Timeless icons.

Batman 1972I know comics and I broke up a while ago, but I must state that Francesco Francavilla’s pet project modeled after works appearing under DC’s Elseworlds imprint is money on the table for DC. Three sets of 64-page one-shots starring the trinity. Each character gets a different decade: Superman against the backdrop of the gluttonous, Cold-War-fueled ’80s; Batman in the crime-ridden, wayward ’70s; Wonder Woman fighting for our rights in the mid ’60s. Superstar artists all the way. When it’s all done, bind that sucker up in a huge hardcover crammed with all sorts of pin-ups of the trinity in different time periods. Then? Do it all over again with a different set of artists: Superman in the early atomic age (’50s); Wonder Woman taking on Nazis during WW II (’40s); Batman trying to keep Gotham from sinking during the Great Depression (’30s).

Money on the table.

I want to take a moment to expand upon what I mean by that phrase. Every product containing Batman is profitable. Fans of the character will purchase even subpar work containing an appearance by the Dark Knight. However, the work I described in the preceding paragraph, if marketed correctly, would have a great deal of longevity as a trade and would easily interest fans outside the standard direct market. What I described is a coffee table book crammed to the brim with trendy, superstar artists, featuring America’s favorite modern myths and leaning heavily on the country’s most beloved form of entertainment—nostalgia.

Wonderful. Terrific. Fine.

With the introduction of Helena Wayne and Karen Starr as Huntress and Power Girl, DC Entertainment has given fans what they have clamored for in a way that some readers are still a bit unsure about. However, the world’s finest are here, with a gender and sex change to keep things fresh and new.

Of course, I was always a bit irked by the original incarnation. An assembly of the “world’s finest” without the inclusion of Wonder Woman feels incomplete and exclusionary. Wonder Woman has always been both there but not there, her gender often keeping her separate and regarded as an afterthought by many male readers. And that’s sad. It’s not a dynamic duo—that would be Batman and Robin—it’s a trinity. And I always get a little ping of delight when the comics reflect that.

I think what is most interesting about the arrival of Huntress and Power Girl is the possibility that not only does it provide a warped reflection of the world’s finest that most fans are used to, it also provides a warped reflection of DC’s most well-known and lopsided triangle due to Karen’s connection with Mr. Terrific.

Like Diana, Mr. Terrific is both there and not there. His connection to Earth Two is merely tangential—as is Diana’s connection to the world that Clark and Bruce were raised in. An attempt has been made to place him in a romantic relationship with Karen—as Diana has often been foisted on Bruce or Clark. And hilariously, that romance has been largely ignored as fans rush to embrace the romantic subtext between Helena and Karen—subtext that is also evident between Bruce and Clark and has long been cherished by fans.

And of course, there is the elephant in the room. As Diana’s gender makes her seem of lesser importance due to the casual sexism of some readers, Mr. Terrific’s race will likely result in the same due to the casual racism found amongst comics fans. I will be amused to see if the excuses match up.

Bits and Bytes: June 29, 2011

The site will be undergoing an overhaul in the next couple of weeks. Just giving any visitors a heads up that existing formats may be a bit wonky for a time.

And with the site overhaul comes another Ormes roundup! There are so many women out there who have disregarded the mainstream and print and instead have embraced the web as a method for distributing their art. Still, remaining in small deviantArt and Tumblr clusters doesn’t help with widespread recognition! And widespread recognition helps bring steady paychecks from established companies (and a professional reputation and health insurance). If you are a black woman creating comics, I want to know about you. I want to know about you so I can yell at you and ask you why you haven’t been promoting yourself in areas of the web that editors frequent. I want to know about you so I can ask you why you are not submitting to Image. I want to know about you so that you can get picked up by Marvel or DC. I want to know about you so that you can get some damn money. You know the drill. Email. Reblog. Network. Submit. C’mon, son! It’s just five damn pages! Get out there.

It seems that I was wrong about two of the characters in my previous post! Unfortunately, the Atom shown is not Ryan Choi, but the original Atom, Ray Palmer. I’m terribly disappointed by that. I feel that Choi has a great deal of potential, not only in comics, but in television as well. The Atom would make for a wonderful children’s cartoon. Of course, I’m referring to Choi and not the aged divorcee Palmer. As for my remaining error, it seems as though the Element Woman depicted in the promotional image is a new character from Flashpoint and not the character last seen in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series. So, we have lost an Asian character, but we have gained one as well. Unfortunately, we’ve gained one that is so deformed by her powers that she appears to be a bizarrely colored humanoid. We have the same issue that pops up in Teen Titans. The white characters are all clearly depicted, with no deformities that prevent one from determining their race or gender. Characters of color? Inhuman skin tones, hair hidden by power signatures, and bizarre appendages. And there’s always the occasional occurrence of being reincarnated in the body of a white guy. Comics, everybody! I was joking with Ragnell on Twitter about what the fan reaction would have been had DC randomly changed the appearance/ethnic background of its most popular characters with the reboot. I almost wish DC had done it. I’d rather have an olive-skinned, Latina Cassie Sandsmark than a new black heroine with purple skin, fire for hair, and the exact same face as the two other white girls on the team.

