Thursday, September 30, 2010

HeroesCon, Wondercon & Dragon*Con 2010 Huntress Cosplay

I've mostly been doing these cosplay posts based on pictures taken at Dragon*Con 2010 by Shag Matthews of Once Upon A Geek, but while working on a piece about DJ Spider's Zatanna Blue Sorceress Cosplay, I stumbled upon a second great Huntress from this year's HeroesCon. Then I was working on a Wondercon 2010 post, and found a third picture. As part of celebrating the Dark Knight Daughter's joining the DC Bloodline-up, why not show you guys the lot?

Click To Enlarge

Above is DJ Spider's pic from HeroesCon 2010, and my favorite of the group. It isn't that I love Jim Lee's costume design, but the execution of it here is absolutely fantastic. This appears to be a durable, functional, leather vigilante uniform with working protective gear and weapons. Not only does this Huntress look great, but I'm afraid she could actually kick my ass. It's a good thing she makes it a fair fight by leaving her belly, home to the internal organs necessary for sustaining life, completely exposed. Here I thought Mr. Lee went to medical school.

Based on a later comment, the above model goes by the handle Fuggly Unicorn, and you can visit her website, Hime Arts.

Click To Enlarge

Where the last Huntress was Dustin Nguyen's utilitarian take on Lee's design, this is Ed Benes' completely impractical skin-bearing booty shorts version. Thankfully, the Dragon*Con 2010 model looks to be legal, and nice about it.

Click To Enlarge

This final Huntress is from Wondercon 2010. One of the pluses to depriving the Post-Crisis Huntress of her famous parentage is that it leaves her enough ethnic ambiguity to be played by whatever actress would be best at portraying the character. "Italian" can be translated through Hollywood into just about any race under the sun, and it still works. In fact, Huntress is so attitudinal, she plays into the stereotype of the non-white who takes the piss out of everyone else. Honestly though, the main point of my rambling is to avoid discussing what looks like a very pretty and quite probably uncomfortably young Huntress wearing a corset and skintight vinyl. I don't want Chris Hansen and the HeroesCon Huntress showing up in my kitchen. I'll just say that there are more of these Birds of Prey pictures for your entertainment.

Thanks to everybody for the images, which enlarge and often expand when you click 'em!

More Cosplay of the Day:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Superman: The Man of Steel #23 (July, 1993)

Gangbangers in Metropolis' Suicide Slum were videotaping themselves showing off their new Toastmaster assault rifles, and stalking the "Man of Steel" for a showdown. Iron John was aware of these Shark Enforcers, and lured them to an unpopulated area to drop the hammer. The Man of Steel questioned one hood about the White Rabbit's whereabouts, who was killed by another to keep him from squeeling, but the little idiot videotaped himself committing murder. Iron John brought the moron in, and later, Lex Luthor II bought the tape before the police knew what they had. Luthor's right hand man Happersen had the tape analyzed and augmented, until a clue was found indicating the Rabbit was held up in "The Spire," the downtown Metrospire Hotel. Meanwhile, the White Rabbit wanted to have a talk with "John Henry Irons... a.k.a. Henry Johnson," so she had her security blocks removed to make herself easy to find.

At the Daily Planet, Jimmy Olsen argued that none of these new Supermen reigning over Metropolis was the real deal, and Lois Lane agreed, but she was distracted by Jeb trying to move into Clark's vacated place. Jimmy was pleased that a gang skirmish between the Reavers, the Skulls, and the Man of Steel took precedence for Lois.

Over the site, the new Superboy mugged for helicopter news cameras before heading into battle. Fire the Metropolis Kid dodged struck the Planet's chopper, killing the pilot and sending Lois out the side door. The Man of Steel caught her, and upon landing was swarmed by the press. Lois wouldn't let Iron John go without questioning what claim he was making to Superman's legacy, as the other three pretenders were "falling all over themselves... trying to convince the world they're Superman." This Man of Steel made no such claim, and was just here to help. Iron John was also here to lecture, as he took Superboy aside and pointed out his fault in the pilot's death. Superboy at first denied responsibility, but the talk shook his resolve. Lois watched from afar and approved, wondering if Superman's soul might have walked into this Man of Steel's body. "This one feels right."

Lex Luthor II made contact with the Man of Steel, informing him about the Spire while secretly planting a bug on his armor. At the Hotel, John Henry Irons was confronted by Dr. Angora Lapin, who had years prior provided computer imaging expertise while Irons was developing the BG-80s for the government. The pair had once been lovers, but now Irons was a penitent super-hero, and Lapin was selling the BG-80s as Toastmasters under the guise of the White Rabbit. Angora had managed to retrieve Irons' designs from his computer, and once Iron John rejected her offer of a renewed partnership, she fired on him with their wares. The Man of Steel was thrown into a gas tanker, where he was sorta-but-not-really rescued by Superboy. Iron John explained that because he designed the BG-80s, he felt as responsible for the pilot's death as Superboy. The White Rabbit was even more so, but she escaped before either "Superman" could capture her.

While Lois Lane continued to wonder about the virtue of Clark Kent she had seen in the Man of Steel, Lex Luthor II was investigating John Henry Irons, a weapons designer wanted by the feds...

"Ambush" was by Louise Simonson, Jon Bogdanove & Dennis Janke.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Direct Currents: Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bob Harras Named EIC of DC Comics

Mark Waid On Bob Harras… Ten Years Ago

The 14 Best Title Cards From 'Batman: The Animated Series'

BATMAN LOSES: An Amazing Unauthorized Comic By Ulises Farinas

No More Mutants by Andrew Wheeler #3 – The Secret Asians

Comic Book Legends Revealed #279

This week, learn the strange history behind the origin of the Batcave!! Plus, what's Lucasfilm's problem with pacifism and what's the real story behind John Stewart's historic blunder in "Cosmic Odyssey?"

