making things up but on the other hand, one might wonder why nobody else ever bothered depicting romance readers in the more sympathetic or non-stereotypical light and with Patty Spivot being a romance reader it does make one think about some things that makes one wonder if she’s heavily defined in her relationship to Barry Allen as a distraction or replacement for Iris West.

(Which makes one wonder if they never bothered making Patty Spivot much more than that, either as a thinly veiled female Barry Allen if people ever realised or as a replacement for Iris West.)

It wouldn’t be any better if they gave Patty Spivot the habit of reading romance novels, watching soap operas and a preference for parrots and hamsters but at least that makes her stand out more from both Barry Allen and Iris West.