‘Lobo’ Writer Marguerite Bennett Responds To New Design Backlash
You may have missed it as the internet continued to rage about this, but last Friday on its website DC Comics revealed four proposed looks for a new version of Lobo. Designed by Kenneth Rocafort, the distinctly svelte, sinister and maybe even sexy Lobo looks very much like the kind of standard sci-fi character you'd see from Top Cow (where Rocafort made his name), and is a dramatic shift away from the over-the-top '80s biker originally conceived by Keith Giffen and Roger Silfer and visually defined by Simon Bisley. In fitting Lobo fashion, things got ugly, which led to Marguerite Bennett -- who'll be writing the Lobo one-shot -- defending the book and herself before anyone's even had a chance to read it.
Set to debut in September during the publisher's "Villains Month" campaign, the new Lobo is meant to affirm himself as the true Lobo, with the classic version turning out to be an imposter. In other words, Lobo hasn't been redesigned so much as he's been replaced (at least, that's the implication. ComicsAlliance Lobo expert Andy Khouri fully expects the original "Main Main" to make short work of the new guy, imposter or not).
Here's DC Comics Editor-in-Chief Bob Harrass on the change:
The Lobo you’ve seen so far in the New 52 is not who you think he is. In this one-shot, you’ll be introduced to the real Lobo. A ruthless killer, Lobo is on a quest to kill the man who has taken his name.
In this design, Ken updated Lobo’s facial tattoos and weaponry by adding laser edges to his blades and gloves that’ll give him extra strength with their mechanical usage. In the end, Ken transformed Lobo into a lean, mean killing machine.
Now, if that confuses you at all, you're not alone. The new look was erroneously reblogged here and there, often without the crucial fact that the new Lobo is a wholly separate character rather than another controversial New 52 revamp a la Harley Quinn. The other guy is still out there somewhere, but the prevailing (mis)understanding is that he's been supplanted by this new and seemingly without-any-sense-of-irony-or-fun version of the fan-favorite space bounty hunter (this may yet turn out to be the case by the end of the issue, of course).
Naturally, this caused a bit of angst among fans of the original Lobo. In a post on her Tumblr that has since been deleted, Bennett addressed the negative reaction:
Dear Internet (which has called me some very unendearing names today),
I was not in charge of the Lobo redesign. Ben Oliver was not in charge of the Lobo redesign.
I wrote my script, and after it was completed, I was shown what the new character would look like.
For the record, the images you’ve seen—Ken Rocafort’s design and Aaron Kuder’s cover—are not what Lobo actually looks like in the book. I respectfully disagree with the decision to release that image.
When you go to get your comics on Wednesday, Sept 11, before you buy it (if you buy it), pick up Lobo and read the first four pages.
You can hate me by Page Two.
But if I do not have your attention by Page Four, you don’t have to read something of mine ever again.
Bennett defends the work of both herself and the issue's artists, Ben Oliver and cover artist Aaron Kuder, by asking -- quite understandably -- that people simply look at the book before passing judgment. She also took to Twitter to discuss the new character, saying the one Harass proclaimed was NuBo's final design was not an accurate reflection of what he'll look like in the book:
Bennett co-wrote Batman Annual #2 with Scott Snyder, who previously served as her writing teacher and was apparently the one who brought her to the attention of DC Comics' editorial staff. But this will be the first book she's written completely on her own, making her last line, "But if I do not have your attention by Page Four, you don't have to read something of mine ever again," a brave one, and one that I imagine will give some readers further incentive to give a book a try that they otherwise may not have.