Monday, August 23, 2021

2021 “Justice League Extreme #1” Aquaman & Batman fanfic commission art by Brad Green

Sometime around or between the replacements of Superman and Batman, I did my own takes on new costumes for the iconic heroes. I still like mine better than what DC went with, probably because I borrowed heavily from the Dave Cockrum aesthetic, and he's one of the all-time great designers. In truth though, I think DC intentionally chose less appealing looks, with the full intention of hoping readers would prefer the return of the classics. I felt this was especially true for the Azrael-Batman hybrid, or "AzBats" as he was mockingly dubbed by the fan community of the time. While I thought he was okay from the waist down, the rest is a travesty built only for foil stamped gimmick covers. Brad Green was doing the Lord's work in rendering this overwrought abomination, but based on this being a Batman, another artist would have likely made him more prominent. Either a man after my own heart or simply bearing the common sense to downplay this beast, I'm grateful Green consigned all those scallops and points to the off-sides.

Aquaman is another one whose incarnation I debated on. The Sea King wasn't so much replaced as transformed in the '90s, so plugging in Tempest or some such wouldn't have been an accurate reflection of the era. I also considered "Artie Joe," the so-called "Sword of Atlantis," but he wasn't extreme enough and arrived well into the 21st century. For the longest time, I assumed that I'd just deploy Commander Murk, another of Geoff Johns' meta characters, who was bestowed many of the PAD-period Aquaman's affectations. Still, he was New 52, unknown to any but the most devoted Aquaman fans, and didn't particularly resemble anything seen sculpted into a Total Justice action figure. For years, I'd held on to a potential story element dating back to "Time & Tide," where an Eskimo demoness who hated Aquaman would drive one of his successors so mad, they would literally eat their own hand (like piranhas had done to Arthur Curry in the '90s.) His half-Eskimo son Koryak would have been more logical in that role than Artie Joe. Since there was no 52 or Sword in my fake continuity, Koryak need not have been killed off by the Spectre, and Artie Joe wouldn't even exist. Now that Aquman is best known to general audiences as Jason Momoa, and is back sporting a beard, it was weirdly appropriate to have the overtly non-white Koryak, clean shaven, with the defining hook-hand & gray armor of the "Golden Mullet" years. Brad Green does an excellent job of reflecting Koryak's heritage and simmering bearing in my single favorite figure of the piece.

“Justice League Extreme #1” by Brad Green

No comments: