I have cosplayed my beloved bird three times. My most recent adventure as Black Canary was at Dragon Con 2013 in Atlanta. Continue reading
So impressed over the years by the cosplayers who attend Dragon*Con, cosplaying became an item on my bucket list. Finally, after a false start or two, I cosplayed my beloved Black Canary at Dragon*Con 2012. Not the one from the Golden Age, not Dixon’s Dinah, but the reason I am a comic-obsessed fanigirl at all – I was Gail Simone’s Black Canary. Continue reading
Dragon*Con 2012 was a wonderful weekend and a successful journey into my first cosplay experience. I podcast with my precious Padawan, Dana, about Dragon*Con, my Black Canary costume and DC Comics Stimulated Boredom. Give it a listen, won’t you?
Last night I was bagging and boarding my comics. I often put on a movie I’ve seen before just to have some background buzz, and I chose the Wonder Woman animated film. The offspring joined me, not to bag and board, but for the movie. Inevitably, she has questions. She is a curious spirit and I have henceforth dubbed her “The Questionator” (it is her super power). As she is watching the movie, she is curious why Diana isn’t sustaining any broken bones while fighting Ares. I explained Wonder Woman’s super powers, and how she’s pretty much impervious. Then she suggests that a fight between her and Batman would be a good one. I laughed. Clearly, she overrates Batman (just like everyone else); thus, I countered her versus suggestion with Black Canary. She thought about it and concurred. So there we have it, folks. Dinah versus Bruce. Set aside your boyhood bias and remember they both have been trained by Lady Shiva. They are both stellar hand-to-hand combatants. One is a genius and the other is a Meta. AND … just to keep it extra funky-fresh … Gail’s Canary circa Sensei & Student, Morrison’s Bat from, say, Batman & Son. Go.
V. knows way more about Smallville than I do, but I was a fan of this show in its early days. Though poor Tom Welling has yet to don a cape, there have been some notable, full-costume appearances by major DC players. But since it’s a TV show and not a big-screen blockbuster, Smallville has never had the budget to provide truly splendid superhero costumes. The best ones look like top-notch cosplay getups. Others, like the recent Blue Beetle reveal, are a bit sad:
Hawkman: In Smallville‘s defense, Hawkman’s comics costume is glorious and therefore very hard to pull off without CGI and big bucks. Again, if I saw this at Dragon*Con, I’d be kinda impressed. However, I saw a Hawkgirl at D*C whose wings were bigger, more feathery, and far more striking than this. The helmet looks like it was decorated with gold spray paint, and overall, it’s a letdown. Grade: C-
Booster Gold: Not awful. Booster isn’t the most serious character in the DCU, but he looks like he’s ready to handle some business in this instance. Snazzy shades, and props for the oh-so-accurate product placement patches. Very NASCAR. Grade: B
Wonder Woman: Even though this is Lois Lane in Diana’s costume, I dig it. In fact, like it so much that I wish David E. Kelley & Co. had gone this route for the TV show. It’s got some warrior flourishes, and it appears classic and youthful. Points off for the cheap-o tiara and star deficit, though. Grade: A-
Zatanna: Fishnets, check. Tuxedo getup, check. Hot boots, check. Matrix-y trench coat, check. This is a fairly simple look, but it’s effective and awfully stylish: Grade: A
Black Canary: I’m sorry, but this is ridiculous. Dinah looks like a cross between in Val Kilmer in Top Gun and a mannequin at Wilsons Leather. The costume screams “cheap,” and the Ziggy Stardust raccoon mask isn’t helping matters. Grade: D-
Stargirl: The mask is effed up, and the costume is only slightly above Halloween quality. I think had those shorts in fourth grade. Anyway, Stargirl is such an underexposed character that I’m happy to see her at all. By the way, that staff looks like a solar light fixture that was ripped out of someone’s front yard. Grade: C
Aquaman: I really, really got a kick out of this. I’m a tad biased because orange and green are my alma mater’s colors, but Aquaman’s costume looks functional for a guy who spends most of his time in the water, and it’s sleek and modern. Groovy footwear, too! With apologies to my Aquaman-loving friends, “cool” is not a word I often associate with King Arthur, so this is well played. Grade: A+
Clark Ken/Superman: I realize that he has yet to officially become the Man of Steel on Smallville, but at this point, Clark ought to have more than jeans, a blue T-shirt, and a red jacket from Costco. Can’t a Kryptonian get some love on his own show?! Even Welling’s well-documented beauty can’t redeem this. Grade: F
Over the past year, we’ve asked for your opinion on everything from Wonder Woman’s drawers to whether you gave a rat’s ass about the upcoming Green Lantern movie. The results were always entertaining, and frequently surprising. Without further ado, here are the results from polls past:
