Friday, June 22, 2007

Birds, bees, and arrows

Today's Comic Art Friday is brought to you by Folgers Vanilla Biscotti coffee, a tasty morsel of caffeinated goodness from the company's Gourmet Selections product line. It's subtle, slightly sassy, and smoooooth. I don't know how they get the cookie flavor in there, but it works. If you favor a hint of vanilla with your Columbian brew, I highly recommend that you pick up a bag.

"Sassy" would be an accurate description of this latest addition to my Common Elements theme gallery. Artist Dan Veesenmeyer, who boasts an extensive list of credits in the animation field, told me when he accepted this commission that he wanted to do something different with his Common Elements contribution. I'd say that he succeeded in that mission. Dan's cheeky "birds of a tail feather" are Black Canary and Mockingbird.

Black Canary (real name: Dinah Lance) can currently be seen starring in DC Comics' popular Justice League of America monthly, as well as in an upcoming miniseries of her own. Although current DC continuity is as convoluted as quantum theory, I believe that I'm still correct in stating that the present-day Black Canary (Dinah L. Lance) is the daughter of the original Canary (Dinah D. Lance), whose adventures date back to the 1940s. Given that understanding, the Canary ranks alongside Wonder Woman as one of the longest-serving heroines — at least, in one form or another — in all of comics.

Artist James E. Lyle catches Dinah in reflective repose in this striking portrait. I love Lyle's potent spotting of blacks here.

Mockingbird (real name: Barbara "Bobbi" Morse) was a staple of Marvel's West Coast Avengers series in the 1980s. Like Carol Danvers (Ms. Marvel), Patsy Walker (Hellcat), and a few other Marvel heroines, Bobbi was introduced as a supporting character years before she donned a costume and secret identity and began a superheroic career. (Make that two careers — becoming Mockingbird, Bobbi made several appearances as the Huntress, no relation to the DC heroine of the same name.)

Sadly, Mockingbird was killed off in the 100th issue of Avengers West Coast (note the ridiculous title switcheroo), back in 1993. She's somewhat unique in that, unlike the plethora of comic book characters who have died at various times only to be miraculously resurrected later, she's actually managed to stay dead for more than a decade now. (She still looks pretty good in Veesenmeyer's drawing, though.)

Black Canary and Mockingbird share several "common elements," including their avian code names and hand-to-hand fighting expertise. (Canary is an expert martial artist; Mockingbird used a two-piece dueling staff, which you see her holding here. You did notice that she was holding something, didn't you?) But the shared factoid I had in mind when I thought of bringing these heroines together is the fact that they each served as the romantic interest of their respective universes' archer superhero.

Bobbi was married to Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye, the former bow-slinging stalwart of the Avengers. He's seen here in a Common Elements teamup with Western heroine Lady Rawhide, drawn by industry legend Ernie Chan.

Dinah, for her part, is the longtime lover of Oliver Queen, aka Green Arrow. Ollie — seen below in a familiar pose captured by penciler Mike Grell and inker Joe Rubinstein — finally proposed marriage in the 75th and final issue of his current series, published just a couple of weeks ago. The events leading up to the wedding of Green Arrow and Black Canary will be featured in various DC titles over the next few months.

"The birds and their bee-hinds." That Veesenmeyer cracks me up.

And that's your Comic Art Friday.

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2 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Blogger Janet offered these pearls of wisdom...

See, I'm sure I would love that coffee, but every time I see it in the store I don't buy it, mainly because of how expensive it is. I know I would love it, precisely because it is so expensive and therefore, forbidden. So it remains something I worship, but in an unattainable date kinda way.:)

7:57 PM  
Blogger SwanShadow offered these pearls of wisdom...

Janet: I'll confess. The only reason I bought it was because my local supermarket had it on sale. I'd never splurge on this sort of thing otherwise.

12:00 PM  

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