Gimme an ‘S”! Gimme a “U’! Gimme a “P-E-R”! What’s that spell? Welcome to Ten Things: Ten Fictional Cheerleaders!
Whooshman-Bicarbonate Films, in conjunction with An Amateur Comics Historian and Marsha Brady, Presents:
TEN THINGS: TEN FICTIONAL CHEERLEADERS!
10) BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
Before moving to Sunnydale, where she lived over a literal Hellmouth, Buffy Summers was a member of the cheer squad at her high school. (The canonicity between TV and movie Buffys is tenuous at best, but this is a commonality between Sarah and ol’ what’s-her-name’s incarnations.) With her enhanced physical prowess, the legendary Slayer battled the undead, literal gods, the occasional cyborg, and the misdeeds of her own showrunner, giving us superhero stakes and battles without the superhero trappings.
In the ’90s, we weren’t allowed to have real superheroes, as they were considered silly, so instead, we got the likes of Viper and Cleopatra 2525 instead. At least Buffy had well-done dialogue.
9) SAKURA KINOMOTO
A student at Tomoeda Junior High School, Sakura Kinomoto accidentally released a horde of mystical creatures in the form of a deck of cards. Using her natural magical powers, with a little help from the guardian of the artifacts, Sakura becomes Cardcaptor Sakura, having her cousin record her battles for posterity. The original manga featured her defeating 19 cards, which expanded to 52 in the anime, while various rivals in magic-wrangling popped up in Tomoeda as necessary to advance and/or hinder the plot. Unlike many magical girls, Sakura had multiple costumes throughout the show, because the creators believed that a girl should change up her look once in a while.
8) KIM POSSIBLE
Another high school student who ends up being the only defense against evil, Kimberly Ann Possible fights not vampires nor card creatures, but a full-on super-villain named Doctor Drakkon. Her parents are a rocket scientist and a brain surgeon, so she’s got the brains, and her cheerleading skills help with the kicking of evil faces. It’s never been 100% clear where Team Possible gets their funding, but she is an associate of the Global Justice Agency, which provides transportation and backup for many of her missions.
One of the young population of One Tree Hill, North Carolina, former high school cheerleader Quinn Evans spent most of her time wrapped up in soap opera plots: Marriages, divorces, shootings, the occasional exploding hospital, or runaway train. But after Iron Man launched the MCU to prominence, she and her friends spent an episode playing superheroes in well-tailored leather outfits. (One of her counterparts was eight months pregnant, which made the tight-fitting pleather and satins even more fun.)
It’s certainly not a coincidence that the 7 p.m. Wednesday timeslot of One Tree Hill was taken over in 2012 by Arrow, which launched the CW’s DC Comics superhero shared universe.
6) LANA LANG
Clark Kent’s high school sweetheart, Lana Lang was basically an ersatz teenage Lois Lane, focused entirely on discovering Superboy’s secret identity. Other than her red hair, the main difference was that she did it in between club meetings and cheer practice instead of between scoops. In the Silver Age, Lana (much like Lois) got superpowers repeatedly, including stints as Sky-Girl, Gravity Girl, and even earned honorary membership in the Legion of Super-Heroes as Insect Queen. This Super-Lana costume originated during a story where she AND Lois gained superpowers from a blood transfusion from the Man of Steel, then feuded over his affections.
“Super-Lana” returned to action years later, during Alan Moore’s magnum opus, Whatever Happened To The Man of Tomorrow?, which served as closure to the Silver Age Superman’s adventures.
5) CLAIRE BENNET
“Save the cheerleader, save the world.” So went the original tagline of Heroes, but whether or not high school cheerleader Claire Bennet needed saving was up for debate. With the power to instantly heal from even the most gruesome injury, so long as her brain is intact, she is the least likely to NEED saving of the original evo crew. She has even regenerated entire limbs that have been frozen and shattered, and survived a NUCLEAR EXPLOSION… which makes her death in childbirth (revealed in the follow-up Heroes Reborn miniseries) even more questionable.
4) JENNIFER CHECK
A popular cheerleader in the small town of Devil’s Kettle, Jennifer Check was nearly sacrificed in a faux-Satanic ritual, but was saved at the last moment due to not being a virgin. Then again, since she was transformed into a demon, perhaps “saved” isn’t the right word? The carnage that followed destroyed several lives, a lot of property, and her friendship with her best friend, Needy, but at least her demise transferred her powers out of Jennifer’s Body. (Heh.)
Needy used the demonic abilities to kill the boys responsible for Jennifer’s demise, bringing the horrifying tragedy to an appropriately bleak and horrifying close.
3) CURE YELL
A member of the HUGtto! Pretty Cure team, Hana Nono is the Pretty Cure of High Spirits, befitting her cheerleader motif. Gaining her superpowers almost immediately after changing to a new school, Hana has a number of gem-based attack modes, including several alternate forms with their own costumes. The distant epilogue of her season shows her starting a family as an adult in the year 2030, but most of her appearances are the equivalent of a high school sophomore.
2) THE PINK RANGER
The original Pink Ranger of the Power Rangers, cheerleader, and award-winning gymnast Kimberly Hart left the team to compete in gymnastic events in Europe. Since she didn’t transfer her power to the new Pink, she was still able to channel the Morphin’ Grid energies while there, joining former Rangers Zack and Trini as an All-New Power Rangers team. Later events (and #TimeTravelShenanigans) seem to have erased that timeline in favor of a new one, but we’ll always have Kim’s cool punk-rock look to remember them by.
1) MS. VANITY
Ranking high among the most recognizable fictional characters in the world, much less fictional cheerleaders, Veronica Lodge was the last of the core Riverdale gang to get her own superhero alter ego, and when she did, it practically SCREAMED 1996. Even so, her ability to scream at superhuman volume is useful in battle overcame the impracticality of a leather micro-mini and heels, and it’s no less dated than Betty’s bell-bottom pants or Reggie’s glued-down hair.
Still, I’m hoping that Riverdale gives us at least one full-on Super Teens CGI shot and goes out in a blaze of glory and hairspray, because Camila Mendes would look AMAZING in this.
Once again, this week’s topic, Ten Female Clones, is all me, but feel free to follow along @MightyKingCobra to suggest a topic of your own! There’s always more Ten Things madness on my Twitter or check out the full Twitter archive here! As with any set of like items, these aren’t meant to be hard and fast or absolutely complete, if only because the uniforms. Either way, the comments section is below for just such an emergency, but, as always: Please, no wagering!