Tuesday, January 10, 2012

1984 Vixen, Vibe, Gypsy, and Commander Steel Postcard by George Pérez

One of my greatest frustrations with this blog has been my inability to acquire a quality scan of this rare piece of Detroit Justice merchandise for discussion. Muchas muchas gracias go out to Shag Matthews of Firestorm Fan and Once Upon A Geek for sending in these lovely front and back scans of his own postcard! I contrasted them up a bit to clear away a quarter century of paper jaundice, but these big bad boys are otherwise all him!

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The newest members of the JLA: Vixen... her magic amulet grants her the abilities of any animal. Vibe... a kid from the slums, he has the uncanny power to project vibratory energy. Gypsy... she's mystery personified-- with chameleon powers. Commander Steel... he's the grandson of the first Commander Steel-- with all that hero's powers, and more.

Much like the debut image of the "New Justice League of America" from the 1984 DC Sampler #2, this card was clearly put together while the concept was still being hammered out. Hank Heywood III seems to be in the final phase of his first Chuck Patton costume (which looks fantastic under Pérez's pen,) but he's being addressed by his granddaddy's rank of "Commander." I also find it funny that his description is just as a grandson of an obscure hero, as if anyone knew what Steel could do. Why not just call him the "cybernetic superhuman legacy of a World War II hero?"

Second up was Gypsy, who received a succinct description, but Pérez's detailing just brings out the ludicrous awfulness of her design. I've said it once and shall repeat, I think the JLD would have at least been Outsiders respectable if not for the inclusion of Gypsy and Vibe, who on appearance alone rendered them laughingstocks.

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Next is Vibe, who at least dropped his "Mego Molt" from the Sampler pin-up. Not even Pérez can make this guy respectable though, and his vato bandana looks more like he's a sidekick to the Duke in Hondo or something. Those dishwashing gloves have a flair that draws unwanted attention, as well.

Finally, the Vixen has dropped her one-off domino mask, but Pérez didn't get the memo that she does in fact have pupils. I don't miss the Wolverine hair, but I dug the braids, and really miss the strands of hair Patton gave her that ran parallel to her eyes (giving the illusion of cats-eyes.) It's funny to see Hank all smiles and Vixen the dour one. Still, it proves my point that Steel and Vixen projected the intensity needed to sell a hero team, while Gypsy and Vibe projected rejected extras in Angel "High School Honor Student By Day. Hollywood Hooker By Night."

Despite my mocking, this was a nifty design that incorporated the JLA shield and stars and bars. I expect I'll get my own postcard sooner or later, because this is one worth having.

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