1. Which version of Dian’s knickers do you prefer?
Given a choice of Nicola Scott’s taut medium, Jim Lee’s warrior skirt, Ed Benes’ quasi G-string and Aaron Lopresti’s granny britches, the clear winner was …
2. Does the Green Lantern Footage Thrill You?
Um, sorta? After seeing the first available clip from the Green Lantern flick, 60% said parts of it looked cool, but the jury was still out. Another 29% said they were all about it on opening weekend, while 11% said they’d rather watch green paint dry.
3. Who Would Win: Batman vs. Catman
Yay, shirtless heroes! This was one of our spicier polls, and emerging victorious was …
Batman, by 64%. Sorry Catman. You’re still hot to death, though.
4. Which Character should V. Cosplay?
As we contemplated cosplay for our next con, V. was torn between Black Canary and alterna-girl Aphrodite IV. By a landslide, you chose …
5. Under Straczynkski’s pen, how do you see the future of Wonder Woman?
Though we were cautiously hopeful, we wound up giving JMS the serious side-eye for that preposterous WW reboot. But before Diana donned Janet Jackson’s “Miss You Much” attire, most of you were unsure (56%), while the rest were evenly split (22% each) on whether the book’s future looked bleak or bright.
6. Huntress or Hit-Girl: Who Would Win?
Maybe it wasn’t fair to pit a 12-year-old against a Bird of Prey, but Hit-Girl is a tough gal. The winner was …
Huntress aka Iron Owl, with 57%. However, Hit-Girl had a respectable 43% — not bad for a kid.
Speaking of kids …
7. Sin vs. Damian: Who Would Win?
If you guys had your druthers, Sin, who took nearly 56% of the vote would kick Damian’s ass across the playground and back. My very favorite comment came from Nona Mills: “I hate the arrogant little sod and reckon Sin will have him for lunch.” Watch your back, Damian!
8. To Care or Not To Care: Teen Titans
Just before their debut of the new creative team, J.T. Krul and Nicola Scott, we asked whether the announcement was enough to get you reading this beleaguered book again. The results?
Most of you, 44%, were not feeling it, saying the book was broken and in need of a wholesale reboot. Another 32% said you were wary, but willing to give it a try. 24% had already added it to their pull lists. (Listen to the 24%, because Krul and Scott’s first two issues have been mighty good!)
Thanks for voting, and more poll goodness is on the way in 2011.
I so intensely desired the relaunch of Birds of Prey with Gail as the writer partly because I felt a need for the proper treatment of the character Sin. It is not news that I think Ollie and Dinah’s marriage is some Grade-A bullshit, and that stunt he pulled to hide Sin … yeah, that was the worst. I knew Gail would address that at some point. When Sin was mentioned in the first issue of Birds of Prey, it was clear that it would happen soon.
In Birds of Prey #6, not only did I get Sin, but I got Lady Shiva, too. GOOD GAWD, I love Shiva! The appearance of Shiva and Sin was, indeed, extremely satisfying. But, I was not prepared for just how moved I would be by Huntress.
Helena Bertinelli is the kind of girl you want as a best friend because she has got your back. Huntress decides to take Dinah’s place in a battle to the death against Lady Shiva, one of the deadliest people on the planet. THAT is one hell of a gesture. Not only did Helena hold Dinah down to the tenth power, but she stayed on her feet while taking that ass-kicking of a lifetime from Shiva.
Huntress has more moxie than any lady in the DCU. She is Iron Owl.
We all know women (or men) who, despite showing excellent judgment in every other aspect of their lives, continue putting up with a loser significant other. It doesn’t matter now many times the loser SO confirms that s/he is a horse’s ass. The longsuffering partner will continue to forgive the offending party and, worse, take him or her back.
This familiar scenario was taken to the extreme in the fall of 2007, when our girl Dinah consented to marry off-on squeeze and very bad boy Oliver Queen/Green Arrow. Her acceptance monologue was an amazing feat of rationalization, especially under the circumstances in Black Canary #4. In an effort to save Dinah and her beloved adopted daughter Sin from the League of Assassins, Ollie orchestrated a plan that involved faking Sin’s death and having his son, Connor, escort her to a secluded monastery. He allowed Dinah to believe that Sin had been killed so that her grief would appear authentic to the League. She not only forgave Ollie for this act, but also spun some bullshit about how, after a lifetime of selfishness, he finally did something decent. Continue reading
E. and I had such a spectacular experience at Dragon*Con, we have now made it our mission to go to as many cons as possible. We both have kids, jobs, and you know, just general responsibilities. So, there is some planning and reality involved. We’re Florida gals, and the word in Artist Alley is that MegaCon has a prominent comic book presence. Thus the next con we will attend is MegaCon in Orlando.
