Saturday, January 29, 2011

2011 The Toons talk Wonder Woman by Fictionskin

NSFW: Foul Language

David E. Kelley's proposed Wonder Woman series has been picked up by NBC. The 'toons weigh in.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wizard: The Comics Magazine #136: Ultimate DC Wonder Woman (January, 2003)

Click To Enlarge

THE ORIGIN: Born on the cloaked Mediterranean island of Themyscira, Princess Diana was trained since birth as an Amazon, using evolved Greek technology in its art of warfare. Blessed with her native Amazon abilities of superhuman strength and durability, the athletic princess earns the right through trial by combat to be the one to enter Man's World. But her office as emissary of peace is a ruse. Wonder Woman hasn't come to Man's World to foster relations, she's come as an advance spy for an Amazonian race bent on conquering it!

THE CHARACTER: Meet the ultimate warrior. Diana was trained not only as an Amazon soldier but also in the ways of the people she plans to deceive. In fact, her own battle gear has been purposely modeled after the U.S. flag's colors, to further endear her to the world's superpower nation.

SUPPORTING CAST: Steve Trevor, U.S. delegate to the United Nations, hires Diana as an advisor on international relations. The job perfectly suits Diana's mission as it's a means to not only survey the world's defenses but as a way to meet and access its top leaders.

THE FIRST ARC: Leaving Themyscira for the first time in her life, Diana comes to New York and is an immediate cultural icon to its people. But as Diana grows closer and more in touch with the outside world, she's not sure if she can carry out her Amazon duties. Nicknamed Wonder Woman by Trevor when she's seen in action, Diana slowly finds herself stepping in as guardian to a race she has vowed to conquer.

THE BIG PICTURE: After deciding that Man's World isn't as big a blight as her fellow Amazon's believe, Diana's forced to choose a side: fight alongside her new allies in the JLA or with the legions of her Amazon sisters? And how will her Justice League teammates—and the world—react when the truth behind the disappearance of men from Themyscira is revealed?

The art is by Christian Zanier and Draxhall Jump Studios, the former now primarily an illustrator of erotic comics, the latter dissolved. I pretty much hate everything about this design. From the flat headpiece to the cheap RenFest bodice to the bedazzled loincloth to the lasso as tassel on a friggin' ax. It's instantly recognizable as every bad idea that always seems to be applied to Wonder Woman by people who don't get the character in the least. No wonder an image search of Zanier's work brings up blowjob comics.

The text was written by the Wizard Staff. The story is the typical evil Amazons crap one would expect from the patriarchal attitudes of Man's World (a.k.a. power-tripping dorks.) Christopher Priest had come up with a logical explanation for a Wakandan king joining an American super-hero team by revealing that he was spying on the U.S.' heroes, so I assume that angle was lifted here. Otherwise, it was taken from about every fourth sci-fi movie, and would have been better applied to the Martian Manhunter because of it.

There was also an Ultimate Donna Troy, an escaped Amazon calling herself Power Girl to avoid trademark infringement with Wonder Woman. That mattered because Troy was trying to keep her presence in Man's World a secret, even though she decides to join a commercial super-team created by Lex Luthor, the Ultimate Teen Titans.

Ultimate DC Day continues here...
Ultimate Atom @ Power of the Atom
Ultimate Batman and Aquaman
Ultimate Green Lantern, Flash, and Superman @ DC Bloodlines
Ultimate JLA @ The Idol-Head of Diabolu

Monday, January 24, 2011

2006 Cheetah: From Bruce Wayne's private files in the Batcomputer

Pencil sketches by Alex Ross from the back pages of Justice #5 (June, 2006.) Text by Jim Krueger writing as Batman:

It is a curse to be raised among the wealthy. When I consider who I might have been, who I might have become if things had been different, I am almost grateful for this life I live. Not for what happened to make me what I am, but for what I may have been saved from.

PRISCILLA RICH was raised with all the advantages one could hope for, all the advantages I was born with. Her wealth made her petty and vain, and susceptible to the madness common to those who are raised with delusions of societal importance.

The very existence of Wonder Woman drove Rich to seek out a means to elevate herself above the Amazon ambassador. Soon, Rich embraced the belief that she could be possessed by the spirit of a cheetah, a spirit which would manifest itself when she clothed herself in the animate skin. If she is indeed insane, the law claims she cannot be held accountable for her actions. Still, the law often fails to uphold justice.

