V – Vm

V for Vendetta (film)

Written and co-produced by the Wachowski brothers (known for their Matrix franchise) and directed by James McTeigue, the 2000 film adaptation of Alan Moore’s 1988-89 DC Comics graphic novel is set in the year 2020.  A virus runs wild in the world, which has killed most Americans, and Britain is ruled by a fascist dictator.  One man stands against this totalitarian state, a shadowy figure who moves through London like a wraith and calls himself only “V.”  He wears a mask that depicts the face of Guy Fawkes, who in 1605 attempted to blow up the houses of Parliament.  On November 5, Guy Fawkes Day, V saves a young TV reporter named Evey from rape at the hands of the police, forces her to join him, then blows up the Old Bailey courtrooms.  The film follows his exploits for the next year, up to the night he has vowed to strike a crushing blow against the dictatorship.  Much like the Phantom of the Opera, the masked V moves through subterranean spaces, control others through the leverage of their imaginations, and has a score to settle.  The central theme of the film is illustrated by V’s proclamation that “People should not be afraid of their governments.  Governments should be afraid of their people.”  Though the film was initially successful, it has since been disowned by Moore, who also removed his name from the movie versions of his graphic novels From Hell and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.


V for Vendetta (graphic novel)

In this version of 1997 England, our world has been drastically changed by war, famine and disease, inspiring the government to evolve into a fascist dictatorship, under which the people move about in a state of enforced contentment, making no effort to take back their freedom.  A mysterious masked stranger who calls himself only “V” rescues Evey from a dangerous situation and takes her under his wing.  While carrying out his vendetta against those that have oppressed him in previous years, he also tries to awaken the oppressed people in order to push them into action against the government.  V exists to go after those responsible for an unjust imprisonment and system of torture which he suffered in the past.  Meanwhile, with Evey in his charge, he does everything he can to educate her and pass along his message.  Insistent on showing Evey how to live free from fear and injustice, he imprisons and tortures her, all the while keeping his identity hidden from her.  At the end of it all, Evey overcomes her obstacles and learns a great deal from V, taking his place in the end as a hardened revolutionary determined to spark the people of England into action.  Originally a 1988 DC Comics graphic novel series by Alan Moore, the tale has bee published in softcover book form, and was turned into a 2000 film written and co-produced by the Wachowski brothers (known for their Matrix franchise) and directed by James McTeigue.



A massive sentient entity which destroys all it encounters in space, and is on a direct course for Earth in the year 2271, on a mission to find its “Creator,” as depicted in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  Over time, the entity had generated a powerful energy “cloud” about itself of over 22 astronomical units (AUs) in diameter (22 times the distance from the Earth to the sun, or roughly 3,300,000,000 kilometers), and as discovered by the crew of the starship Enterprise, appeared to have gained sentience and self-awareness.  It was later learned by Capt. James T. Kirk and his crew that this phenomenon likely occurred after unknown aliens repaired a long-lost Earth space probe, Voyager 6, which formed its core and from which the corrupted probe took its name.



An intentionally vague status update, particularly (as the name implies) on Facebook, which alludes to something much deeper.  This could be posted as an inside joke, anything with a particular meaning for only a few people, or simply as a much shorter version of a rather wordy status.  It can also be an intentional incentive for people to comment.



See Odin.



Vulcan Starfleet officer and protégé of Spock who plotted with others to assassinate Klingon Chancellor Gorkon just before the Khitomer Peace Conference in 2293.  As revealed in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Lt. Valeris had been the first Vulcan to graduate at the head of her Starfleet Academy class.  Her involvement in the plot stemmed from a resistance to the potential changes brought by peace between the Federation and the Klingon Empire.  After Spock deduces their shipboard mole and uses a Vulcan mind meld to force the truth from her, Valeris was arrested at the Khitomer Conference and later charged.  Valeris was portrayed by Kim Cattrall.



