Typically, I’ll spend most of Saturday in panels, but the first one I was interested in wasn’t until later in the morning, so I killed time taking in some of the more offbeat exhibitors, like Ben the Bubble Guy, a businessman who hires himself out for birthday parties, corporate events, funerals. Okay, maybe not funerals.
When it was time, I headed up to the fourth floor for the AV Club‘s panel on the Future of Superheroes.
One of the things a lot of pros like about C2E2 is the late start on Friday. It doesn’t open to the public until 1:00 pm, so creators can sleep in and recover from their trips if they want. Or, if they want to go early to set up or just walk around and visit with each other, they can do that too. It’s also helpful for press jerks taking lots of pictures. Lots. Of pictures.
I once attended a writing workshop by a popular, big-name comics writer in the 1990s who revealed a Dirty Secret that’s haunted me ever since. I’m paraphrasing, but he admitted that writers of corporate-owned superheroes rely heavily on fans’ pre-existing attachment to those characters. Obviously, the extent to which he was able to speak for his peers is questionable, but the implication was that he felt he could sneak sloppy work by readers, confident that their love for the characters would keep them buying the comics anyway.
Please please please don’t think that I’m accusing Duane Swierczynski of that. I have no reason to think that he’s doing anything less than his best work. It’s just that that Dirty Secret occasionally pops back into my head as I’m reading comics I’m not enjoying about characters that I like. And the New 52 Birds of Prey is one of those comics.
I discovered Black Canary through Green Arrow. I’ve been a Robin Hood fan my whole life, so it was an easy jump to digging Green Arrow, but I admit that I didn’t care for Black Canary at first. My intro to these characters was all post-Mike Grell, and all I knew about Canary was that – early in Grell’s Green Arrow run – she accused Green Arrow of cheating on her and left him. At the time I was learning about this history, there was a huge debate among Green Arrow fans about how justified Black Canary’s complaints were. But either way, Green Arrow’s reputation as a philanderer stuck. Eventually, it became apparent to me that – whether or not he’d been that way before – Green Arrow’s writers now considered commitment-phobia and infidelity to be important parts of his character. I began to lose interest in him and gave Black Canary a second look instead. I checked out Birds of Prey and dug it.
When an image of the full, 15-member lineup of DC Comics’ relaunched Justice League leaked over the weekend, discussion immediately turned to the identity of two of the four female characters.
The figure on the left, between Atom and Firestorm, was quickly pegged as Element Woman, a member of the Secret Seven who debuted in Flashpoint #1. But the character opposite her hasn’t been so easy. Speculation soon settled on Zealot from the WildStorm universe, Black Canary, Power Girl — fan blog DC Women Kicking Ass has head shot comparisons — and even the monster-hunting Miranda Shrieve introduced in Flashpoint: Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown #1.
All are seemingly good contenders — all blonde, all with something to contribute to the Justice League roster, and to the newly tweaked DC Universe continuity. Black Canary has a history with the League — she’s alternately a founding member or a later addition, depending on the reboot — while Power Girl served with Justice League Europe. Of course, if the Justice League is starting anew, then none of that much matters. Zealot would help to cement the mergers of the DC and WildStorm universes (Martian Manhunter is now part of Stormwatch), and Miranda, along with Element Woman, would help to untangle how, or if, the threads of Flashpoint tie into the New DCU.
There are solid cases for each of those characters, right? Even if none has the beauty mark that the mystery woman sports above her lip. Right? Well, no.
Overnight, Justice League writer Geoff Johns dropped a bombshell that destroyed all of those theories. “That is not a blonde,” he wrote on Twitter. “(No one’s guessed the characters correctly yet.)”
So back to the drawing board, fandom! Who’s a not-blonde, beauty-mark bearing, turtleneck-wearing superheroine that no one’s thought of yet?
At her DeviantArt account, artist Gilly Hathaway has been designing swimwear based on DC superhero characters. In addition to the full version of the Black Canary suit above, you’ll also find designs based on Batgirl, Harley Quinn, Catwoman, Silk Spectre and Batwoman.
… I’d be down with that. But while that may not be the case, this piece featuring Wonder Woman and other DC heroines in a Runaways-esque pose drawn by Cliff Chiang will be included in the HeroesCon art auction this weekend. Which is pretty rockin’.
Paul Dini has a long history with DC’s resident magic woman Zatanna, and it looks like a long-gestating project will see him team the character with Black Canary. The girl-centric comics blog DC Women Kicking Ass picked up this scoop while walking the floor of the Boston Comic Con from none other than the artist himself, Joe Quinones.
Titled Bloodspell, the book is set to debut in 2012. The blogger recounted the plot as told to them by Quinones, saying “The book begins with a back story where an 11 year old Zatanna meets a 16 year old Dinah Lance. And the two don’t get off to a good start on this trip to Mt. Everest.” Here’s two pages from the project that Quinones had on display at the con.