Sunday, September 30, 2012

2012 The Huntress color art by Marcio Takara

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Check out the original black & white art here

Marcio Takara

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

2012 “JLA by George Perez” Firestorm Commission

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Aric Shapiro is a comic art collector with the good taste to pursue a series of Justice League of America member spotlight commissions in their full Satellite Era glory by George Pérez. An online acolyte of Pérez, Mitch Ballard, then colored some of the pieces with Shapiro's consent.
"Ronnie Raymond IS Firestorm. At least to me and those that grew up when I did. PPerhaps the most visuallly compelling charcater out there(puffy slleeves and all). Of all the pieces George did for me, this is the biggest trip down memory lane because I was hooked on Firestorm as a kid."
Pérez's uncolored original can be viewed here. Out of the many options in the gallery to spotlight, I chose Firestorm because I wanted a color piece to go with the rest of today's crossover, wasn't especially enthused about using icons like Superman on our po' DC zeros blog, and figured at least Shag would dig it. The composition is similar to the 1984 Firestorm Postcard by George Pérez, and they're both pretty happening.

2012 “JLA by George Perez” Commissions

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Comic Reader Résumé: January, 1985

January of 1985 appears to have been a great month for books I barely remember having read well after the point of initial publication. Some, like Sisterhood of Steel #2 I know for a fact that I read, owned, may still have in a box somewhere, and yet continues to mean absolutely nothing to me. Others, like Amazing Spider-Man #264 were borrowed from a friend, read once, sucked, and yet still linger on the fringes of my mind (football player given powers by suit sweats a lot and meets an unfortunate fate.) Maybe it was the extra thought and care that went into an inventory story by a writer with three whole credits to his career and Dave Cockrum's wife.

Tales of the Teen Titans #52 fared better, with the return of Cheshire from my beloved New Teen Titans Annual #2, nice art by Rich Buckler and Mike DeCarlo, and a pleasant enough thriller/origin/solo story for Jericho. I retained a soft spot for Joe Wilson despite his ugly costume, Aryan Jewfro, and anachronistic muttonchops. Shame that he only got more awful from there (the permullet, for example.)

I can't recall if I read a friend's or my half-brother's copy of Uncanny X-Men #192. The premise of contracting the transmode virus was mildly terrifying, but not quite as much as Colossus and Rogue's new costumes. Ugh.

I loved the ending to Kitty Pryde and Wolverine #6 as a kid, with Logan forced to give in to a berserker rage to defeat Ogun, only to be defeated himself by that resort. Plus, Shadowcat was born, however meaningless that might be now. Poor girl struggles for years to work out a decent codename, and now nobody bothers to use it anymore.

Apologies to moonlighting lettering great Todd Klein, but Blue Devil #11 was so bad I skipped the next two issues, and a re-read a year or so ago reminded me that it's still terrible by more forgiving, nostalgic standards.

I think I gave Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham #1 a chance, but I was older and less impressed than I was when Marvel Tails came out.

I got Captain America #305 out of a grocery store three-pack, and was impressed by the premise of a British Captain. Modred The Mystic had taken control of Brian Braddock to instigate a fight, so I was impressed/confused when my brother turned up with a copy of Marvel Chillers #1 a few years later where the guy was used as a protagonist. While I thought the costume was kind of nice, I was unimpressed with Captain Britain's fallibility and excessive powers, a bias that continues to this day. I was also underwhelmed by the Paul Neary art, and fought off buying another issue until 1987.

Finally, I bought Ewoks #1 at the 7-11, despite it being two years distant from Return of the Jedi and following those cheesy ABC television movie events. I had a weird interest in Star Comics, despite having outgrown their target demographic (not that they ever hit the broad side of that demographic, hence that whole abject failure thing.) I'd get suckered one more time by Lucas properties, but I never bought this series again.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Dragon*Con 2012 DC Cosplay Obscura Gallery by Shag Matthews

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The Irredeemable Shag did his usual bang-up up job taking snaps of all the costumed players at one of their biggest venues in the continental United States, Dragon*Con. This is evidenced by the hundreds and hundreds of pictures available in his flickr gallery, which he was kind enough to share with a host of his fellow bloggers. Aside from the Huntress seen above, and characters spotlighted at other blogs today, there weren't very many photographed who have been regularly featured here at DC Bloodlines. While Anj rends his garments and gnashes his teeth over the sorry Beowulf cosplay representation (told you ya should have covered Amethyst, bub,) I thought I'd offer up some odd commentary and feature a few of the least famous characters here.

One of the really keen changes this year was the increased visibility of African-American cosplayers. This convention is in Atlanta, after all, so it's awesome to see folks like Static, XS, Lightning, Vixen, Cyborg, Green Lantern John Stewart, and Aqualad on the scene. More than that though, after recent criticisms in the industry media about a lack of color-blindedness among cosplay critics, there were tons of black fans taking on white heroic roles here. Obviously, Jericho above was at most half-serious with that enormous blond Afro, but there were plenty of Batmen, Catwomen, Supermen, and Wonder Women of color owning the roles of the most powerful and popular characters in comics. Gender-bending and the differently-able also embraced nerd Halloween with gusto, regardless of a canon DC themselves have thrown out the window.

That said, DC Comics needs to give us Black Orion for real. I've long championed an African-American Captain Marvel, but Shazam! We got a little asshole white kid to replace the little nimrod white kid from the previous continuity, and the Big Red Cheese is still just Superman with static and a sleazy grin. Orion is the son of Darkseid, one of the most powerful entities in creation, and that suit is well complimented by the darker skin tone. I think fans would have a much easier time accepting a race change here than with many other characters, and a revived Fourth World would benefit from greater diversity than cringe-inducing '70s "progressive" notions.

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I fell hard for the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents after reading the short-lived Deluxe series, followed by back issues of the cheeky Tower Comics. The properties, like Milestone and Red Circle, seem to be partitioned from the universe proper while still interacting timidly with it. Like a taxi driving one man Church of Scientology, the late John Carbonaro claimed to own the franchise and sued away any dissenters (of which there were many in the mid-80s.) I wonder if DC bought the property the way Todd McFarlane bought Miracleman, because aside from reprints and a modest stab at their own take, you don't see these guys integrating into the New 52. I don't think anyone with deep enough pockets to stare down DC lawyers will bother with a property disputably in the public domain if DC never does boffo business with them, so it's almost like the Agents were purchased for storage like Marvel's Ultraverse. Anyhow, notice that Dynamo, NoMan, Lightning, Menthor, and the villainous Iron Maiden have their little team clique off to the side of the photo. Freudian?

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Finally, we have Bumblebee, who never did much for me as the Wasp of the Titans. I liked her as a more tragic figure in the Doom Patrol, but the main reason to close out with this pic is that the cosplayer is just so damned cute! Dig the specs! Not all the commentary has to be heavy. Thanks to Shag for the pics, and to the Superhero Costuming Forum for setting up these photo shoots every year!

Dragon*Con 2012 Cosplay Galleries by Shag Matthews

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The DC Feature Page: Summer 2012

Custom DC Archive Edition Redesign by Calamity Jon Morris

SDCC 2012: Cosplay Gallery

The Cosplay Of San Diego Comic Con 2012

The Avengers And The Justice League Get Bricky Via Qubicle Constructor [Art]

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

National Comics: Eternity #1 (September, 2012)

A year ago, Christopher Freeman was nearly killed by unseen gunmen on a New York street. His cop dad, with whom he was always arguing, took the bullets for him. Ever since, Freeman had guilt-ridden dreams and a special power. As a coroner for the city morgue, Freeman was always late, and Captain Phillips routinely on his case. It didn't help that Freeman would pull up a gurney, touch the deceased, and find himself visiting some sort of purgatory to borrow their soul for the day to solve their murder. The latest, Darby Quinn, was heavyset, middle-aged, balding, and a well dressed black man tried to keep him from temporarily crossing over. Freeman carried Quinn off anyway, shaking the bald, goateed gentleman loose.

The trip had taken Freeman much of the night, so when Captain Phillips caught him talking to "himself," he wasn't happy that the autopsy hadn't even started yet. Phillips sent Freeman on unpaid leave for a week to get his act together.

Freeman and the invisible spirit of Quinn visited the scene of the crime, Darby's squalid resale shop. Quinn had a mouth on him, but his recent memories were a jumble, a common side effect from the trip back to the land of the living. Putting together the clues, Freeman finally determined that Quinn had tried to rape a young singer who was renting a room above his shop, only to be killed by his own antique Luger. Freeman kicked Quinn back to the netherworld, talked Sally off a ledge, and closed the case. Captain Phillips still wasn't sure what to make of Freeman, but he called him back to work and hoped he "might just have more of your father in you than I realized."

The well dressed bald man reappeared, identifying himself as Mr. Keeper, to warn Freeman "If you bring too many more bad eggs back like Mr. Quinn back, things are going to start getting very dangerous for you, very quickly... I told you... Quinn was mine. I've said as much as I'm willing to. Consider yourself warned." Mr. Keeper then disappeared off the ledge Sally had been talked down from.

Twenty-seven year old Christopher Freeman returned to work feeling "better," renewed by his breakthrough. Unfortunately, the cute precinct receptionist that made him late each day because he lollygagged to pass her on the way to work was herself now quite late, lying on a gurney...

"Kid Eternity" was by Jeff Lemire, Cully Hamner & Derec Donovan. I think Rich Johnston saw this as a television pilot in comic book clothing, and that sounds about right. Specifically, it's Tru Calling Medium. I liked the original premise of Kid Eternity better, but if you enjoy paying four bucks for a fair procedural that only runs 10-15 minutes, this may be your bag. Lemire's script is serviceable, while the art team of Hamner and Donovan makes it look better than it is.

More New 52's Day

Sunday, September 2, 2012

2011 The Huntress 11x17" art by Michael Bair

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You might also like to check out this 2007 Bair Huntress piece, which is also very nice, not to mention Helena and Black Canary in a 2007 Birds of Prey NYCC Commission.