Debuting in the pages of Hawkman #4 by Murphy Anderson and Gardner Fox this week in 1964, Zatanna is a magician in a science fiction world; a magic user in a shared universe built upon Superman's otherworldly power and Batman's human ingenuity. She is both a “real” magician and a performance magician, as much at home with a genuine mind-wipe as she is with a dove up her sleeve.
Costume design is one of the great strengths of the superhero genre, a way to establish distinctive visual shorthand for a character and reveal key details about concept, purpose, and personality. But which is the best superhero costume of all time? This month, we’re asking you to decide, by voting up your favorites and voting down the rest. When we have your votes, we’ll compile a list of the greatest super-costumes of all time.
For day three, it's the magic hour; five of the finest, flashiest, most flamboyant witch-and-wizard costumes in the business, ranging from the Gothic Lolita look of Runaways' Nico Minoru to the fishnet-and-top hat classic stage magician (with fishnets) look of Zatanna --- and not forgetting the weird robes and curlicued collar of Doctor Stephen Strange himself.
DC unveiled a post-Convergence line-up of titles last week that included two new solo titles for female heroes -- Black Canary, by Brenden Fletcher, Annie Wu, and Irene Koh; and Starfire by Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner, and Emanuela Lupacchino. These books join the current line-up of Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Batgirl, and Harley Quinn. The publisher also announced the cancellation of Supergirl and Batwoman, leaving the number of DC solo titles starring women at a steady six.
Clearly DC can do better than that. The publisher has a wealth of great female characters that haven't headlined their own solo series recently, or in some cases at all. DC clearly knows that the audience for these heroes is out there, but maybe it doesn't know who its next headliner should be. So ComicsAlliance will give them a little help by asking you, the readers, to vote for the DC woman you think most deserves her own book. (Spoiler: We know they all do.)
Over the past few years, Kotobukiya has had a rather successful run with its Bishoujo line of statues. Based on the concepts and art of Shunya Yamashita, the Bishoujo (Japanese for "pretty girl") statues often depicted iconic female DC, Marvel and video game characters in a style that exaggerated the femininity of these leading ladies.
Although cosplay has been present for decades within the comics, anime, and sci-fi/fantasy fandoms, social media has played an integral role in the thriving communities of costuming that exist, such as Cosplay.com and the Superhero Costuming Forum. Over the years, the cosplay community has evolved into a creative outlet for many fans to establish and showcase some impressive feats of homemade disguise, craftsmanship, and sartorial superheroics at conventions. In honor of the caped crusaders of the convention scene, ComicsAlliance has created Best Cosplay Ever (This Week), an ongoing collection of some of the most impeccable, creative, and clever costumes that we’ve discovered and assembled into a super-showcase of pure fan-devoted talent.
If you spend as much time thinking about comics as I do, you probably find yourself creating hypothetical-based thought experiments about super-team line-ups and such. Usually I only share them with Chris Sims, who then goes on to turn them into an Ask Chris and get paid for my idea. [cough]
But a few weeks ago, I took to Twitter to ask people who they would recruit for an all-female, seven-member Justice League. The response at the time was great, with lots of interesting variation in potential team rosters, but then the idea got a bump again when artists started posting drawings of their ideal Justice Ladies teams on Twitter and Tumblr.
I've collected nine such line-ups, including my own, which kicked everything off, but you can check my Twitter feed to see all the responses I received.
Q: What's the deal with Batman's non-Catwoman, non-justice love interests? Vicki Vale, Zatanna, Wonder Woman, etc? -- @superseth64
A: Just a few days ago, I was talking to Greg Rucka and he mentioned Denny O'Neil's rule about Batman not sleeping with anyone, because if he does, then he sleeps with everyone. It's an interesting way to put that, and I'm inclined to agree with O'Neil on that point, but you can't deny that over the past 75 years, the Caped Crusader has had plenty of romantic entanglements, almost all of which, as you might expect, have ended in a spectacularly awful fashion.
But the thing is, as much as they don't work from a romantic perspective, which is the nature of dramatic tension, they don't really work from a storytelling perspective, either.
An artist who played an integral role in the superhero renaissance of the late '50s and early '60s, and whose line lent a smooth and elegant air to every character he touched, Murphy Anderson is one of the true living legends of the comic book business. This week sees the artist's 88th birthday.
Anderson began his career in comics in the mid 1940s, and worked on titles for a number of different publishers over the next decade, including Timely/Atlas, Ziff Davis, Pines, and the company that would prove to be his primary home for the next four decades – National/DC Comics. In the 1950s, DC increased his assignments and he became a fixture of the company's sci-fi and superhero titles, pencilling a number of different features and providing inks for many of the early Silver Age's most enduring and influential stories, working over artists such as Gil Kane, Carmine Infantino, and Mike Sekowsky.
As a fan, I have a pretty complicated relationship with Paul Dini. On the one hand, he's one of the creators of what might be my single favorite thing in the entire world, Batman: The Animated Series, and he's written comics that I genuinely love. That run on Detective Comics, where the Riddler was a Private Eye, where he introduced new characters like the Carpenter? That thing's great. But at the same time, he wrote that story where Hush literally steals Catwoman's heart and holds it for ransom while keeping her alive with a giant heart machine that he built in his garage. I mean, I love "Harley's Holiday" more than most members of my own family, but I also paid good money for Madame Mirage and I'm never getting that back, you know? It's a complicated relationship.
As a result, I approached Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell, the new graphic novel he wrote with artwork by the always amazing Joe Quinones, with a certain amount of trepidation, because I wasn't really sure what I was going to get out of it.
Turns out, this much anticipated book might not be perfect, but it's definitely the kind of Paul Dini story I like and the kind I want to see more of.
Promised for years but continually delayed, Black Canary/Zatanna will finally become a reality when it goes on sale in May of next year. Written by Paul Dini and drawn by Joe Quinones, the original graphic novel finds the fan-favorite DC Comics heroines in their more traditional looks and teaming up to bring down a new threat who puts both of their fantastic abilities to the test.