Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I've Devoted WAY Too Much Time To This

If you’ve been spending the day in breathless anticipation wondering when I’m going to post a Threshold entry, I have to say, first of all, that your life is really, really pathetic and that you need to get out more, because, seriously, that’s just sad.
Secondly I have to say that my lack of posting for the day is due to the fact that I’ve spent most of it working on this:

The other day I was rambling about how there are very few things from the 70s that I remember fondly and I mentioned that there aren’t too many more things from the 80s or 90s that I remember fondly either.
It should come as a surprise to no one that one thing that I do remember fondly from the 80s is a comic book.
Specifically the comic book The New Teen Titans, which is where the ladies picture above appeared on a monthly basis.
In 1980 writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Perez were tasked by the editorial staff at DC Comics with the job of creating a comic book that could compete with the runaway success of the-selling book X-Men published by competitor Marvel Comics.
They decided to create a book that had some of the elements of what made X-Men so successful, assembling a team of compelling young heroes and combining action-packed stories with solid character development and interpersonal drama.
There had been multiple previous incarnations of the Teen Titans, a group composed primarily of the kid sidekicks of the major adult heroes, but none had ever been especially successful, and so it was kind of a gamble to put a new version of the team out there.
It was a gamble that paid off, as Titans proved to be a top-seller throughout most of the decade, with a strong fanbase, awards, and critical acclaim.
I was one of those devoted fans, and when I look back on that particular decade, some of my happiest memories are of the time spent poring over each and every skillfully-crafted panel and simultaneously loving and hating the supremely talented Perez.
The stories that went with the art were equally wonderful, creating characters whose lives I cared about and that made me wait impatiently for the next issue.
I’m sure that if I were to go back and reread them I would see all of the defects and flaws: all of the cheesy comic book dialogue, Robin’s hot pants and pixie boots, Kid Flash’s over-the-top angst, and so on.
However, in my memory those stories remain some of the greatest ever told.
This is why I was so upset when Cartoon Network took those memories and sodomized them and bukkaked all over them in the form of that god-awful Pokemon-quality anime crapfest that was Teen Titans, a retarded, castrated, urine-soaked cartoon “update” of the Titans of that era.
Bad enough that they made it anime, but the real travesty was in the way those characters – characters whom, in a way, I considered to be my friends, particularly because during much of that time I didn’t have any real ones – were transformed into drooling, feces-hurling retarded monkey versions of themselves.
And they didn’t even include Donna (Wonder Girl) or Wally (Kid Flash), though given the treatment that the others got, it’s probably for the best.
I will say that I liked the concept of turning Raven into a goth chick, but the execution was incredibly flawed.
Still, the idea made sense, and looking back I realize that Raven was pretty much a goth archetype. I mean, at this point it’s a cliché to have a goth chick call herself Raven.
Given that Titans had an unusually large female fan following, its entirely possible that Raven served as the inspiration for many a goth chick.
Anyway, the picture seen above features three of the female members of the Titans from that era of greatness.
From left to right they are Wonder Girl, Raven, and Starfire.
Back in the 60s when the idea of the Teen Titans first saw print, the roster consisted of Robin, Aqualad, Speedy, and Kid Flash, the kid sidekicks of, respectively, Batman, Aquaman, Green Arrow, and Flash.
Somewhere along the line it was decided that they needed a girl, and so Wonder Girl, the kid sidekick of Wonder Woman, was brought on board.
The only problem was that there was no Wonder Girl.
Wonder Girl had previously only existed in the form of stories set in Wonder Woman’s girlhood. So Wonder Girl wasn’t Wonder Woman’s sidekick, she was Wonder Wolman herself at an earlier age.
Eventually an origin for the “new” WG was hastily slapped together and she became Donna Troy, adopted kid sister of Wonder Woman, raised on Paradise Island and granted a portion of the strength and abilities of all of the Amazons, making her just as powerful as a young Wonder Woman.
A kind of Wonder Girl, you might say.
Over the years the demands of continuity have requited that Donna’s origin be tweaked a lot, and has become far too complex and confusing for me to get into here. I should note, though, that currently, Donna has stepped into her big sister’s tiara and is filling the role of Wonder Woman.
Raven was created by Wolfman and Perez, and was the person who actually brought the new team together, recruiting members from the previous, disbanded team, and new members such as herself.
Starfire was also a new creation for the series.
Starfire, or Princess Koriand’r (Kory for short), was a fan favorite from out of the gate. Was it because of her hot-tempered warrior spirit, or her contrasting gentleness and her charming naiveté as she struggled to adapt to life on a new world? Was it the cool aliens who were after her?
Maybe it was all of these things. Or maybe it was the fact this solar-powered alien princess had a huge rack and no concept of modesty.
I think it was the cartoon’s treatment of Starfire that angered me the most.
The way they dealt with the issues facing an alien learning to live in a new culture that is vastly different from the one she grew up in was to make her a fucking moron.
They took away all of the character’s charm.
And they took away her boobs.
You may notice that Wonder Girl looks a lot like Rachel Bilson, the actress I just mentioned the other day. There’s a reason for that: I used her as a model.
For the face, at least. The body was Natasha Henstridge.
The reason I used Rachel Bilson as a model is that, while I have never watched The OC – and will never watch it – I’ve seen enough commercials to know that on it Bilson’s character was dating a comic book geek. One memorable ad for the show featured her stripping down to a Womder Woman costume and lassoing the boy (who responded by saying, “I think I’m going to pass out”) to fulfill a fantasy for him.
She was very cute in the costume, but she’s really not WW material, but I thought she would make for a good Donna.
Anyway, the picture is what I spent my day doing (I also went grocery shopping, but that didn’t take long), and now that I’ve spent way too much time writing about the picture that I spent way too much time drawing, I think it’s time for me to crash.

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