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THE HISTORY OF FLARE
The same thing is true of being a superhero. When I chose to wear this costume and use my special powers to try to do good, I accepted an awesome responsibility. As Flare, I became a member of the League of Champions. That means I'm one of the good guys. And that's something I carry with me all the time. Because I'm Flare, in or out of costume, I'm a Champion. And that means I always have to try to be the best person I can possibly be.
Sometimes I don't succeed. Sometimes I make mistakes. I'm only human. The point is that I try. I try very hard. And you should try, too. You should find a way to use your own special abilities to make yourself into the best person you can possibly be.
Those of you who have been reading my comic books and following my adventures already know a lot of what there is to know about me. Not everything, of course. A girl has to keep some secrets to herself. But there are also those of you who are meeting me now for the very first time. You're visiting my website, but you've never met me before. And what I'm thinking is that you might like to learn more about me. So I'm going to tell you what you need to know. Obviously, I can't give you all the details, because then there wouldn't be any point in posting all the stories that have been written about me, but I'll paint it out for you in broad strokes, starting right now.
To begin with, my mother was a superhero. She was very powerful. She was a demigoddess incarnate in human flesh. She was a valkyrie, a chooser of the slain. She fought before, during, and after World War II. To the Germans she was known as the Kriegerin, while the English called her the Death Maiden, and the Americans knew her as the Golden Warrior.
The thing about my mother was that for many years she fought on the wrong side. Although she had been born in America, her family was German and she was a German patriot. At first, because she didn't understand the evil of Adolf Hitler and his Nazis, she championed what she thought were German interests against the enemies of the Nazis.
My mother's greatest personal enemy was the English woman known as Britannia. They met each other several times before and during the course of the war, for the first time in 1936, when mother had been sent on a mission to assassinate Winston Churchill. She also had battles against other members of the legendary Vanguard of Freedom. But in the end, when she finally realized it was Hitler and his people who were leading Germany to ruin, my mother joined the Vanguard of Freedom! She turned her every effort toward the destruction of Naziism and everything it stood for! And on the day Hitler died, my mother was there. She denied that monster the rewards of Valhalla, and sent him straight to Hel!
In the years following the War, my mother came home to Chicago. Her desire had been to put conflict behind her and lead a normal life. But that wasn't going to happen. In America, as the Golden Warrior, my mother had a second career as a superhero. It wasn't something she did all the time, but whenever it was necessary she would face down such enemies as the Tigress, and do whatever she could to help the police deal with crime.
Also, she had adventures beyond the mortal realms, adventures that took her to far-distant worlds and places. In my heart, I like to believe that she is on such an adventure now. One day, perhaps, she will return to tell me what wonders and glories she has seen.
The last time I saw my mother was when I was five years old. She set me on her lap and told me she would have to leave. Because I was oldest, she admonished me to care for and protect my sister and brothers. She gave me a golden amulet by which to remember her. I still wear that amulet. It's here, on the collar of my costume, and in part because of the magic in that amulet, my memories of my mother have never faded.
Now, as for me, I am nowhere near as powerful as my mother. I'm pretty strong and tough, and I have certain photokinetic powers, and people sometimes call me a "shining goddess of the light," but I'm really not a goddess. I'm completely human. Or, at least, I want to be.
Truth is, I've run into a few problems in the past with those obnoxious Olympians who want to deal me into their pantheon and make me into their goddess of the dawn. Also, I've had to deal with a few legacies left by my mother's more-than-human nature. But, on the whole, I much prefer being me. And that's where the problem came from, because I wasn't meant to be human.
There were four of us. My sister Olga and my brothers Tomas and Philip were meant to be the precursors of an entire race of blonde supermen who would take Hitler's vengeance on the world that had destroyed him. Where I had the power of light, my sister had the power of the lightning. Where massive Tomas was as strong and sturdy as a rock, the shape-shifting Philip was as malleable in form as putty.
They'd had to kidnap my mother and steal from her the genetic material that was needed to create us. My older "sister" Helga was the one who actually did it. But it was my "father," Hans Gottmann, whose theories were being applied. And it was my wicked "uncle," Eric Schadel, who had provided the driving force behind the plan. But Hans Gottmann was no more really my father than Helga was my sister or Eric my uncle. I didn't have a father. I was my mother, only with differences. And as I grew older, I came more and more to realize that I would one day follow in her footsteps.
When I was fourteen, they aged me and sent me out into the world on a mission to destroy the League of Champions. But I turned on them. Despite the fact that my accelerated aging had not stopped, and that only my creators held out the promise of a cure, I joined the League of Champions. I turned against evil, as my mother had turned against before me, and I did my best to help put an end to it, once and for all.
Among friends, as a member of the League of Champions, I honed my special abilities, learning how to do all kinds of tricks with my photokinetic powers. I know how to fly. I can generate dazzle bursts. I can absorb light. I can do all kinds of nifty things.
But I fought so many costumed villains and bizarre menaces that I started to lose track. I needed something else to do. I'd been maintaining a civilian identity as a librarian at the local public library, and that was good to do. Whenever I can, I still try to be be a strong advocate of literacy and learning. On Saturday mornings, whenever I'm in town, I make it a point to stop by the library and read for the children.
But it wasn't enough. And that's where my friend Donnah came in. Donnah loves fashion, and has studied modeling. Among her other talents, she's a fashion designer. And she thought, if I applied myself to it, I could be a wonderful model. So I agreed to give it a try.
And what happened? Donnah lined up a three-million dollar contract for me to serve as the principal spokesperson for Sergio Klein's line of designer jeans! It was so incredible!
I did it on a lark. I did it only on condition that it not interfere with my responsibilities as Flare. But I did it. And here I am today, with a problem facing me that I never anticipated. These days, more people know me as Terri Feran than as Flare. I've been called one of the world's ten most beautiful women. They're starting to merchandise and license it. Terri dolls. Lunchboxes. Video games. And all I have to do is figure out how in the world I keep all the nonsense that's important to the marketing of Terri separate from the stuff that's important to me! How in the world can I be the Terri Feran the world now expects me to be, if at the same time I'm trying to be Flare?
It's an interesting dilemma. I don't yet have the answer to it. I may never have the answer. But maybe, if you think about it, you'll realize it's not the answers themselves that are important, so much as it is the process of seeking those answers. I hope you'll choose to be here with me in all the months to come, as I learn what it means to be Terri Feran. As I learn what it means to be Flare. Because the process of learning has only just begun.