Theme Sketchbook: Batman Getting Hit in the Balls

Clint Eastwood as Superman or James Bond? ‘It could have happened,’ he says


The Aquaman Shrine
Aquaman Shrine Interview with Bob Greenberger - 2010
Tattoo Tuesday - Mera
Tattoo Tuesday - Aquaman
DC Superhero Pencil Toppers
Ladies' Night in Atlantis
Toyfare #s 1 and 2

Armagideon Time
Nobody’s Favorites: Magog
Render unto Cesar…
Captain Marvel believes in...

Atomic Surgery
"The Dinosaur in Times Square" from House of Secrets #41 (Feb. 1961) By Mort Meskin

Being Carter Hall
Sahar Biniaz To Play Hawkgirl

Charlton vs Mighty MLJ: Character Profiles Week
The Steels
Ditko's Bug Boys
Golden-Age Bugs
Colorful Crusaders
Diplomatic Scientists
Captains Adam and Strong

The Comic Treadmill
Showcase Presents Hawkman, Vol. One, Entry Seven: Hawkman 4-6 (1964-65)

Comics Make Me Happy!
Here's a panel from Time Masters: Vanishing Point #2
75 Favorite Moments in DC History: Number 51

Continued On 2nd Page Following
It's For Real and It's Spectacular
Tossing & Turning...Mutant X...Teen Titans...Adam...Mr. Jupiter...Lilith...Emma...Mad Mod...Thunderbirds...

Diversions of the Groovy Kind
Superman vs. Supergirl in "The Feud of the Titans!" from Action Comics #402 (May 1971)

El Jacone's Comic Book Bunker
Everybody's Linking For The Weekend

Firestorm Fan
Brightest Day #2 Ivan Reis Variant Cover Original Art

Girls Gone Geek
WTF? Wednesday: Hush Your Mouth

Green Lantern Butt's FOREVER!
Green Lanterns Kyle Rayner & Soranik commission by Darryl Banks
Green Lantern Alan Scott vs. Sinestro commission by Darryl Banks

The Idol-Head of Diabolu
Deidre Johnson
The Krypt-Kicker

Fearful Symmetry

Once Upon A Geek
My Geek Birthday – Doctor Who TARDIS Cake and Cookie Jar

Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine
"The First Batman" from Detective Comics #235 (1956)

Reilly2040's Blog
Emerald Warriors #2

Silver Age Comics
Justice League of America #2

Siskoid's Blog of Geekery
Dial H for Halfway Out of the DCU

Slay, Monstrobot of the Deep!!
Bizarro Am Not Jumping Shark

Supergirl Comic Box Commentary
Review: Adventure Comics #518

Review Section

Comics Of The Weak: Well, Sort Of by Tucker Stone

Comics Panel: September 24, 2010 by the A.V. Club

The Buy Pile 9/15/10 by Hannibal Tabu
The Buy Pile 9/22/10 by Hannibal Tabu

What I'm still reading...for now by J. Caleb Mozzocco

IGN Comic Book Reviews for 09/22/10

Newsarama's Best Shots Comic Reviews:


Monday, September 27, 2010

The Secret Origin of The Huntress: "From Each Ending... A Beginning!" (November-December, 1977)

The vigilante Batman and thief Catwoman began their feuding in 1940. This continued until Selina Kyle decided to reform, surrendering herself to the authorities to serve prison time for her crimes. Gotham City millionaire Bruce Wayne was waiting with open arms after Kyle's release, and the couple were married with great fanfare in the Summer of 1955. Two years later, Helena Wayne was born, inspiring the Batman to go into semi-retirement. While Bruce Wayne turned to less objectionable social activism, an adult Robin continued to patrol Gotham.

On Earth-Two, the Golden Age Waynes watched their daughter grow to womanhood, just as sharp-minded and beautiful as her parents. Unfortunately, those same years encompassed the prison sentence of Silky Cernak, a hireling of Catwoman's who had been sent up by Selina Kyle's testimony after she went straight. Looking for payback, Cernak produced a picture of Catwoman unintentionally strangling a guard with her cat o'nine tails. To save her marriage, Catwoman would come out of her retirement for one last job, in exchange for the destruction of Cernak's negatives.

Acting on a tip related to the heist, Commissioner Gordon lit the Bat-Signal, and was surprised when Batman answered instead of Robin. Dick Grayson was on foreign service duty in Madagascar, so it was the Dark Knight himself who would catch Catwoman's old gang at the Gotham Civic Center's rare gems exhibit after hours. The Caped Crusader crashed into the costumed Cernak, whose misfired bullet struck Catwoman in the chest. Batman realized this was the love of his life falling to her death from a fifth story balcony, and at the bottom learned she'd done it all for her Bruce. "That late Summer's eve in 1976," Wayne burned the Batman's cape and cowl, swearing off the role for good.

Helena Wayne held firm as her broken father wept for their loss. Night after night, the Bat-Signal went unanswered. Finally, a new bat-shaped shadow appeared in a Gotham graveyard. "Though only the silent gravestones bear witness, the fates themselves would surely admit-- that now a legend begins! ...This night, The Huntress was born!" Garbed in purple and blue, removing her mask briefly to shed tears at Selina Kyle's grave, Helena Wayne made a vow. "I swear I'll dedicate my life and inheritance to bringing your killer to justice... and to fighting all criminals! I swear it... Mother..."

Through a disreputable collector and a wiretap, the Huntress learned of an upcoming midnight meeting with Silky Cernak at Gotham Harbor. Able to affect the gravelly voice of her own father, the Huntress worked a confession out of Cernak-- that he'd doctored the photo to convince Catwoman to do his bidding. The Huntress easily beat Cernak unconscious, then left him hanging in a net outside police headquarters. Bruce Wayne didn't realize Robin had made it back from Madagascar, to which his daughter chimed, "Maybe it wasn't Richard, Daddy. I have a feeling it was someone else-- someone new. Whoever it was, I have a feeling they're here to stay!"

All-Star Comics #69 and DC Super-Stars #17 were both released on August 22, 1977. One book officially served as the introduction venue of the Huntress, and the other offered her origin. A canny bit of cross-promotion, although neither book was long for this world. However, the Huntress continues going strong, having since become a DC Comics staple featured in television and cartoons. The Huntress was created by this story's creative team of Paul Levitz and Joe Staton, joined by inker Bob Layton.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Hunted became The Huntress

I can't say for certain exactly when I made Helena Wayne's acquaintance, but I do know she left an immediate, lasting impression. I'd been reading comics long enough to know who the major players were, but I hadn't quite wrapped my brain around confusing concepts like the DC Multiverse. I figured the All-Star Squadron were closer to their modern conception as the heroes of World War Two, rather than being from an alternate Earth with a continuity separate from that of the DC Comics I usually read. To have some unfamiliar heroine show up alongside them with the bona fide of being Batman's daughter kind of shook my world view, especially in light of a confusing timetable. It doesn't matter whether my first exposure was a mediocre Solomon Grundy story or a battle with a creepy ninja chick, this Huntress was a mysterious figure with a great name, a cool look, and an intriguing background that I wanted to read more about. Unfortunately, DC Comics didn't get very good newsstand distribution when I was a kid, and the ones featuring the Huntress were even harder to come by. Instead, Huntress was often a focal character of interest amidst a bunch of unknowns in random house ads, group shots, and giveaways like DC Sampler. That last one was an especially curious treasure, when the closest I came to a comic shop was flea market booths. I didn't know what an Ultra-Humanite was or why that black kid had feathers instead of hair, but whoever was drawing the Huntress amidst those weirdos was good. Beyond that, my only Huntress source was the occasional Wonder Woman back up found second hand or in a three-pack.

By the mid-80s, I'd outgrown most of the DC titles I could get my hands on. The only issue of Crisis On Infinite Earths I read in process was the seventh, so I was very aware of the passing of Supergirl, but missed the unremarkable death of the Huntress a few issues later. What I took from the series was that DC had killed off its sillier characters, that only one version of a given hero would continue to exist, and that their icons would now be handled in the contemporary Marvel manner. The hottest creators in comics were given essentially a blank slate with DC's biggest heroes, so I was all over that. No one bothered with the Huntress until 1989, when a revised version of the character was launched in her own series. I believe by that point I'd learned the old Huntress had been the Earth-2 Catwoman's daughter, but it wasn't the "real" version, which made the heroine seem irrelevant. Further, with Batman as your father, where do you go? It would seem to unfairly and unfavorably compare the character, her cast, and her stories to the entire Batman mythos. When I read the new origin of the rechristened Helena Bertinelli, which cast her as the sole survival of a mob family massacre who trained from childhood for revenge, I felt at least the Batman baggage was lifted. The backstory seemed derivative though, and the series failed to hold my interest, so Huntress went back to being a nostalgia character I read only in guest appearances.

After her series was canceled, the Huntress went unemployed for several years, until writer Chuck Dixon began using her in his Batman Family books. Jim Lee clone Travis Charest drew some eye-catching covers with the heroine, but as with her solo series, the interiors left a lot to be desired. Thanks in part to her lack of a costume material, I noticed the Huntress' uniform had been tweaked repeatedly over the years. It never had a particularly strong design, but so long as essential elements like the cape, the purple coloring, the long loose hair, and most especially the crossbow remained in place, the rest didn't matter especially much. In fact, it made a lot more sense to have a variety of costumes at the Huntress' disposal, and helped balance out the ridiculousness of an urban vigilante wielding a medieval weapon. I also recognized there had to be something more to my interest in the Huntress than fond childhood memories. The character projected confidence, mystique and attitude that DC heroines desperately needed.

Unfortunately, Dixon took it upon himself to saddle the Huntress with a pretty serious psychosis. Rather than considering the character as an independent entity, Dixon used her tendency toward unnecessary force to demonstrate the acceptable limits within the Batman Family, and how her willingness to induce serious bodily injury exempted her from inclusion. Further, it was teased that she might occasionally indulge in homicide off-panel, casting her as at best an anti-heroine and at worst a ticking time bomb. Next came a troubling spotlight mini-series whose script aped Frank Miller's Elekta: Assassin and whose art imitated Frank Miller's Sin City, neither to appealing effect. This characterization held up throughout the '90s, seeing Grant Morrison include Huntress in his JLA as an undesirable Batman substitute, whom the Dark Knight would himself "fire" from the team after a year.

This is not to say that Chuck Dixon's influence was entirely negative. Over the course of the 1990s, the Huntress overtly embraced her ethnic and religious identities as an Italian Catholic, giving a real world depth to the character often considered taboo for bigger names. The Huntress incorporated a large crucifix into her wardrobe, and began covering up all that once vulnerable flesh in her most practical and dignified costume. An intriguing dichotomy developed within the character, contrasting her faith and role as a school teacher with her violent actions. Artists also tended to draw the character with a lean musculature, making her visibly more formidable. Also, it was during these years that I went back and read more of her earlier solo stories and adventures as a member of Infinity Inc. While I thought it a shame to trade Helena Wayne's more lucrative law degree, social consciousness, and access to power for an emotionally damaged substitute teacher, Helena Bertinelli had a lot more personality and complexity.

A real turning point came with the arrival of Devin Grayson as a writer for the Batman books. Grayson embraced the character, and rejected the more unsavory elements of Dixon's characterization, much to his chagrin. DC has a tendency toward treating their non-white and female characters delicately, often pigeonholing them in sanitized roles. As a woman herself, Grayson gifted Helena with dimensions denied her for decades. In a co-starring mini-series, Huntress and Nightwing's relationship shifted from the chaste fraternity of the Pre-Crisis years to uncomfortable sex buddies. Rather than being simply an untrusted rogue element, the Huntress was allowed to mock and otherwise criticize the Batman Family from the outside in. Perhaps in reaction to this, the Huntress was pushed out of her ghetto position in Gotham of the previous decade toward the greater DC Universe from which she was truly spawned as a member of the Justice Society of America. This would be no return to abandoned form, however, as Huntress bypassed that austere group to become part of the girl power clique Birds of Pray.

