One of the things I have been most looking forward to about 2016 is the return of Marvel’s Agent Carter for its second season. When I immersed myself in comics in preparation for 2015’s summer reading program, I immediately fell in love with the Marvel universe in general, and with Agent Peggy Carter, portrayed by Hayley Atwell, in particular. I enjoyed her character in the two Captain America movies, as well as her cameos in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, and Agents of SHIELD, but as the titular character in Agent Carter, she truly shines. Far from being just a romantic interest for Captain America, Agent Carter is a superhero in her own right, and quickly became one of my favorite fictional role models.
The first season of Agent Carter finds Peggy living and working in New York in 1946. Although World War II has wrought great changes in America, Peggy Carter is still a woman working in a male-dominated profession in a man’s world. Well-respected by her colleagues during the war, she has trouble finding that respect in the post-war world. However, as much as she longs to be accepted by her coworkers, Peggy would rather earn their respect than have it handed to her. In fact, when one colleague demands that another apologize for disrespecting Peggy, she asks him not to defend her. Later, during an argument with her partner-in-crime, Edwin Jarvis, Jarvis taunts her by asking whether she honestly expects her coworkers to change their minds about her. Peggy never misses a beat before responding, “I expect I will make them.” And while others might see a need to forsake femininity in Peggy’s workplace, Agent Carter uses her womanly wiles to her advantage as often as they work against her, for example, in seducing a man to gain access to a formula for a dangerous chemical, with the help of her sedative-laced lipstick. Continue reading Know Your Value: Why Peggy Carter Is My Favorite Superhero
Whether you are a Marvel fan or not, you may well have heard about the ABC TV show Agent Carter. Peggy Carter originally appeared in comics as early as 1966, when she was shown as Captain America’s (aka Steve Roger’s) love interest, and she similarly appeared as Steve’s foil in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first Captain America movie in 2011. Based on the popularity of Hayley Atwell’s embodiment of the character in that movie, Marvel decided to develop a series following her exploits after World War II, which debuted in January of 2015. Originally conceived of as a one-time miniseries, the show proved popular with fans (and particularly on Tumblr) and is returning tonight for its second season in large part due to this fan support.
Whew! So that is the 30 second summary of Peggy Carter as a character, but what are some of the reasons why she has captured the imagination of Marvel fans? Well, there are several reasons. Peggy is a great character who is strong and faces period-accurate professional discrimination and sexism throughout her exploits but still manages to persevere. She cannot only hold her own in a physical altercation, but is also skilled at facing down colleagues who belittle her abilities or doubt that a woman can make a difference. She is always ready with the perfect bon mot or cutting rejoinder, perhaps most famously when she responded to her colleagues’ doubts about her by saying: “I know my value. Anyone else’s opinion doesn’t really matter.” Particularly as played by Hayley Atwell, this makes Peggy Carter a relatable and yet inspiring figure.
Continue reading Fandom 101: Agent Carter
I’m a huge fan of the Marvel Universe, so I’m really excited to learn more about Agent Carter in the mini-series that premiers tonight. Here are some books I imagine might be on her nightstand should the occasion arise when she’s in need of a good read. They are all about feisty heroines, just like herself.
The Girl is Murder by Kathryn Miller Haines (2012 Readers’ Choice List)
After her father lost his leg at Pearl Harbor, the Andersons had to move. Now he’s a private investigator. His daughter, Iris, stumbles across his latest case and realizes that she could be of some help. Secretly, she attempts to gather clues on her own.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (2013 Teens’ Top Ten, 2014 Popular Paperbacks, 2013 Printz Honor Book)
A British spy plane crashes over Nazi territory in France leaving two girls in very grave danger.
Continue reading What Would They Read: Agent Carter