The Amazing Adventures of Sara Corel
A novel by Toomey

Figure 1 — Sara Corel

Sara Corel

        There's really only been one picture in my mind as I wrote this story, from a photomanipulation I spotted once on DownAndOut's 'Super Angelic Hunting Ground' website. I wrote him and asked who the model was for this picture, but he replied that he didn't know. It was just something from a magazine that caught his fancy, so he scanned it. He also said it was the most inquired-about pic he had, and considering the competition on his site, that's saying something.
        I clumsily applied my own color scheme and changed the eye color to fit my conception. But it's her wonderfully innocent joie de vivre and youthful exuberance that captured my heart. And her smile, of course. She embodies everything I could possibly hope to convey in a physical model for Sara.
        Wish I knew how to do this picture justice. There should be deep blue reflection highlights shining from the black of her costume top. I can't get rid of the red from the original photomanipulation. And some of her hair that cascaded down her front got cut off — which is a shame.
        Maybe some day, someone will fix it. I'll be happy to supply the 'original'.

Figure 2 — True Colors

        Werner Burgin, one of the Aurora Universe Writers' Group authors, sent me a black-and-white cartoon of DC Comic's Supergirl for me to experiment around with so that I could show a prospective illustrator for the Susan book my ideas for Sara's color scheme. I'm really not a very good computer artist, but I think I managed to render what I had in mind, as described in Part One, Chapter Two: Arrival. Her top is black with intense, deep-blue reflection highlights. Her skirt, slippers and the back of her cape are black with intense, deep-red reflection highlights. The emblem, trim and inside of the cape are a dull, brushed-gold effect.
        This illustration has a lot going for it. The hair is just about perfect — wild and free, untamed but not unkempt, it has a mind of its own. It's not straight and doesn't have a discernable cut (certainly no bangs), and has a shining 'aliveness' to it.
        I wish her skirt was a little longer. I'm not trying to be prudish or anything — it's just that such a short skirt is way too cutesy. After all, she has to wear this outfit everywhere, including formal events, where the floor-length cloak/cape can be drawn around her completely (it'll stay where she wants it). I certainly wouldn't want a mini-skirted Sara to meet the President of the United States of America (at least, not the one we have now…).
        Another stylistic convention of DC Comic's Supergirl is the ridiculous 'V' motif of the belt, sleeves and boots (I changed the boots to slippers — much better). It's just wrong, wrong, wrong <shudder>. And comic book artists are enamored of the over-emphasized musculature and washboard abs look. I think Sara's Cryptoalien creators were after a kinder and gentler look.
        Lastly, the cape. We've had quite a bit of discussion about capes in the Aurora Universe Writers' Group forum. AK (Julie of Velor) wrote, "I don't understand the capes. I've always thought that they were ridiculous. If you're going to wear a skintight costume so as to get as much freedom of movement, why would you want a cape billowing around and getting in your way?"
        My reply: "Oh, but capes are wonderful. Ya gotta have something to contrast the skin-tight uniform or it just looks like a swimsuit. Which is OK for the beach, I guess. But the long, billowy, swirling flag of Our Favorite Flying Blonde lends flair and drama to otherwise utilitarian scraps of (usually) tightly stretched cloth.
        "Don't you see, it's the way two disparate elements complement each other that make the whole greater than the sum of the parts. It provides a backdrop, sets the stage, emphasizes the curves, teases the imagination and stirs the soul.
        "Draped completely around the body, it's an instant formal gown suitable for a diplomatic reception. Hanging from the shoulders, it's a canvas upon which the eye paints the loveliest of visions. In flight, it waves and flutters majestically in human sight when close to the Earth, and clings tightly to the body, shrouding her like the skin of a supersonic missile when speeding through the stratosphere.
        "Mortals cannot don a cape without looking and feeling silly. They are reserved for those special beings of our imaginations whose soaring confidence bears their uniqueness with pride. Capes never get in their way."
        Anyway, here's a cartoon version of Sara Corel colored by the author.

        There's a passage in Chapter Twenty-nine: Interview that captures the kind of feeling I want to convey about Sara's appearance.

       The lights glowing through the neighboring windows wanly illuminated the figure casually drifting in the grey gale just a few feet away.
       Her hair flowed wildly around her, highlights from caught snowflakes glinting like sequins as it tumbled and tussled. The bitter cold seemed to be harmless to her, beneath her notice, unable to bite her with its stinging rebuke. Her cape billowed magnificently, at its own majestic pace independent of the furious wind, a dramatic backdrop against which she was gloriously displayed. She was a study in effortless levitation, heedless of the giddy height and unfazed by the storm's commotion, anchored to nothingness by her whim.

Table of Contents

© Patrick Hill, 2000