Saturday, December 31, 2011

Justice League #1 (October, 2011)

Five years ago DCnÜ.
A newfangled Parademon wanted to plant a bomb in Gotham City.
Batman followed.
Gotham City PD pursued both, guns blazing from helicopters.
Green Lantern hit Parademon with a fire truck construct.
Green Lantern surprised to learn Batman in real.
Cops shot at them both. People fear and hate super-humans.
Parademon escaped. Heroes pursued.
"Gotham's mine. Coast City's yours."
"No, this entire space sector is mine... unauthorized extraterrestrial presence in Gotham."
"Hold on a second... You're not just some guy in a Bat costume, are you? ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!"
Green Lantern was really cocky and arrogant.
Batman stole his power ring. Stupid Hal Jordan.
Parademon planted a Mother Box, then self-destructed for Darkseid.
Batman took Mother Box.
Maybe that publicly known alien guy Superman in Metropolis knew something?
Evidence Superman just finished a fight of his own.
Batman recognized potential threat of Superman. Green Lantern didn't.
Green Lantern beat up by Superman at super-speed.
Superman looked at Batman. "I don't handle easy. So... what can you do?"
High school football player Victor Stone had a train of scouts ready to offer him a scholarship. Just wanted absentee father to love him. Too busy with science work involving super-humans. Sad Vic.

"Justice League: Part One" was by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee. As evidenced by the story title, more thought and originality was put into Johns' spelling of first name "Jeff" than into this story. It's basically a fifth of the plot points of Legends #1 with a fifth of the characters but five times the crosshatching and cover price. My go-to complaint about Star Wars: The Phantom Menace has been that if you asked any random person with a basic knowledge of the franchise to imagine their own Episode I, it would have been a more entertaining movie than what was produced. Ditto.

DCnÜ Year's Wildstormin' Eve

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2009 Vixen art by Flávia Güttler

Click To Enlarge

"It looks great in my humble CRT monitor, but her face gets messed up in those snazzy LCD monitors"

I think Mari looks great here-- so much so that I saved this piece to close out "The Year of the Vixen." At 129 posts, the initiative allowed her to unseat Aquaman and Zatanna as Queen of the blog. They haven't always been good posts-- hell, they've often been pretty crappy-- but they've at least been thoroughly researched (like hours sifting through deviantART's lousy search engine I'll never get back.) School and work responsibilities kept the year from being all that it could have been, and the imperative to get something posted every week often saw me sacrifice quality for quantity. The up side is that I have good material in progress to build from for 2012, which will not offer a weekly dose of the Lady Fox, but will contribute to her representation in meaningful ways. Since Mari and Aquaman dominated so much of the posting in 2011, I also figure it's time to give other members more attention (or at least getting poor neglected Steel his own character-specific menu like everyone else...)

Friday, December 23, 2011

2006 The Vixen color art by Jason Brown

Click To Enlarge

On my site, ive been doing a series of drawings of lesser known 'second string' JLA characters. Partially to entertain myself, partially to muck around with photoshop and try to add some new element into each image. This is Vixen. I was mostly just trying to get a dynamic pose. (PS-CS and a Wacom Tablet)

The feet suck, i know. ;)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Aquaman #3 (January, 2012)

Flashback: Tom Curry stood out on the dock of the bay, crying and telling his departed wife Atlanna what a good kid they had. Little Arthur ran up to see if his dad had spotted the whale he supposedly was on the lookout for every day at sunrise, "in case she came back."

Presently: The largest of the present Trench creatures tossed Aquaman around. When the Sea King tried to "VUU VUU VUU" it, the creature was briefly pained, then bit the hero's shoulder. Mera was introducing the smaller ones to the hell of getting cut to pieces by agua-fu. Aquaman continued his struggle against the boss creature until it got fed up, unleashed its bio-luminescence, and called the Trench beings to carry their food back home. A cop noted that they sounded like seals.

As dawn broke, Aquaman continued to be hassled by the cops while totally in the right, including pointing out that the fuzz should hold their fire around cocoons. The Trench had taken some of their prey alive, paralyzed inside the gooey shells.

Aquaman took one of the creature's bodies against military orders and leaped away. He explained to Mera that they would take it to Stephen Shin, the mysterious friend of his father's seen earlier in the photo album. He was a marine biologist who Tom had taken Arthur to as a boy to help develop his powers, "And then he tried to kill me... Because I wouldn't take him to Atlantis."

Shin was surprised to see Arthur again outside his house, but agreed to examine the Trench creature's body. It was somewhat like a piranha, and its energy needs would require the consumption of 20-30 times its body weight daily to simply function. A fluid they spit out caused paralysis in normal humans. The cocoons were made from a paste secreted from under its tongue. The sulfide minerals crusted in its gills indicated that its habitat was near hydrothermal vents of the kind found in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. "Out of the trench... Do you have any idea what this will do for me? With this I can get my credibility back." Or not, since Aquaman refused to leave the creature with Shin, despite his pleas and attempted barring of the exit with his frail body. The heroes were then off to investigate the trench...