A legendary creature, originally from European folklore, that is a reanimated (also known as “undead“) human corpse which can and must leave its grave at night to drink the blood of the living, traditionally by biting their necks with elongated pointed teeth.


van Dyne, Janet

Daughter of a wealthy scientist who was killed by invading aliens, with the help of her father’s assistant, Dr. Henry “Hank” Pym, Janet underwent an advanced biochemical process involving his “Pym Particles” that would allow a user to grow or shrink in size.  Not only did they succeed in shrinking Janet down, but she was granted the abilities to grow wings and fire bioelectric bursts of energy (“wasp’s stings,” as she called them) from a wrist-worn device, and she became The Wasp.  In Marvel Comics, The Wasp, along with her “partner” Pym (as Ant-Man), was one of the founding members of the superhero team The Avengers.  She is credited with naming the superhero team, and would also be elected as the Avengers’ leader some time later.  Originally taking on the role of “damsel in distress” in most Avenger tales, as the Wasp was incorporated into their mainstream monthly activities, her character evolved with the times to become that of a strong ally and loyal teammate.  As comics aimed to become less light and to appeal to an older audience in the 1980s and ‘90s, her character underwent further changes to make her more realistic, as well as deal with modern social issues (in Janet’s case, domestic abuse).


Van Gelder, Dr. Simon

Administrator of the Tantalus V penal colony in 2266, when his sanity was impaired after testing an experimental neural neutralizer.  Once recovered, Dr. Van Gelder replaced his deputy, Dr. Tristan Adams, whose exposure to the neural neutralizer had fatal results.  Dr. Van Gelder, portrayed by Morgan Woodward, appeared in the original Star Trek episode “Dagger of the Mind,” which first aired on November 3, 1966.


Van Helsing, Abraham

A multi-talented Dutch professor and an expert in medicine (both modern and ancient), superstitions and religion, Van Helsing is a central character in Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula.  As an expert in the occult, Van Helsing was called upon to offer advice and assistance when undead vampires appeared in the English countryside.  As played by Edward van Sloan in the older Universal Studios Dracula cycle, he more or less followed this pattern, although his tendency in the novel to make grotesque demands upon the younger men working with him was somewhat toned down.  Hugh Jackman took on the title role in the 2004 film Van Helsing.


van Pelt, Linus

Friend and confidant of Charlie Brown, brother to Lucy van Pelt, and devotee of his blue “security blanket,” Linus was a central character in Charles Schulz’s 1950-2000 comic strip Peanuts, which spawned many television specials.  When Linus wasn’t explaining the story of the original Christmas or the wonder of the Great Pumpkin to Charlie Brown, he was avoiding the amorous attentions of Charlie Brown’s younger sister Sally.


van Pelt, Lucy

Adversary to Charlie Brown and older sister to Linus van Pelt in Charles Schulz’s 1950-2000 comic strip Peanuts, Lucy could typically be found antagonizing Charlie Brown or tempting him to kick a football which she would inevitably move, when she wasn’t leaning fawningly on Schroeder’s piano or serving as the strip’s “psychiatrist,” charging characters five cents per session at her rather lemonade-stand-looking office.


Vance, Jack

John Holbrook “Jack” Vance (August 28, 1916 – May 26, 2013) was an American mystery, fantasy and science fiction author.  Most of his science fiction work, for which he is best remembered, was published under the name Jack Vance, but he did publish 11 mysteries as “John Holbrook Vance” and three mysteries as “Ellery Queen.”  Other pen names (each used only once) included Alan Wade, Peter Held, John van See, and Jay Kavanse.  Though he was legally blind since the 1980s, he continued to write with the aid of BigEd software that was written specially for him.

Among his awards are three Hugo Awards (1963 for The Dragon Masters, 1967 for The Last Castle, and 2010 for his memoir This is Me, Jack Vance!), a Nebula Award in 1966 for The Last Castle, the Jupiter Award in 1975, two World Fantasy Awards (1984 for life achievement and 1990 for Lyonesse: Madouc, and an Edgar (the mystery equivalent of the Nebula) for the best first mystery novel in 1961 for The Man in the Cage.  In 1992, he was Guest of Honor at the WorldCon in Orlando, Florida, and in 1997 he was named an SFWA Grand Master.  A 2009 profile in the New York Times Magazine described Vance as “one of American literature’s most distinctive and undervalued voices.”