Cheetah has been driven further into this identity by her continued defeats by Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman herself has a strange compassion for this enemy, wishing to free her from the demon skin she wears. It is not unlike, I suppose, my hope that the demons that have so scarred Harvey Dent can once and for all be exorcised.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sensational Comics for April, 2011

Sensational Links:
Wonder Woman
Art and cover by DON KRAMER and JAY LEISTEN
1:10 Variant cover by ALEX GARNER
Diana’s conflict with The Morrigan takes an unexpected turn when unlikely allies help her discover her true role as Wonder Woman – but Cheetah and company stand between Diana and her final test. As the old gods die away, only Diana’s inner strength can see her through the battle to come. But will it be enough?
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with two covers. Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
On sale APRIL 27 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US, RATED T
This book is sounding progressively less terrible. Fingers crossed!
Wonder Woman gets a new costume in this start to bestselling writer J. Michael Straczynski’s run on the iconic character’s series, collected from issues #600-606.
Diana must track down the truth behind what’s happened to her timeline and face the biggest stunner of all: Who destroyed Paradise Island? All bets are off as Wonder Woman embarks on an odyssey to find her past, getting a new costume, a new set of foes, and a new tone from the ground up!
On sale JUNE 1 • 168 pg, FC, $22.99 US
Covers by ED BENES
In issue #5 of this twice-monthly epic, Brainiac’s attack on the JLA Watchtower is met with fierce resistance — but the tide turns when he reveals his true goal! And in the bleak, blasted future, Lex Luthor reveals his own plan for killing Brainiac . . . but at what cost to his “allies”?
And in issue #6, Luthor and his ragged team of future survivors take the fight to Brainiac in a final, desperate attempt to stop his invasion of Earth — but will it be enough? Back in the present day, a catastrophe takes place that will forever change the face of the DCU!
Issue #5 on sale APRIL 6
Issue #6 on sale APRIL 20
32 pg, FC, $2.99 US, RATED T
JLA 80-PAGE GIANT 2011 #1
As the team faces Eclipso in the the pages of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, Adam Glass, producer/writer for TV’s Supernatural, joins other talents to take us on a journey revealing key battles between the World’s Greatest Heroes and mystical, hellish beings, including the Demon, Zatanna - and an object that could blackened the heroes’ very souls.
One-shot • On sale APRIL 6 • 80 pg, FC, $5.99 US, RATED T
I'd consider buying this, but that is the single worst image I've ever seen Artgerm's name on. It looks like John K. Snyder III on an off day. Also, the only interior artists I recognize, I don't like.
Batman battles evil with the help of Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter and more, from issues #13, 14, 16, 18, 19 and 21. On sale MAY 25 • 128 pg, FC, $12.99 US, RATED E
Written by JUDD WINICK
Issue #23 art by FERNANDO DAGNINO
Issue #24 art by AARON LOPRESTI
1:10 Variant cover by KEVIN MAGUIRE
DC’s bi-weekly JUSTICE LEAGUE reaches its shocking conclusion!
In issue #23, WONDER WOMAN and the JLI find themselves face-to-face with the ultimate weapon Maxwell Lord has been planning since the beginning of GENERATION LOST. The world seems to be revolting against the human race. Can our heroes defeat Lord’s machinations?
And in the extra-sized issue #24, the final battle is here! But who will be the victor?
Retailers please note: These issues will ship with two covers. Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
#23 on sale APRIL 13 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US, RATED T
#24 on sale APRIL 27 • 48 pg, FC, $4.99 US, RATED T
I'm ever so glad they dragged Diana into this...

Art and cover by MIKE NORTON
Robin’s a bit jealous of Superboy’s abilities. But when they have to rescue the inhabitants of a burning building, The Boy Wonder might learn that one doesn’t need super powers to be a true Super Hero.
On sale APRIL 20 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US, RATED E
Is this chick ever going to make the cover?

