Tuesday, May 29, 2012

2012 Zatanna Comicpalooza Cosplay by Nadya Anton

The lovely Nadya Anton was working one of the artist's booths, and showed up in multiple costumes, including Poison Ivy*. I spotted her and just yelled, "Hey Zatanna, can I get a picture?" As you can see, she was obliging and vivacious. I got her real name from a Houston Press article, and you can read the indy paper's daily coverage below...

*Give it a second to load, and in the meantime, enjoy body-painted Ms. Marvel with pasties.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Aquaman #7 (April, 2012)

In Brazil, Kahina the Seer was pursued through the jungle by Black Manta, who was able to counter her precognitive abilities. After a brief battle, Manta unmasked the woman and himself, revealing three jagged scars across his face. "You're looking for that savage girl, aren't you? I find her, she dies like you. And after I kill you, I will go to Tehran and I will kill your family... Your husband. Your children. I will clean them like a fish. As I do everyone." Kahina died bloodily, and a golden object of power was taken from her body.

In the Atlantic, Aquaman and "Aquawoman" helped ships caught in a storm, then revisited Dr. Stephen Shin. Aquaman ripped his front door off the hinges, then demanded information on the Atlantean relic that he had found. As the device was examined, Ya'Wara and her jaguar emerged from some sort of teleportational portal with designs on killing Shin. Mera wrestled the jungle chica through a wall, then pitted a water-construct panther against the real thing. Aquaman stopped the catfight. "'Calm down'? Since when have you been calm, Arthur? ...The seer is dead... He left her butchered body in my jungle. And he took the Golden Seal from her." Ya'Wara believed Shin had a vendetta against "the others," and was in league with Black Manta. Those "others" were Aquaman's original team in New 52 continuity, including The Operative, Prisoner of War, and Vostok-X.

"The Others" was by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, and Joe Prado. Not the worst designs ever, but you can still tell that most of these new heroes will be dead before the story is over just from looking at them. Off the unique heroine in a burka, but spotlight the generic jungle girl with power over the beasts? Well, she's the Aquaman of the jungle animals, complete with complimentary "VEE VEE VEE" mental projections. Watch her turn out to be the one working with Manta, so that she can be a continuing foil for Mera.

The art team (including Reis, Prado and a different Reis) are so pretty I want to tongue-kiss their work, but I'm officially over Geoff Johns' anemic scripts. Nine pages of a chick running through the jungle, seeing a vision of her demise, then getting a variation of it. 94 words are uttered, most monosyllabic, across 39 panels. The book in total has 34 silent panels, 21 panels with five-or-less words, and there are four splash pages (1/5th of the issue.) That offends me as a person who enjoys reading stories, as opposed to a collection of scenes. I'm not confident I'll continue reading this past September...

New 52's Day

Thursday, May 17, 2012

DC Nation Vibe Cartoon Short Preview Clips!

How weird is it that barely six weeks after finally publishing fan animated videos I made for The Vixen and Martian Manhunter that I'd been sitting on for six months, a legitimate DC Nation Vibe cartoon is coming out. It'll probably only be a minute or so long, and the preview spans 48 seconds, but it's still pretty chill, 'yo. Of course, there's one bit of weirdness that tops it all...


...the undeniable similarity between the Vibe credit sequence and our own Índice de Vibe art design, also used in a black background version for the site's banner during the April Fool's gag Vibe's Beat Street Blog...

Está loco, pero muy chido!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

1977 Steel, the Indestructible Man #1 Cover Concept Art

Click To Enlarge

Click on the picture for a lot of deductive reasoning behind this unpublished Heck art, which appears to have been a concept later split into elements of the actual cover and splash page from Steel's debut!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #54 (September, 2007)

Arthur Joseph Curry, Cal Durham, Lorena Marquez, Garth, Dr. Kyesha Salton and Topo were left to clean up Black Manta's mess. Dr. Sydney Allard had escaped the lot, sneaking back into his lab to steal what he could before running. Guards were after him, and a chase saw Sydney fall onto what appeared to be vials of Joker toxin. Before the building was evacuated, Topo (a little too easily) accessed the computer network of Manta, Inc. There he uncovered ties to Progene Tech, a company that had previously patented Aquaman's DNA. That by extension connected Anton Geist, the scientist who had created the genetic agent behind the survival of Sub Diego's inhabitants, and the man who bio-engineered Chief Malrey. Yet another involved company was Tri-Dent Industries, who Ocean Master had worked with, and was based just a half hour away in San Diego. A.J. and Aquagirl would visit, leaving Topo behind under protest. "...You can't breathe out of water... We'll just walk into the lobby looking like 'Mars Attacks.' No, you stay here and help Cal and Kyesha."

Elsewhere, "The Babe Squad" traveled with Captain Jimmy Lockhart, Elsa Magnusson, and the Sea Devil leader Dane Dorrance, whom they had been following since their arrival near the Arctic island of Ymirsheim. The group arrived by sub to the city of Neos, 10,000 feet below the surface in the Mid-Atlantic Maxwell Fracture Zone. The diverse, secret culture were not ready to embrace the visitors, but they were greeted by Doctor Arkelon and his wife, Lady Pelikaia. Both believed Urlok was truly about to awaken and end life on Earth, so it was imperative that they be open to humans, especially their prophesied savior, Orin of Atlantis...

