Friday, November 05, 2004

In her satin tights, fighting for our rights

Usually I wait until I have an artwork in hand before showing it off, but this piece is just so gorgeous I just couldn't hold out any longer. Besides, it was shipped Thursday via Priority Mail, so it should be in my chubby little mitts in short order.

This knockout drawing was done especially for me on commission by Al Rio, a spectacular comic artist based in Brazil. Al may be one of the finest talents in the business today. In my estimation, he is one of the best interpreters of Wonder Woman ever, right up there with John Byrne and George Pérez. Why DC hasn't hired him to draw WW on a regular basis is beyond my ken.

The only direction I provided for Al on this commission was that I wanted Diana depicted wearing the costume she wore during the 1950s: the bustier with the eagle on it (the modern version has the eagle stylized into a "WW" design); the star-spangled bicycle shorts (the modern version's French-cut bikini bottoms seem not only undignified and immodest for a warrior of Wonder Woman's stature, but also pretty darned impractical for crimefighting — how do you beat up bad guys when you're struggling with a permanent wedgie?); the ballet-slipper shoes that lace up the calf like Roman sandals (this footwear always made more sense to me in the context of the character — where would an Amazon from ancient Greek mythology get bright red, high-heeled go-go boots? and how in the name of Hera could she run in them?). Al nailed the costume perfectly, and crafted an exciting and intricately detailed action scene around it. His rendering of the mighty Princess Diana is beautiful, yes, but fiery and powerful — like a superheroine, not a supermodel.

My Blogger template won't accommodate a scan sufficiently large to do justice to the art, so pop over to my gallery at Comic Art Fans and have a look from a bigger, bolder perspective.

I can't dish out adequate praise for Al Rio's splendid work of art, or for his representative, Terry Maltos, who couldn't have been nicer or more helpful in making this commission happen. Believe it or not, the turnaround time from Terry's acceptance of my commission request until the piece was shipped was less than a month. Considering that the artist lives a continent away, that's amazing.

Here's where one of you may be able to help: I can't identify the villain pictured here. He reminds me of Professor Smythe, a member of Spider-Man's rogues' gallery, who builds robot exoskeletons very much like this (he calls them "Spider-Slayers"). But since Smythe is a Marvel character, I'm thinking this must be a similar but different villain. (It may also be a character of Al Rio's own creation.) If someone out there knows for sure, I'd appreciate a tip.

1 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Blogger Joel offered these pearls of wisdom...

I've seen Mr. Rio's art elsewhere but not this one. Wow! What a drawing of the Amazing Amazon. Unfortunately I don't know the villain. Could just be made up for the pic and not part of her regular stable of nasties.

(I think I can answer your question as to why Mr. Rio hasn't been called by DC. While the pic's beautiful, in many ways the style's, well, old-school. That is, it's very 90's which is not the current trend at the moment.)

8:41 AM  

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