by Alison O’Connor

When I was eleven years old I first learned, from my good friend at the time about a television character on our favorite TV series, Teen Titans, that I had not yet come across. Teen Titans, or Teen Titans Go!, was an animated series based off of the DC Comics characters, the actual Teen Titans within the pages of comic books meant for actual teens and adults. The animated series, which drew inspiration from anime art and animation, depicted a colorful, witty and exciting gang of five teenagers with different super powers, who all lived in a giant metal ‘T’ shaped building and had their own decorative bedrooms and fought an impressive array of villains, and had an obsession with pizza. My favorite characters up until the chat with my friend that autumn day we were hanging out in her backyard were Starfire and Raven, the two heroines of the group.  

Starfire was an alien princess who was extremely peppy and bursting with energy and enthusiasm, whose superpowers, shooting energy beams called “star-bolts” from her hands and eyes, and super strength and flight, were controlled by her happiness, hope and bright spirits. Raven, on the other hand, was an otherworldly being of darkness, who was born to a monstrous demon in another dimension, and whose powers were so controlled by her emotions she had to be at all times sullen, withdrawn and controlled so that the dark energy within her extreme power did not unleash itself and create unspeakable mayhem. She could levitate, move things with her mind, among other attributes. I guess because both of those girls’ powers had so much to do with emotion and control of it hit close to home for me, who had so little control of her emotions, but that’s probably reading too deeply into it. I was taken by their beauty, their spirits, their control and their extreme power, toughness, resilience and bravery. None of the villains, though those were always my favorites, struck any kind of a cord with me on that show. Until my friend mentioned the dark teenage witch of the show, a girl named ‘Jinx.’ I was extremely curious about Jinx, since the show did not have many other female characters besides Raven and Starfire, so I looked her up on the Cartoon Network website, looked at her picture on Google Images and began playing online games which featured her as a playable character, until I could manage to find one of her episodes on the TV schedule.

Jinx was a very beautiful girl, very oddly beautiful, too, which was immediately intriguing and alluring. She had cotton-candy pink hair that was styled into the shape of two large horns bound by two shiny black braces. Her very thin frame was covered by a sleek purple-black dress with a black cowl and a choker-necklace. Her tights were also purple-black, in horizontal stripe pattern, and her boots followed the color scheme as well. Her skin was chalk-white and her eyes were like that of a cat’s, wide, deep and with thick mascara, only the color was the same pink as her hair. She had two large streaks of bright pink blush on her cheeks that looked like two neat blocks of war-pain and her nose and mouth and ears were very thinly drawn. Jinx was a girl with a dark and macabre yet girly and put-together look, and her superpowers, I learned, were even more exciting. She was a witch, and, hence her name, her powers were related to the bringing of bad luck. She could cast her pink hexes upon objects, that would thusly break, rust, disintegrate and rot at her will. She was also, like the technically first real villain lady I loved, Harley Quinn, a very skilled gymnast, which only boosted my admiration for her. Her agility, her movements and her darting and flipping and jumping and leaping amazed and enthralled me, who was beginning to adore Jinx and all she could do. This, only from the online sites. When I would watch Jinx on TV in actuality, though, this admiration and deep appreciation would blossom into full blown obsession and idolatry.

Jinx was voiced by the voice actress Lauren Tom, who gave the character a soft and gentle yet biting, bitchy and sinister voice. Perfect for a young villainess. In every one of those twenty minute-with-commercials episodes of Teen Titans, Jinx, with her own gang of teenaged rogues, all of whom were graduates of the villain high school academy (called HIVE), would ransack the ‘T’ shaped Teen Titans Tower, bring about PG-Rated destruction, mayhem, adversity, and, of course, bad luck upon the five heroes. The teenaged villains and Jinx would all inevitably be caught and jailed, or sent away, battered and bruised, but Jinx would steal the show of every episode. I loved watching as Jinx would say something arrogant, catty or cutting to one of her friends or to the heroes, or steal Raven’s dark blue cloaks and parade about while modeling the heroine’s uniform. I loved when Jinx would use her excellent agility and gymnast’s skills to dart and duck the heroes’ attacks and blows, and would cheer audibly in front of the TV as she would cast her exuberantly pink hexes at her enemies. The way Jinx danced, shot out hexes and curses, laughed evilly, taunted, mocked and just moved so effortlessly, so confidently and looked so gorgeous were all very admirable and qualities I worshipped. Outside and in, Jinx was stunning in every aspect of her animated character, and in many ways she felt like the older sister every little girl longs for, the glamorous, rebellious kind that, if you’re lucky, will lend you a smile, a nod of approval and you’ll hope that some of that coolness and confidence and flair will rub off on you.