I spent twenty years trying to like the Black Canary, but despite her being a nice enough character appearing in solid stories, there's something essential missing from her to my taste. I read Chuck Dixon's work on the character off and on, but it took the arrival of the Huntress and another female writer, Gail Simone, to really turn me on to BoP. Once again, the Huntress was an agitator, but given sarcastic humor, legitimate sensuality and a recognition of her own questionable judgment that made the character sing. Simone continued this interpretation into animation, as the tough, sexy, charismatic Huntress appeared on Justice League Unlimited. There were some rough patches along the way, like a fairly terrible Birds of Prey television series, but I feel like the Huntress has finally begun living up to the potential and appeal I've always seen in the character. To contrast against Black Canary, I've suffered through a lot of bad choices made with the Huntress, but I could never be completely dissuaded from being her fan.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Direct Currents: Saturday September 25, 2010


DC Announces Bi-Coastal Realignment, Comics Stays in NYC
DC Entertainment President Talks Realignment Implications
Hey, That's My Cape! – DC's Changes Good For Fans?
DC Planning to 'Fire or Move' 80 Employees, Reports Say
What's DC Entertainment's Next Move?


4th Letter
Pre-Team Ups

The Absorbascon
Where Does Batman Vactaion...?
Superman's Persona Cycles

The Aquaman Shrine
JLA: Liberty and Justice - 2003
Random Panel of The Day #41
McDonald's Happy Meal Box - 2010
Random Panel of The Day #40
Chocolates Jack
Aquaman Shrine @ Masked Vigilante Comics!

Being Carter Hall
Hawkman In New Masters Of The Universe Two-Pack/a>
Hawkman Graces The Cover Of JLA/The 99 #3
Hawkgirl Cosplayer At DragonCon 2010

Sales Trends Continued
I Am So Gonna Hurk

Comics Make Me Happy!
Pop quiz for the weekend!
If I got stranded on a desert island that didn't have a comic shop...?
Do We Feel This Way About Comics Now?
I'd play cards more often if they had superheroes on them...
Comic Fan Art That Makes Me Happy!

Continued on 2nd Page Following
Some Stray Thoughts on the Smallville Season 10 Premiere - Spoilerish!
What is YOUR Desert Island Comic/Collection/Trade Paperback?
My Favourite Thing I've Gotten Online So Far
When Comic Book Thugs Look Like...Alfred Pennyworth?!
They See Me Rolling

Diana Prince: Wonder Woman
Sensational Comics for December, 2010
The Top 20 Wonder Woman Covers of the 1970s
Dragon*Con 2010 Donna Troy Cosplay

El Jacone's Comic Book Bunker
And Now...Mars Attacks
What I Read This Week

Every Day is Like Wednesday
Four Images
DC's December previews reviewed

G33K Life
ComicPageOfTheWeekend: The Demon
ComicPanelsOfTheWeek: Total Annihilation

Green Lantern Butts Forever!
Throwing My Hat into the Ring
Alan Scott
John Stewart
It's B,een a While Kyle
Going to the Fair

The Hoosier Journal of Inanity
Hal Jordan's Greatest Plane Crashes/Wrecks #9
Hal Jordan's Greatest Plane Crashes/Wrecks #8

The Idol-Head of Diabolu
Martian Sightings for December, 2010
2005 San Diego Comic-Con International DC: The New Frontier - Martian Manhunter Sketch by Darwyn Cooke
The Top 5 Martian Manhunter Covers of the 1970s
2010 The Martian Manhunter Archives Volume 7 Introduction by Tom Hartley
General Synnar
Dragon*Con 2010 Miss Martian & One Year Later Martian Manhunter Cosplay
2010 DC Universe Classics Series 15 Jemm Action Figure

Justice League Detroit
Motor City Links
2010 Zatanna Cosplay (Blue & White) by DJ Spider

New Readers...Start Here!
Suggested Reading Order: Superman - New Krypton
Helpful Links

Once Upon A Geek
Doctor Fate Essential Reading List
ACQUIRED: DC Adventures RPG – Hero’s Handbook

Where are all the Deaf superheroes?
Batman gets told off

Power of the Atom
Atomic acCount for December, 2010
The Top 10 Atom (Ray Palmer) Covers of the 1970s
2007 San Diego Comic-Con Captain Atom & Vixen Cosplay

Pretty Fizzy Paradise
Open Letter to Brian Michael Bendis
Okay then

Speed Force
More Flash and GL Cupcakes!
Teen Titans vs. Captain Cold in December
Now THESE are Flash Cupcakes!

Supergirl Comic Box Commentary
Review: Supergirl #56
One Last Baltimore Comic-Con Post: Jamal Igle's Superwoman
Happy Birthday Supergirl! Now Let's Get Snubbed!

Friday, September 24, 2010

1992 Slodd Alien Parasite Form Character Design by Arthur Adams

Click To Enlarge

Courtesy of @fter-studio. It's nice to see Wonder Woman used for scale here, as well as the "flying squirrel" wings. In its one appearance, Slodd was just this big yellow mass of cannon fodder for Lobo.

Update: While I'll be keeping the original link for enlargement because I dig the taped over "Sloth" logo, Chuck Dixon has posted a bigger, cleaner scan at his blog.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Top 20 John Stewart Covers

More often than not, he's a Green Lantern, but he's never just one. I was pleasantly surprised by how many great covers I've had to choose from over Stewart's nearly forty years in comics, and dismayed at how his starring series were sabotaged by poor covers (or in the case of Darkstars, outright whitewashing. Mosaic sold better than any book to ever star Donna Troy, yet Stewart appeared on exactly one cover!) I've been a greater fan of other Green Lanterns, but I've never liked any fr as long as I have Stewart, and his esteem in my eyes only grows with the richness of his career.

20) Green Lantern #190 (July, 1985)

I had a much tougher time with the twenty slot than the #1. It was the gatekeeper prohibiting entry to a couple dozen more entirely worthy covers. In the end, those eyes and the violating intimacy of the Predator secured this book the endcap.

19) JLA #103 (October, 2004)

I really wanted at least one JLA cover on this list, but his role there often fell into tokenism. Racial themes play out in this solo spotlight that speak to his treatment, and also to Stewart's occasional authoritarian leanings.

18) Green Lantern #188 (May, 1985)

I've never been a big Joe Staton fan, and that afro needs a pic. Still, it's a triumphant image, and a landmark, as Stewart publicly unmasks.

17) Green Lantern #156 (January, 2003)

John Stewart is finally the sole Green Lantern of Earth! For an issue here and there, and for the purposes of bringing JLA temporarily in line with the cartoon! Let's celebrate with an awkward Ariel Olivetti cover involving a caricatured Asian child!

16) Green Lantern: Mosaic #17 (October, 1993)

Luke McDonnell was nearing his nadir on interior art (see: Armageddon: Inferno,) but this is a masterpiece compared to most of the terrible covers Mosaic suffered through. Plus, Katma Tui, and John's abstract (some would say unstable) mind of the time on display. Geoff Johns' take on the character is so damned simplistic, especially compared to Gerard Jones' dense layering.

15) Justice League Unlimited #46 (August, 2008)

The final issue, with John leading a GL charge. You'll note this is the only bald/goatee'd image on this list, because I am sick to death of every black male super-hero shaving their head.It stops being cool when everybody's doing it, and Luke Cage without sideburns is a mother-truckin' travesty!

14) Green Lantern #197 (February, 1986)

I just like seeing John up in Guy Gardner's face, plus the facial structure on both GLs is outstanding.

13) Green Lantern #183 (December, 1984)

I'd like to like this cover more, but the premise has played out on so many covers, I can't get excited. It was already tired by 1984, it makes John look like a jerk, and what is with his skin tone?

12) Green Lantern #49 Variant Cover (February, 2010)

Benes almost made the list, but it just couldn't get there. Painted covers are often top static/subdued for my taste, but the specter of Xanshi had to be represented on this list.

11) Justice League Adventures #11 (November, 2002)

A lot of Super Friends covers with a prominent John Stewart fell just short of the mark, and the same was true of this series. Green Lantern is proud and up front here in a really appealing way, so it broke the blockade.

10) Green Lantern #193 (October, 1985)

Staton really sells the desolation and the threat to John here, in the best cover yet in portraying a deeper seated and more potentially devastating rivalry with Hal than Jordan ever had to face with Guy. John Stewart is a good man, but he is not Hal Jordan's friend, and is most especially not his sidekick.

9) Green Lantern #17 (October, 1991)

Hal Jordan quitting the Corps covers are a dime a dozen, but when John does it (this one time) it resonates.

8) Justice League Adventures #19 (July, 2003)

Name a more widely recognized black super-hero than John Stewart. Okay, Storm. And Blade. And maybe War Machine, nowadays. Look, for DC it's John Stewart, so this cover has greater meaning than might first be apparent. It's a "Yes We Can" kind of thing.

7) Green Lantern #74 (June, 1996)

Answer: None of the above, but it sure sells the danger, doesn't it? Also, I think this is one of three covers featuring John in his Darkstars uniform, and nobody else ever wore it as well.

6) Green Lantern #165 (June, 1983)

It makes me sad that there isn't more Gil Kane on this list, but he was always Hal's artist, and shared covers saw John trailing behind. There was one that got cut with the pair joined by Guy, all in the standard GL uniform, powering up. However, a stupid Guardian's head and ugly coloring ruined the piece. John + red= intensity. Anyone who followed Mosaic knows what I mean.

5) Green Lantern #16 (September, 1991)

A quiet cover, but the weight John is carrying on his mind is palpable.

4) Green Lantern #147 (April, 2002)

Had to bring in the chair at some point. This is the one where we learn Stewart was never actually crippled, only doing a pathologically method Hawkeye Pierce impersonation.

3) Green Lantern: Mosaic #1 (June, 1992)

A beautiful Brian Stelfreeze painted cover to launch one of the most challenging and under-appreciated series of the 1990s. Fans of Jones' Martian Manhunter: American Secrets owe it to themselves to give this a try, despite the erratic art and forced conclusion.

2) Green Lantern #185 (February, 1985)

See what I mean about the red? This is how you make an entrance! Folks forget John Stewart starred in this book for over a year with Hal just a subplot, and it was probably the best longterm story arc of the entire series.

1) Green Lantern/Green Arrow #87 (January, 1972)

Editor Julie Schwartz actually forced Neal Adams to redraw this cover because Hal looked to weak and effeminate in the unpublished version. It's kind of a shame, because John was more handsome there, but this one portrays a more dynamic character. Either way, it's an American classic!

More of Today's 1970s-tastic Cover Countdowns!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Top 11 Worst Bloodlines Characters

A few weeks back, Brian Cronin of Comics Should Be Good published his list of The Top Five Bloodlines Characters. As usual, I disagreed, and especially in light of running a blog named from the silly DC Annuals event from the '90s, I drafted my own selection of the Top 10 Bloodlines Characters. I also promised to cover the flip side, so here's what I feel are the Top 11 Worst Bloodlines Characters

11 & 10 (tie) Krag & Slingshot (Not Pictured)
As if there weren’t enough characters to juggle already between the established DCU heroes and the individual New Bloods from each book, the Justice League America annual went and added four more to the mix. Shadowstryke had a ‘90s kewl name and costume (complete with purple skull bandanna mask,) and he did stuff in the story, which puts him ahead of a number of New Bloods with annuals devoted entirely to them. On the other hand, there was Krag (a generic rocky monster guy) and Slingshot (a black chick in purple armor with kinetic propulsion abilities) who appeared just long enough to get their names and powers checked off. They were so lame, I forgot they had previously appeared before their panel or so walk-on in the issue of Bloodbath I used to refresh my memory of the rolls. Hell, you'll have to follow the links to see them, because they were beneath Comicvine's notice, and I'm sure not going to bother hosting the pictures myself.

9 & 8 (tie) Cardinal Sin & Samaritan
I've said many times that Denny O'Neil was terribly overrated in the '60s & '70s, to the post where I have trouble reading a lot of his much ballyhooed output from that period. The '80s was the decade where O'Neil finally earned the accolades, and he remained solid through the '90s. However, all I remember about this annual was that it sucked, and the characters were so forgettable they didn't even make it to Bloodbath. None of the Batman related Bloodlines were allowed to be in the Bloodlines card set, but there was no sin in omitting these two. They make Rodney James, the completely forgotten second New Blood from the Detective Comics Annual that debuted Geist, look like the best new character find of 1993.

7) Slodd
Art Adams went to the trouble of designing seven deadly sin monsters for this event, and Slodd really lived up to his name as the alien parasite representative for sloth. Slodd turned up in the very first Bloodlines annual, and was killed in a matter of panels by a grenade. Knowing full well that there were several dozen annuals to fill with spine-sucking villainy... that these creeps needed to be impressive... and the obvious intention to have a themed alien team: Slodd lays down and dies the first time out. His human form never even made an appearance.

6) Razorsharp
I appreciate that the world needs original super-heroines, but giving terrible ideas like this their own mini-series and additional appearances is sung to the tune of “Springtime for Hitler.” A computer hacker who literally hacks with arms that turn into T-2000 metal scythes? Plus, her I.T. support team were known as the Psyba-Rats, and got titular second billing? Does she battle a megalomaniacal Fisher Stevens as well?

5) Myriad
I’ll be picking on the Bloodlines women a lot, not out of misogyny, but simple revulsion. Myriad is like trying to underline feminists themes in I Spit On Your Grave. She was Lex Luthor’s karate instructor, whom he choked to death with his bare hands after she proved his better at sparring. He didn’t shoot her or send goons, so how did that even work? She beat him in unarmed combat, but she couldn’t break a forward two-handed choke? Next, the murder happened in a standard Superman comic, which makes it both a) inappropriate for the context & b) a betrayal of the premise that all the New Bloods would be introduced in their annuals. Finally, Myriad had memory loss, and her power was to possess people until they died, or something. So Lex Luthor kills her, strips her very identity, is immune from prosecution, and Myriad herself is empowered by not only her own victimization, but a cycle of violence she perpetrates against others. Let’s not even get into the part where her nude corpse was partially drained by a parasite.

4) Mongrel
Mongrel was always pissed off about the racism he faced over his mixed heritage, so when he gained some boring ass energy manipulation super-power, he took out his aggression on society. That wouldn’t be so bad if he were an outright villain, but he was your typical ‘90s anti-hero with a trench coat, ripped jeans and fingerless gloves. That meant he was constantly getting into fights with actual super-heroes, and generally being a total jerk, then playing the race card to get out of jail free. I’m not sure which is more galling: that Mongrel was able to make several races look bad at once (prominent stereotype: angry injun, although he was actually African-Vietnamese-American,) or that I think the little bastard is still kicking around.

3) Chimera
It isn’t so much that there’s anything inherent wrong with Chimera as a character (an East Indian who can manifest mythological beasts,) but that every story she has ever appeared in for more than a few panels has been mind-numbingly dull and ugly to look at. The thought of reading a Chimera story gives me physical pain. I expect this is due to co-creator Phil Jimenez's writing’s being such a slog, that he was the creator who finally got me to stop reading Wonder Woman after having already endured the runs of John Byrne, Eric Luke, and so very many terrible scribes behind related side projects. I somehow made it to the bitter end of Team Titans, along with Chimera, and the colossal cosmic ennui they instilled haunts me to this day. Plus, c'mon, she's a little too Indian, y'know? Like, Global Guardians/Manjula Nahasapeemapetilon Indian.

2) Joe Public
I think perhaps Joe Public was some sort of metacommentary on the lameness of the Bloodlines project. He was a gym teacher whose brother O.D.’d or something, so he figured he could parlay his expansive knowledge of dodgeball and flag football into urban vigilantism. Armed only with a dangerously impractical jacket, his rat-tailed mullet, and reflective sunglasses so outsized they looked like they were eating his face, Joe Public was promptly killed by an alien parasite while battling his archnemesis, an elderly dope-peddling midget. Upon resurrection, he could draw power from whoever surrounded him to embody the collective suck of entire neighborhoods. Not even the Blood Pack would take him, and they took Mongrel, so J.P. only wrangled a handful of guest appearances before getting his hands chopped off in a Prometheus special. By the way, nothing shows how un-formidable a super-villain is like having him kill characters best known for having been killed (sometimes repeatedly, because DC really needs a Handbook of the Dead these days to keep up with the body count.)

1) Jamm
Jamm isn’t just the worst New Blood, but one of the worst characters, period. Bitter Andrew can explain. Go With It. Jamm ain’t too a-much to me.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Direct Currents: Tuesday, September 21, 2010

DC Comics Solicitations for December, 2010

Lord Death Man of 'Bat-Manga' Gets Resurrected for 'Batman, Inc.'