It is well known that one of the great joys of cons is the cosplay. I have decided that for MegaCon, I will be donning a costume. Black Canary has long been a favorite of mine. I’ve always said if I ever dress up, it would be as Gail Simone and Ed Benes’ Black Canary. But recently, I’ve sort of fallen in love with the design of Aphrodite IV that appeared in Artifacts #1. So now I am torn, and I need a little help deciding.
Because I love a Kate Spade purse as much as a Fables hardcover trade, I tend to have strong opinions about comic book fashion. V., a Gucci aficionado from way back, is no different, and we’ve had plenty of Project Runway elimination-style discussions about superhero garb.
Of course, everyone had something to say about Wonder Woman’s new costume, much of it hilarious. My favorite observation came from Tom and Lorenzo, the duo behind the brilliant Project Rungay blog: “She kind of looks like she’s on her way to yoga class. In Vanilla Ice’s old jacket. That sound you hear is the wail of drag queens the world over, all of whom wouldn’t be caught dead in this thing.”
Now that the dust has settled, we were inspired to survey the field of DC superheroines to determine who looks red-carpet ready, and who looks a hot mess. The men just didn’t interest us as much, because frankly, there’s not much to say about dudes who favor briefs and capes as a daytime look.
As for Vixen’s outfit, well, you know where we stand on that madness.
Liberty Belle: Call me old-fashioned, but I’ve always liked Jesse Chambers’ classic Liberty Belle getup. It’s a nice homage to her mom, and since she’s got that Veronica Lake thing going on, she manages to be sexy without giving away the store. Few people could get away with those thigh-enhancing jodphurs — or that color scheme for that matter — but L.B. does so with grace. What a classy dame. Grade: B+
Wonder Girl: Cassandra Sandsmark’s costume, if you can call it that, reflects the problem with her character. There’s no there there, and certainly nothing fitting a heroine. You could walk into any Forever 21 or Wet Seal in America and come up with the equivalent of what she’s wearing. Her boyfriend, Conner Kent, seems to share the notion that a pair of Gap jeans and a logo shirt are just dandy for saving the universe, but where’s the glamour? The intimidation factor? The effort? Girl, bye. Grade: D
Black Canary: Artist Ed Benis’ Matrix-referencing take on Dinah Lance makes our favorite Bird of Prey as stylish as she is deadly. The long, cinched black coat, Dinah’s trademark fishnets and the motorcycle boots are gangsta in a very good way. Siu Jerk Jai deserves nothing less. Grade: A
Artemis (New Earth): Brimming with Amazonian swagger, Artemis of Bana-Migdhall looks great no matter what she’s wearing. But I’m partial to the sultry I Dream of Jeannie togs Artemis wears in her New Earth incarnation. It’s exotic (wispy genie pants), fashion-forward (calf-high gladiator shoes) and a touch dangerous (leather push-up top). Extra points for the bicep-enhancing gold bangles and choker. Fierce! Grade: A
Starfire: When you’re hot, you’re hot, but that’s no excuse for dressing like a truck stop lingerie model. I know what the Starfire apologists are thinking: “Jealous, much?” Yes. Grade: D-
Victorian Wonder Woman: Wondy went Steampunk to solve the case of Jack the Ripper in Amazonia, an Elseworlds tale set in the Victorian era. Of course, she looked fantastic in this retro version of her iconic costume: Crimson corset with a fishtail flourish, elbow-length gloves with filigree bracelets and chic, lace-up boots. The hair is very Padme Amidala in The Phantom Menace, but Diana rocked it out with the tiara. Grade: A-
Manhunter: Unless it’s got some built-in Spanx, Mahunter’s costume leaves absolutely no room for error. This is an aerodynamic, body-hugging costume that means business. In addition to being sleek and functional, it’s got that cool plating at the neck and shoulders (with matching clawed gauntlets), and the power staff is just cool as hell. Grade: B
Nimue: Nimue’s fashion has evolved to suit the times and moniker of Madame Xanadu. Her woodland nymph garb, complete with antlers and proper baubles, is hippie ethereal in an “I’m actually Homo Magi” kind of way. The knee-high lace up hoof heels are just about the cleverest shit we’ve ever seen for those times when you don’t want to be found in the forest — aaand you might not want to be found if you’ve pissed off your lover, Merlin.
