Monday, May 24, 2010

The Top 5 Artemis Covers

When I started this Wonder Woman blog, the most common reaction from folks who visit my other blogs was along the lines of "Really? Why? I don't like Wonder Woman." Artemis was sort of the mouthpiece for this perspective, as new readers were ushered into the Amazing Amazon's comic in the mid-90s during DC's event fever. Artemis existed to point out Princess Diana's weak areas, briefly take her place with a take-no-prisoners attitude, piss off all her super-hero friends, and die in order to prove how great Diana really is. Very typical DC m.o., except that while John Byrne boosted sales with his once reliable 50,000 old fans, he drove off all the hip kids that had come on specifically for Artemis and the revamped Circe. Not only did Byrne's faithful stray over the course of his run, but the bottom really dropped out after he left. In the meantime, Artemis was swiftly resurrected, then promptly neutered, becoming a stalwart background player.

I never had much love for Artemis, but whether as a spoiler or a supporting player, I appreciate her role in the Wonder Woman cannon. I also really enjoy the fact that she served as the most recent Wonder Girl's teacher. Wonder Woman is among the worst mentors to her kid "sidekicks" this side of Brat Pack, and given Cassie Sandsmark is the most volatile of the Wonder Girls, I like to think Artemis is still getting her digs in from the sidelines. If she can't openly mock a DC icon (perish the thought,) maybe she can at least corrupt her standard bearers...

5) Wonder Woman #124 (August, 1997)

Visually, the last hurrah of Artemis as an antagonist before it wouldn't play anymore.

4) Wonder Woman: The Contest (1995)

A quick trade paperback to bridge the gap between the single issues' low print runs and the new demand for Mike Deodato Jr. bad girl art. This was also from the days when they still bothered with original covers and the occasional foreword. I thought for sure at least one Brian Bolland cover would make this list, but Artemis just wasn't really his speed.

3) Wonder Woman #142 (March, 1999)

If you needed an image to signify the shift of Artemis from catty adversary to hard ass supporting cast member, this would be the one to go to.

2) Wonder Woman #93 (January, 1995)

The debut of Fly Girl Princess Diana and Extreme Wonder Woman Artemis! Taste the '90s, and note the burning sensation in your throat! That's mono, bitches!

1) Artemis: Requiem #1 (June, 1996)

The first issue of the only Artemis solo project to date. I suspect that after co-creator William Messner-Loebs was dumped from Wonder Woman to make way for John Byrne, this was his consolation prize. Artemis was too tough for hell, and fought her way out.She was also too tough to switch to the more easily trademarked "Requiem" as a terrible Chromium Age handle.

Check out more spotlight countdowns of great art from the past 75 years of DC Comics Covers at DC75: Top Character Covers of the Dodranscentennial


Luke said...

Gotta go with #4 all the way, man. Really a great image and demonstrative of the whole "changing of the guard" which the name "Artemis" still conjures in my head.

E. Peterman said...

I have some of the original issues with Mike Deodato Jr.'s art, and I saved them because the illustrations were so awful. Artemis' death was grisly to the point of ridiculousness, but it was the '90s.

Diabolu Frank said...

E.P., because of the scarcity of the issues at the time, I started buying two copies of the book a year or so before Deodato came on. I still have dupes up until around #100. I never sold them off like I did most books in the speculator daze because I had such a soft spot for the Messner-Loebs run, even though it jumped the tracks at the end. Speaking of which, the nigh-whole-boob slip of Artemis as lay dying remains one of the most egregious lapses of judgment from the Bad Girl fad.

Luke, #4 is also my favorite, and one I like so much that when I couldn't find it at Comicvine or GCD, I hunted it down to resize and host myself. However, since it was the cover to a semi-obscure trade, I gave precedence to more familiar and widely circulated images. Plus, I wanted a solo Artemis cover in the top spot, though Benes is hardly a favorite of mine.