Dr. Salton sent Garth to meet with Leah, a lonely soul in a cave lit by luminous jellyfish. She had once been near the Thorny Crown, and as it happened, had been dreaming about Tempest...

Heavily armed guard used lethal force against Aquaman and Aquagirl upon their arrival at Tri-Dent. A.J. tore into them, but once they were down, the Human Flying Fish rose to take their place. The old villain had been expecting Aquaman, but for once that actually meant Artie Joe instead of Orin. A.J. mocked the fellow with his silly wings and corporate stickers all over his ridiculous costume. "They pay my salary, so they get to design the uniform. Now do me a favor and die." Aquaman couldn't get the guy to shut up, and in fact H.F.F. managed to take both of the young heroes out individually. Bound up, Arthur learned that Krusivax, son of Kordax, was behind everything. His rightful kingdom had been taken by Orin, and his family name disgraced. A.J. didn't know what that had to do with him. Dr. Philip Curry was brought out, and revealed that his son had died months before the destruction of his lab. "I was there... I held your hand as you stopped breathing! You can't be Arthur. Because my son is DEAD!" To further complicate matters, a helicopter announced another arrival, fresh from a prison escape. "Permit me to introduce the founder of Arbiston Global and Progene Tech, my sponsor in the sinking of San Diego, and soon to be co-ruler of the globe... Vandal Savage."

"Waiting For The Son" was by Tad Williams and Shawn McManus. Another goofy but enjoyable romp as things get wrapped up rapidly for the series finale in two issues. This was the issue with the Terry Dodson cover of Arthur leaning on his sword atop an islet that is surrounded by mermaids. Over the logo reads "Master of his Domain," an obvious Seinfeld reference. The piece was released as a poster, and had nothing whatsoever to do with the story at hand.

Brave New World

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #53 (August, 2007)

Continuing from last issue, Garth was at Dr. Kyesha Salton's apartment, working on his ability to survive without the rebreather for longer than a minute. The pair discussed the Thorny Crown tattoo on his neck, which was tied to the Knights of Tethys out of Atlantean mythology. Garth couldn't uncover anything more about it, and Topo sneered over Poseidonis' ignorance about his people in Dyss. Everything was tied to Urlok, the sleeping god of Dyss that would eventually awaken to rule the world. Kyesha noted that Garth was probably supposed to have turned up with the tattoo in Poseidonis months earlier, where its significance and the prophesy Garth spouted would have been understood. His arriving instead in Sub Diego, where the tattoo went unnoticed, queered that plan. Still, Dr. Salton had a lead in mind on the thorny crown...

Black Manta gleefully tried out his new armor and ultrasonic blasters on Arthur Joseph, Cal Durham, and Lorena Marquez. "Sound propagates much better underwater, you know-- or maybe you don't. I imagine being an apprentice Aquaman is your summer job while you struggle with junior college, right?" A.J. thought he was nuts for chatting away while attempting murder, which Cal confirmed. Manta and his mercenaries took down Aquagirl, which led to the capture of the rest. This was not without casualty, but "Manta, Inc. pays generous survivor benefits. His kids will be taken care of."

At Tri-Dent Industries in mainland San Diego, Dr. Philip Curry saw video confirming that his dead son Arthur was living and adventuring. He struggled through his tears of joy and confusion. Krusivax, son of Kordax, scooped Curry up by the collar and demanded his assistance in recovering his heritage, all of Atlantis...

In the hidden kingdom of Dyss, Narwhal smashed up his room, then sat cradling his knees against his chest. He had received new facial tattoos and the commendation of the Pardoner, but was haunted by his killing of the Dweller and the secrets forever lost to him. Narwhal was comforted by Cryptid, a female who cared for him...

Manta's scientist Sydney had been murdering the elderly at his lucrative practice in La Jolla before the creation of Sub Diego saved him from prison. He was quietly lusting after Aquagirl while struggling to get a blood sample from Arthur before their scheduled public execution (local attendance mandatory.) Manta was furious upon learning that the "real" Aquaman had been killed by another, and was in a rush to do away with this lot. Aquaman tried calling for fishy help, but netting around the city kept large creatures at bay. This included King Shark, who wasn't willing to risk fighting Manta's men, but would bite the guy's head off to avenge his friend when the opportunity presented itself. Topo was trying to find a way to shut down the power grid, but to no avail.

At the moment of truth, Tempest used Cal's cache of weapons to stall the execution. Aquagirl kicked Manta in the nuts and swam away. Aquaman clotted the outflow valves on the tanks of Manta's men with millions of single-cell organisms, leaving them choking on their own carbon dioxide. Manta tried to reclaim the day with his plasma cannon, but King Shark arrived in time to bite his face off. Manta fled, covering his wounds with his helmet as blood filled the water around him.

In Poseidonis, Mera was shocked to learn from Rodunn that King Orin's body had converted to water, so soon after poor Koryak's body had been stolen...

"Blood In The Water" was by Tad Williams and Shawn McManus. One wonders just how true that title was, as this penultimate story arc rushed to completion with no shortage of exposition or foreshadowing. Pages were filled with dialogue balloons, which McManus handled better with his quirky, cartoony style than he did the action sequences. The inks are still missed at times, but the book looks good overall.

Brave New World