A computer-related product that has been widely advertised but has not (and may never) become available to the public.  This may be used as a marketing strategy to gauge potential customer interest, or it may be that the advertised product takes so long to develop that it becomes cost-effective for the manufacturer to simply cease production.


Vault Keeper, The

Appearing in and “hosting” 245 issues of The Vault of Horror (1950-55) and The Haunt of Fear (1950-54) series of comic books, The Vault Keeper was a precursor to Tales From the Crypt’s Crypt-Keeper, who eventually appeared in a TV series and a few Tales From the Crypt films.


Vault of Horror, The

Along with Tales from the Crypt and The Haunt of Fear, one of three bi-monthly horror comic anthology series published by EC Comics in the early 1950s.  The Vault of Horror ran from the spring of 1950 to the winter of 1955, producing a total of 29 issues.  The title, “hosted” by The Vault Keeper, was popular, but in the late 1940s and early 1950s, comic books came under attack from parents, clergymen, schoolteachers and others who believed the books contributed to illiteracy and juvenile delinquency.  Congressional subcommittee hearings in 1954 on the effects of comic books on children left the comics industry shaken. Once the subsequent and highly restrictive Comics Code Authority was in place, EC Comics publisher William Maxwell Gaines canceled The Vault of Horror and its two companion titles in September 1954, though all three titles have been reprinted at various times since their demise and have been adapted for television and film.



Visual Basic Script is a simple programming language executed by Windows Script Host that can be coded with Notepad or Notepad++.  VBScript can be executed on any Windows computer, and the program is used in many applications.  It is normally used for message or input boxes.



The Norse god of creation was a brother to the god Odin.  He fought the Frost-Giants and started the new universe by recycling the body of the first giant Ymir.  Leaving almost everything else up to Odin, Ve then took early retirement.



Mentioned in the DC Comics , the science of how super-speed affects the human body, as in the cases of The Flash and Kid Flash.


Vendor trash

A derogatory term used in gaming to describe items which serve no purpose other than to be sold to in-game stores for money.  Occurring mainly in role-playing games (RPGs) and massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), the most common type of vendor trash is extremely poor quality equipment, dropped by enemies in low-level areas, such as a sword that actually does less damage than the swords that players start with at the beginning of a game.  Although “vendor trash” is an inherently derogatory term, generally referring to broken equipment and animal body parts, some games feature items with no purpose other than as valuable trade commodities that take the form of rare and expensive items.  For example, Resident Evil 4 and 5 feature valuable gems and treasures lying around its levels which can be sold at the store for more money to buy items.



The Marvel Comics character Venom is a member of the Klyntar, a race of alien symbiotes: beings that are formed from an organic liquid material.  As their symbiotic nature suggests, the members of this race depend on other beings to help them sustain their life force.  In exchange for this relationship, the symbiote offers great powers to its host.  Unfortunately for the host, the symbiotes eventually start to consume their hosts in both mind and body.  Removal of the symbiote is often only possible through the usage of the symbiote’s one weakness: strong sound waves produced from intensely loud and sustained noises.

After being whisked away to the Secret Wars, a battle on a faraway world between the Earth’s greatest heroes and villains orchestrated by the enigmatic Beyonder, Peter Parker’s Spider-Man costume was shredded.  Parker thought he obtained a new black-and-white costume from a costume-making machine, but after returning home to Earth, he discovered his costume was actually a living entity, feeding off his adrenalin as it possessed his body while he slept.  Thanks to The Fantastic Four’s Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic), the costume was removed by sonic blasts and the symbiote was captured.  Still emotionally dependent on Spider-Man, it escaped and reattached itself.  Spider-Man forced it off by the loud noise atop the bell-tower of a church.  Later, the alien costume would attach itself to Eddie Brock, who would become Venom.  As Venom, Brock’s strength allowed him to lift 25 tons.  The symbiote allows the user shape-shifting abilities.  Additionally, the symbiote is capable of healing injuries in the host at a faster-than-normal rate.

