Friday, December 07, 2007


Before we delve into today's Comic Art Friday, please indulge a brief rant I've entitled "Why Uncle Swan Hates Comics This Week."

The following three items have me feeling uncharacteristically grumpy about my beloved long-underwear fantasies lately:
  • One More Day, Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada's misbegotten attempt to rewrite the past 20 years of Spider-Man's history by retconning Peter Parker's marriage to Mary Jane Watson out of existence.

    Memo to Joe Q: If you have unresolved commitment issues, or problems on the home front, get counseling. Don't indulge your personal emotional baggage in the comic books I purchase. Even the writer you dragooned into scripting this travesty thinks you're an idiot. (Though I'd have respected JMS more if he'd told you to take this assignment and shove it.)

  • Hypersexualizing of female characters in general, and teenage female characters in particular. DC Comics has been especially guilty of late. Whoever decided to dress 16-year-old Supergirl in a stripper's belly shirt and micro-miniskirt, or to subject Mary Marvel to the "Seduction of the Innocent" storyline that's currently playing out in Countdown to Final Crisis, ought to be slapped around by the Hulk.

    Kudos to current Wonder Woman artists Terry and Rachel Dodson for their insistence on drawing Diana with dignity (i.e., with minimal exposed cleavage, and with briefs that actually cover her glutes). I wish that more artists would be allowed/encouraged by their editors to follow the Dodsons' lead.

  • Marvel's allowing popular Ms. Marvel artist Aaron Lopresti to escape to an exclusive contract with DC. Lopresti's stellar penciling has been the best thing to happen to Ms. Marvel in years, aside from getting her own monthly title back after a decades-long absence.

    Aaron was the first regular artist who really seemed to "get" Carol since Jim Mooney was drawing her early adventures back in the '70s. I hope that whatever project DC has in mind for Mr. Lopresti is worthy of his talents. (Could we get him on Supergirl, pretty please?)
Okay, rant over. On with the art.

Speaking of artists who "get" a particular character, pinup specialist Michael McDaniel clearly "gets" Taarna, the heroine of the pivotal sequence in the claasic animated film Heavy Metal.

Michael, who shares my affection for the film and its star attraction, perfectly captures Taarna both in image and in attitude. The idea of theming this drawing after the Tarakian defender's code as cited in the film was entirely Michael's, and he executed the concept with aplomb.

Most of my theme galleries feature characters who either debuted or enjoyed their greatest popularity in the 1970s, the decade at the heart of my comics-reading experience. Here Mitch Foust, a stylish penciler with a deft eye for heroines, presents the Valkyrie, the mysterious Viking warrior at the core of the '70s superteam known as the Defenders.

I love the expression Mitch gives Val here — simultaneously cold and battle-weary, with her hair slightly shadowing one eye in characteristic fashion. (I've often referred to the Valkyrie as the Veronica Lake of comic book heroines.) Mitch also does a fine job drawing Val's costume and her prized sword, Dragonfang — his detail work here is exquisite.

There's nothing like beautifully executed art to remind me of what I love about comics. I feel much better now.

And that's your Comic Art (and Comic Rant) Friday.

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2 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Anonymous Anonymous offered these pearls of wisdom...

I hear that Mitch Albom is now threatening to sue Marvel for stealing the title of his faith based book for a comic using the devil. My brother also heard on a radio call in show that an evangelical group is going to picket Marvel to "defend marriage" next week!

1:12 PM  
Blogger SwanShadow offered these pearls of wisdom...

Anonymous: I didn't delve into the quasireligious aspects of the One More Day debacle, mostly because I wanted to keep my rant brief. :)

That said, the very idea of either Spider-Man or Mary Jane making a pact with a "demon" (although Mephisto is Marvel's spin on a Satanically styled supernatural entity, I wouldn't necessarily equate a fictional character with the devil himself) turns my stomach, too.

Then again, perhaps a deal with the devil is the way Joe Q became EIC at Marvel. ;)

1:24 PM  

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