White Queen(redirected from The White Queen)
White Queen(pop culture)
Having been aimed primarily at adolescent male audiences for decades, superhero comic books are replete with provocative images of the female form. One of the most iconic of these is the White Queen, aka Emma Frost, a key villainess in Marvel Comics' XMen franchise. One of the central leadership figures of the centuries-old evil organization known as the Hellfire Club, the White Queen is the creation of the writer/artist team of Christ Claremont and John Byrne first seen in X-Men vol. 1 #129 (1980), who patterned her costume—essentially a white lace-up teddy, skimpy underwear, thigh-high stocking-like boots, and a white cape, all of which complements her striking ashblond hair—after the black “Queen of Sin” outfit worn by Diana Rigg in the classic 1960s British television spy series The Avengers. According to Byrne, the name “Emma Frost” is an homage to Rigg's memorable character, Emma Peel. Born to old Boston money, the brilliant Emma Frost first begins manifesting mutant powers during her early teens; her powers include telepathy and the ability to make her skin diamond-hard, though the use of the latter power shuts down her psionic talents. Thanks to her keen mind, her mutant gifts, and her family fortune, Frost reaches the top of the business world while still a very young woman, thereby attracting the attention of the Lords Cardinal of the Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club, who extend to her a rare invitation to join their worlddominating ranks. She quickly accepts the Hellfire Club's offer—as well as its rather extreme wardrobe requirements—to become the White Queen of the Inner Circle's chess-based hierarchy. Although immersed in the pursuit of the Hellfire Club's global political and economic agenda, Ms. Frost presents a relatively innocuous face to the public at large. Indeed, as chairwoman of the board, chief executive officer, and majority stockholder of Frost International, a large transportation and electronics corporation—as well as headmistress and chairwoman of the board of trustees of the exclusive Massachusetts Academy prep school—Frost seems to be one of the proverbial pillars of American society. Little does anyone outside the Hellfire Club suspect that matriculating at her school are the teenage supervillains-in-training known as the Hellions (New Mutants #16, 1984), who clash with the X-Men and the New Mutants on numerous occasions. Frost's actions are never entirely evil, however; in one of her earliest adventures as the White Queen, in 1987, she helped to prevent Dr. Steven Lang's Sentinel robots from wiping out every mutant on Earth. She was later rendered even more sympathetic by the tragedies she endured, most notably the murder of her Hellion students by the time-traveling Trevor Fitzroy, aka Chronomancer, a powerful adversary of the Hellfire Club who nearly succeeded in killing Frost as well. By 1994, Frost's Hellions were replaced by a new group of superpowered students known as Generation X, though they eventually disbanded along with their prep school. Moved by the genocide committed against the mutants of the nation of Genosha by Cassandra Nova's Sentinels, Frost eventually became a member of the X-Men, having come to see the “good-guy” mutant team as an attractive alternative to the bleak, world-beating ethos of the Hellfire Club (X-Men vol. 2 #115, 2001). Free for now from the Inner Circle, Emma Frost demonstrates the transcendent power of hope over villainy. The White Queen's look hugely influenced the generations of lingerie-clad, dominatrix-styled female heroes and villains that followed. The character has even migrated from the comics back into the medium that inspired her: voiced by Susan Silo, the White Queen appeared in the animated Pryde of the X-Men, a television series pilot that was aired in 1988 in syndication and was subsequently released on VHS; and in the live-action FOX teen-mutant dramatic pilot Generation X (1996), in which Finola Hughes donned the White Queen's combat-ready lingerie.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
in a perpetual dither. [Br. Lit.: Through the Looking-glass]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.