Friday, June 02, 2006

Comics' noblest heroine

Today, Comic Art Friday gets all giddy about the debut of the new Wonder Woman monthly comic, scheduled to make its debut next Wednesday at a comic retailer near you. I was one of the handful of loyalists still reading the previous Wonder Woman series, which was canceled a few months ago.

I haven't been pleased with most of what DC Comics has done to everyone's favorite Amazon over the past couple of years. (Both Diana and one of the great Marvel heroines, the Scarlet Witch, have really been subjected to a pounding by their publishers recently. What's up with that?) But the early buzz on the new WW series, written by Allan Heinberg and illustrated by the husband-and-wife artistic team of Terry and Rachel Dodson (Terry does pencils, Rachel does inks), has me hoping for the best.

I was particularly pleased to read the excellent review Terry Dodson gave to the industry weekly Comic Shop News last month. He really seems to understand how Wonder Woman should be portrayed. Dodson's comments about his visual interpretation of the character made me stand up and applaud (an act that startled some of my fellow diners at the Chinese buffet where I was reading this interview over lunch):
Something we're trying to avoid is making her overtly sexy. We wanted her attractive, but not overtly sexy. Something that I've worked out costume-wise in that regard is making her briefs not as brief, taking them away from the high-rise bikini to more of a brief. I've also made the part of her upper costume which covers her chest larger, and I've made the symbol across her chest bigger to cover up more over her cleavage. All of those I did because she's a noble person, but she is walking around in a very small outfit, so it has to be balanced. It's just minor things, but I'd like to think that there's a little more sense of her nobility coming through because of them.
You go, Terry! It's high time we get Diana back to being the world's most powerful heroine and away from being a cheesecake calendar girl with superpowers.

In celebration of the new Wonder Woman series, I've culled from my gallery a selection of classically styled pieces showing the Amazing Amazon in action.

This stunning splash page was the very first Wonder Woman artwork I personally commissioned. The original pencil artwork, which I've displayed here previously, represents the superlative talent of Al Rio. Inker Geof Isherwood then took the piece and kicked it up about a half-dozen notches with his dazzling embellishment. The costume Diana wears here is the version she wore throughout the 1950s, with the eagle bustier, bicycle shorts, and calf-laced shoes.

This incredible battlefield scene was created by penciler Michael Jason Paz, who's actually better known in comic art circles as an inker (most recently on Maze Agency for IDW). The finishing inks were once again supplied by one of the true geniuses in the business, Geof Isherwood.

Finally, another dramatic battle scene, this one sketched and inked by artist Leonard Kirk. Leonard, best known for his work on such DC titles as Supergirl and JSA, has just begun work on a terrific-sounding series for Marvel called Agents of Atlas, featuring some historic characters from the 1950s.

If you were in dire straits, wouldn't you want Wonder Woman coming to your rescue? I know I would.

And that's your Comic Art Friday.


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