The idea for Venom came from Spider-Man fan Randy Schueller, and was bought by Marvel under the direction of then-editor in chief Jim Shooter.  The character was designed by Mike Zeck and Todd McFarlane.  Venom’s black costume was first published in Amazing Spider-Man # 252 (1984), but first appeared in the storyline chronologically in Secret Wars # 8 (1984).


‘Verse, The

A colloquial abbreviation for “the universe” among the characters in Joss Whedon’s Firefly television series and its follow-up motion picture Serenity.


Vestal Virgins

In Roman religion, six priestesses who represented the daughters of the royal house, and tended the state cult of Vesta (counterpart to the Greek goddess Hestia), the goddess of the hearth.  The cult is believed to date to the 7th century BC; like other non-Christian cults, it was banned in ad 394 by the Roman emperor Theodosius I.  They were the only female priests within the Roman religious system.  The discovery of a “House of the Vestals” in the buried city of Pompeii made the vestal virgins a popular subject in the 18th and 19th centuries.

A Roman man by the name of Numa Pompilius introduced the vestal virgins and assigned them salaries from the public treasury.  He stole the first vestal virgin from her parents.  More vestal virgins were added later.  The women became a powerful and influential force in the Roman state.  Chosen between the ages of 6 and 10 by the pontifex maximus (“chief priest”), Vestal Virgins served for 30 years (ten as students, ten in service, and ten as teachers), during which time they had to remain virgins.  Afterward they could marry, but few did.  Those chosen as Vestal Virgins had to be of the required age, be freeborn (that is, not slaves) of freeborn and respectable parents (though later the daughters of freedmen were eligible), have both parents alive, and be free from physical and mental defects.  Vestals wore an infula (a long headdress that draped over the shoulders), a palla (a simple cloak) and a suffibulum (a brooch that clipped the palla together).  They lived in the House of the Vestal Virgins on the Roman Forum, near the Temple of Vesta.  Their duties included keeping their vow of chastity, fetching water from a sacred spring (Vesta would have no water from the city water-supply system), preparing ritual food, caring for objects in the temple’s inner sanctuary, officiating at the Vestalia, the period of public worship of Vesta, which took place annually on June 7–15, and tending the perpetual fire in the Temple of Vesta.  Because a vestal’s virginity was thought to be directly correlated to the sacred burning of the fire, if the fire were extinguished it might be assumed that either the vestal had acted wrongly or that the vestal had simply neglected her duties.  The final decision was the responsibility of the pontifex maximus, or the head of the pontifical college, as opposed to a judicial body.  The vestals were put in charge of keeping safe the wills and testaments of various people such as Caesar and Mark Antony.  In addition, the vestals also guarded some sacred objects, including the Palladium, and made a special kind of flour called mola salsa which was sprinkled on all public offerings to a god.

Failure to attend to their duties was punished by a beating; allowing the sacred fire of Vesta to die out, suggesting that the goddess had withdrawn her protection from the city, was a serious offense and was punishable by scourging (being bound to a post and stretched over it, then beaten with a short wooden handle that had several 18- to 24-inch-long straps of leather protruding from it with sharp, rugged pieces of metal, wire, glass, and jagged fragments of bone at the end).  Violation of the vow of chastity was punishable by being buried alive.  But the Vestal Virgins also enjoyed many honors and privileges not open to married or single women of equivalent social status, including emancipation from their fathers’ rule and the ability to handle their own property.

They travelled in covered two-wheeled carriages and had the right-of-way.  At public games and performances, they had a reserved place of honor.  Unlike most Roman women, they were free to own property, make a will and vote.  They were able to give evidence without the customary oath.  Due to their incorruptible character, they were entrusted with important wills (as those of noted Romans like Marc Antony and Julius Caesar), as well as state documents like public treaties.  Their physical bodies were sacrosanct, and death was the penalty for causing them physical harm.  They could free condemned prisoners and slaves by touching them, and if a person who was sentenced to death saw a vestal virgin on his way to the execution, he was automatically pardoned.

