Friday, April 29, 2005

Luck, be a lady tonight

This week's Comic Art Friday is being brought to you by — for reasons that should be screamingly obvious by now — the Jeopardy! Ultimate Tournament of Champions.

Most people who have never played the game suppose that Jeopardy! success is all about being smarter, or at least more knowledgeable, than one's opponents. While it's impossible to underplay the importance of knowledge (of the kinds of material from which Jeopardy! categories are built), skill with the signaling device (or "buzzer," as it's often called, even though it doesn't make a sound) is equally important. (Just ask anyone who's played thus far in the UTOC.)

But the most critical factor? The one no contestant controls: Luck.

It's sheer luck that determines whether the categories favor a player, or cripple him or her. It's luck that makes the difference between hitting a Daily Double at a critical moment in the game so that you can build your score, or having your opponent hit it with the opportunity to run away with the game (or at least rob you of the chance to catch up). It's luck that smiles on you when the Final Jeopardy! answer is a factoid you read just that morning over breakfast, and that laughs in your face when Final Jeopardy! calls for a response you've never before heard.

And so, in honor of my Round Two game in the UTOC — airing this evening on a station near you — we present this stylish pinup of the Golden Age superheroine Lady Luck, penciled with flair by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles artist Michael Dooney.

Created by the legendary Will Eisner, best known for The Spirit (in whose newspaper supplement Lady Luck originally appeared), Lady Luck was one of the first costumed heroines in comics. She made her debut in June 1940, a year and a half before the advent of Wonder Woman. Like many early comics heroines, Lady Luck had no superpowers; she was mostly a freelance detective who just happened to favor doing her crimebusting in a bright green cocktail dress with matching hat, cape, opera gloves, and high-heeled pumps, with a sheer veil shrouding her face.

Today the character is mostly remembered for the work of Klaus Nordling, a Finnish-born artist who worked with Eisner for many years. A tremendous talent, Nordling both wrote and drew the adventures of Lady Luck from 1942 to 1946.

You might want to remember some of this. After all, you never know when a comics category might pop up on Jeopardy!

2 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Blogger Joel offered these pearls of wisdom...

Classic style. The breasts are not bigger than her head, for example (i.e., Lady Death.)

10:27 AM  
Blogger SwanShadow offered these pearls of wisdom...

Funny you should mention that, Joel. Just this past week, I picked up a pencil pinup of the Scarlet Witch from my friend Geof Isherwood. I own another Scarlet Witch Geof drew for me on commission, but this new one shows Wanda in her more recent gypsy-style costume.

When I first saw the art, Geof had drawn the Witch with Brobdingnagian breasts, which isn't his usual style. I asked Geof about it, and he indicated that he'd done the pic this way in an effort to appeal more effectively to eBay bidders. When he found out I was interested in the piece, he altered it so that Wanda's bosom is proportional, and her bustier covers more of her cleavage.

I'll post the finished version on an upcoming Comic Art Friday so you can see it.

10:47 AM  

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