Wonder Girl (Cassie Sandsmark)
Written by J.T. KRUL
The Teen Titans have a new ally in Solstice – and just in time, too, as the team finds itself trapped in a lost kingdom and attacked by the demonic hordes that dwell there. But the real question is: Who kidnapped Wonder Girl and Solstice’s parents – and why? With Solstice as their guide, the Teen Titans are going to be challenged as never before!
On sale APRIL 20 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US, RATED T
Art and cover by ART BALTAZAR
What happens when you mix red clothes and white clothes in the wash? You end up with pink undies, right? The same thing happens when someone washes the Tiny Titans costumes with Superman’s red cape! Superman, Alfred, a gaggle of Tiny Titans and Lois Lane are going to have something new and oh-so-pretty in common this month!
On sale APRIL 20 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US, RATED E

Wonder Girl (Donna Troy)
Art and cover by ART BALTAZAR
In this new collection from T.T. #26-32, Supergirl toddler-sits the tinier Tiny Titans. Then, the gang heads to the Fortress of Solitude for a super birthday party — which is crashed by a crew of Braniacs.
On sale MAY 4 • 160 pg, FC, $12.99 US, RATED E

Thursday, January 20, 2011

JLA #83 (September, 2003)

"--exclusive video of the worst terror attack on England's soil, narrowly averted by the JLA. Rapid deployment of the League against the so-called napalmettos contained the incident to a four-block radius." The Amazing Amazon was dripping with the orange gunk as she wound up her lasso.

President Lex Luthor spoke with the Trinity after the event, suggesting the attack clearly originated from Quarac. Wonder Woman argued, "The device, and the biochemical compound it animated, bear all the traits of Professor Ivo's work, Mister President. The League is searching for him as we speak... but he has no connections to Qurac." Luthor thought otherwise. "Mister President, are you proposing a preemptive strike? Without any solid proof that Qurac is guilty of terrorism? International law and the U.N. charter forbid unprovoked action against a sovereign nation." Luthor insisted the League check out the Middle Eastern country, and all but requested the assassination of President Barat.

Wonder Woman was disgusted, for despite Barat being "the most horrific of dictators," she refused to disregard international ethics. The League brought in Ivo, but the news still hyped the terrorist threat. Even Lois Lane fell for it, buying cases of olive oil in the event of another napalmetto attack.

The Trinity again were invited to a debriefing at the Oval Office. Luthor was still pushing his agenda against Qurac. Princess Diana once more noted, "With respect, U.N. inspectors have found no evidence of W.M.D.'s in Qurac, sir. We can't establish a clear connection between Ivo and Barat. There's no impending threat. America sets an example for the international community. If we attack without verifiable evidence, it sends a message to the world-- that diplomacy is a farce and peace has failed. Is that what America believe--"

Diana disappeared mid-sentence. Superman wondered where she went. "Home. Don't worry, a bureaucratic snafu. Her diplomatic papers just need to be reworked. Nothing to be alarmed about."

You see where this is going?

Army Special Forces disguised as Gotham City P.D. prevented protesters from reaching a "cowardice rally," until Batman busted some heads. He disappeared, too. Superman heard protests from around the world against Luthor's march on Qurac, but the President plead, "They don't have all the information. They don't have our reports. I hear them... but I can't listen to them. It's a luxury I don't have right now." Luthor continued to bang the patriotism drum, and preach about his duty to protect the people, and where did Superman "get off questioning me?!?"

Finally, Superman got so fed up he took his heat vision to the "A" in the JLA's meeting table, but too little too late, as Luthor killed him with kryptonite. The whole time, the President was harping on the same familiar right wing talking points heard incessantly during the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Bobby Ewing stepped out of the shower It was all a dream of sorts, generated by a device of the Martian Manhunter’s employed without his supervision. "J'Onn and I have used that machine before to help me unburden my mind of anxieties." However, the big dumb Kryptonian needed a telepath to help guide his mental journey, and without one, Superman freaked out and wrecked stuff. Wonder Woman was present with the Atom and Batman, but only one got uncomfortably intimate with their consoling. "It's all right, Superman... you're awake now. You're awake. Everything is all right."

Continuing on that thread, Diana was looking flirty and her already skimpy outfit a size too tight as she hung out in Clark's room (while he wore only a loosely closed robe.) "I called J'Onn. He said you owe him a new 'Transconsciousness Articulator...' He also said you were lucky. Forcing your conscious mind into the realm of your subconscious without a telepath to help maintain balance can be very dangerous." Kal-El tried to defend his actions, but ultimately decided, "Next time, I'll just stick to confiding in Lois. She's my rock." The only rock he seemed stuck to was Diana, "hugging" him with inappropriate body language...

"American Nightmare" was by Joe Kelly, Chris Cross & Tom Nguyen.