The chastity of the vestal virgins was considered to have a direct bearing on the health of the Roman state. When they became vestal virgins, they left behind the authority of their fathers and became daughters of the state.  Any sexual relationship with a citizen was therefore considered to be incest and an act of treason.  The punishment for violating the oath of celibacy was to be buried alive in the Campus Sceleratus or “Evil Fields” (an underground chamber near the Colline gate) with a few days of food and water.  Any man who had intercourse with a vestal virgin was whipped until dead.  Ancient tradition required that a disobedient vestal virgin be buried within the city, that being the only way to kill her without spilling her blood, which was forbidden. However, this practice technically contradicted Roman law that no person may be buried within the city.  To solve this problem, the Romans buried the offending priestess with a nominal quantity of food and other provisions, not to prolong her punishment, but so that the vestal would not technically die in the city, but instead descend into a “habitable room.”



In February 2013, Justice League of America’s Vibe #1 by Geoff Johns, Andrew Kreisberg and Pete Woods hit stores.  The hero, who can discharge powerful vibratory shockwaves, had his debut tied to one of the biggest events of DC Comics’ “New 52”: Darkseid’s invasion of Earth.  While the original Vibe had the power to emit powerful vibratory shockwaves, “New 52” Vibe has an updated set of abilities, including the fact that he cannot be recorded by video or still cameras.


Victor Frankenstein

With a plot outside the norms of traditional Hollywood “Frankenstein” tales, this 2015 film reveals Igor’s introduction to Dr. Victor Frankenstein and the experiments they undertake which lead to attempts to create life from death.  The 2015 film stars James McAvoy as the legendary title character and Daniel Radcliffe as a more sympathetic and intellectual Igor.



Vidar (from Old Norse Víðarr, which might mean “The Wide-Ruling One”) is a Norse war god, as well as the god of silence and revenge.  He is one of the younger generation of gods who survived Ragnarok, the cataclysmic end of the Norse mythological cycle.  Virtually all of the references to him in Old Norse literature are concerned with his role in Ragna-Rok; little is known of Vidar outside of that distinction.  During Ragna-Rok, the gods (seen as the divine forces who uphold the cosmic order) and the giants (the divine forces of chaos and destruction) battled, and most of those involved on both sides were slain.  The god Odin was devoured by the wolf Fenrir.  Vidar, a son of Odin by the giantess Gríðr, immediately set upon the wolf to avenge his father’s death.  He wore a shoe that had been crafted for this particular moment.  It was the strongest and sturdiest of all shoes, and surely also charged with magical properties.  With it, Vidar kicked open the wolf’s lower jaw, and then, holding the beast’s upper jaw open, he sliced Fenrir’s mouth to pieces with his sword, killing the monster and ending his devastating rampage.

Elsewhere, Vidar is called the “silent god,” although no explanation for this epithet is given.  He is said to be the strongest of the gods after Thor.  Two place-names in Norway contain his name: Virsu (from Viðarshof, “Temple of Vidar”) and Viskjøl (from Víðarsskjálf, “Crag/Pinnacle of Vidar”).  This seems to suggest that Vidar featured in pagan Norse religious practice, and that he wasn’t just a literary figure.  Turning to the archaeological record, depictions of a man tearing apart the jaws of a wolf appear on the Gossforth Cross from northern England and the Kirk Andreas Cross from the Isle of Man, both of which date from about 900 AD.  These images could be those of Vidar and Fenrir.


Video adapter

See Video card.


Video card

A PC component used to process and enhance the graphics portion of the processing load of a computer, in order to ease a central processing unit’s CPU’s workload and help it run more efficiently.  Because most of today’s programs are graphics-oriented, the video card can help almost any program run more efficiently.  Videos cards, also known as graphics cards, video adapters, display cards, graphic adapters or graphic accelerators, can speed up the rendering of both 2D and 3D graphics.  Most modern computers come with an upgradable video card installed into the motherboard.  In the early days of computer graphics, video cards were not very sophisticated, and simply forwarded data coming from the processor to the display.  Today, video cards are much more like co-processors.  Video cards can make extra calculations on their end to check the quality of the output and then tailor this to take full advantage of the abilities of the display.