Batwoman: I love everything about this costume, which somehow manages to be more menacing than Batman’s. Maybe it’s the stark black-and-red color combo, or maybe it’s the kickass footwear JH Williams III bestowed upon Kate Kane in his Detective Comics run. These are not girly boots for prancing around, but wall-climbing, roof-jumping, thug-stomping kicks. Throw in some red gloves, and you’ve got a look that’s a little bit scary and a whole lot sexy. Grade: A+
Star Sapphire: Cher wept. Grade: F
The million dollar question: Who is White Canary!? Well, we still don’t know. It’s okay though, this issue was excellent.
Jumping right back into the action from issue #1, Black Canary and Huntress face off with White Canary who is serving the Birds some serious whoop ass. Black Canary manages to get a few licks in. Maybe a few licks too many as she responds emotionally to what seems to be some major hater vibes coming off of this new enemy. Continue reading
The best friendships are the ones where, even after long stretches of little communication, everyone picks up right where they left off. There are no awkward pauses or, worse, internal monologues about how it’s just not the same.
For fans of Gail Simone’s Birds of Prey run, reading issue #1 of the revived series is like that great reunion with an old friend. Simone stepped away from the book three years ago, and it was canceled in 2009. However, she and original collaborator Ed Benes have wasted no time in returning the Birds to classic, crime-busting form — and we missed them terribly. (Spoilers await.)
The four-part “Endgame” story opens in Iceland, where Black Canary has arrived to rescue a diplomat’s 5-year-old daughter from a terrorist/kidnapper. The beauty of this sequence is that it firmly re-establishes Dinah Lance as one of the world’s most skilled combatants, obliterating the sad-sack wife nonsense other writers saddled her with. Let’s just say there’s a lot of blood on the snow in Reykjavik, and it’s not Dinah’s. Or the 5-year-old’s.
Shortly, Oracle begins reassembling the team to deal with an anonymous mofo who has a frightening amount of information about the Birds and all their friends/associates. Zinda is dispatched to recruit Hawk and Dove, one of whom has some serious anger management issues. (I wouldn’t have held it against Hawk if he’d tossed that silly, bank-robbing cheerleader off the roof, but that’s just me.) The addition of these newbies to a well-established group is potentially rich with drama, and I’m looking forward to seeing how everyone adjusts, or doesn’t.
Simone’s affection for these characters comes through on every page, especially in the funny, familiar banter that flies between Canary, Zinda, Huntress and Oracle. The Birds also look fabulous, thanks to Benes’ gourmet cheesecake illustrations and colorist Nei Ruffino’s glowing, moody palette, which really suits poured-on leather under moonlight. Those panels of Huntress cracking skulls while talking to Oracle via cell phone could launch 1,000 gym memberships alone.
As if that weren’t enough, the Big Villain Reveal on the final page is a total surprise, and still a bit of a mystery. I figured it would be Lady Shiva, or even a tween Sin, but the ending suggests that our heroines are in for even bigger trouble. It is totally on — and I couldn’t be happier.
Justice League: The Rise of Arsenal #1
Writers: J.T. Krul
Pencils: Geraldo Borges
March 24, 2010
In spite of the Un-awesomeness of JL: Cry For Justice, I still wanted to read JL: Rise of Arsenal. I don’t know much about Roy Harper, but I’m all for reading stories about unfamiliar characters. It can be more interesting with an unbiased brain.
Issue one opens with a playback of the events that took place on the JLA satellite in the last issue of Cry For Justice. We see Roy having his last conversation with his daughter, an adorable and realistic debate about ice cream vs. cookies for dessert. This sweet moment is followed abruptly by an intense, bloody face-off with Prometheus. From the heart-tugging conversation with his soon-to-be-dead child to the splash page of Roy’s graphic dismemberment, JT Krul set one hell of a stage.