"The Trench Part Three" was by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis and Joe Prado. This was my favorite issue so far, since I felt it had the best balance of back story, exposition, action, characterization and tantalizing morsels of future developments. A lot can come of a simple throwaway line like Shin's noting, "You still kept that trident. Despite all the trouble it might bring." Something is going on with his neck, as well. Anyway, the book remains gorgeous to behold, and while still a slight read, this time it was a satisfying one.

New 52's Day featuring Wildstorm

Friday, December 16, 2011

2010-2011 The Justice League of America 100 Project charity art by Chrissy Zullo

Click To Expand & Enlarge

Hero's JLA 100 Project Friday

In late 2000, a consortium of comic publishers came up with the idea to create a financial safety net for comic creators, much in the same fashion that exists in almost any other trade from plumbing to pottery. By March of 2001, the federal government approved The Hero Initiative as a publicly supported not-for-profit corporation under section 501 (c) (3).

Since its inception, The Hero Initiative (Formerly known as A.C.T.O.R., A Commitment To Our Roots) has had the good fortune to grant over $400,000 to the comic book veterans who have paved the way for those in the industry today.

The Hero Initiative is the first-ever federally chartered not-for-profit corporation dedicated strictly to helping comic book creators in need. Hero creates a financial safety net for yesterdays' creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work. It's a chance for all of us to give back something to the people who have given us so much enjoyment.


Please enjoy this gallery of ALL 104 original Justice League of America #50 Hero Initiative covers!

Hardcover and softcover versions of a book collecting all the covers will be available in December, 2011. AND all the originals will be auctioned off according to the following schedule:

• December 3, 2011, Meltdown Comics, Los Angeles, CA: Display of all 104 covers and auction of first one-third
• Jan. 20-22, 2012, Tate's Comics, Lauderhill, FL (Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area): Display of remaining covers and auction of second one-third.
• Feb. 17-19, 2012: Orlando MegaCon, Orlando, FL: Display and auction of final one-third.

All covers will be sold via LIVE AUCTION on-site at the venues above. If you cannot attend but wish to bid, proxy bidding is available.
Contact Joe Davidson at:
Deadlines for each grouping are below, and each cover carries a minimum bid of $100.

Special thanks to Firestorm Fan for the notice!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Top 10 Aquaman Covers of the 1980s

10) Adventure Comics #475 (September, 1980)

Honestly? I expect better than this from Bolland, as it's kind of bland. Weird concept, too. Makes the trio seem like a loser squad.

9) The Best of the Brave and the Bold #3 (December, 1988)

Fantastic Aquaman and Ocean Master, as expected from Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, but too much Batman.

8) Justice League of America #242 (September, 1985)

Nice idea, but it comes off kind of stiff and staged.

7) Aquaman #4 (May, 1986)

A dramatic image, but between the pentagram and the new costume, barely registers as Aquaman. Great Ocean Master, though.

6) Aquaman #5 (October, 1989)

Command those fishies, sir!

5) Adventure Comics #478 (December, 1980)

Old school split decision cover, with a cameo by Black Manta and the complimentary art stylings of Dick Giordano.

4) Aquaman #4 (September, 1989)

Damned creepy, and it foreshadows the dark fantasy of the current series while calling back to the moody covers of the 1960s.

3) The Legend of Aquaman #1 (1989)

Curt Swan might not have been the ideal choice to launch a successful Aquaman series by 1989, but this is still a snazzy image that landed on some merch.

2) Aquaman #1 (June, 1989)

This is a badass art school project, but it seems a bit out of place applied to a guy commanding fishies. Careful that oar doesn't bean our hero!

1) Aquaman #1 (February, 1986)

It may be one of his shortest-lived looks/costumes, but this Aquaman cover composition is one of the best loved and memorable of all.

Their Top Covers of the 1980s

Friday, December 2, 2011

2010-2011 The Justice League of America 100 Project charity art by John McCrea

Click To Expand & Enlarge

The Black Canary and the Vixen! There's a team-up I'd pay to see done right! So far, animation has done it best, though. Kudos to John McCrea for his character selection being so oddly specific that true love is indicated!

Hero's JLA 100 Project Friday

In late 2000, a consortium of comic publishers came up with the idea to create a financial safety net for comic creators, much in the same fashion that exists in almost any other trade from plumbing to pottery. By March of 2001, the federal government approved The Hero Initiative as a publicly supported not-for-profit corporation under section 501 (c) (3).

Since its inception, The Hero Initiative (Formerly known as A.C.T.O.R., A Commitment To Our Roots) has had the good fortune to grant over $400,000 to the comic book veterans who have paved the way for those in the industry today.

The Hero Initiative is the first-ever federally chartered not-for-profit corporation dedicated strictly to helping comic book creators in need. Hero creates a financial safety net for yesterdays' creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work. It's a chance for all of us to give back something to the people who have given us so much enjoyment.


Please enjoy this gallery of ALL 104 original Justice League of America #50 Hero Initiative covers!