The Charlton Heroes Who Inspired 'Watchmen' to Appear in Morrison's 'Multiversity'

'Superman XXX' is a Painfully Faithful Porno [SFW]

Spain's Bootleg Robin Was a Gun-Toting Badass

Green Lantern Reenters the Snack Cake Arena with Hostess Glo Balls



Yale's Law Library Awesomely Exhibits Superheroes in Court

Alex Gross's Vintage Superheroes Are Straight Out of the Golden Age

Dean Trippe Keeps it Crisp With Cool and Colorful Cartooning

W is for Wonder Woman

Dustin Nguyen's Characters Cop a Lot of Attitude

The Man Of Steel's twilight years

Bob Kessel's Square Spider-Man and Boxy Batman Art Will Squeeze Your Brain

Eric Merced Keeps His Card Art Rare But Easy To Acquire

Comic Book Legends Revealed #278


The Absorbascon
Pep 34: Upstaged!

The Aquaman Shrine
DC Universe Online Legends #0
Atlantis Chronicles #5 - July 1990
Atlantis Chronicles #6 - Aug. 1990
Atlantis Chronicles #7 - Sept. 1990
Aquaman Bobble Head by Funko - 2010

Armagideon Time
The Cats Will Play: Day 1
The Cats Will Play: Day 2
The Cats Will Play: Day 3
The Cats Will Play: Day 4 and Final

Atomic Surgery
The Moon Monster by Bernard Baily (1960)

Being Carter Hall
Hawkgirl Cosplayer At DragonCon 2010
JLA to Z Puzzle NOT Featuring Hawkman

Charlton vs Mighty MLJ: Thunder Agents Week
3 Items of Power
Ageles Androids
Star-Studded Teammates
Five for Fightin'
Covert Carrot-Tops

Comics Make Me Happy!
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Would all the nice characters please raise your hand?
Dragon*Con 2010 With Booster Gold and Blue Beetle!
75 Favorite Moments in DC History: Number 52
This is my brain on Mondays

Continued On 2nd Page Following
The Nightmobile
The Collection Room So Far

Diana Prince: Wonder Woman
Dragon*Con 2010 Donna Troy Cosplay

El Jacone's Comic Book Bunker
Everybody's Linking For The Weekend

Every Day Is Like Wednesday
Batman and Black Canary are just really good friends
Jimmy Olsen: Pal With Benefits

Firestorm Fan
Nine pages that change Firestorm forever.
Rumor of New Firestorm Ongoing Series After Brightest Day!
Brightest Day #11 Variant Cover Featuring Firestorm

Girls Gone Geek
Five Reasons You Should Be Reading Batman and Robin
Friday Favorite: Creote & Savant

Green Lantern Butt's FOREVER!
Guy Gardner confounds J'Onn J'Onzz (fan art)

The Idol-Head of Diabolu
Dragon*Con 2010 Miss Martian & One Year Later Martian Manhunter Cosplay
2010 DC Universe Classics Series 15 Jemm Action Figure

Justice League Detroit
2010 Zatanna Cosplay (Blue & White) by DJ Spider

Kingdom Kane
The Adventures of Rex the Wonder Dog #38, March-April 1958

Once Upon A Geek
ACQUIRED: DC Adventures RPG – Hero’s Handbook

Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine
"Vengeance Of the Invisible Men" from Sensation Mystery #110, 1952

Power of the Atom
2007 San Diego Comic-Con Captain Atom & Vixen Cosplay

Pretty, Fizzy Paradise
Button Blues

Reilly2040's Blog
Generation Lost
Green Lantern #57

Rob Kelly Illustration
From The Vault: Lex Luthor - 2004

Silver Age Comics
Let's Agree Never to Mention This Again

Siskoid's Blog of Geekery
DCH to DCAdv: Ambush Bug
Dial V for Variety

Supergirl Comic Box Commentary
Review: Superman:Last Family Of Krypton #2
Baltimore Comic-Con: Adam Hughes Commission And Other Tid-Bits
New Clip From Superman/Batman:Apocalypse


AICN Comic Reviews Shipping Week: 9/1/10

AICN Comic Reviews Shipping Week: 9/9/10

The Buy Pile 9/9/10 by Hannibal Tabu

The Buy Pile 9/15/10 by Hannibal Tabu

Comic shop comics: Sept. 1st-Sept. 9th by J. Caleb Mozzocco

Oh Boy, Reviews!: Thursday, September 16, 2010 by SallyP

What I Read This Week by El Jacone:
Monday, September 13, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010

Wednesday Is Any Day For All I Care #82 by Diabolu Frank

IGN Comic Book Reviews for 09/01/10

Todd Klein's "And Then I Read:"


Newsarama's Best Shots Comic Reviews:


Monday, September 20, 2010

DC75: With One Magic Punch... (JLA #29, 1999)

The Man of Steel may be the world's greatest hero, but in a war with 5th Dimensional Imps, his vulnerability to magic was a liability. Captain Marvel knew this, and should the Big Red Cheese fail in his own other-dimensional mission, "the Earth's going to need Superman much more than it needs me." To that end, the World's Mightiest Mortal would brook no argument, sucker punching Superman twice with fists full of magic. In just those two blows, Shazam laid the kryptonian down, and a generation of readers took note of Captain Marvel again after decades of neglect and misuse.

Check out more highlights from the past 75 years of DC Comics at The Truly Most Memorable Moments of the DC Dodranscentennial

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Dragon*Con 2010 Cyborg Cosplayer

Shag Matthews of Once Upon A Geek was gracious enough to offer his massive collection of photographs from Dragon*Con 2010 to a gaggle of bloggers over a week back. I've been running buck wild with them, and still have a "wave" or two of posts left before I'll consider my end of the horse good and beat to death. Surprisingly, few others have taken up Shag's offer, and even his own Firestorm Fan hasn't run his plentiful Nuclear Man snapshots. The one exception on my own end has been here at DC Bloodlines, because there weren't many characters parading around that fit our interests. I never saw a clear view of Green Lantern John Stewart, and I've never seen anyone do Captain Comet or Bronze Tiger. There was a female Creeper that would go with a series of posts I have planned, but I'm not actually a Creeper fan, so I can't be bothered. However, she does remind me of Siobhan Fahey from Shakespears Sister, and that's worth something to me.

