Little known fact about Afrobella – I grew up reading comic books. Avidly. It started with Archie (which for some insane reason was super popular in my primary school days), and when I was a bit older I graduated to REAL comics. And graphic novels. The kind of subject matter a twelve year old probably shouldn’t have been reading because it’s so dark and gritty and graphic.
I’ve fallen out of the habit, but every time I hear about a comic book being made into a film, my ears perk up. So when I read about a possible feature film starring Frank Miller’s comic book character Martha Washington coming to life, I got excited.
From the Wikipedia page, by way of introduction:
“Born in 1995, Martha Washington grew up in the Cabrini-Green housing project in Chicago (called “The Green”) with her mother and two brothers in abject poverty brought on by the economic policies of the President Erwin Rexall. She is an average student, but one who displays a gift for computer programming and hacking.
Her teacher, Donald, encourages her to be a better student and, because he lives outside the Green, brings her contraband items. One night Martha shows up at Donald’s classroom and finds that he’s been murdered by the Ice Man, a large thug who works for a local gangster called the Pope. Before dying, Donald managed to stab the Ice Man in the wrist. This distraction allowed Martha to seize his weapon, a longshoreman’s hook, and plunge it into his shoulder. The Ice Man chases her through the school to a locker room, but before he can kill her, he dies of blood loss. Martha is later remanded to a psychiatric hospital.
In the institution, she discovers that experiments are being secretly performed on children to genetically alter their minds, effectively turning them into human computers. Their heads are covered with wires plugged into their brains. Martha believes one of them resembles the Raggedy Ann doll she played with as a child. This institution is closed due to national budget cuts, and Martha is left homeless. She later joins the PAX Peace Force, where her heroic tale begins.”
Read more here on MTV.com.
Martha Washington is a badass, and an anomaly in the comic book world.
Then I read more at Comic Book Movie, and was kinda disappointed:
“Dave Gibbons has told Digital Spy that Frank Miller’s favorite actress to play Ms. Washington is the phenomenally hot Rosario Dawson. Gibbons, who worked on the graphic novel series with comics writer and filmmaker Frank Miller, told DS that Dawson would be an ideal actress for the eponymous character, a woman who enlists in a reinvented version of the US Army.
“I know a great favorite of Frank Miller’s is Rosario Dawson, who was in Sin City and has been in some other things,” Gibbons said.
“Her name is not seriously in anybody’s frame but I do think that it would be a wonderful part for an actress because she is a very strong character.””
I’m gonna need central casting to try harder.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Rosario Dawson. She’s stunning, strong, and generally seems like the kind of actress who’d be cool to hang with in real life. Plus she genuinely seems to be interested in the world of comic books and the men who love them (as per her roles in Clerks 2 and Sin City). But in some images, Martha looks more like an Alek Wek, Grace Jones type of woman with strong, indubitably black features. I just can’t look at the images of Martha Washington as she’s been drawn, and see Rosario filling out that role.
Comments on Superhero Hype provided some brilliant alternative suggestions — Taraji P. Henson, for one. Young up and comer Keke Palmer for an even more impressive #2.
But when it comes to Hollywood, it isn’t necessarily about who’s got the acting chops. It’s about who’s got the box office mojo to make for a big opening weekend. So in the meantime, we’ll just have to wait and see.
For more on black comic book heroines, check out the following links:
Click here to buy The Life And Times Of Martha Washington In The Twenty-First Century
I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the character, but I’d love to hear your suggestions for the role of Martha Washington! Either way, I’ll be watching!