And finally, can I just say that I love what is being done with Batman, Inc.? And that I hate it at the very same time? The fact that this new direction is able to spotlight characters from a wide variety of cultures and also show how a difference in culture leads to very different methods of being a hero is wonderful. Fan-freaking-tastic. The fact that all these different heroes forego developing their own myths to expand and represent a myth derived from one hero (Bruce Wayne), one subculture (white, American, Christian), and one class (wealthy) just bugs. Oh, how it bugs. Oh, Batman. I love you like I love hip-hop. And though hip-hop belongs to the world now, we all know damn well who started it and where and who its roots and essence spring from.

The image.

Justice LeagueWell, everyone else is talking about it! I might as well throw my two cents in.

Aquaman: Isn’t he dreamy? Kudos for going the pretty boy route. Is Aquaman next up to get the CW treatment? I could totally see this Aquaman standing out in the rain casting lovelorn looks at some chick from a dysfunctional home near the docks. This is your heart throb, DC. Your Jax Teller. Your Thor. I want to see some epic angst-ridden romance with this dude. And then farm it all out to television and wait for the Tumblrs to start tumbling. Late 20s on this one. Noble. Brooding. Suffering in silence.

Flash: Get rid of that chin guard! So ’90s. Just stick with the classic look! And I hope that’s Wally. I don’t give a damn about Barry. Let Barry be a blissfully happy family man in his 50s. And Bart can get kicked to the future. And I know this is going to make some people mad, but I don’t want Flash married with kids either. Knock him down to his mid 20s. We don’t need a million characters with speed powers running around. Give Barry some kids and let him be a mentor to Wally. One Flash. That’s it. It’s a title that gets handed down through the family. And why does he look so serious? Flash should be fun!

Cyborg: No. No, no, no. Again, so ’90s! Technology is getting smaller and sleeker by the day. What is this? The good thing is that Cyborg’s costume should be constantly updating; you can get away with quickly changing this design. I understand that Cyborg needs to be the “big guy” on the team to keep him in line with what people remember from the Teen Titans cartoon. Fine. He can be big. The costume should be sleek. Something akin to the Engineer from The Authority. Remember Adam Warren’s take on Cyborg from his Titans one-shot? I want to see Cyborg doing crazy stuff like that too. As for the man inside the weapon? I’d like to see him look like a regular guy when off-duty. White suits. Low haircut (Google Reggie Bush or 50 Cent). Glowing eyes to let people know that something’s not quite right with this dude. Early 30s. Can be a bit abrupt or cold. There’s a danger of him getting lost in the machine.

Green Lantern: Honestly? I just don’t care. It’s fine, I guess. Mid thirties. Established. And boring—just like he’s always been.

Superman: Why so young? You need to bump his age up to early thirties. He’s the Cap of the DC universe! Plus, nobody feels like sitting through this dude’s origin again. Real talk? I’m not a long-term DC fan, so I could care less if you make him single again. But long-term fans will care. A lot. You’d better have Lois in there somewhere as a viable, likeable love interest. Learn from Marvel’s mistake on that one, baby. And don’t chain him to the paper either. Or to Metropolis. Print is dead and globalization is here to stay. Make him an investigative journalist. A younger, wilder Anderson Cooper. A Superman story should be able to take place anywhere at any time. Never mind. Just let Morrison do whatever the hell he feels like. Fans will buy it on his name alone. And there a 99.9 percent chance it will be amazing.

Batman: Mid thirties. Established. Old money. Long money. Honestly, I’d go back to basics. One Batman. Anyone else running around with a Batman symbol on is doing it without his approval or training. I’d make Cassandra Cain his Robin. He’d use her for minor jobs where he felt the risk involved was very low. She’d keep pushing for more. I like the design! But it’s fairly impossible to screw up Batman. No matter how insane the design or story, it always seems to work.

Wonder Woman: Sigh. Either use the classic design or go with the final one from the pilot! And please cut it out with the man-hating Amazons! Look, I’ll make this easy for you. Female Thor. Showed up in the late 1800s as Lady Liberty, but was so disgusted with “Man’s World” that she returned home. Popped up again in the ’20s and ’70s. Rumored to have vanished in the late ’70s to give birth to a child in secret. She doesn’t like when people bring up that rumor.

Uh, that’s it! We can sift through the other rumors later—especially any pertaining to the WS characters. You know I’ll be on those soon.

Prince of Gotham.

Y’know what’d be fun? If Amar’e repped Batman the same way that Shaq reps Superman. Then again, I don’t know how loyal the dude is to the Knicks. He may not want to have his brand tied to one city or team like that.

Still, it is a fun idea for photoshoots or promos.