Jump to Roy waking up in the hospital, surrounded by his concerned friends and teammates. He’s still in serious physical pain, but that is quickly overshadowed by the realization that Lian died during Star City’s destruction. Krul manages to convey the shock, awe and pure devastation of what it’s like for someone to lose not just a limb, but their own child. Where James Robinson dropped the ball with contrived writing and unearned moments in Cry For Justice, Krul delivers an authentic punch in the gut. I got a little teary-eyed when Roy went to the morgue to see Lian’s body. What else would a grieving parent do but imagine their dead child’s final moments? Geraldo Borges’ image of Roy hugging Lian’s lifeless body is one of the most powerful that I’ve seen. Understandably, Roy starts to go a little crazy, but not before kicking an ass or two with one arm. I had no idea he was such a skilled hand-to-hand combatant. The nod to Roy’s past as a drug addict — and the temptation to start using again — added depth to the issue.
Kudos to Krul for bringing this story back to life, making me care and turning an unbelievably shitastic story arc into “pretty damn good.” With Cheshire on the horizon for issue #2, good is going to get better.
P.S. Thanks for not making Black Canary suck at life in this issue.
By now you’ve probably heard all about the outcome of Justice League: Cry for Justice. DC’s resident douchebag, Oliver Queen, killed Prometheus with an arrow to the head. In my opinion, Prometheus deserved to die. He annoyed me anyway, and anyone who can make Lady Shiva run away from a fight (channeling my best British accent) BOTHERS me. I won’t miss him one bit.
Prometheus’ death was the only shining moment in Cry for Justice, which is one of the most sucktastic stories I’ve ever read, rivaled only by Chuck Dixon’s Birds of Prey run (and, OK, Trinity). There were times when I was so irritated that I just wanted to throw the book at the wall. Continue reading
First Wave #1
Script: Brian Azzarello
Art: Rags Morales
Colors: Nei Ruffino
March 3, 2010
As a fledgling fangirl, I mostly read what others loaned me. In time, I learned what I liked and didn’t. Much of what I enjoy is of the Spandex persuasion and has a strong female presence. Thus, First Wave is not a typical read for me. Had it not been for Rags Morales’ involvement, I wouldn’t have picked up the book at all. I’m such a fan of Rags’ art that I figured the comic would be worth it even if the story turned out to be a bore. I also approached First Wave knowing nothing about Doc Savage, his entourage, or The Spirit. So here’s my “Tabula Rasa” take on issue #1.
The art is the shining star of this issue. I always enjoy a JG Jones cover. The smooth lines and the sort of chalky, muted tones are nice touches that complement Jones’ take on the characters. It reminds me of Chris Van Allsburg, whose work I enjoyed so much as a kid. Rags’ interior art is amazing. During a quite amusing conversation between The Spirit and crooked cop Dolan, there’s this up-close panel of Dolan’s smirky face that I just stared at: The smoke coming off the just-used match, the shadow cast from the brim of his hat and pipe, and the distinct look of the character. It said so much more than the dialogue could — and that’s just one panel!
If you think of the art for a character-driven book in terms of movie casting, Rags is the best casting director in the studio. He manages to define all of the characters so that you got a feel for who they might turn out to be in this story. He has a real gift for drawing eyes, giving them depth and an almost photo-realistic intensity. I generally liked Ruffino’s colors, but at times, some of Rags’ detail work seemed lost to the coloring. But since the palette and contrasts were aesthetically pleasing as a package, perhaps that’s a fair trade-off.
Since I am not familiar with the characters in First Wave, I had to read the issue a couple times to absorb what was going on. It’s mostly a lot of seed planting, but no real forward motion. We see Dr. Littlejohn somewhere in the South American jungle fleeing from a killer robot. Doc Savage comes home from solitude to his father’s gravesite, only to find some serious shenanigans surrounding his “death.” A Russian guy, who I guess is the big baddie, reads a news report about Doc’s goings-on and has some opinions about the scene taking place in the jungle. The Spirit provides kooky commentary while following a lead on some criminal activity, only to find a fight and a few things unexpected.
I’m curious to see where the story goes, and I’m excited about some of the characters. We get a brief glimpse at Rima the Jungle Girl in this first issue. Based on a preview from Rag’s character notebook that I saw a while back, I love Rima’s look, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Azzarello does with her. She doesn’t have a great deal of established continuity, but in the hands of an able writer, that can be a great thing. There is a Black Canary yet to be revealed, which I have high hopes for. The Spirit was wildly entertaining, as he’s a special kind of crazy. I’ve always had an affinity for eccentric characters. Plus, I’m really digging Doc Savage, who’s all smart and bronzy. Yum.
Verdict: The first issue doesn’t offer a great deal of exposition, and I imagine it’ll take another issue or two before we get any. You might get more out of it if you are familiar with Doc and Spirit. The story was certainly not a bore. Azzarello managed to pique my interest, but Rags Morales is what made First Wave worth my $3.99.