Hardcover and softcover versions of a book collecting all the covers will be available in December, 2011. AND all the originals will be auctioned off according to the following schedule:

• December 3, 2011, Meltdown Comics, Los Angeles, CA: Display of all 104 covers and auction of first one-third
• Jan. 20-22, 2012, Tate's Comics, Lauderhill, FL (Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area): Display of remaining covers and auction of second one-third.
• Feb. 17-19, 2012: Orlando MegaCon, Orlando, FL: Display and auction of final one-third.

All covers will be sold via LIVE AUCTION on-site at the venues above. If you cannot attend but wish to bid, proxy bidding is available.
Contact Joe Davidson at:
Deadlines for each grouping are below, and each cover carries a minimum bid of $100.

Special thanks to Firestorm Fan for the notice!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Rejected DCnÜ Aquaman design by Jim Lee from Justice League #1 (October, 2011)

AQUAMAN: A more crustacean-looking armor was considered but ultimately deemed to be too detailed and "crusty" a look for the regal, majestic King of the Seven Seas. Maybe an Atlantean foot soldier will carry this mantle...

Define "abomination": See Above. What is the appreciable difference between "regal" and "majestic," anyway?

New 52's Day

Saturday, November 26, 2011

2011 NYCC Zatanna Color Commission by Mike McKone

Click To Enlarge

These scans are enormous, so be sure to check them out in their full glory!

Mike McKone's TwitPics

Thursday, November 24, 2011

2010 "Vixen On The Prowl" art by Taylor Cordingley

Click To Enlarge

"When it comes to Saturday morning cartoons, "Justice League" was one of the best -- until "Justice League Unlimited" came along and blew it out of the water with its massive roster! I loved that we got to see just about every Justice Leaguer we would have ever have wanted to see. Vixen was among the few who got a large role on the show. She was fierce, feisty and had super cool powers. On top of that she was voiced by the always talented Gina Torres. Even though she's often written badly in the comics, we'll always have the cartoon version to love forever.

Oh... and why is she one of the VERY few black superheroines at DC? Marvel has a few (one of them being Storm who is f*cking awesomeness wrapped in an often barely-clothed package) and DC has Vixen and a few randoms."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Aquaman #2 (December, 2011)

The creatures from the Trench ate the crew of a boat. Afterward, they saw lights through the night along the coast. "What is this? Maybe there's more food there?" From the dock, a little boy said "Mommy! Mommy! It's daddy's boat!"

At the lighthouse, Arthur showed Mera a photo album, including a picture of himself skiing as a boy. "It looks terrible. When can I try it? ...If we're going to make a life on land instead of the oceans, I want to learn more about the world you grew up in. I want to learn more about you." Another picture of a man standing behind young Arthur and his father agitated him. "That picture shouldn't be in there."

A police officer knocked on the door. He'd been visiting lighthouses all down the coast looking for Aquaman. He got more than he bargained for when asking Mera an innocent question about her being a mermaid. Her eyes went white as she controlled nearby water to form a flying mermaid replica. The deputy was from Beachrock, site of a massacre. The heroes rode out with him to the docks, canvased by police and military. The local sheriff chastised the deputy for exceeding his authority, but the guy swore by Aquaman, who'd saved his sister a year prior on a cruise ship in Iceland. The Sea King blew off the sheriff, while Mera observed, "They should be bowing before you."
"I'm not a king to them, Mera."
"They need to be educated. I'm happy to do it."

On a pier, the King of the Seven Seas attempted to contact the denizens of the deep telepathically, complete with cartoon-style "VUU VUU VUU" sound effect. There was nothing in the waters of the area to respond to him. Police divers meanwhile found some sort of cocoon, and hauled it up to the dock. Aquaman psychically "heard" the Trench creatures as they suddenly emerged from a docked shop en masse. "Our food." The swift and powerful monarch of the ocean had never seen their like, but their intentions were clear, so his trident dug into their flesh. Mera was similarly ruthless. "You attack us like monsters? We do the same."

A "normal" Trench creature broke its teeth on Aquaman's armor, but a "hero" creature of larger proportions wrenched his trident away. It spit on the Sea King, marking "This food. This food comes home to the trench."

"The Trench Part Two" was by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis and Joe Prado. It is a gorgeous book, and clearly the best rendition of Aquaman ever seen. The writing also respects the character, even if the metatextual defensiveness is a bit of a self-defeating turnoff. Show, don't tell. Cool villains, and I approve of the dark fantasy direction, but it sucks to read an issue inside five minutes.

New 52's Day

Sunday, November 20, 2011

2008 Aquaman color head sketch by Jim Lee and Alex Sinclair

Click To Enlarge

"Diana told me to get Martian Manhunter and she was going to get Aquaman. But when she went up to Jim, she messed up. Jim started laughing because we all knew she got the wrong character. It was pretty funny, but I guess you had to have been there. Nevertheless, Alex did a spectacular job with the colors on this sketch."

