Saturday, February 26, 2011

2010 Zatanna Bust Sketch by Adam Hughes

One of Hughes' "practice sketches" before taking on cover chores for the ongoing series. I'm getting an early Helena Christensen vibe here, but for all I know, he was referencing Serinda Swan. Then again, I figure Swan was cast on Smallville because of how Hughes drew her on those very popular Catwoman covers, so maybe it's just this vicious circle.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

C'Mellu Dantogi

Real Name: C'Mellu Dantogi
Occupation: Political leader
Known Relatives: Marilyn Macabe (daughter,) unnamed wife (deceased)
Base of Operations: D'Mulla
First Appearance: Cancelled Comic Cavalcade #2 (Fall, 1978)
Created by: Gerry Conway & Bob Oksner

C'Mellu Dantogi was a leader in the fight for his people's independence in the African nation of D'Mulla. One of his rallies was interrupted during a speech by mortar fire and dozens of jeeps filled with cackling soldiers. The troops gleefully set to massacring Dantogi's supporters under the command of his sworn enemy, General C'Tanga Manitoba.

Fearing for his daughter's life, Dantogi swept the child up and ran for cover with his confidant, the Reverend Peak. Hiding in a shallow ravine, Dantogi stifled a sob as he realized the killing would not stop until he himself was dead. Dantogi asked his daughter Mari to forget the horrors of this day, to recall only the joyous times when their family was whole, and to be brave. He also gave his daughter a special talisman, requesting that she wear it always, as it might one day give her the power to free her people.

As Reverend Peak escaped with Mari, Dantogi stood defiant in the face of General Manitoba, but was cut down by his machete. Seventeen years later, Dantogi's daughter assumed the super-heroic identity of the Vixen, and finally saw her father's killer to justice.

"Freedom-- this is what we struggle for! But we must not tarnish our goal with bloodshed--! Our victory must be a moral as well as political success! We must show Africa--and the world-- that the freedom we seek is a freedom from hate and fear! Only in this way-- can we ever truly be free!"

Sunday, February 20, 2011

2009 Black Lantern Vibe design by Joe Prado

Click To Enlarge

Someday, there will be another DC line wide reboot, and characters like Mystek, the Yazz, and Lionheart will retroactively have never been members of the Justice League. "A golden gorilla super-hero in the JLA? Don't be daft, man!" Rest assured though, that the lameness of Vibe has been inextricably entangled in the team's DNA. Vibe was just too ridiculous... too easy of a target... to ever be forgotten. The JLA managed nearly a quarter century without a casualty... until there was Vibe. Paco Ramone opened that door, and no on has managed to keep it closed since.

On the other hand, Vibe could never suffer from the problems of the indistinct Black Lantern Steel. Burn his clothes and tear his face off-- that's still unmistakably Vibe. No other character will ever have the huevos to combine booties with a slender studded cross belt, shoulder ramps, fingerless gloves, a plunging masculine neckline, and sunglasses. Damn it, when will my googling of "Vibe cosplay" yield results?

The truth of the matter is that I can rattle off dozens of crappy '90s characters with "Blood" in their names and guns in their hands, and you can make a drinking game out of finding stupid '40s characters who simply combined a color and a noun to form a premise. Vibe isn't like that at all: undeniably '80s, but such a unique aroma of stank as to be rendered among THE BEST WURST HEROS OF ALL EVAR.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Motor City Links

Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art and cover by ANDY KUBERT
1:25 Variant cover A by ANDY KUBERT
Variant cover B by IVAN REIS and GEORGE PÉREZ
Not a dream, not an imaginary story, not an elseworld. This is Flash Fact: When Barry Allen wakes at his desk, he discovers the world has changed. Family is alive, loved ones are strangers, and close friends are different, gone or worse. It’s a world on the brink of a cataclysmic war – but where are Earth’s Greatest Heroes to stop it? It’s a place where America’s last hope is Cyborg, who hopes to gather the forces of The Outsider, The Secret 7, S!H!A!Z!A!M!, Citizen Cold and other new and familiar-yet-altered faces! It’s a world that could be running out of time, if The Flash can’t find the villain who altered the time line!
Welcome to FLASHPOINT!
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with three covers. Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
On sale MAY 11 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Written by DAN JURGENS
Art and cover by DAN JURGENS and NORM RAPMUND
Dan Jurgens returns to BOOSTER GOLD just in time for this FLASHPOINT prelude. Booster Gold returns to Rip Hunter’s lab after the events of TIME MASTERS and finds that this world isn’t the same one he left behind.
On sale MAY 18 • 32 pg, FC $2.99 US • RATED T
Art and cover by BRIAN BOLLAND
Artist Brian Bolland, best known for his work as illustrator of the best-selling title BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE, is the subject of this new hardcover collecting his covers for DC Comics. Featuring highly detailed and meticulous craftsmanship combined with dramatic takes on the world’s best-known Super Heroes, Bolland’s work has been featured on GREEN LANTERN, BATMAN, WONDER WOMAN, THE FLASH, ZATANNA and the Vertigo series THE INVISIBLES and ANIMAL MAN. This spectacular collection includes rarely seen and never-before-published art, along with commentary from Bolland.
On sale AUGUST 31 • 208 pg, FC, 8.625” x 11.625”, $39.99 US
Cover credits include various Batman titles (including interiors on the classic "The Killing Joke,") Zatanna, Aquaman, plus guest appearances by Martian Manhunter & Vixen.
Art and cover by RAGS MORALES and MICHAEL BAIR
“The IDENTITY CRISIS mystery uses all of Mr. Meltzer’s skills as a thriller novelist.” — The New York Times
“A genuine comics landmark.” — Publishers Weekly
The unforgettable 7-issue miniseries from New York Times best-selling novelist Brad Meltzer (Dead Even) is now in DC’s Absolute format! Starring Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and the entire Justice League, this is the widely talked-about tale of intrigue and an inventive look at the world of Super Heroes, fantastic powers and secret identities.
When the spouse of a JLA member is brutally murdered, the entire super hero community searches for the killer, fearing their own loved ones may be the next targets. Before the mystery is solved, a number of long-buried secrets will threaten to divide the heroes before they can bring the killer to justice.
This gripping mystery includes a gallery of the variant covers, previously unpublished script pages and more!
Advance solicited • On sale OCTOBER 12 • 288 pg, FC, 8.25” x 12.5”, $99.99 US
Following the deaths of Batman and Martian Manhunter – both charter members of the Justice League of America – a new team of heroes arises, determined to stop evil from ever striking. But when the JLA’s foe Prometheus plans his revenge on the heroes, will this new team be ready to pay the cost for the justice they seek? Collected from the 7-issue miniseries!
On sale JUNE 15 • 232 pg, FC, $19.99 US
Cover by ALEX ROSS
The best-selling 12-issue series illustrated by Alex Ross is now available as a single volume hardcover at DC’s standard trim size.
The villains of the Legion of Doom — led by Lex Luthor and Brainiac — band together to save the world after a shared dream that seems to be a vision of the Earth’s demise. They are confronted by the Justice League of America, who doubt their motives—and as their true plans unfold the two teams do battle.
On sale JULY 27 • 384 pg, FC, $39.99 US
I promise to finish my synopsizes of this, just as soon as I can be bothered to finish reading the damned dumb thing.


Written by STEVE SKEATES, PAUL LEVITZ and others
Art by MIKE GRELL, JIM APARO and others • Cover by JIM APARO
Don’t miss this dramatic 1970s tale from ADVENTURE COMICS #435-437, 441-455 and AQUAMAN #57-63! As Aquaman faces his greatest foes, Black Manta plans his ultimate revenge on the Sea King – resulting in the death of Aquaman’s infant son and the dissolution of his marriage.
On sale JUNE 29 • 336 pg, FC, $29.99 US
An Aquaman classic, with major events, solid scripts, and fantastic art!
Written by CULLEN BUNN
Superman must help the JLA of the future – Aquaman, Klarion the Warlock, Traci 13, Stanley and His Monster, Scream Queen and Jason Blood – in preventing Morgaine le Fey from traveling back in time to our era and destroying the sun! But Batman insists that you can’t change the past, and, well, Batman is kind of always right, so . . . hello, eternal darkness? Cullen Bunn (The Sixth Gun) and ChrisCross bring “Sorcerer Kings” to a sun-shattering conclusion!
On sale MAY 18 • 32 pg, FC $2.99 US • RATED T
Not generally my cuppa, but the art both inside and out on this looks boss!


Art and cover by FREDDIE WILLIAMS II
History has gone awry, and only one member of the JSA All-Stars can put it right: The Prince! Who’s that, you say? He’s not a member of the JSA All-Stars? That’s what they thought, too! He claims his father’s archnemesis has altered the past to prevent him from ever being born . . . but how can he prove it to the All-Stars? And what is his ultimate goal?
On sale APRIL 6 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US, RATED T
I can finally stop worrying about constantly forgetting to mention this title. Whose bright idea was it to launch a JSA spin-off just after its guiding force of the last decade finally retired from the flagship anyway?



