Sunday, January 22, 2012

The most beautiful woman on two planets

I've been waiting for years for Hollywood to get around to John Carter. At last, it's coming. Disney has reached the point they're willing to commit themselves to a release date and a trailer. The technology is there: If Cameron can do Avatar, Stanton can do Mars.

I just did a Google search for Dejah Thoris, looking for a suitable kick-ass image of the Martian princess who wins the heart of John Carter. The only one I found is this out-of-print $99 action figure. All the rest -- all the rest -- are pin-up models.

In the books, Edgar Rice Burroughs tells us (though he doesn't belabor the point) that Martians don't wear clothes. They wear, at most, weapons. They'll wear the occasional bauble and bangle to indicate their social status and brighten up an otherwise drab leather sword belt, but that's about it. The infamous Slave Leia costume is incomprehensibly modest compared to Martian custom.

So if you go searching for images of Dejah Thoris, you can guess that you're going to find as few clothes as possible, to cover up the naughty bits that the artist was unwilling or unable to show. A lot of people seem to have no idea what a naked woman looks like.

(Whose idea was this floor-length loincloth they seem to like so much?)

What surprised me was not her wardrobe, but her demeanor. Mars is depicted as a brutal, hostile place: Everyone is armed, everyone knows how to use weapons and everyone is prepared to use them at a moment's notice, because the alternative is getting dead. Depictions of John Carter reflect this. Depictions of Dejah Thoris indicate that a Playboy photographer is in town taking applications for the upcoming Girls of the Red Planet pictorial.

Some, OK, I get that. I'm a red-blooded male, after all. We're pigs. *shrug* Most, well, I kind-of get that too. Burroughs struggles to give Dejah Thoris much to do beyond being beautiful, inaccessible and/or threatened so that John Carter can win through to her side. But all?

I guess what I'm saying is that if Disney / Stanton want to make a fully rounded... er, fleshed-out... er, three-dimensional... Dang it. If Dejah Thoris is going to be anything more than a macguffin, they've got their work cut out for them. Burroughs is no help.

(If one wished to be a literary purist, one could consider the implications when Burroughs tells us that almost no Martian animals actually have hair -- and those humanoids that have hair have it only upon their heads. And some people do observe that since Martians lay eggs, that Dejah should not have a belly-button.)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

So close

Congratulations, DC, for changing your mind.

Well, did you change your mind, or did somebody get sacked or replaced and the new person decided you needed a new identity?

In any case, I should offer you hearty congratulations for coming up with a logo that would support being rendered in the primary colors one associates with comic books.

I should congratulate you, but I won't, because you clearly don't intend to use it that way, and it's purely accidental that it does work so well. See above right for an example of what I mean by that, since your designers apparently didn't think of it.

LATER: I hear there's been a small internet explosion over the fact that the cover mockups include an image of a clear post-New 52 Batman numbered #708. What it says to me is that the decision to re-do the corporate identity came from a different office than the decision to restart numbering. It might even indicate that the new corporate logo has been essentially a done deal waiting for the right moment to announce for quite a long time. Why now? Well, because they've had the press releases ready for a while, just waiting for the news to leak (which it just did), so now's the time to make it look like an actual plan instead of an accident.

And I see from the mockups that the logo will bleed off the left edge of the cover. Interesting.

LATER STILL: GeekDad points out that this new design is a departure from the continuity apparent in every previous DC logo back to 1940 (even including the briefly-used AA bullet). He calls it a clear indication of a "new regime in control", and that seems right to me. (See also SignalNoise.)

But everything adds up to the new DC wanting to be known as an entertainment company, not a *shudder* comic book company, which makes my color treatment highly unlikely indeed.

I mean, if I owned Superman, I'd be reminding the world of it at every possible opportunity, and one way I'd do that is to happily use his uniform colors on my corporate logo.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

That's what was missing...!

Yeah, the powers that be looked at the DC lineup with eleven bat-titles, and said to themselves, "You know what we need, is another Batman monthly."

Okay, I'm trying to be realistic. I knew all of these new titles wouldn't last. I won't claim to have correctly predicted the ones they just cancelled (I was sure "I, Vampire" and "Frankenstein" would be the first to go), but you just had to know that some of the New 52 titles were never intended to be long-term ongoing features.

And I'm not going to go neener-neener because "Justice League" is shipping late. Cue Iago: "Oh there's a big surprise! That's an incredible - I think I'm going to have a heart attack and die of not surprise!" By my reckoning, this makes twice: #2 was eight or nine weeks later than #1, after all.

So, DC, are you still publishing Showcases?

Monday, January 16, 2012

I just have to say it

This month:
Action Comics #6
Wolverine #300

Something is very wrong.