Image Founders

Friday, November 18, 2011

2011 Mari McCabe Sweater Post by Hanie Mohd

Click To Expand & Enlarge

"I did a few drawings of DC ladies in sweaters. It's first inspired by this post ( and I ended up drawing a few more because it's freaking fun and who said superheroes need to dress up skimpy to look awesome?! I love trying to insert their iconic look/ personality into the outfits."

Aside from the Vixen, "Hanie Mohd" also offers Bab Gordon, Selina Kyle, Pamela Isley, Karen Starr, Harleen Quinzel, Kara Zor-El, Donna Troy, Stephanie Brown and blog favorite Zatanna Zatara here,

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

2007 "Aquaman Theme Song" by Odd Man Out Films

I actually LOL'd at this, no mean feat.

"Despite Aquaman being the most kick-ass underwater crime fighter around, this son of Atlantis never really got as much glory as his abilities to communicate with fish and ride around on giant sea-horses like a total bad-ass warranted. Here is The Aquaman Theme Song, which should have been the introduction to the absolutely fantastic 70's filmation cartoon the clips are compiled from. Courtesy of Colby & Ian Day of Odd Man Out Films."

Saturday, November 12, 2011

2010 "Behind the Mystique of Vixen" watercolor by Shelton Bryant

Click To Enlarge

2011 has been the Year of the Vixen for this blog, inaugurated by Shelton Bryant's lovely 2010 Vixen Watercolor. Bryant seems to like the Lady Fox, and I really do appreciate that. But, as you can see from the image above, he really seems to like Vixen is a very intimate way. We've still got seven weeks left in the year, but this gallery is a bit too hot for the holidays, so best to get it out of the way now. There are naked lady parts ahead, and honestly, so far off model as to veer away from topless Vixen toward just plain old "African American nude."


Sunday, November 6, 2011

2011 Aquaman Watercolor by Shelton Bryant

Click To Enlarge

"AQUAMAN on an 8 by 11 acid-free, 100% rag Lanaquarelle watercolor sheet (140 lbs mould-made.)"

Shelton Bryant

Thursday, November 3, 2011

2007 The Vixen art by Rocky Howard

Click To Enlarge

"Vixen in all her glory.

Prisma color pencils"

...and by "glory," he means she's got a built-in coin purse...

Friday, October 28, 2011

2010 The Vixen art by Rajinder Kaur Randhawa

Click To Enlarge

"was supposed to be a fan art....a realistic portrait of the Marvel character Vixen, instead I ended up focusing on the hair style, color, and make up....and it ended up in the Singet character concept series...."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ralph Dibny, the World-Famous Elongated Man

By golly, who'd have thought slapping a logo at the bottom of a picture from off the DC Comics site would get such mileage as to end up on Bleeding Cool, who got it from Rafa Rivas' fan blog Ralph Dibny, the World-Famous Elongated Man. Created back in March, Rivas does an excellent job covering Stretchable Sleuth story synopses, artwork, merchandise, and whatever randomness sets his nose twitching. You've gotta love the sweet banner and character-specific color scheme! I've slowly been reading my way up from the beginning, and wanted to off a linkpost to help Detroit fans sample the wares. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

2010 The Vixen color art by Georgel McAwesome

Click To Enlarge

Dude is doing his level best to live up to the name. Check out his gallery!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

1995/96 The Vixen animation concept art by Bruce Timm

The Vixen was supposed to debut in her own solo comic book in the 1970s, but her first published appearance was in an early '80s Superman comic. There was briefly a proposal for the Vixen to make her animated debut on a Superman cartoon in the 1990s, but her introduction to animation came in the early '00s through Justice League Unlimited instead. While not as bad as her original suit, Timm's design rates a solid second worst status, seeing as it is so generic that the only way to identify the character is through her teensy Tantu Totem. Actually, looking at it again, this may be the worst Vixen costume ever. At least "The Blue Fox" had a neat mask and some flash. She looks like The Prickly Peach. Personally, I think her portrayal on JLU was probably her best in any medium, and it featured a far more faithful look, so I'm glad she waited until the aughts!

Bruce Timm Bits

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Aquaman #1 (November, 2011)

At the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, aquatic flesh-eating humanoid creatures discovered "It is true. There is an above." They kept going up.

Leaping like the Incredible Hulk, Aquaman landed on a city street in Boston. Having heard sirens, the Sea King decided to foil a robbery by digging his trident into the grill of an armored truck and flipping it over. One masked robber introduced Aquaman to his AK-47. The bullets bounced completely off Aquaman's armor and a direct shot to the brow only opened up a trickle of blood. Turning over the hoods to local police, the Sea King had to deal with their patronizing offer of a glass of water before moving on. "The boys at the station are never gonna let us hear the end of this."

At a local seafood restaurant, Aquaman ordered fish and chips. This roused the protest of a douchebag blogger and his friend Harry Knowles. Acting as proxies for a critical internet, the pair made snide remarks and asked loaded questions like "How's it feel to be nobody's favorite super-hero." For the record, Aquaman does not talk to fish, as "their brains are too primitive to carry on a conversation." He does eat them, and he does command them telepathically as needed (with the exception of intelligent dolphins.) Aquaman chose the restaurant because he used to go there with his father as a child. Finally, Aquaman has no shortage of pirate treasure, and offers a couple of gold doubloons to a waitress as payment and to "put your kids through college." He left in a huff, sans food.