To a fat, decidedly unfashionable and very awkward and emotional middle schooler, Jinx was an ideal teenager, someone I wanted to be, wished I could be once I got to her age.Jinx wouldn’t be caught dead in anything less than the latest fashions, her staggeringly flawless wardrobe of stylish witch couture. Jinx would cry or scream or run away from failed social interaction, she’d use her bad-luck powers to get her way and use her soothingly biting voice to demean and degrade those who dared cross her. Jinx wouldn’t pout or let herself be put in a corner, she’d leap and jump about, casting bad luck every which way at anyone who tried to stop her. She could get away with mass destruction, robbery, murder (offscreen, obviously, it was a kid’s show) and come away from it with a thinly drawn spindly smile or scowl, depending on the outcome of her exploits. Either way, I was always there by the television to cheer her on, sit on the very edge of my seat and hope the Teen Titans wouldn’t bring her down, or cause her too much harm. I’d always be there to check the online TV schedule of Cartoon Network, eagerly and excitedly awaiting an episode, new or a rerun, that Jinx would star in. Though just one in the grand rogue’s gallery of the cartoon, Jinx was always the star of the show in each and every of her episodes.

Things took an unexpected turn, though, when I found that Jinx was just as insecure as I, if not more so. Jinx, I discovered, in one episode in the final season of the show, confessed that she wished she had been a hero, as she only stuck with badness because all she was, due to her powers and nature, was bad luck. After that, I felt very badly for her, more than I might have for one of my real-life friends or family, because I knew what that was to feel like you could only be limited to one thing. The episode also featured Jinx being tremendously disappointed by her own idol, a very gorgeous elastic Russian villainess called Madame Rouge, who had ended up belittling Jinx and even attacking her for being a disappointment.

After that, Jinx reevaluated her wicked and bad ways, and then began to contemplate using her bad-luck powers for good, making a hero of herself after all. I was, at first, confused. I was now twelve years old, but I was still at the immature place where I wanted villainy to be static, I wanted her to still be the wonderfully evil person I loved, the sure-of-herself girl I could look up to. To learn that she was human as well was something that took me aback, as well as her new decision to reform (as seen in a couple later episodes), but after I thought it over and looked deep inside my love of Jinx, I began to see reformation and her path towards goodness as a positive, and continued to cheer her on, with even more support and vigor than before. At least now she would no longer be beaten by the heroes, because she had become one herself! She was made an honorary Teen Titan, and even became romantically involved with Kid Flash, an honorary Titan himself. Jinx’s moral progress and her newly human, bold and purposeful character, while still being that sleek and wonderfully wicked bad-luck witch (and hero!), made me love her all the more. I even cried of joy at the sight of her standing tall among the other Teen Titans as a hero, a true heroine who had finally gotten the recognition and affirmation she so badly deserved. Jinx filled me with more pride than ever.

As I entered my own teenage years, however, and after the Teen Titans TV series reached its end, my interest in and love of Jinx began to wane. I was branching into new villains, criminals and killers, and the reruns were not as interesting or captivating as they once had been. After all, repeated reruns can only stay so interesting for a while. There was a Teen Titans videogame we owned on Game Cube, where I could play as Jinx myself, have her use her gymnastics and bad-luck powers to destroy all those in her way with the buttons and control of my game controller, but even that began to get old, after having played it so many times. My actual teen years, I did not long for a teenaged role model, since the real-world nature of adolescence was more consuming and disheartening than I may once have hoped for or hoped it to be. I did miss her, I did (still do) fondly remember her, but the passion she inspired in me was not nearly as strong as it had been for the eleven or twelve year old me. Despite my new obsessions, new avenues and my having transcended both the pre-teen and teen years, I can now remember Jinx as an all-too-important part of my childhood and transition into the teen years, to adulthood. She inspired me to hold myself up high, to be open to change and to embrace and look forward to my teen years, however rocky they did turn out to be. To sum it up, my bad-luck ex-evil heroine, my hero in all things, proved, in the long run, to be one of the luckiest things to happen to me.

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