Tuesday, September 6, 2022

What If... Marvel Comics Had Licensed Wonder Woman in 1984?

Way back in 2011, former Marvel Editor-In-Chief blogged about a time when DC Comics were seemingly so incapable of selling their iconic heroes to a modern audience, that a Warner Brothers mucky-muck tried to license them to Marvel. The story has been disputed, but when Newsarama recently revived the tale, it got my wheels spinning. For the article, they bashed together old Marvel trade dress with DC logos and stock art for Batman and Superman. I wanted to see what a 1984 Marvel Wonder Woman cover would look like, and so did my own bashing.

So right off the bat, the deal was supposedly offered in 1984, with probably no earlier than 1985 release dates. The class Marvel Comics Group banner was retired in 1983 for a more subdued Marvel logo in the corner box. That wouldn't be very fun, so this look is automatically anhistorical. I also wanted a "new" period logo, choosing a 1983 variant that was used on something like six non-consecutive Wonder Woman covers. However, I was only willing to put so much time and effort into this thing, so when I only found a transparency of the 1982 logo used for the Thomas/Colan run, I slapped that on instead.

I spent about an hour looking through artwork that could serve for the cover, which lead to the Ron Frenz corner box art. Even though Frenz spent a number of years at DC, his art style, crossing together both Buscema brothers, felt quintessentially Marvel. It was also a mostly white background, with elements that ended up being more work to remove than I'd hoped.

I finally decided to start Googling other period Marvel artists, and got a solid hit with a painted Bill Sienkiewicz piece. It looked like a period Wonder Woman, and Sienkiewicz did a lot of painted covers for Marvel in the early '80s, this one particularly recalling his Dazzler run. I wish I'd made the logo smaller to give everything, but especially the corner box image, more room to breathe. I was a bit sloppy and rushing, so it is what it is.

The most obvious creative team for a book like this would be Louise Jones or Mary Jo Duffy on scripts with maybe Mary Wilshire or Cynthia Martin art. Realistically, Marvel probably would have gone with either an all male or mixed gender creative team. To give the title more of a distinct flavor, being a relaunch and all, I went instead for rookies Ann Nocenti and Bret Blevins. Both had done work at Marvel, but not a lot, though I don't see why Marvel would have that much an easier time attracting name talent than DC. Better to find a hungry young team. I figure their book would have skewed more dark fantasy than Simonson mythology, and also be more urban. Something like the abortive Greg Potter run at DC, without all the really gross and creepy stuff. Definitely a "This isn't your grandma's Amazing Amazon" bold new direction. Given that my alternatives were a Perez-aping CAF artist or the gory Red Sonja-esque Frank Miller cover to LOC #1, I figure you guys got off lucky with this.

Monday, August 1, 2022

Wonder Woman Giant 2020

Episode #22

Look for us on iTunes, Anchor or the Internet Archive, where you can also directly download an art-tagged MP3.

Not quite two years later, Frank returns with special guest Jeffrey Brown (They/Them), who has also been waiting a couple years to hear this audio. A lengthy, roaming conversation on all things Amazing Amazon, including omnibuses, animation, and action figures.

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Monday, August 23, 2021

2021 “Justice League Extreme #1” Artemis fanfic commission art by Brad Green

Make no mistake, this piece was an extremely complicated ask. I've gotten a ton of commissions over the years, and part of why that usually works out for me is that I don't give a lot of "art direction." I trust the artist, and I'm looking to see their vision manifested through my chosen subject. I only expect them to have fun and give me something that will make me happy, which happens more often than not. This was entirely different. I've done several jams, which requires a lot more specificity, and there's usually several contributors who get stuff wrong or simply muck things up. While more involved, that's still usually down to "keep your part in scale with everyone else and have your subject otherwise interact well with the others." Regardless, there's typically one or more parts that have to get buried by better work, or else stand out like a sore-- something. But this commission was different from that as well. It was one guy, trying to do all that I ask from solo & jam commissions, spread out across seven subjects, plus background & colors. On top of that, because it's for a fan fiction project with a dense, arcane continuity, I'm layering a bunch of weird alterations without any existing reference on top of everything else. Huge ask.

1994's "The Challenge of Artemis" saw Diana replaced in the pages of Justice League America for a few issues during one of its least popular periods, until the Bana-Mighdall was killed off at the end of the story arc. During this period, Diana was running around in a much-maligned jacket and bike shorts ensemble designed by Brian Bolland. Artemis never really had a proper costume, wearing generic Amazon garb in her earliest appearances, the classic Wonder Woman suit for a few months, an unfortunate green number in a little read literal revival mini-series, and mix-and-match variations since. Artemis is mostly defined by an enormous "Blond Ambition Tour" ponytail, arched eyebrows, and melee weapons (favoring a battle ax or bow & arrows.) While Diana's C + C Music Factory look was dated-on-arrival, it's firmly grounded in the period I wanted referenced. So, I forced Artemis into the second hand thrift store threads, using her one-time nom de puella mala of Requiem.