You know who else I never cared about? Victor Stone. Even as a kid reading The New Teen Titans, I found his "I'm a monster" (or more to the point, another Thing) shtick tired. When he wasn't wining, he was just sort of there, or else playing the jobber as "Machine Parts Break Dramatically Man." I just can get into this guy, and likely never will. However, I feel like posting something on this lazy Sunday, and this costume looks cool, so Cyborg gets the nod!

Finally, here's a nice fat list of all the related cosplay posts I'm aware of to date. I'll swing it around this way once or twice more (note any conspicuous absences?) Of special interest is Shag's photographically enhanced diary of his con experience, Dragon*Con 2010 Recap – My Weekend of Insanity (lots of pics!) Give it a click, won't you?

The Aquaman Shrine
Aquaman Family Cosplay @ DragonCon 2010

Comics Make Me Happy!
Dragon*Con 2010 With Booster Gold and Blue Beetle!

Diana Prince: Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman & the Wonder Girls Cosplay
Black Lantern Wonder Woman Cosplay
Dragon*Con 2010 Donna Troy Cosplay

Doom Patrol: My Greatest Adventure
Beast Boy at Dragon Con!

The Idol-Head of Diabolu
Dragon*Con 2010 Martian Manhunter Cosplayer
Dragon*Con 2010 Black Lantern Martian Manhunter Cosplayer

Justice League Detroit
Black Lantern Aquaman & Wonder Woman Cosplay@Justice League Detroit
Dragon*Con 2010 Zatanna Cosplay
2010 Zatanna Cosplay (Blue & White) by DJ Spider

Once Upon A Geek
The Irredeemable Shag's DragonCon 2010 Photos
Dragon*Con 2010 Recap – My Weekend of Insanity (lots of pics!)

Power of the Atom
Indigo Tribe Atom Cosplayer 
2007 San Diego Comic-Con Captain Atom & Vixen Cosplay

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Direct Currents: Saturday September 18, 2010


Larfleeze Takes Center Stage In His Own Christmas Special
First Look: Green Lantern/Plastic Man: Weapons of Mass Deception
Agent of S.T.Y.L.E.: Cold is Cool with Ice (Rundown of the differences between Ice and Ice Maiden)
DC Will Play 'Bigger Role' At WB, Report Says
What's DC Entertainment's Next Move?
One of the Best Personalized License Plates
DC December Solicits


4th Letter
Is it time to leave the past behind?
Batman: The Dark Knight #1

The Absorbascon
Wonder Woman's Hobby
Barry Allen Defeats Genre Blindness
Penitentiary Haiku
The Anguished Eye Turns Inward

The Aquaman Shrine
Brightest Day #10 - Nov. 2010
Random Panel of the Day #36
Cosplay @ DragonCon 2010
Random Panel of the Day #35
Super Friends #27 Original Art

Being Carter Hall
Custom Hawkman vs. Adam Strange
Read: Hawkman v.4:no. 18

Booster Gold, the minion
Even Tin Cans Make Me Cry
Generation Lost Versus Injustice League (Sales Figures Graph)

Chris Samnee
The Question (Inked sketch)

Continued on 2nd Page Fo
How To Modernize an Old Comic Book Without Too Much Work
When Comic Book Thugs Look Like Charles Bronson Part 3
Comics Scene 1993 List of Planned Comic Book and Related Movies
This Week's Big Three

Cultural Kalocin
I Just Have Something in My Eye...

Diana Prince: Wonder Woman
Dragon*Con 2010 Black Lantern Wonder Woman Cosplay
Dragon*Con 2010 Wonder Woman & the Wonder Girls Cosplay

El Jacone's Comic Book Bunker
Fair Trade: The Shield: America's 1st Patriotic Comic Book Hero

Every Day is Like Wednesday
In a genre built out of trivia, there’s no such thing as a trivial matter
Comic shop comics: Sept. 1st-Sept. 9th

G33K Life
Archers! #11 (Web comic)
ComicPageOfTheWeekend: Aren't you gonna...

Green Lantern Butts Forever!
Cracked Ice
Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #2

The Hoosier Journal of Inanity
History of the Predator, the "male Star Sapphire"
Hal Jordan's Greatest Plane Crashes #1
Hal Jordan's Greatest Plane Crashes #2
Hal Jordan's Greatest Plane Crashes #3

The Idol-Head of Diabolu
Queen Jarlla
The Adventures of Superman #479 (June, 1991)
Dragon*Con 2010 Black Lantern Martian Manhunter Cosplayer
H'ronmeerca'andra (Saturn)
King Jaxx
Dragon*Con 2010 Martian Manhunter Cosplayer

Justice League Detroit
Dragon*Con 2010 Black Lantern Aquaman & Wonder Woman Cosplay
Dragon*Con 2010 Zatanna Cosplay

New Readers...Start Here!
Wolverine: Origin
Whiteout Volume 1
Superman/Batman: Supergirl
Daredevil: Wake Up

Once Upon A Geek
Dragon*Con 2010 Recap – My Weekend of Insanity (lots of pics!)

Big Barda vs Superman
The ayes have it

Power of the Atom
Dragon*Con 2010 Indigo Tribe Atom Cosplayer
Dragon*Con 2010 The Atom (Ray Palmer) Cosplayer

Pretty Fizzy Paradise
Why I love Legacy Characters...

Slay, Monstrobot of the Deep!!
HOLY CRAP!! (Atlas Comics revival with J.M. DeMatteis)

Speed Force
Running a Speedster Ragged in Halcyon
Carmine Infantino Interview Book from TwoMorrows (With Previews)

Supergirl Comic Box Commentary
Review: Batgirl #14
Review: Doom Patrol #14