We live in a time of awesome superhero costumes in comics. The rise and rise of cosplay culture, the emergence of comic artists with a savvy understanding of fashion, and the slow diversification that's making heroes palatable to a broader audience, have all contributed to a costuming culture with more to offer than capes and pants.
Superhero costumes have always been an asset to the industry, because iconography helps establish character and create a brand. But the value of costumes in reaching audiences and reinventing characters seems to be recognized now as never before, leading to the rise of artist-designers like Jamie McKelvie and Kris Anka, who don't even need to be on a particular book in order to be called in to make-over the characters. This is a great leap forward in understanding just what a good costume can do -- and the special skills required to do it.
Marvel launches the eighth of its nine solo titles with a female lead in November with Spider-Woman #1, and the book sadly already has a cloud over it. A variant cover by master erotic artist Milo Manara stirred enough controversy last week to garner mainstream attention. The cover featured Spider-Woman with her apple-shaped butt raised high in decidedly unheroic manner. It was exactly what one would expect from Manara, who has created a number of superheroine illustrations for Marvel, but the image suggested a particularly overt tone of sexual objectification that could alienate the sort of readers who attended the Women In Marvel panel at San Diego where the series was announced.
As far as I can recall, Marvel has more female solo titles now than ever before, with a ninth title, Angela: Asgard's Assassin, launching in December. On paper, that suggests a laudable effort to reach out to superhero comics' growing and under-served audience of female readers. Yet the Manara incident serves to remind us that books about women can very easily be targeted to a male audience.
There's currently an unspoken contest between Marvel and DC to see who can produce more comics aimed at a female audience. It's possible the contest only exists in my head, as I've been keeping a tally of solo titles with female leads for the past several months -- but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that editors at the two publishers have also been keeping track.
The Comic-Con 2014 season of big announcements is definitely upon us, and today, DC Comics has two that are very interesting. The first is that Catwoman is getting a new creative team in the form of novelist Genevieve Valentine and Five Ghosts artist Garry Brown, tying into the big shakeups coming to Gotham from the pages of Batman Eternal.
As for the previous writer of Catwoman, Ann Nocenti, she'll be joined by artist Trevor McCarthy (Batwoman, Nightwing) in a new title, relaunching Jack Kirby's Klarion the Witch Boy for the New 52, with a focus on using magic as a metaphor for technology.
Viewers have had plenty of opportunities to see the lead characters of Fox's new not-Batman-we're-serious series Gotham staring ahead and looking solemn, but they haven't seen everyone just yet.
Entertainment Weekly has published eight new character portaits, and though they include some familiar faces -- Ben McKenzie as James Gordon, Donal Logue as Harvey Bullock, Jada Pinkett-Smith as Fish Mooney, and David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne, to name a few --the feature also comes with some new ones. Not only are viewers getting their first really good look at Edward Nygma, a.k.a. the Riddler (Cory Michael Smith), they're also seeing the show's version of Poison Ivy, played by Clare Foley. You'll notice she's not Pamela Isley anymore.
In the world of superhero comics, we're most certainly no strangers to so-called "good guys" going bad, but at long last, even we have to wonder: Is no one immune to the siren call of supervillainy?! Is there no one so wholly devote to the cause of good that evil cannot sink its cruel talons into their soul?! Can any wholesome cuteness triumph over the wicked inclinations of life as an arch-criminal?!
It seems it cannot, because now, Hello Kitty has become a supervillain. Or at least, she's dressing like one in the latest licensing collaboration between Sanrio and DC Comics, which features everyone's favorite icon of cuteness cosplaying as a trio of Batman villainesses.
Though fans have access to Batman, Joker, Superman, Bizarro and Swamp Thing, Medicom's line of DC Comics sofubi figures will finally welcome two female characters in 2015 with Batgirl and Catwoman joining
The producers of the new FOX TV series Gothamhave made it abundantly clear that the show will focus on Jim Gordon, not Batman, but apparently David Mazouz, the 13-year-old actor who will play Bruce Wayne on the show, didn't get the memo, because a photo from the set shows he's carrying around his own Bat-mask.
Camren Bicondova, the young actress who will play a teenage Selina Kyle on the show, has her own comic accoutrements, apparently. Set photos show her scurrying around the city set with a pair of Catwoman-style goggles on her head. Check out all the images that hit the Internet today (some of which are from a pivotal scene in Bruce Wayne's childhood) after the jump!
There are a lot of toy options on the market, but only QMx has been putting a customizable word balloon spin on franchises such as Star Trek and other comics-friendly fare with its unique Q-Pop line. This month at Toy Fair, the company will officially unveil its furthest foray into the world of superhero pop culture yet, with the release of four new DC Comics Q-Pop figures. But you don't have to wait until next Sunday to see the upcoming toys, ComicsAlliance has been provided with a first-look at an unpainted prototype of the Catwoman Q-Pop, along with color concept art of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.
Q: Do you think that, for all their superficial campiness, the Adam West Bat-villains are actually the least likely to reform or even feel bad about the crimes they've committed? -- lego-joker
A: I'll be honest with you, folks: I got this question on Tumblr a few days ago, and while I wrote a (relatively) brief answer over there, it's something I've been thinking about ever since. Fortunately, it's my column, which means that the only rule is that there are no rules. And, you know, the weekly deadline. That is a pretty serious rule if I intend to stay employed.
Point is, there's a very simple answer to this question, which is that it's absolutely right. The arch-criminals of Batman '66 will never, ever reform, mostly due to the fact that nothing is ever meant to change on that show. There's a status quo that has to be maintained, one that's even more strict than the one in the comics. But at the same time, that lack of momentum says a lot about how those characters and the world in which they live are constructed.
As part of next year's celebration of Batman's 75th anniversary, DC Comics recently announced that the upcoming Detective Comics #27, the original version of which featured the first appearance of the Dark Knight in 1939, would include contributions from several notable creators, including Frank Miller. And on Tuesday, the publisher revealed Miller's cover for the issue which, it turns out, is not actually a new piece of art.
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