If you look at the initial thumbnail, while being at the technical center of the image, Artemis is easily the most minor element in the drawing. She's a modest portion of whipped sour cream cheese filling in a spiral of beef, all breast and rump. I otherwise liked the layout, but I specifically requested that Artemis be given more prominence and dynamism. The artist complied by moving Artemis up to the front row and giving her a lasso, seeming ready to choke a beh. I was content with the change, though Artemis was still oddly passive, and I suspect the artist thought so, too. Unprompted, Green ditched the lasso (barely touched dangling off her belt for most of Artemis' Wonder Woman tenure, except for when the White Magician killed her with it) and shifted her pose a third time. For reference, most of the postures were set in the thumbnail, with only the Eradicator flipping positions (as a direct result of the changes made to Artemis.) I think Green recognized that Artemis mattered to me more than most, and I also feel that he wanted to keep at her until she finally felt "right." I'm happiest with this final take, offering more of Artemis' confidence and attitude, battle ready, and better reflecting her continuity.

“Justice League Extreme #1” by Brad Green

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Year of the Cheetah: Priscilla Rich in The Silver Age

Episode #21

Look for us on iTunes, ShoutEngine or the Internet Archive, where you can also directly download an art-tagged MP3.

Frank returns after a mere five months off to post an actual second episode in the same "Year of the Cheetah," featuring another guest cameo from Wonder Woman: Warrior for Peace podcast's Angela! The 2019 release of Wonder Woman 1984 is looking more like 2021, so we guess Warner Brothers plans to hold out until we at least finish covering the appearances of the original incarnation of the Cheetah. Gee, we hope it doesn't hurt their pocket money in the meantime. Our coverage includes Priscilla Rich's two published stories set on Earth-One during the Silver Age of Comics, Wonder Woman #160 & 166...

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Thursday, June 18, 2020

Year of the Cheetah: Priscilla Rich in The Golden Age

Episode #20

Look for us on iTunes, ShoutEngine or the Internet Archive, where you can also directly download an art-tagged MP3.

Frank returns after another year & a half's sabbatical to find... the Wonder Woman: Warrior for Peace podcast had returned from its own year of absence. To celebrate our both running again, Angela has an opening cameo to foreshadow her continuing appearances in a series of Cheetah-centric episodes to tide you over while Wonder Woman 1984 keeps being delayed. I bet Warner Brothers wish they'd just released the sequel back in November of 2019 as originally planned. But we're more interested in prequels today, as we travel back to the earliest stories of the original incarnation of the Cheetah. We cover every one of Priscilla Rich's published Golden Age stories set on Earth-Two, including Sensation Comics #22 & 36, Wonder Woman #6, 28, 196, & 230, Comic Cavalcade #11, Crisis on Infinite Earths #5 & 9, and DC Special #3. Most especially, we survey the Wonder Woman newspaper strip from November 20, 1944-March 30,1945, the most exhaustive and involved version of the initial Cheetah saga.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The Cheetah Unleashed: Barbara Minerva in the Post-Crisis DC Universe

Episode #19

Look for us on iTunes, ShoutEngine or the Internet Archive, where you can also directly download an art-tagged MP3.

Frank returns after a year's sabbatical to find... most of the other Amazing Amazon comics podcasters have podfaded and the movie sequel pushed back seven months to 2020? Perhaps now more than ever, the world is waiting for a Barbara Minerva / The Cheetah III podcast! This episode covers nearly every Cheetah story from 1986-2011, from her debut to her origin and overall career prior to the New 52 reboot! Included is Underworld Unleashed, a well regarded event mini-series from 1995, which a group of bloggers/podcasters join us in exploring for a crossover all our own!

Underworld Unleashed #BestEventEver We don't have a Magic Sphere, so if you want to communicate with us about the podcast...
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  • Sunday, September 2, 2018

    DC Comics 1993 Editorial Presentation: Justice League America

    There wasn't much related to the DC Trinity featured in "1993: The Year of Change" editorial presentation that didn't get published, and thus is readily available for anyone looking for it. Diana's entry featured Lee Moder's “Experience The Majesty” and a reasonably accurate description of the year's stories, although the promised Demon Etrigan and Supergirl guest appearances failed to materialize.

    Ditto Justice League America, wherein the Amazing Amazon had already taken over as team leader in the wake of Superman's "death." The earlier, better J.L.A. stories were incongruously reprinted in Superman and The Justice League of America Vol. 2 (despite his perishing in a non-reprinted comic set two issues into the trade.) I suppose the gambit paid off, because the sales on that trade were good enough to warrant a continuation into Wonder Woman and Justice League America Vol. 1 & even more incredibly Vol. 2 (which would more accurately but less commercially be considered a "Judgment Day" crossover collection.) These are unfortunately among the worst regarded League stories ever published, and the covers to the original issues were so bad (and non-Wonder Woman-centric) that DC actually sprung for Tom Grummett to draw two new ones (common in the old days for collections, but a rarity now.) I dig the first one especially, so I'm not sorry DC neglected to use the Dan Jurgens/Rick Burchett promo image above. I'm not aware if it ever appeared anywhere else.

    DC Comics 1993 Editorial Presentation