Written by PAUL DINI
Satanic sorcerer Brother Night lost his magical powers when Zatanna defeated him atop Mount Diablo. But in prison, he’s forged a bloody pact that could make him the most dangerous nemesis she’s ever faced! Last time, her friends barely escaped with their lives; this time, they might not be so lucky!
Retailers please note: These contents were originally solicited to run in ZATANNA #11.
On sale MAY 18 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
So wait, do Adam Hughes covers mean this book is secure, or troubled?


Art and Cover by TREVOR MCCARTHY
1:25 Variant cover by DUSTIN NGUYEN
When a mystery as old as Gotham City itself surfaces, Batman assembles a team of his greatest detectives – including Red Robin, Owlman, I-Ching and others – to investigate this startling new enigma. As clues are discovered and the mystery deepens, Batman’s team soon finds itself on a journey that explores different eras in Gotham’s history and touches upon notable Gotham families including the Waynes, Kanes, and Elliotts.
This miniseries spins out of recent events in the Batman titles and sets the stage for several exciting storylines in 2011. Additionally, this limited series touches upon mysterious story elements introduced in Grant Morrison’s RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE. Featuring many exciting Batman Family guest stars!
On sale MAY 18 • 1 of 6, 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Covers by ED BENES
Inspired by the best-selling SOE game, the epic series continues as we see the last stand of the future JLA in issue #7! Batman’s survived horrific injuries and outlived all his allies to try to implement a final, desperate gambit...but is Luthor trustworthy?
And in issue #8, after an epic disaster is inflicted on Metropolis, Superman works to pick up the pieces – literally. But can he overcome his concern over Lois’s disappearance? And as Brainiac and Luthor regroup, their plans start to coalesce in a surprising direction as the war for the future begins!
Issue #7 on sale MAY 4
Issue #8 on sale MAY 18
32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Saturday, February 12, 2011

2010 Zatanna Baltimore Con Commission by Jo Chen

Click To Enlarge

I do image searches, then stuff the links into a virtual drawer indefinitely. I figured after a month without a Zatannaday, I'd treat readers to a gallery by the fantastic Jo Chen. Well, the links were 3/4 of a year old, and all but one was dead. Therefore, here's the last surviving Chen piece, and if you'd like to see it in color, click here.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Vixen: Return of the Lion #2 (January, 2009)

“The wounds from Aku Kwesi’s claws do not close, no matter what creature I invoke… more magic? …Clark was right. I shouldn’t have come here alone.”

Kwesi spit curses past his white streaked beard about interfering foreigners and instilling the same murderous lesson upon Mari as he had her mother. “Anger gives me one final burst of strength.” Mari kicked the gun out of Kwesi’s hand, who again lifted her off her feet by the throat. “This is not over.” In a burst of light and a puff of smoke, Kwesi vanished.

Kwesi’s insubordinate man Sia was handsome, with his nude head adorned only by the hair upon his chin. Abiesa’s husband Owo wanted nothing to do with the “black magic at work here,” but Mari’s friend yet defended her from Sia’s advances. However, the fellow was merciful, helping Mari to walk out of the village. “She is not safe here. Kwesi’s eyes are everywhere, and he will return. He must believe she has been dealt with.” Sia led Mari to the outskirts of town, and pointed her in the direction of a well six miles away. “The land will decide whether you live or die. Goodbye, She-Spirit.”

The Dagombi Plain once meant freedom to Mari, but was now largely deserted due to “famine or disease…” Mari made it to the good water of the well, but she had lost a lot of blood. Mari was haunted by visions of her mama warning of death coming for her daughter with the night. “In the city, you forgot the land that gave you your powers. You must remember now, if you want to survive. Use the land-- you need its help. You are not a costume, Mari. You are not a name or a duty to a cause. You are your bones, and your bones are of this place. Remember.”

A pack of jackals charged Mari at the well, so she turned the spirits of the hyena and cobra against them. This taught them fear, and as soon as Mari had walked a distance, the jackals devoured the ones of their own who had been felled. “On the plains, miles from refuge, nothing is wasted.” Mari eventually found a tree, and climbed it for safety to sleep throughout the night.

A monkey woke Mari the next day, when she discovered her wounds contained pus and were hot to the touch. Trying not to panic, Mari reached for her Justice League communicator, but then tossed it aside. Lacking Mari’s pride, the monkey ended up setting it off as she continued her trek. Arsenal was on monitor duty when the signal came in, and alerted Black Canary and Superman. Dinah figured Mari had bitten off more than she could chew, and though she consoled Clark by saying he’d done the right thing in letting Vixen go, “Now we’re going to do the smart thing.”