Monday, January 17, 2011

2010 Wonder Woman #272 Notebook and Twin Pocket Folder Style #3008DC

Last year, I returned to school full time with a post covering Wonder Woman #302 related supplies. Now that my winter break is ending and I'm going back for round 2 (FIGHT!,) I thought it might be time I posted another such combo I bought last fall, since they'll probably come into use this semester.

I was such a Post-Crisis zealot in my glory days of collecting DC Comics, I never bothered to go back and buy any of these early '80s Wonder Woman comics. Even before the late '60s/early '70s Diana Prince comics were collected in a complete set of trades on my shelf, I had a pretty good run of those Mike Sekowsky gems. I dabbled a bit in the later '70s stuff and own some Showcase Presents and Archive Editions with '40s-'60s material, but the comic represented here is part of my pre-1987 dead period. Add it to my enormous "to read" list, because I've enjoyed what little I have tried, and most series get daring when they know the end is nigh.

Above is the original comic book cover by Dave Cockrum and Dick Giordano, whose credits were conveniently cropped out of the art on the supplies. Also curious is the fact that while the then-newly arrived Huntress back-up feature had its logo prominently featured on the supplies, the Darknight Daughter herself was completely omitted from the folder, and her head & shoulder barely registers on the notebook. It's especially sad on the folder, since there's a great big arrow pointing out where she was supposed to appear.

These supplies featured the same basic design as those previously mentioned, but the back cover was a pretty shade of blue. I figured I'd offer the close-up above to help show off the DC Comics 75th anniversary logo. Thankfully, Wonder Woman was not replaced by the Flash here as she has been on other 75th offerings, and like Green Lantern Hal Jordan, she appears to have been drawn by Ed Benes. I guess that's a less than stellar Jim Lee Superman, but since the Batman may be a Benes as well, it could be they're all by the same guy.

Friday, January 14, 2011

2010 Funny or Die Video: A Date with Diana (NSFW)

Dating can be tough... especially when you're dating a superhero. James has wanted a date with Diana all his life - but he quickly learns that sometimes the women of our dreams aren't as wonderful as we might have hoped. Even if they're Wonder Woman.

Maggie Lawson as Diana
Derek Richardson as James

Written & Directed by Matthew Cole Weiss at an estimated budget of $6,000. Four minutes of crude humor and NSFW language. Hey, she's an Amazon, not a debutant, and it's mildly amusing.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

1995 Skybox DC Villains: The Dark Judgment Circe Chase Card ge9

Cruelty and torture are the hallmarks of the sorceress Circe. This centuries-old beauty plays with the minds of men and immortals alike.

Off the cuff, I can't recall there ever having been another Wonder Woman villain on a chase card subset, so I'm glad at least Circe got the nod. I'm also pleased that between her exposed skin, lavender hair and pastel green costume, Circe was light enough to overcome the vexing Spectra foil etching to allow a decent scan.

In the nine card "Gathering of Evil" subset, Circe stood on the bottom left of a group shot that also included the impressive company of the Joker, Doomsday, Lex Luthor, Bane, Parallax, Darkseid, Brainiac and Mongul. That's four Superman villains, two Batman rogues, two general DCU menaces, and the most popular comic book foil of the Amazing Amazon since the '90s.

The backs of the cards were all shades of brown dirt with various bugs crawling around. Circe got a worm. All were painted by Steve Stanley.

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Monday, January 10, 2011

1995 Skybox DC Villains: The Dark Judgment Cheetah Trading Card #22

Hunting is second nature to the Cheetah. The predatory Ms. Barbara Minerva was more a treasure hunter than an archeologist when she underwent the arcane ritual that transformed her into the supernatural Cheetah. Now she is addicted to that power and will do anything to keep it.

A lot of the painters on this card set seemed to confuse "dark" with drab or pretentious. Whole binder pages swim in blacks and reds, so the vibrantly colorful sections devoted to Tony Harris and this card's artist, Mark Chiarello, were a delightful relief. Plus, you can actually make out the gold foil character name in my scan (bonus!)

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

1995 Skybox DC Villains: The Dark Judgment Circe Trading Card #68

For centuries, Circe has been one of Earth's most powerful sorceresses. She is accomplished at playing men and women against each other and often transforms people into were-creatures who are bound to do her bidding. Circe has even toyed with the passions of gods. What, I wonder, would she make of me?

One of the interesting things about the Dark Judgment trading card set was that there was an attempt made to turn over nine card segments (the preferred scheme for binder displaying) to a single artist. Tom Taggart did the first "page" of 9, followed by Alexander Gregory, Mark Chiarello, Simon Bisley, Scott Hampton, Kent Williams, Tony Harris and an eight-parter by Joe Devito to close things out (leaving space for a checklist card.)
As previously mentioned, there was the Rogues Gallery pin-up book likely consisting of leftovers from this set, as well as a nine card foil chase subset called "Gathering of Evil." Of these three avenues for painted villain art, Circe was one of only six to appear in all of them (along with the Joker, Doomsday, Lex Luthor, Darkseid, and Mongul.) Even if Ares was more in line with the rest in terms of raw power, Circe was easily the most prominent and "bankable" Wonder Woman villain of the '90s (including a brief stint during the "bad girl" fad when Wizard Magazine helped drive up prices on her first "new look" issue.)

Art by Kent Williams.

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

1995 Skybox DC Villains: The Dark Judgment Ares Trading Card #71

Notorious subjugator of humanity, Ares was worshipped by the ancient Greeks as the God of War, and with good reason. This son of Zeus is a master of combat, and many are the battles he incited amongst the peoples of the ancient world. Though his plans were thwarted, the conflicts he inspires never truly die.

Kent Williams was assigned many of the magic-based DC villains in this card set, and I feel he was easily the worst of the "block" artists, trumped in badness only by a couple of guys who were allowed just a few cards each. Ares was also something of an odd choice for the set, since it was preoccupied with new villains, big names, and characters prominent/revamped in the Underworld Unleashed mini-series. Ares was none of the above, but perhaps should have been. Since then, Ares was briefly teased as Cassie Sandsmark's father, and he was portrayed as Loki during Greg Rucka's run, but otherwise hasn't had much to do in the last fifteen years. Wait, when was Genesis again, and note the inherent criticism in bringing up that flop?

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

1996 Rogues Gallery #1: Circe by Bill Sienkiewicz

As previously mentioned, the Rogues Gallery pin-up book seemed to consist of material that hadn't made it into the 1995 Skybox DC Villains: The Dark Judgment trading card set. Most of the artists involved with that set produced nine pieces of printed art. Bill Sienkiewicz, a genius choice for a project like this, created ten cards and four pin-ups for the book. Rather than being awarded his own block of cards, Sienkiewicz was used to help unify a round robin assortment of other artists' cards across an eighteen card (or two binder page) span, including four by Stu Suchit, three by Simon Erich, and one by Mike Cavallero.

Had Sienkiewicz's Circe card made it into the set, it would have been among its loveliest pieces, as it is in the Rogues Gallery. However, another artist had included her in his nine card block, even though it was among the ugliest cards in a set filled with extreme highs and lows. Que sera sera...

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

1996 Rogues Gallery #1: Cheetah by Cliff Nielsen

For decades Priscilla Rich was the Cheetah, Wonder Woman's most famous foe. She was a rich chick with multiple personality disorder and jealousy issues when it came to other women. Cool. That Cheetah was active from the '40s until the '70s, and in fact went back to adventuring in the '40s during the '70s to sync-up with the television show. However, the TV show then jumped to the (1970s) present in its second season. I guess someone decided that it wouldn't be a big deal for an immortal Wonder Woman to still swing after thirty years, but Priscilla Rich would look awful long in the tooth.

Deborah Domaine was introduced as a "modern" Cheetah, a good girl gone bad due to brainwashing by the terrorist Kobra (all shades of Patty Hearst.) Domaine had a decent run through the '80s, but she looked fresh from a Halloween party at the Playboy Mansion, and the Reagan era cried for blood.

Barbara Minerva became a new were-Cheetah Post-Crisis, and the first that was unsympathetically evil. She would have made a great Spider-Man villain, but as Wonder Woman increasingly became Superman with a Cycle, Cheetah ended up rather outclassed in the power department. The Underworld Unleashed mini-series tried to address this by making her more feral. She might have been faster, too. So, like, we went from Kraven to Puma to the Lizard, but it was still a cat chick against a freakin' Goddess of Truth (a dumb short-lived development around the same time.)

I think we're overdue for a new Cheetah that actually poses a challenge, but so far, she's only gotten a wardrobe change. Yawn.

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