Video disc

See Laserdisc.


Viewtiful Joe

The red-clad superhero version of Joe, an average movie lover whose world was turned upside-down when he found himself brought into the world of movies, in the video game series of Viewtiful Joe.  An especially big fan of Tokusatsu movies starring his icon, Captain Blue, Joe would always head to an old movie theater run by his father, Jet Black, to watch Captain Blue movies.  One day, he was there on a date with his girlfriend Silvia, watching a Captain Blue movie, when suddenly, the villain reached out of the movie and kidnapped Silvia!  As Joe watched, the hero mecha, Six Majin, was also knocked out of the movie, and brought Joe in with it!  Inside the movie, Joe is given a V-Watch by Captain Blue and sets out to save both Silvia and Movieland!  The game spawned two sequels, Viewtiful Joe: Secret of the Black Film and Viewtiful Joe: Double Trouble, and Viewtiful Joe is a playable character in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars.  He also appears in Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds and its update, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and he is a guest character in the mobile game, Combo Crew.



Brother to the Norse gods Odin (Norse central god and father of Thor) and Ve, with whom he shared a decisive role in the original shaping of the cosmos.  Also known by the name Hoenir, Vili was the son of Borr and the giantess Bestla, and the god of Conscious Intention (in Old Norse, “vili” means “will”).  The three brothers were the first true Aesir gods to exist.  Their parents were the proto-god (or primary god) Borr and the giantess Bestla.  The three brothers slew the giant Ymir, the first being who had come into existence, and fashioned the cosmos from his corpse.  They also created the first humans, Ask and Embla.



  1. In biology, the name means simply having to do with a virus, which is any of various simple submicroscopic parasites of plants, animals and bacteria that often cause disease.
  2. In the world of media, the word has evolved throughout eras of technology.  In 1990, it generally meant a current popular story circulating in newspapers, television news or entertainment shows, or discussions across the nation.  By 2000, it described an item being circulated around America Online (AOL) and/or posted on forums and usenet groups.  By the 2010s, the word was common and used in connection to any item that might be seen on Facebook, Yahoo! or any number of news or bulletin board services.


Virtual mafia

Players who are obsessed with the Facebook game application Mafia Wars.


Virtual private network (VPN)

A network that is constructed by using public wires (usually the internet) to connect to a private network, such as a company’s internal network.  Commonly abbreviated “VPN,” the network is designed to provide a secure, encrypted tunnel in which to transmit the data between the remote user and the company network.  The information transmitted between the two locations via the encrypted VPN service, also known as a “VPN tunnel,” cannot be read by anyone else because the system contains several elements to secure both the company’s private network and the outside network through which the remote user connects through.  Common elements of a VPN typically include a firewall and encryption.  A VPN service is especially useful when accessing public WiFi hotspots because the public wireless services might not be secure. In addition to public WiFi security, a private VPN service also provides consumers with uncensored internet access and can help prevent data theft and unblock websites.


Virtual reality (VR)

An artificial software-created environment (often experienced through a virtual retinal display (VRD) that consists of visual and audio surroundings which are affected by the actions of a person who is experiencing it, known as a user.  The goal of virtual reality is to make it possible for the user to suspend belief and accept his artificial surroundings as a real environment.  Sometimes referred to as “VR.”


Virtual retinal display (VRD)

A headset display for gamers built around a small digital screen, or a low-powered color light-emitting diode (LED) reflected onto an array of tiny mirrors, which shape the light into a two-dimensional image, which is then beamed straight onto the wearer’s retina.  Since the user isn’t looking directly at the light source, the image is said to appear more true-to-life and, according to some experts, reduces user eye fatigue.  The effect has been compared to having a crystal-clear high-definition (HD) screen in front of your face, but without any visible pixelization.



  1. Anultramicroscopic (20 to 300 nanometers in diameter) living infectiousagentthatreplicatesonlywithinthe cells of living hosts (mainly bacteria, plants, and animals) and causes a disease to spread from one person or animal to another.
  1. A piece of code with the ability to copy itself, with typically negative effects, such as damaging or erasing data, or corrupting an entire system.


Virus signature

The “fingerprint” of a virus; a unique string of characters, numbers, bits or binary pattern, of a virus, used by antivirus programs to detect and identify specific viruses.  Antivirus software uses the virus signature to scan for the presence of malicious code.  One signature may contain several virus signatures, which are algorithms that uniquely identify a specific virus.  A large number of viruses may share a single signature, allowing a virus scanner to detect viruses it has never seen before.


Visual novel

A Japanese novel read as a game-like application on a computer, but typically with no gameplay involved, and the only interaction that the player can make with the game is making certain choices at specific points in the game that decides which branch of the storyline that the player will take, much like a “choose your adventure” type of story.  Visual novels usually feature anime-styled drawing.  Some may contain sex scenes, and some are emotionally charged stories targeted at older audiences with a lot of plot and depth.



See Lady of the Lake.



See Lady of the Lake.



See Lady of the Lake.



Mari Jiwe McCabe was born in Africa (though the specific country varies, depending on the story).  She is the daughter of the Reverend Richard Jiwe, who later came into possession of the magical Tantu Totem, a magical artifact, supposedly created by Anansi the Spider, the African trickster god, which bestowed the wearer the same powers as Anansi.  Mari is orphaned when her her father and Jeanne-Mari Jiwe, her mother, are killed in separate events, and she moves to New York City to become a model.  She later returns to Africa to reclaim the totem.

Vixen was originally intended to be the first African-American female superhero to lead her own series, but the series was canceled before its publication.  (These issues were later printed in a collection.)  This was during an event that would become known as the “DC Implosion.”  Although her series had been canceled, the character eventually made her first appearance in 1981, in Action Comics #521, created by writer Gerry Conway and artist Curt Swan.

Undoubtedly, one of the most important moments for the character was her induction into the Justice League of America.  At the time in the early 1980s, the comic book industry was dominated by youth-oriented series.  With this in mind, it was decided to relaunch the Justice League with a younger and less mainstream cast.  While most of these new characters were entirely new creations, Vixen was one of the more experienced of the new members, and one with a publication history (albeit limited) prior to her joining.  Despite the attempt to give the title new life, this version of the League (dubbed by many as “Justice League Detroit” as it was based in that city) was not popular as fans did not take to the disappearance of the traditional League members very well. Soon after, the series was canceled, but Vixen did not stay in the background for long, as John Ostrander chose her as a member of his new Suicide Squad.  After the dissolution of this version of the Squad, she would stay mostly in the background, appearing only during company-wide crossovers, until she rejoined the post-Infinite Crisis version of the team in 2006.  With “The New 52” reboot of the DC Universe, Vixen was a founding member of the new Justice League International. Vixen is shown as one of the many heroes chosen to join the Justice League.

Mari originally required the Tantu Totem to channel the abilities of various animals, which would only work when being used for the benefit of Mankind.  It was later revealed that she did not need the totem itself to access her innate power, but that the object merely focused her own innate power, which she later learns to control.  Also originally, Vixen could only access the powers of one animal at a time, but has since acquired the ability to channel the skills of several different animals at once.  For a period of time, Vixen was able to mimic the powers of other superhumans, due to Anansi’s influence.  Vixen possesses razor sharp claws which she is skilled in using in combat. She also possesses some abilities in animal control.  She was a relatively common member on the television show Justice League Unlimited, appearing for a time as the girlfriend of Green Lantern John Stewart.  Vixen also appeared in the television show Batman: Brave and the Bold.  Starting in 2015, Vixen was given her own self-titled animated series on the CW Seed channel, set in the same shared universe as Arrow and The Flash.



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