That night, Arthur Curry stood on the rocks overlooking Amnesty Bay, near the lighthouse his father kept. As a boy, Arthur wondered why his dad never became a ship's captain. "I could. But someone has to stay on land to help those captains, Arthur. Someone has to watch the shores. It's called responsibility..." Aquaman's wife Mera hugged him from behind, asking that he come to bed. Curry explained that he had decided that he had never felt a part of Atlantis, and wished to leave its leadership behind. "I was thirteen the first time I ever laid eyes on an Atlantean... Three of them... came to kill me because of who my father was. Because of who I am... Let them find a new king." Mera agreed to a new life above the waves.

Out at sea, a fisherman was dragged underwater and devoured. The creature from below the ocean's bottom had learned, "There's food up here."

"The Trench: Part One" was by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, and Joe Prado. While I was happy to get to know Aquaman's new scene in a quiet debut without all the hysterics of a lot of the other DC New 52 offerings, it still felt slight. It mostly came across like a defensive interview of the writer turned into sequential art. Too many characters made fun of Aquaman openly, to the point where it undercut the otherwise effective selling of Aquaman as a hardcore super-hero. I'm also sorry to see the half-Atlantean lineage come back, not so much because I care about the Atlantis stuff, but more because that was one of the more blatant swipes from the Sub-Mariner. I kind of wish Aquaman were all-human with powers derived from science, like he was in the Golden Age, but that ship has sailed for now.

DC New 52

Saturday, October 8, 2011

DC Retroactive: JLA - The '80s #1 (October, 2011)

Steel: "Guess somebody forgot to tell them we're just the second string." A school bus had pulled up outside the Detroit League's headquarters, the Bunker.

Vibe: "So now we're giving tours to school kids?"

Aquaman: "For years the old JLA orbited the Earth in a satellite, Hank. We looked down on the world-- literally. One of the reasons I accepted your grandfather's offer of this factory was the opportunity it presented to ground our new League-- again, literally. Here in Detroit, the League is part of the community.

Sue Dibny: Back home visiting her mother.

Elongated Man: Loving the tour, and wishing his wife could do the same. "She loves kids. One of these days we're going to have a big family."

Martian Manhunter: "Children are precious among my people as well, Ralph. Still... for reasons I cannot articulate, I feel apprehensive."

Felix Faust: Taking advantage of the deep depression that choked the Motor City once the car manufacturers went elsewhere, the sorcerer used an ancient tablet to cast a spell that turned its citizens into monsters.

Lamont: A jerky kid on the tour who complained about the absence of real heroes from the League. "You guys are nobodies. Just a bunch'a losers."

Geoff: Another kid bearing an uncanny resemblance to a certain future writer/executive who came to the Detroit League's defense.

Zatanna: Offered to break the tension by showing the kids some magic, but they were blown away by the real deal when Faust came calling. The League were tossed around like rag dolls by his beasts.

Dale Gunn: Suggested the medical lab as the best position to retreat to, since it could be hermetically sealed behind a vault door. Ten hours after the start of the tour, and everyone was trapped by monsters.

Vixen: One of the few members to maintain her positive outlook. She had cheered Geoff on, and even when her planned kicking of some ass ended with a dragon's tail sending her flying, she kept it together. While trapped, she checked on the unconscious Elongated Man, Dale Gunn, and Martian Manhunter. She also caught the wounded but defiant Aquaman as he collapsed toward the end of a speech intended to hearten the troops.

Zatanna: Still on her feet to look over the fallen Vibe and Gypsy.

Steel: Tried to hold the line against the monsters, but any effort on his part ended with him flying and the locking vault saving his armored tushie. Hank mocked Aquaman's speech, and once again branded his team "light-weight wannabess. Vibe, Gypsy, me-- even Vixen-- we're not good enough to be part of your precious League."

Aquaman: Argued otherwise, but still called Hank a spoiled brat whose granddaddy's bucks gave him a sense of entitlement. Steel rushed Aquaman, who rolled onto his back and kicked Hank across the room.

Geoff: Convinced the team that heroes helped people rather than fighting amongst themselves.

Aquaman: Ordered Dale, Elongated Man and Gypsy to guide the children out of the Bunker to safety while the rest of the team ran interference. Gypsy protested, but Aquaman explained, "forgive me, but you're just a child. You deserve the chance to grow up. Just like these kids. They need you to do this. I need you to do this."

Zatanna: Determined from something her father told her long ago that Faust must have used the Tablet of Tel El-Amarna, stolen from Iraq, to conjure the monsters out of men. Beyond helping the children, Zee wanted the tablet targeted.

