Sunday, September 16, 2012


I was somewhat frustrated by the lack of screen-shots and stills from Scooby-Doo! Curse of The Lake Monster, which I wrote a bit about the other day. It was hard to find examples to illustrate a few of the points I wanted to make. I finally found a good image of the film's version of Velma Dinkley, the traditionally dowdier, chubbier of the two girls who hung out with Scooby-Doo. In Curse, she was played by the slim, pixie-esque young actress Hayley Kiyoko and, as you can see above, her figure is quite un-Velma-like.

Although, as I mentioned in that post, Velma has been getting gradually hotter in the 21st century, thanks to Linda Cardellini's casting of her in the two feature films, Kiyoko's portrayal of her in two TV films and the the Cardellini-like character design in current Scooby series, Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated.


Speaking of sexy Velmas, Newsarama writer Lan Pitts, who was part of the old "Best Shots @" crew of comics reviewers at Newsarama that I used to run with, collects sketches and original art, and one of the subjects he often solicited is Ms. Dinkley herself. The above is by by Joe Eisma, and is one of the more consciously pin-up-esque in his Velma collection; all 18 pieces of which can be seen here.

The many Velma's come in various shapes and sizes, with skirts of various levels of shortness. I think I like Robbi Rodriguez's the best; it doesn't really say "Velma" to me at all, but it's an awesome drawing.

You can see more of the work Lan's commissioned and collected in the various galleries here.

Via Tom Spurgeon's superior link-blogging, I came across this post by Martin Wisse slamming a Milo Manara drawing of The Scarlet Witch, which Marvel is using as the cover of the upcoming Uncanny Avengers #2.

I don't want to quote Wisse's post at length, because it's only a few sentences long, but his main contention, if you're too lazy to go read his few sentences (don't be so lazy; go read them) is that the image in question? "That’s not the Scarlet Witch, that’s the bog standard Manara woman cosplaying her."

Wisse is right, of course, but then, do any characters look like themselves anymore? Close your eyes and imagine just about any superhero character, the Scarlet Witch is a fine example to do with.

Okay, what does that character look like in your mind? Does she look like a particular artist drew here? Does every artist drawing her make her look the same?

Hell, if Batman and Spider-Man, whose costumes cover somewhere between 90% and 100% of their bodies, look completely different depending on which artist is drawing them. Neither DC nor Marvel use style guides or character bibles or character designs of any kind to dictate how characters look anymore. The Hulk can be anywhere from six feet tall to 20 feet tall, a foot across or eight feet across. Sometimes Spidey's built like a praying mantis, sometimes like a runner, sometimes a swimmer, sometimes like a competitive body builder.

Namor can look like Robert DeNiro or Phil Collins, and, in fact, is more likely to look like either of them than he is the character designed by Bill Everett, or slightly redesigned by Jack Kirby or John Byrne years later. These days, Namor is really just a guy wearing one of Namor's costumes, who will more likely than not have black hair (although he might have brown hair, if the colorist prefers) and who will be referred to in the dialogue as "Namor," which is how readers will know who he is.

So is that the Scarlet Witch? I don't know. She's wearing the Scarlet Witch costume, so I guess so...? She doesn't look like George Perez's Scarlet Witch, the only one I've spent much time with, but then, I don't suspect anyone else on the insides of that book or the covers of that book are going to look a whole hell of a lot like Perez's versions of the character.

At least Manara drew his way off-model Scarlet Witch, rather than just photo-traced some poorly selected photo-reference (which Wisse alluded to in his post, as you know, as you read that before getting to the end of this bit of mine).


Speaking of which this is a pretty nice picture, but it does just kinda look like J. Bone plopped Michelle Obama's head on top of Wonder Woman's body, doesn't it...?


I was really happy when I heard that Get Your War On had returned (in the animated format). And then I was kinda pissed that I didn't hear about it sooner. Here are the latest ones.

GYWO was the only good thing about life in America during the first decade of the 21st century.

Okay, I'm exaggerating. A little.


I read Don MacPherson's review of writer (?) Dan DiDio and artists Bren Anderson and Scott Hanna's Phantom Stranger #0 with great some interest. Apparently they are really playing up the connections between the character and Jesus Christ—the Stranger is apparently Judas, I guess—without actually using the words "Jesus" or "Judas" in the comic which sounds pretty damn fascinating, and like the kind of uncomfortable dance I'd like to see occurring (in a trade collection I borrow from the library next year, well after the series is cancelled at...let's be generous and say issue #10. Maybe #14, since DC's co-publisher is also the writer, and he might get a little more slack than the writers of the other 51 "New 52" books).

There's even a mention of Judas' coins in it!

Is that weird that DC released Phantom Stranger at about the same time that they released Walt Simonson's The Judas Coin, which follows one of the cursed coins of Judas through DC Universe history...?

To bad DiDio didn't tie his work closer to Simonson's, and have DC sell it that way—they maybe could have moved some more Judas Coins by saying it was a keystone of the secret of the New 52iverse, revealing a portion of The Phantom Stranger's origin.

Ah well.


