Welcome to this week’s installment of Geek Girl Authority Crush of the Week, wherein we shine a spotlight on strong women who inspire us. Now, this includes fictional female characters in geeky media and creators. These ladies are a prime example of female empowerment and how crucial it is for youth to have said example to follow.
Marceline the Vampire Queen
Marceline the Vampire Queen is voiced by Oliva Olson as an adult, and Ava Acres as a child in the Cartoon Network show Adventure Time. Marceline, or Marcy as her friends sometimes call her, appeared in all 10 seasons of the original show and the spinoff series Adventure Time: Distant Lands, airing on HBO Max.
Marceline is a soul-sucking, half-demon/half-human vampire hunter. Her father, Abadeer, the ruler of the Nightosphere, passed down his grey skin tone and battle-ax bass guitar, while her mother, Elise, passed down a fierce survivor mentality.
Marceline possesses an impressive rooster of powers that she absorbed after devouring the souls of the vampire hierarchy, including flight, shape-shifting, invisibility and rapid healing. The last of the vampire essence in Ooo lives in her, giving her immortality and the need to feed on the color red.
First introduced in the episode “Evicted!”, she appears in the series as a protagonist to kick Finn and Jake out of the treehouse. Marceline has lived so long that she has hideouts all over the Land of Ooo, so they find her mark everywhere the heroic duo wanders.
She could have been a throwaway character, but Finn saw through her pranks to her loveable core and befriends her (against Jake’s sense of self-preservation). Marceline cemented her place as a mainstay character and even has a miniseries in Season 7 themed around her transformation into a vampire.
Marceline’s most notable trait is her songwriting, though. She channels all of her loss and pain into her haunting bass solos, which she often practices high up in the atmosphere where other people can’t hear them. Adventure Time is a music-influenced show, so her bass work is often plot-imperative.
Her songs were primarily written by Rebecca Sugar, creator of Steven Universe, and carry Sugar’s signature emotional, theatre-inspired style. Not only do Marceline’s songs rock, but they can also bring enemies to their knees, as her battle-ax bass doubles as a weapon.
The Real Deal:
Marceline the Vampire Queen is the real deal. Alive for more than 1,000 years, nothing gets to her anymore. Generally seen as a mischievous character, when things get serious, no one kicks more ass than Marceline. Spending literal centuries fighting for her life and growing up in a post-apocalyptic world, Marcy has the strategic mind and raw strength to make short work of any foe.
Her moral compass can be a little off sometimes, but she always does the right thing. She’s certainly not someone you want as an enemy, but if you manage to befriend her, she is the most loyal friend you’ll ever have. Even after her falling out with Princess Bubblegum and her strained relationship with the Ice King, she still shows up every time they need her without fail.
Why She Matters:
Marceline is the first openly, canonically bisexual character many people were exposed to. Seeing that representation in a show on Cartoon Network was truly special for many young people, especially in the 2010s.
Even in the gender-bent episodes when Marcliene is Marshall Lee the Vampire King, the character is still seen flirting with the male version of Princess Bubblegum, Prince Gumball. The history and chemistry between the two remain in the alternate timeline. Lesser shows would have cut this from their timeline to avoid showing LGBTQIA+ relationships in children’s programming; ask Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune.
Marceline the Vampire Queen isn’t just a walking diversity checkmark. She is also one of the most heroic, selfless characters on the show. The trait that most immortal beings have in common is their lack of empathy, which is lost through endless cycles of watching mortal beings repeat their mistakes.
Before she was turned into the last vampire, Marceline was risking her life to defend vulnerable people, and centuries later, she is still doing the same.
As a vampire, one of her only weaknesses is sunlight, but she will walk through the desert in broad daylight for her friends. Compassion, heroics and a punk rock attitude wrapped in a Gothic package. Good glob, what’s not to love?
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