Vixen smiled as she remembered playing with Abiesa as a girl, and how she thought she was different enough to somehow be rich someday without ever leaving her African home. Her attention was then directed to a lone male lion, perhaps tossed out of his father’s pride, stalking prey on his own. Mari tried to hide from it in the tall grass, but failing that, called on the speed of the cheetah. Regardless, her body was too weak, and she was overtaken. Just as she had given in, the lion relented, and Mari looked up to see it had been domesticated by an elderly man. “Zaki, shame on you. You’ve frightened her half to death, and it looks like she was half-dead already. Don’t worry, child. You’re safe now.”

“Return of the Lion Part 2: Prey” was by G. Willow Wilson and Cafu with colors by Santiago Arcas. Isn’t it awfully convenient how Kwesi teleported away when he could have easily finished Mari off with his claws? Seems like a writer inexperienced with super-hero action wrote herself into a corner right at the beginning of a five part mini-series that would be erroneously listed as six on the cover for the remainder of its run. You’d think after getting it right on the first issue’s cover they’d be set, or would have at least caught the mistake by the final issue, and you’d be as mistaken as the editors were.

Monday, February 7, 2011

2009 “Curry and Dibny” by Evan “Doc” Shaner

Click To Enlarge

Of all the Detroit League reunions that one could conjure up, it takes a special kind of weird to pair off Aquaman and Elongated Man in a detective mystery involving Starro the Conqueror. Kudos!

Friday, February 4, 2011

2009 Black Lantern Steel II design by Joe Prado

Click To Expand

Say, did Commander Steel ever turn up in Blackest Night? I only read the first issue of the JSA tie-in mini-series, but don't remember him turning up there. Anyway, I bring this up because Commander Steel had a nice, relatively simple but quite distinct costume by Don Heck that was likely intended to evoke MLJ's the Shield. Later came his grandson as Steel II, with a much more intricate design by Chuck Patton involving thigh high boots, decorative pouches before they were in style. Not a bad suit, especially given his company, but his motivation was less clear than the obvious patriotism of Commander Steel. I'm sure the Patton suit proved too big of a pain to draw though, so it was heavily reworked and simplified as soon as a new artist Luke McDonnell took over drawing his adventures. That final costume before Hank Henshaw III's death formed the basis for Joe Prado adaptation into a Black Lantern. Herein lies the problem: the "McDonnell" suit was too simple. Once you redirect the piping and change the chest star into a Black Hand symbol, Steel II is damned near unrecognizable. I passed him right by the first time I browsed through the design gallery at Bleeding Cool. Obviously, color and context made Black Lantern Steel II clear in his Justice League of America appearances during the event, but I'm glad Citizen Steel was wise enough to get his fin on.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Lion of Hell

Alter Ego: C'Tanga Manitoba
Other Aliases: The Lion of Hell
Occupation: President, military general
Legal Status: President of D'Mulla with diplomatic immunity.
Marital Status: Unknown
Known Relatives: None
Group Affiliation: None
Base of Operations: D'Mulla
First Appearance: Cancelled Comic Cavalcade #2 (Fall, 1978)

The African nation of D'Mulla was torn by political strife represented by two prominent figures, peaceful independence advocate C'Mellu Dantogi, and the corrupt military general C'Tanga Manitoba. The so-called "Lion of Hell" would not tolerate Dantogi's criticism of his bloody revolution. General Manitoba narrowed the field to one when he initiated the massacre of Dantogi and his supporters. As dozens of his men mowed down innocents, General Manitoba personally murdered C'Mellu Dantogi with a swipe of his machete.

General Manitoba eventually completed his coup d'état, becoming president of D'Mulla for the next seventeen years. Manitoba even redeemed his bloodthirsty image on the international stage over time, to be viewed as a moderate with a relatively peaceful reign. However, Manitoba aspired to initiate a war that would unite all of Africa under his rule. Manitoba felt that his one remaining obstacle was the only known surviving witness of the Dantogi Massacre, Reverend Peak. Under the guise of delivering an important speech at the United Nations, Manitoba traveled to New York to personally ensure the murder of the reverend.

Manitoba was unaware that a second survivor existed, Dantogi's daughter Marilyn. Inspired by news of Manitoba's arrival in the United States, she become the super-heroine Vixen, and spied on the general. The Vixen followed Manitoba to a monastery in New Jersey where the holy Reverend Peak had been located. Manitoba attempted to murder Reverend Peak with his machete, but was halted through the intervention of the Vixen. Manitoba was outmatched by the heroine's speed and agility. A wild swing saw Manitoba destabilize a large, heavy cross in a monastic sanctuary. Manitoba was then crushed by the falling crucifix, his many crimes finally addressed in suitably brutal fashion.

C'Tanga Manitoba had an arsenal and personal army at his disposal, but his weapon of choice was the simple, deadly machete.

"My machete craves blood-- tonight-- let it drink!"

Created by: Gerry Conway & Bob Oksner