Edison Meets His Match In Girl Brainiac Katie Franklin

The first appearance of Katie Franklin in September of 2013

Attentive readers will have noticed the addition of a new character to the universe of Edison Lee. Her name is Katie Franklin and she's been a long time in coming.

Where did she come from? Why is she here? What will her future hold?

I'll be honest. I pushed for this character.

I threw the idea out to John one day after reading an article much like this one: New Toys Encourage Girls to be Builders

(It wasn't actually this particular article, we introduced Katie in September of 2013 and this article was published in December. But there have been enough of these articles in the past year to catch my attention.)

We've been feeling for a while now that it would be good for Edison to have another smart kid in the strip to act as a sort of nemesis. (He is clearly outclassing all the members of his family in the brain department and needs someone on his own level for tension) And I suggested that maybe his nemesis should be a girl. A really, really, really smart girl. One that could rock his world.

So we began working on this girl.

And for inspiration we found we had to look no further than our own home.

We have two sons and a daughter. When our daughter was 5 she was invited to a combination Birthday/Halloween party. We arrived and, I kid you not, every girl was dressed as a princess or a fairy (complete with wings or tiaras and sometimes both) and every boy was dressed as The Hulk or Spiderman or some other comic book superhero. I looked around and made the comment: "What we have here is a failure of the women's movement."

Not one of the other moms laughed. They didn't even smile. They looked at me as if I were some sort of lunatic.

Well, our daughter grew up to be just as interested in and talented at science as our boys had been. But when we looked around for positive role models for her in the scientific fields the pickings were slim. Not nonexistent but hardly what you would expect after 50 years of banging on the glass ceiling.

These days that daughter is in high school and pushing back pretty hard on gender stereotypes. In some ways this new character is a tribute to her.

Also the last name comes from the brilliant biophysicist Rosalind Franklin.

In general she exists to challenge Edison and, despite my role in helping throw her onstage with our favorite mad genius, she is primarily written by John. But every once in a while you will probably see something like this:

This strip came to me almost completely fully formed (except for the lines of Edison and Orville at the end) after I received the following "girl" happy meal toy. (Yes, sometimes I still get happy meals - they are small servings and sometimes the toys are fun.)

Not only was this "girl" toy a Glinda the Good Witch figurine that does ABSOLUTELY nothing except stand there and look vacant while being tethered to other Wizard of Oz figurines by a plastic piece of the yellow brick road - that was bad enough - but she is a BABY Glinda the Good Witch to boot. During this promotion the toys for boys were all cool Batman cars and Batman figures and Batman accessories that did stuff.

I immediately felt like Sally from Peanuts after she has wasted her whole trick or treating evening sitting in that danged pumpkin patch with Linus. I went on a tear and wrote that strip.

Katie's most recent appearance was Monday January 6 when she launched the following salvo written by John.

When he gave me this strip to color I almost stood up and applauded. I hope to god our daughter can remain like Katie Franklin and refuse to hide her light under a bushel basket just to make some boy feel better about himself.

I don't know what the future holds for Katie and Edison. But I'm looking forward to finding out!!

PS - Don't miss the strip on January 9 2014 when she makes another appearance!

1 comment:

  1. So far so excellent. The important thing is not to simply have it become Calvin and Susie Derkins battle-of-the-sexes but keep it on a level where it might just as easily be a pair of same-sex rivals. (Though a little Susie Derkins from time to time couldn't hurt)