Steel, Aquaman and Martian Manhunter: Caught the vault door when it was finally burst in, and tossed it back at the monsters. The rest of the team fought hard and followed orders... except for Gypsy.

Vibe: Flat on his back as Felix Faust gloated over how his massacre of the Detroit League would serve to bring the real heroes into his murderous clutches. Vibe was playing possum, and spit in Faust's face while telling him "...bite me."

Gypsy: Invisibly swiped the tablet and smashed it to pieces over Faust's noggin. "For a guy wearing a pointy hat, you sure do think a lot of yourself." The monsters vanished, saving everyone's life.

Aquaman: "Gypsy, I told you to go with Ralph and Dale. You disobeyed a direct order... Good job."

Creators: "Siege" was by Gerry Conway and Ron Randall.

Whether you enjoy the team for the kitsch factor of its instantly dated fad jumping or recognize that the team starred in several of the best story arcs ever featured in JLofA volume I, there seems to be enduring affection that keeps readers and creators coming back to revisit this team. A shame then that Conway doesn't seem to share it anymore. Part of the joy of his early issues with the team was its unrelenting, meta-defensive optimism in the face of scrutiny in both the stories and the letter columns. Later writers even used that unmerited self-esteem as a means of generating poetic irony, these poor doomed fools believing they would someday earn a place among titans when most would instead die violently or fade into obscurity. Conway, in an about face, starts this story with the team unanimously agreeing that they suck and their incompetence was going to cost a bunch of innocent lives. Not only is that a downer, but in giving in after all these years, Conway seems as clueless about his team's retroactive appeal today as he was their complete unsuitability while he was writing them the first time.

The characters aren't in character and their powers are downplayed to suit an unimpressive threat. I guess Zatanna is consistent at least, since Conway never wrote her worth a damn. I'll acknowledge Gypsy as well, since she had a few occasions of playing David-out-of-a-box to the Goliath of the month in the original series. The bland art by Ron Randall doesn't do any favors, especially when the only thing keeping his Dale Gunn from being 100% Caucasian is someone failing to tell the colorist that this book would be printed on cheap stock. It was obviously meant for glossy, because the colors are uniformly murky.

DC Retroactive

Friday, October 7, 2011

Detroit Demographics

Page Views To Date:
According to Statcounter- 112,963 (starting in Fall, 2007)
According to Google- 69,457 (starting in Summer, 2009)

The Top posts to date are...

10) Colección Super Amigos: Liga de la Justicia de Detroit : 432 Pageviews

9) Dragon*Con 2010 Zatanna Cosplay: 472 Pageviews

8) VANDAL SAVAGE: 484 Pageviews

7) 2010 Zatanna Bust Sketch by Adam Hughes: 515 Pageviews

6) 2010 Zatanna Cosplay (Blue & White) by DJ Spider: 587 Pageviews

5) The Vixen's Lady Fox Index: 932 Pageviews

4) Gypsy 's Runaway Index: 973 Pageviews

3) 1986 DC Comics "Legends" Promotional Ad : 1,247 Pageviews

2) Serinda Swan cast as Zatanna on "Smallville": 1,406 Pageviews

1) "Infinitely Heroic" Giclee by Alex Ross: 4,811 Pageviews

Thanks go to referring blogs The Idol-Head of Diabolu, Being Carter Hall, and especially Firestorm Fan for offering nearly four times the referrals of any other blog!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Vixen in Justice League of America Annual #2 (1984)

The Justice League Satellite had been ripped apart by the Earth/Mars War, and so had the team itself. Green Lantern, Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, the Flash, and the Atom had all quit or were seemingly derelict in their duties. Aquaman's son was dead, his wife had left him, and his kingdom was fine without him. The Sea King decided to commit to the Justice League with all the vigor his fellow founders lacked, and demanded the same of any who would serve with him. Red Tornado, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Firestorm, Hawkman and Hawkwoman had lives to live beyond the super-team, so that the JLA as it once stood was no more. Aquaman officially dissolved the group, then began rebuilding anew. Zatanna, Elongated Man, and his wife Sue Dibny agreed to live for the team, 24/7. Martian Manhunter, now a permanent expatriate from Mars II, agreed to do the same. While they would form the core of a new collective, additional members and new headquarters would be needed.

At a photography studio in Mid-Manhattan, Mari McCabe was in the midst of a photo shoot when she heard the news on a television. Danny the shutterbug had a deadline, but Mari quit right then and there. That same night, the Vixen donned her new costume and tracked the JLA to a temporary suite on the 23rd floor of the New York Hilton. She was spotted by Zee through a window climbing outside the building. The Lady Fox clawed her way up to the roof, reached just before Aquaman burst out from the stairwell. Vixen tackled the Sea King, but was blown away by magical winds. Elongated Man stretched to grab Vixen, but she leaped onto his head, then back, then over the ledge. While flying through the air, the She-Fox was caught in the Martian Manhunter's enlarged grasp.

J'Onn J'Onzz plopped Vixen down on the ground, where she was encircled by heroes, yet remained nonplussed. "'Female, explain yourself'-- I'm gonna choke, you guys are so funny. *Snort* HaHaHa!" J'Onzz took offense at her laughter. "Not at you, big, green and handsome. You're much too cute." Vixen introduced herself, thinking Superman might have mentioned her after the two adventures they had together from when she still wore her blue and gold outfit. She wanted to join up, and the recently separated Aquaman admitted "Well, we need more members... and she certainly has style. She's got my vote." No actual voting took place, but one wonders how that might have turned out.

Almost immediately, the new hero Steel talked the Justice League into inducting him, with the incentive of their own jetship and a new hi-tech headquarters in Detroit, Michigan. "I'm impressed, kid. Built this yourself with a tinkertoy set?" Vixen was more impressed by Steel's surrogate father, Dale Gunn. "Hey, handsome..." Curiously, Zatanna was also interested in the balding, middle-aged chocolate champion, so Mari smirked, "Careful. I saw him first."

The team settled in Detroit, and during a grocery run with Steel, or rather "Hank" while they were in plainclothes, the pair discovered the metahuman punk Vibe. They petitioned Aquaman to include him on the team, but were refused. Steel took it hard, confiding that of the group, he only liked Ralph, Sue, and the "terrific" Mari. Vibe showed up at the League's doorstep anyway, and while his attempts to pick up Mari were shrugged off, his final membership was not.

Later that night, the invisible Gypsy tried to break into the base, setting off alarms. Vixen had her own personalized kimono, and caught Zatanna leaving Dale's company in a translucent nightgown. She grinned, "Gunn and Zatanna, hm? Girl, I told you I saw him first." The juvenile Gypsy was the one prospective member refused initial admission, but she escaped before her delinquency could be discussed with local authorities.

The neighborhood threw a surprise party for their new heroes, and Vixen joined Vibe for a dance.

Gerry Conway, Chuck Patton & Dave Hunt present "--The End of the Justice League!" While there are a few nods to the old Vixen, lover Solomon Samuels was clearly out of the picture. The Lady Fox was clearly on the prowl, and in a vastly superior costume that actually evoked a freakin' fox. This fun-loving, kittenish Vixen is my favorite take on the character, and Patton my favorite artist.

The Bronze Age

Thursday, September 29, 2011

2010 DC Universe Vol2: JLA Reserves Zatanna art by alexmax

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"Second set of characters, this time it's the turn for some of the Justice League reserves...

Zatanna: Pretty much the standard, classic Zatanna look, except I've rarely seen her drawn with tall boots."


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Action Comics #521 (July, 1981): “The Deadly Rampage of the Lady Fox”

A cover blurb queried: “Superman meets The Vixen! Is she heroine or villainess?”

“Night in New York City… it’s like night nowhere else in the world! This night promises to be particularly special… for tonight, a She-Fox is on the prowl!” An African-American woman in a gaudy blue and yellow costume leaped across rooftops. One featured a billboard advertising Superman’s appearance at Madison Square Garden to benefit the National Diabetes Foundation on April 10th (a twelve hour charitable engagement.) “Like the sleek, sly creature that is her namesake, she pauses in the darkness to scent the air… Then, satisfied that she’s still on the track of her prey, she springs with the grace of a gazelle… and lands as silently as a jungle cat…” The Vixen set down upon the roof of a moving van behind Shandor Furs, where uniformed workers were being paid overtime to haul exotic coats from one warehouse to another in the middle of the night. Wordlessly, the Lady Fox leapt at the men feet first, catching two square in the chest, knocking them into the third.

Fifteen blocks away, Superman was being congratulated for raising nearly a quarter of a million dollars in ticket sales alone at the charity event, but the Man of Steel was distracted by his super-hearing picking up a cry for help. Superman swiftly reached the dock workers, who were stunned but relatively unharmed, as they alerted the hero to the van’s theft by “some dame in a costume!” The Man of Tomorrow pursued the red van as it sped toward the Hudson River. The Vixen spotted him in her side mirror.

“Superman? I can’t let him stop me from what I have to do! I’ll lash the wheel in place with these scraps of rope… and then try to delay Superman for the precious few seconds I need to complete my plan!” The She-Fox climbed out of the van and leapt at Superman. “What in Rao’s name! Incredible! I’m actually being knocked back… feel as though I’ve been hit by a bull elephant! And her claws… one managed to scratch me?! What’s happening to my invulnerability? How can this slim young woman do what hardly anyone has ever managed to do?” Superman pulled Vixen’s claw off his forehead and, still wrestling in midair, blasted her away with a bellyful of super-breath. Regardless, he was too late to prevent the furs from being ruined as the van hit the drink, and Vixen’s whereabouts were lost in the attempt.

Later, Mordecai Mule, owner of the fur company, bemoaned the ruination of his special shipment from India. A black police detective took the Man of Steel aside, warning that before Superman offered any information on the lady perpetrator, he hear information on Mule. It seemed the furrier exploited animals illegally in their native countries to sell legally in the States, and the officer thought perhaps this lady was a vigilante touching the untouchable. Superman was suddenly unsure of her description, and claimed he’d get back with the police after giving the matter some thought.

The next day, WGBS head honcho Morgan Edge called top reporters Clark Kent and Lana Lang in to pursue a story suggested by his old friend Solomon Samuels. The African-American high fashion magazine publisher talked Lang out of her protestation about the relevancy of fur poaching in India, arguing that rendering animals extinct for the fur trade was a threat to “ecology and the dignity of life!” Kent was suspicious of the timing, and noted Samuels’ leaving the offices with a very attractive black woman. Solomon wonder why Mari Macabe wanted to keep her joining the investigation in New Delhi a secret. “As far as most people are concerned, I’m simply a high-priced fashion model... which is another term for empty-headed beauty! …I’ll go on this trip incognito, as planned! It’ll work out better this way, I promise you!” Macabe’s true motivation, unrevealed to her “only love,” was to be able to act as the Lady Fox unhindered by her true identity’s fame.

In the overcrowded and squalid Indian metropolis, Clark Kent vanished, leaving Lana Lang in the care of a guide. Lang was spotted by Mordecai Mule, who felt that she may need to be eliminated if she planned to report on his criminal affairs. Mule and his driver were soon following Lang’s jeep, unaware that the Vixen had also hitched a ride. Clark Kent caught sight of the She-Fox lying in wait, and began his own superhuman pursuit. Superman swooped down and scooped Vixen off the roof of Mule’s ride with the villain none the wiser. Mordecai himself pulled up to an elephant herd. Aware that Lang would soon stumble upon his poachers, Mule decided it was best that everyone die in a stampede provoked by his sharpened spear.

Superman held fast to the Vixen’s behind. “Uh-uh, young lady, not this time! I’m not letting you near me with those claws of yours!” The Man of Steel wanted an explanation, and got it. The Vixen had driven Mordecai Mule to the brink financially, and knew that he would personally supervise a ramping up of poaching to make up for his losses. Vixen had arranged for reporters to be present to catch Mule in the act as a warning to other unscrupulous fur exporters. However, Vixen was worried that Mule was capable of anything in the heroes’ absence. True enough, she sniffed out the elephant stampede on the wind, and the pair sprang into action.

Just as Lana Lang and her party were about to be trampled, super-breath gently corralled the pachyderms until a makeshift stockade could be made from uprooted trees turned stakes. Meanwhile, the She-Fox declared, “You can’t get away this time, Mule! The innocent beasts your men have slain demand revenge!” Mule tried repeatedly to skewer the Vixen with his spear, but she easily evaded his with her acrobatic prowess until he was too exhausted to go on. Mule’s driver gave up without such a fight.

The Vixen left the two men bound up for Superman to find, complete with a note stating, “Here’s a mule I left for you to skin.” It was signed, “The Vixen.” Also, during the brief moments before being called away by the stampede, Superman had learned that the Lady Fox derived her animal-based powers from the Tantu Totem she wore around her neck. “Magical powers—that explains how she could hurt me! I’m vulnerable to magic!” So too would be Aquaman, in another three years…

“The Deadly Rampage of the Lady Fox” was written by Gerry Conway, with art by Curt Swan and Frank Chiaramonte. “Featuring the dynamic debut of the Vixen created by Gerry Conway.” The widely circulated one, anyway...

The Bronze Age

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

2006 "Princess & King" Wonder Woman and Aquaman Commission by Eric Canete

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From the artist's blog:

"1) Aquaman is such a pretty boy - outside of the fact that he's 'King of the Seven Seas' and I crack on him for being one of the most useless characters ever created (calm down, you Aquaman freaks...I'm only kidding. I like him enough), he's also a pretty boy. And he knows it. Useless and vein, the Aquaman is. 2) Again with the bad planning. I gave ol' pretty boy a tuning fork but didn't leave enough room to draw the whole thing. I could say that I only had 90 minutes and I was worried more about the composition than the trident, but that's a crutch and almost a lie. I saw the mistake about ten minutes in and I didn't care.

Suck on that, Aquaman.

Oh hey, remember the old 'Superfriends' cartoons? If memory serves me right, 'King of Shrimps and Seahorses' here used to ride a whale in the opening credits before he sends out a telepath(et)ic call to arms to the other fish? Point is, he used to ride that whale like a a HORSE! Do you know how wide he's got to open his frikkin' legs to be able to mount a humpback like that?! Oh well, I guess he's the 'King of Liar Characters Who Are Useless' too. "

Preliminary Sketch

Also, be sure to check out Caneta's warm-up sketches for "the 'JLU' show I did storyboards for in its latest and last season." Included are the animated incarnations of Vixen, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern John Stewart, Big Barda, Deadman and Heatwave. The gallery is here.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dragon*Con 2011 Vixen Cosplay

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One of the finest Vixen cosplays I've seen yet, courtesy of Shag Matthews of Firestorm Fan and Once Upon A Geek fame.

Dragon*Con 2011 CosPlay

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

2011 Aquaman art by Ivan Camelo

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