Some Of The Best Moms In Comics In No Particular Order For Mother’s Day!
Pinning down what exactly makes a good mother is difficult. Mothers in fiction are generally praised for being nurturing, protective, pragmatic, and maybe able to administer incredible violence if it’s called for (looking at you Ellen Ripley and Lois from Malcolm in the Middle). Comics have given us some great mothers, women who bounce between the real and the fantastic while giving everything they have to their children. In the spirit of the holiday and the mothers who make it worth celebrating, let’s take a look at some of the best moms in comics.
It’s also important to note that competitive mothering isn’t a sport, and we’re not going to be the ones to start it. So this list isn’t ranking mothers, just talking about how rad they are.
Image via Wonder Woman #750, DC Comics
Hippolyta: Mother of Wonder Woman
Queen Hippolyta encapsulates so much of what it means to be one of the best moms in comics, both in her relationship with her daughter and in every other aspect of her life. Hippolyta is a protective but fair mother, and though she tried to shelter Diana from the world of men, Hippolyta allowed her to become champion of the Amazons when she earned it.
Hippolyta is also extremely accomplished in her own life: ruling the Amazons for tens of thousands of years, taking up the Wonder Woman mantle herself, beating up nazies and Hercules like it’s nothing. At the end of the day, Hippolyta was an incredibly capable queen, but even more she was a devoted mother.
Image via Invisible Woman #1A, Marvel Comics
Susan Storm: Mother of Franklin and Valeria Richards
Sue Storm, the Invisible Woman, is mother to a pseudo god born from the Fantastic Four and stronger than any X-Men and a super-intelligent child prodigy, and that sounds like a really rough group to take to a movie theater. We get to see a lot of stories of Sue Storm as a mother, and they’re as heartwarming as she is powerful. In one story she bakes a young Franklin cookies, and in another she fights Marvel’s equivalent of the devil for him.
Many of the Invisible Woman’s early storylines featured her as a mother, and while we can pretty safely attribute that to her origins in the 60s and 70s and the idea then-popular idea that every action a mother takes must be to serve her children, we still get a lot of great moments out of it. And those great moments serve as a fantastic maternal backdrop to all the times Susan Storm has carried the Marvel universe on invisible shoulders.
Iage via Dovemead Films
Martha Kent: Mother of Superman
Martha Kent could not have a biological child, but she found a god in a metal box, so we still get one of the best moms in comics. Clark, the adopted son of Martha and her husband Jonathan, manifests his powers young. Through every step of his super development, Clark was guided by Martha’s moral code, absolute love, and constant pride in his achievements.
In one of the more controversial scenes of Batman vs. Superman, Superman calls his mother’s name, and whether it was to make Batman reconsider deicide or because he wanted his last word to be the name of the woman who raised him is up in the air. looking at Martha’s portrayal in that movie as a sympathetic ear who will be proud regardless, it’s reasonable to want that name to be his last thought.
Image via Jim Davis
Garfield’s Mother: Mother of Garfield
Garfield’s mom is only ever given that name which isn’t great, but in her brief appearance, she does earn her name-title. Garfield was born in an Italian restaurant, but a life with his mother was not in the cards. The restaurant was faced with closure because Garfield was a failure as a mouser. The titular cat was given to a pet shop and adopted by Jon Arbuckle.
Garfield eventually reunites with his mother. During their reunion, Garfield’s mother concedes that Garfield’s life with Jon is best for him, but she still loves him. Garfield’s mother continues to live in the remains of the Italian restaurant, where she sent him away because it was the best thing for him. Some mothers only get one decision, and that decision is to make sure their child can be somewhere that will nurture them, even if it’s far. This cat is an odd but accurate representation of that.
Image via Marvel
Aunt May: Mother of Spider-Man
We see from Aunt May two versions of motherhood that intersect for her and likely for most mothers. First, she is endlessly proud of Peter. She dotes on him and praises him relentlessly. Second, she learns he is Spider-Man, and even while she’s terrified her teenage child is in danger, she supports him because she understands it’s something he feels he has to do.
Even though Aunt May in film has done a bit of Benjamin Buttoning, her character across media remains relatively consistent. May is a grounding agent for Peter. Peter’s other close relationships are generally love interests, and they either don’t know he’s Spider-Man, are also super-human, or die horribly. Often that third one gets mixed with the other two. In contrast, Aunt May is just his supportive mom who needs help moving and tries to get him to date more.
Image via Bill Watterson
Also a character with no name beyond her role, Calvin’s Mom is sarcastic, fun, and doesn’t take Calvin’s shit. Throughout the series, Calvin’s Mom is a borderline antagonist, but Calvin is also a little monster, so what’s antagonistic to him is actually going to be pretty good parenting.
Calvin’s Mom gives him rules, doesn’t patronize, and uses her endless patience and capacity to give Calvin room for his imagination and rein him in when he gets too destructive. This combination of pragmatism and sass is such a good representation of a parent that respects their child but also knows he’s a child and will make really dumb decisions sometimes.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the superhero moms out there from all of us at Comic Years!
If you think of any of the many awesome moms from comics that aren’t in this list, write them in the comments below!
Jessica Kanzler is a freelance writer and editor who lives with her wife and cats. Jessica has bad taste in tv and an MA in Rhetoric, Writing, and Digital Media studies. Talk to her about Frasier on Twitter @Jessicaakanzler