Friday, October 28, 2011

2010 The Vixen art by Rajinder Kaur Randhawa

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"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

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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