Nobody really wanted that

I have a feeling before that if writers were committed to giving Kitty Pryde retractile claws for good, it’s not just that she’d be more like Wolverine but also perhaps much more feline than originally intended. At any rate, she’d actually become the X-Men version of Catwoman when you think about. It’s as if Wolverine were once considered to be equivalent to Batman, Kitty would be Catwoman.

Her name’s obviously catlike. Cats go through spaces and so does she. Ironically, cats actually have retractile claws whereas actual wolverines really don’t. Heck perhaps out of all the better known mutants, She ought to be the equivalent to Catwoman. Storm was going to be one at some point but that didn’t define her once she started appearing. Feral might count but she’s not famous.

Tigra at some point was going to be like a heroic Catwoman (and perhaps they should’ve stuck at that or keep the usual presentation but made more feline/bestial and consistently so). Not that she’s a bad character. But I suspect committing to an idea consistently involves going where it should go and become.

Not only with the character design (somebody else had a good point about giving Tigra paws and fur) but also things like Tigra taking her son to hunting trips and exterminating pests (some mothers do this). Or stories where Kitty sneaks on prey. Again that would involve any real commitment to the concept.

But it seems nobody are interested in those things, even if it does make sense.

A fitting look

There are some people who think the problem with sexualised outfits is that it doesn’t fit the character in question. That’s actually true in some cases really. Consider Carol Danvers. Actually for a while when she was initially introduced, she dressed in plain clothes.

The time when people decided to turn her into a superheroine was when they turned her into a female counterpart of an existing superhero and the resulting outfit was pretty ridiculous. I wouldn’t be so surprised if cartoonists tried to tweak and even ditch it altogether.

Considering her stint as Warbird, there’ve been some repeated attempts at getting her to dress more modestly until they finally got it right this time. (I might argue that her latest outfit’s vaguely reminiscent of either Superman or Spider-Man without even trying.)

The very fact that she was initially introduced as a pilot and later on magazine editor makes me think the initial problem laid in the discrepancy. This was eventually resolved some decades later.

As for human-animal hybrids, that’s another one altogether. In all honesty, with Tigra the real problem’s that she usually looked so humanoid for a cat-hybrid that some cartoonists would tweak her presentation to look more bestial.

That would be enough to get away with what she’s wearing. DC pretty much had the same dilemma with Cheetah though I think the more bestial presentation’s winning. I’d say it’s not necessarily wrong to get Tigra to dress more modestly.

As much as I think if she was more consistently bestial looking, whatever she’s wearing is irrelevant for as long as she looks rather uncanny. But it seems when it comes to creating a look that fits the theme or character, you need to meet the requirements where some cases are pretty specific.

Some considerations

Tigra is one of those characters where when it comes to her presentation, the real issue may lie in how humanoid she looks that some cartoonists (beginning with John Byrne I think) would do anything to make her look more bestial/feline to whatever degree. In fact it’s not even what she’s wearing that’s the problem and something somebody else knows well. That’s not to say she’s a bad character.

But rather I think she should get away with having a lot of body hair and paws given that fits her a lot and sometimes she’s shown as such. But that would mean realising that Tigra would actually get away with these and these would fit her well. Even if you may have to sacrifice traditional sex appeal for uncanny valley. Even if she’d get away with what she wears if she’s presented as more bestial in appearance.

Something about the presentation

I sometimes think the real issue with some characters, whenever they look in a certain way, the real issue isn’t so much what they’re wearing but the fact that they really don’t fit the fit by being too humanoid. That’s not to say Tigra’s a bad character but the fact that she looked so humanoid (often a body painted woman) that you’d have subsequent cartoonists and illustrators tweaking her appearance to be more animalistic. Paws, actual fur or cat ears and tiger markings (in Marvell Mangaverse) in whatever order as well as a more feline appearance (West Coast Avengers and Ultimate).

I even think whoever liked pawsy Tigra might have a good point about her presentation. I actually think Tigra should’ve stuck to getting away with having pawlike hands, actual body hair and a somewhat more feline face/head. Comes to think of it, even some of those cartoonists came to a similar conclusion whenever they tweak her appearance at all. So it seems the actual problem isn’t the fashion sense but that making her look more bestial would’ve helped a lot. Especially in that it seems way more convincing this way.

Makeovers

I think the real issue isn’t so much that Tigra wears a bikini but given the many repeated attempts at making her look more bestial/feline I think the consensus is that she looks so humanoid that it prompts some illustrators to tweak her appearance. Beginning with West Coast Avengers. That doesn’t mean she sucks as a character as much as I think being somewhat more animalistic looking would be enough to desexualise her.

In the sense of how uncanny she looks. It’s like how the Avengers United They Stand cartoon had the bollocks to give her paws and actual fur. Likewise the stories where she fought somebody (the Hood) back, she appeared with proper paws. As well as Marvel Mangaverse and Ultimate Marvel having a more feline looking Tigra (it’s also the one time where she actually looks like a tiger). So it seems the real issue isn’t so much what she wears.

But how humanoid she looks that even giving her paws and fur would be a much needed makeover.

Stephanie Brown=Carol Danvers

Like I said, if Stephanie Brown were to not only go Goth but also become her nieces’ mother figure and coach as well as creating her own gym equipment and using football/soccer tactics in combat she’s practically Carol Danvers. In the sense that Carol Danvers also started out as a love interest turned female counterpart and constant punching bag until recently. (Whatever that means.)

The real icing on the top’s when Stephanie Brown scolds Tim every time he screws up or lazes around, perhaps a doable analogue to Carol Danvers taking her anger out on men who bother her a lot. This might not even be unique to those two. (Tigra’s one such example but one where given the many attempts at making her more bestial looking should get away with being this hairy and could’ve been a reliable huntress.)

I still think the comparison might hold weight should Steph ever improve big time and become a Goth. It wouldn’t be exact but it does help give an idea of how provocative reinventing Carol Danvers is.

Superheroines as working mums

I think the essay ‘Supermoms’ as written by Jefferey A Brown has made good observations about the portrayal of motherhood in superhero fiction. Especially if/when you have writers dismissing pregnancy and motherhood as well as disrupting the male gaze (ditto those with a pregnancy fetish) but I’d go on arguing it’s got to do with the apparent suspicion at/disdain for working mums.

It’s like how some men expect women to be total stay at home wives where they do all the providing and breadwinning. Never mind that women were at some point paid whenever they do housework at all. And that some mothers will do anything to support themselves and their families especially when they’re in a bad situation. Whether if it’s becoming a widow or if husbands are unreliable/irresponsible that some are left to do it on their own.

Most of the time and that there are some teenagers who’re mature enough to care for their younger relatives which should explain why it’s actually not much of a stretch for Steph to be her nieces’ babysitter, seamstress and coach. Likewise Tigra would’ve been a huntress taking her son to hunting expeditions (this is even the case in Sierra Leone). Whilst sexism is being undone in superhero comics, for some writers the idea of a career mum’s way too controversial.

Even if it does happen out of necessity anyways.