Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I liked Yanick Paquette's Batgirl design from "Rotworld: The Green Kingdom"

I recently read Swamp Thing Vol. 3: Rotworld: The Green Kingdom, and I didn't really enjoy it much, in large part because I had previously read Animal Man Vol. 3: Rotworld: The Red Kingdom, which included much of the same contents, including the climax of the conflict (DC's repeating content in mutliple trades is something I discussed in a little more detail, using these books as an example, here).

One thing I did like though was that when Swamp Thing and Animal Man get separated for a while in Rotworld, Swamp Thing finds his way to what's left of Gotham City, and there he meets Barbara "Batgirl" Gordon. She has survived the rotpocalypse thingee by injecting herself with Kirk Langstrom's Man-Bat serum, making her at least part animal and giving her a connection to "The Red," the mystical life web that binds all animal life (Yeah, I know, humans are animals too; writers Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder didn't really address why humans didn't count as animals in the context of this story).

On the last page of the collection, DC shares a couple of Paquette's designs for the story, including a character design for Poison Ivy, and these two pages, devoted to Gordon or, as he refers to her here, Man-Bat-Girl:
I appreciate how much thought went into designing what is essentially a cameo appearance in a larger story, particularly because the hands of Man-Bat (and the many other characters who have taken Man-Bat serum over the years) always really bug me—you really shouldn't be able to have bat-wings and arms simultaneously, unless you're some kind of magical creature with six limbs, like a demon or dragon or whatever. Paquette just adds fingers, so Man-Bat-Girl has six or seven digits per hand. That works; I probably woulda given her one "human" finger and thumb, and three elongated wing-fingers, but, still, nice to see so much thought put into something like that for once.

Additionally, Paquette gave some thought into what sort of clothing would fit on a body like that, on that, in this case, can change back and forth, so that sometimes it has huge bat-wings and sometimes it doesn't. So he designed her costume around that. Again, another nice solution to the problem and one that, incidentally, gives Pacquette an excuse to draw a particularly sexy Gordon with a great deal of her flesh exposed.

Here's how his Barbara Gordon looked in the final story, when in human form (Note that these pages are non-consecutive, and I'm just posting them here to look at, not read, as they don't really make much sense if you do read them like this):
Unfortunately, we don't get to see what Pacquette's Man-Bat-Girl would have looked like when she was in bat-mode, as she only appears in parts of the book drawn by other artists (there are a lot of artists involved in this story arc), including two panels by Marco Rudy and in sequences by Steve Pugh, Timothy Green II and Joseph Silver and Andrew Belanger. During those scenes, her carefully conceived costume seems to have been forgotten, and she's shown wearing something that looks more like a diving suit, with a back to it.

1 comment:

Akilles said...

I like this, too.