Babs Tarr Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources
It would be awfully hard to overstate the enthusiasm out there for Batgirl #35. As soon as the new creative team of Cameron Stewart, Babs Tarr and Brenden Fletcher was announced, social media was buzzing; hell, it was singing. Fan art of the new costume began appearing online immediately, and cosplayers started dressing the new Batgirl based on nothing more than the initial promotional images and cover.
I can’t recall the last time I’ve seen this much enthusiasm for a DC Comics production. Universe-shaking developments — deaths, resurrections, infinite crises — major crossovers, and new series from the hottest creators are generally greeted with a dose of cold water from a certain faction of fans. DC readers tend to fall somewhere between “cautiously optimistic” and “openly hostile” when it comes to the publisher’s big decisions. But, for whatever reasons, I’ve seen none of that cynicism regarding the new direction of Batgirl.
Which is a long way of saying that expectations for this particular issue of this particular series are, in most quarters that care about such things, sky-high.
There are only ever three things that can happen with expectations: They can be met, they can fail to be met, or they can be exceeded. And, in general, the higher the expectations are, the less likely they are to be met.
So, as a comic book, how is Batgirl #35 …?
First, Archie Andrews took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, and now it’s Batgirl’s turn!
Challenged by Stella of the Batgirl to Oracle podcast to take the plunge for charity, the incoming Batgirl team of Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr came up with a creative response: They recruited Barbara Gordon to stand in for them in a fun comic strip — and she brought along some unexpected help.
When DC Comics relaunched its superhero line in 2011 with the New 52, there was an unmistakable sameness to the aesthetic of many of the titles. Sure, there have been some eye-catching exceptions, but for the most part, the Jim Lee-led character redesigns have exerted great influence over the DC Universe for the past three years.
If you’re a fan of Jim Lee, that’s pretty awesome. If you’re a fan of a lot of artists and styles, that’s less awesome and has made the New 52 sometimes frustrating and occasionally baffling. There are more than 75 years’ worth of characters bursting with the imagination of hundreds of creators. Why filter all that down to such a narrow experience for readers? I love Oreo cookies, but can I ever have chocolate chip cookie?
But then, along comes new Batman Group Editor Mark Doyle, who moved from Vertigo in February. Suddenly, there’s a new creative team, a new costume and a new outlook, for Batgirl, followed by announcements of Gotham Academy, Arkham Manor and, just Tuesday, Gotham By Midnight, demonstrating that Batman and his world are a resilient and powerful corner of the DC Universe. It’s one where offering different aesthetics adds a richness to the entire line while (possibly) attracting the eye of those looking for something different in their reading experience.
Essentially, Doyle just installed a snack bar. So let’s go eat!
Conventions | An advocate for the homeless claims San Diego police are harassing homeless people to keep them away from downtown during Comic-Con International. The mayor and police chief deny the accusation and say officers are simply doing outreach, but at least one homeless man has been given a “stay away” order. Comic-Con begins Wednesday with Preview Night. [ABC 10 News]
Digital comics | Following the news that the comics market was estimated at $850 million in 2013, of which $90 million was digital, George Gene Gustines looks at a couple of different digital models, including Thrillbent’s new subscription service and Panel Syndicate, Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s name-your-own-price approach. [The New York Times]
In the six days since DC Comics announced the new Batgirl creative team of Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr, Tumblr has been inundated with fan art inspired by the new costume (designed by Stewart and Tarr) — so much so that Batgirl of Burnside, “an (un)official blog for the DC Comics series,” has been launched, serving as a clearinghouse of sorts.
Stewart, who runs the blog, admitted there’s so much art that he’s having trouble keeping up with it. Asked how he felt about the response to the design, he wrote, “I am overwhelmed and ecstatic and grateful and vindicated. I couldn’t be happier with the tidal wave of support and sincere joy that’s come our way, the (literally) hundreds of pieces of fan art that are being breathlessly drawn faster than I can look at them, the cosplayers already choosing fabrics and causing yellow Dr Martens boots to sell out online. The huge response is a clear sign that despite our detractors we’ve really tapped into something that was waiting to explode.”
Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.
This week DC Comics announced a big change in Batgirl: namely, a new creative team of writers Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher and artist Babs Tarr. Coming aboard with October’s Issue 35, they bring a nifty new look and setting. After three years of grim but determined storytelling from writer Gail Simone and various artists (most recently Fernando Pasarin), Barbara Gordon is heading into Gotham’s “hip border district” for graduate school, and she’s leaving all the bad times behind.
Welcome to the first “Art Barrage” of the new year, in which I intend to bombard you with loads of interesting work you might not have seen before. Some of it is comic art, while sometimes it will come from the increasingly comics-besotted worlds of illustration, fine art and street art. Let’s kick off with the above image, from the second series of Mike Mitchell’s surprisingly disturbing re-skins of the classic pose from the cover of Superman #6 (we featured the first lot here at Robot 6 in October). See them all here — the They Live and Krang ones are genuinely freaking me out. That Margot Tenenbaum is pretty creepy, too.
Below is a piece that reminds me of what Mitchell is doing: Hillary White‘s T-shirt design for Threadless from last year, “Super LOL.” It gently takes the mick out of that sublime piece of Golden Age DERP!-thinking, that somehow just putting on a pair of glasses could ever instantly render Superman anonymous. Are you familiar with Ary Sheffer’s “Temptation of Christ“? Well, the second image below is White’s tribute, “Temptation of Robin.” It’s from her series, Pop-Reinterpretation, which also featured the much-blogged and Tumblred “True Muppet.”
Plenty more from around the world after the break, including France’s Didier Cassegrain, Italy’s Adriano De Vincentiis, Japan’s Patrick Awa, the U.K.’s Will Kirkby, the U.S.’s Babs Tarr, and Sweden’s Robert Sammelin.