I was pretty surprised to hear DC announce a new comic set in the JSA: Liberty Filess Elseworlds setting. Mostly because I don't remember anything at all about the comic. I read one of those series, and all I remember is that they called the superheroes by different names (Exmaple, "The Clock" instead of "Hourman") and that...Martian Manhunter was in a tent, I think...? (Oh, spoiler! I think it was a surprise that it was Martian Manhunter in the tent and not, like, someone form the JSA...?) Seriously, I don't remember jackshit about those comics, which is kinda weird. Like, I know I read them, and I know I didn't dislike them, but they weren't so good that I remembered much of anything about them, for whatever reason.

Weirder still is that DC is doing a sequel series, like, a million years later, so long after they've done away with Elseworlds.


I have only a passing familiarity with the Buffy The Vampire Slayer universe—I know the characters names and some of the primary actors who played roles on the series, basically—but it was my understanding that all of the slayers had to be female, for some reason.

If this is true, then that means either a) males can be slayers too, or b) only gay males can be slayers too, and then things get, really, really weird.

Like, if the slayers have to be female, what is it about females that qualify them to be vampire slayers? It's not something biological or physical—like, you don't need two x chromosomes or a vagina to be a slayer—but you have to have that certain something that most females and some men, specifically, gay men have in common? Do you have to be sexually attracted to men in order to be a vampire slayer, not necessarily be female? (And does this mean there aren't any lesbian vampire slayers?)

Basically, I just don't get what a gay man would have in common with women that would qualify him but not qualify a straight man.

Damn, I've already thought way more about Buffy than I need to.

Also, it's kind of depressing that we're still at a point in comics history where "Hey look, a gay character!" is a send-out-a-press-release and successfully score coverage kind of event. Like, I would have hoped by 2012 the presence of gay superheroes, Riverdale teens, barbarians, X-Wing fighter pilots, Predators, whatever would be commonplace enough that it's not even worth pointing out.

That was, as it turns out, a naive hope. Oh well. Maybe next decade...?


A whole lot of X-Men comics came out this week, apparently.


Finally, here is retailer Brian Hibbs on the pox that is variant covers, a piece entitled "Don't Shit Where You Eat." I agree with almost every word of it, despite the fact that I see it from a different perspective than Hibbs does (I'm not a retailer, but a comics consumer/worrier about). I've long suspected they do much more long-term damage than they do short-term good, and what little short-term good they do seems to be somewhere between shady and scummy.

The saddest thing about variants is that the smaller publishers who seem like the greatest offenders are apparently forced into that corner by the big publishers (that is, Marvel and DC) also vigorously pursuing the variant cover strategy, and that either publisher feels they have to go crazy with variants is about a strong a statement about how fucked up the direct market is that I can think of.


Jacob T. Levy said...

From the article at the link:

'In Billy, fans won't get a total revision of Buffy's longtime standard that only women are empowered with vampire-killing abilities. Instead, Espenson promised the young man would train himself to slay a la Batman – a character arc that allows for metaphorical responses to bullying.

"Billy is someone who sees a need in his hometown and steps up to fill the void, even at great personal risk," Greenberg said in the story. "He may not have the actual powers of the Slayers, but he's determined to be his own kind of hero, one who's sort of modeled after those who do have the power, and he sets out to make due with what he has. In the process, I think he hopes to follow the lead of all the strong, powerful Slayers who came before him and live up to the standard they set."'

Anthony Strand said...

So he's as much of a Slayer as Xander or Gunn or Wesley - a guy who fights demons.

Also, Caleb - in The Liberty Files, it was a surprise that it wasn't Superman in the tent.

Josué Chaves (chrchaves) said...

The Manara rant is pretty foolish. I wonder if that same critique would be delivered by him to american illustrators. Most Jim Lee girls look like the same woman. Hell, most Kirby women look the same.
For me, that doesn´t make the drawing less sublime. There´s a lot of sexyness going on in that cover that others artist do not get, even if you consider that as a Manara woman doing cosplay.

Vanja said...

I always felt that Jack Knight Starman was a rare superhero character that had distinctive facial features. This is not to say that a more generic version of the character didn't feature in the crowd scenes in JLA and JSA.

Michael Hoskin said...

This discussion of who lived in a tent in the Liberty Files intrigues me. Was this a super hero camping trip?

JRC, the OWL Says Who said...

I for one LOVED both the Liberty File minis, I thought they were not just well drawn, but a great read, that could easily work w/ the much love Starman 'universe' and it's ties to the Sandman Mystery Theater Vertigo stories. Glad to see they're going to expand it to it's own world in the Nu52 (which up to now, has been a total washout for me).
But than, I also liked both the Freedom Fighter minis, thought they did a nice job of revamping a group of really silly characters and giving them a real place in the DCU. I thought the ongoing that launched just before the old DCU imploded was pretty bad though--it just got off on the wrong foot and kept stumbling.

I've felt that your commentaries have been really angry the last 2,3 posts, but I wonder how much of that is me just disagreeing with things you've written about stories I enjoyed?

Matt Brady said...

Caleb, since you seem to be interested in, uh, less-dowdy versions of Velma, I thought you might enjoy this (very NSFW) link:

Of the two actresses in that scene, Daphne isn't very good, but Velma kills it, at one point uttering a rather unforgettable "Jinkies!" It's an interesting take on the Mystery, Inc. mythos, that's for sure.

Caleb said...


I might have seen that clip before. And the other clips that comprise the entire movie. Which is NOT a very good movie. I solved the mystery before the first sex scene! Er, I might have. If I did indeed see it.