There’s nothing as bad ass as heroines dressed in leather — black leather specifically. There’s something about leather that is both dangerous and sexy, so it’s not surprising a lot of heroines in fiction sport tight leather outfits and — somewhat less often — thigh-high black leather boots. The whole Dominatrix vibe just sizzles for a lot of us.
OK, for some of us.
Alright, for me.
Now, it’s true that tight black leather and high-heeled boots are not the best outfits in which to vanquish bad guys or gals, but that hasn’t stopped Hollywood or the various TV networks — bless their little hearts — from having their female leads repeatedly don the ebony skins, so to speak.
I watched a fair number of TV shows featuring women kicking ass while dressed in leather, purely for research purposes you understand, and they influenced Lady Merreth’s choice of outfit. Most of these shows are off the air, but you can find lots of clips and even full episodes on YouTube, because, you know, research.
Here’s four of my favourites. Each of them had an impact on Lady Merreth’s development in some way.
An odd choice to begin, you might think, considering this is an animated series. But when I first saw this on Canada’s Teletoon I was hooked despite the relatively cheesy animation.
Cybersix is based on a comic book of the same name and aired for just one season — 13 episodes. The comic book apparently had some rather dark undertones which were considerably softened for the animated series.
The series tells the story of “Cybersix”, an artificial human with superhuman powers created by an evil scientist who originally worked for the 3rd Reich. It’s set in the fictional South American city of Meridiana sometime after World War II. When it became clear that Cybersix and her fellow artificial humans were experiencing emotions, they were destroyed with only Cybersix escaping.
I loved the series because of Cybersix was actually a pretty complex character: she was flawed, had weaknesses, and appeared to be a somewhat reluctant heroine. I also loved it for her outfit: black leather form-fitting jumpsuit, wide-brimmed hat, cropped gloves, cape, and totally impractical high-heeled boots.
I got the idea for Merreth’s hat from Cybersix.
Queen of Swords
Tessa Alvarado is the “Queen of Swords” in this Zorro-like story of adventure in early 19th Century California. When Tessa arrives with her maid Marta from Madrid, she finds her father’s estate in ruins, and the local town firmly in the grip of the local corrupt governor Colonel Luis Ramirez Montoya. Moreover, she later discovers that Montoya had her father murdered.
Tessa, who’s been secretly trained in sword-fighting while in Madrid, adopts the persona of “The Queen of Swords” in order to seek justice not only for herself, but also others being oppressed by Montoya.
She dresses in black leather, knee-high boots, gloves, vest, and wears a laughable mask to hide her identity. Her weapons are a sword and whip.
The show is a bit unintentionally campy and the series lasted only a single season of 22 episodes. I loved the Queen of Swords for her outfit, but thought her enemies were all complete idiots for not being able to guess the Queen’s true identity. Her mask should have fooled no one. But then, if it didn’t there would be no show, now would there?
Merreth’s whip is inspired by the Queen of Swords.
Xena, Warrior Princess
Xena, Warrior Princess is, by far, the best known of my four heroines, with a huge cult following and a six-year run for the series. Set primarily in ancient Greece (although the series played a bit fast and loose with timelines and locations), the story followed the quest for redemption of the main character, Xena. Formally a warlord (warlady?) who preyed upon the weak, she sought to make up for her past deeds by defending those who were incapable of defending themselves. she was accompanied by her friend Gabrielle, a farm girl who eventually became a warrior in her own right.
Oceans of ink and billions of pixels have been expended lauding, analyzing and debating the series. I liked the series because of, well, strong women in leather.
Merreth’s need for redemption is a theme I lifted from Xena, Warrior Princess.
Black Scorpion is the odd woman out in this list of four in that I took nothing from the series when creating Lady Merreth. Rather, I used it to decide what I wanted to avoid in a heroine.
Black Scorpion is Darcy Walker, a detective living in Angel City who fights crime somewhat more efficiently — and theatrically — in her heroine persona. She’s big fan of the colour black, and leather, and high heeled, thigh high boots, which, you know is somewhat appealing to me. Black Scorpion had one season of 22 episodes in 2001.
The series was long on cheese and rather short on good dialogue and plot. It did feature some villainesses who dressed in leather and pvc, but aside from being nice to look at, they did nothing to enhance the series.
Whatever it’s flaws, though, Black Scorpion was fun to watch. It’s also an excellent education in what not to do when writing a serious heroine. But then, that was never really the point of the series.
So there you have four leather clad heroines of the small screen. They all influenced Lady Merreth in way way or another.
What about you? What heroines did you enjoy watching on the small screen?