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Olive Oyl, fashion icon

olive oyl3

Numerous classic comic characters have been “updated” over the decades in an effort to make them more appealing to new audiences, frequently with mixed results. But few makeovers have been as surprising, or apparently as successful, as King Features’ transformation of Olive Oyl into … well, a fashion icon of sorts.

Tall, rail-thin and large-footed, Olive Oyl looks essentially the same as she did when E.C. Segar introduced her in 1919 (a decade before Popeye debuted in the comic strip Thimble Theatre). Yet for the past decade, she’s served as inspiration for Italian designer Moschino, who’s created everything from bandanas to sweaters to jewelry bearing the character’s likeness; Spanish clothing retailer features her on nightwear and underwear, too. She even has her own website and fashion blog.

And in the August issue of Elle, there’s an eight-page spread devoted to fashion inspired by Ms. Oyl. Check out a couple of images below, and more at that link.

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Comics A.M. | This weekend, it’s MoCCA Arts Fest

MoCCA Arts Fest

MoCCA Arts Fest

Conventions | Annelle Miller, executive director of the Society of Illustrators, talks about this weekend’s MoCCA Arts Fest, the first to be run by the society. [The Comics Reporter]

Conventions | The Tokyo Big Sight convention center in May will lift the ban on events associated with the manga Kuroko’s Basketball. Creator Tadatoshi Fujimaki and numerous venues that were hosting manga and doujinshi (fan comics) shows have received threatening letters, some containing liquid or powder, and as a result, Kuroko’s Basketball fan events have been canceled and doujinshi tables have been banned from several comics events. (More background here.) [Kotaku]

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Sum of Us protests Disney/Barneys’ ‘Skinny Minnie’ campaign

This may not technically be comics-related, but Disney’s Mouse and Duck characters are almost as well-known for their comics incarnations as for their animated short films. And the issues raised by corporate watchdog movement Sum of Us are related to concerns that get discussed in the comics community.

What’s going on is that Barneys department store has partnered with Disney to create a holiday campaign called “Electric Holiday.” The store will host window displays that will turn classic Disney characters like Minnie Mouse, Daisy Duck and Goofy into runway supermodels. Of course, there will be exclusive, Disney-themed designer fashions in the store as well.

The creative problem, as Barneys creative director Dennis Freedman describes it, is that “the standard Minnie Mouse will not look so good in a Lanvin dress.” He adds, “If we’re going to make this work, we have to have a 5-foot-11 Minnie.”

That’s not cool with Sum of Us, which describes the designs as “stretched out, unrealistically skinny, and aimed at young women.” The group writes, “Young girls are already bombarded with waif bodies and impossible figures, contributing to soaring cases of anorexia, bulimia, and other dangerous eating disorders. Now Disney is using children’s cartoon characters to promote the least realistic, unhealthiest body image yet.”

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Gene Gonzales helps the DCU swing with ’60s fashions

Gene Gonzales has been posting a series of drawings lately that feature DC characters re-imagined in 1968 fashions. So far he’s done Catwoman, Death, and The Riddler, but I’m hoping there’s a lot more to come, because these are fantastic.

Hell, now I want a DC ’68 mini-series almost as much as I want someone to start an art blog of Death in period-appropriate dress throughout the history of the world.

Celebrate Fashion Week the weird way with Lisa Hanawalt

It’s New York Fashion Week, that time of year when labels and designers show off their wares for the upcoming spring season, and Project Runway starts getting really good. What better way to mark the occasion than with Lisa Hanawalt’s painstakingly detailed drawings of animals wearing bizarre hats for the Hairpin? Let’s face it, a poodle wearing a pillbox with a chia pet on top really isn’t any odder than the actual headgear sported by any number of people at the VMAs or William & Kate’s wedding, so Hanawalt really may have a future as a cutting-edge haberdasher ahead of her.

Gilly Hathaway’s DC Swimsuit Spectacular

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.

Comics: ironic kitsch or cool bits of culture?

Dark Horse assistant editor Brendan Wright noticed that Mario’s, a designer clothing store in Portland, Oregon, is using art from Paul Levitz’s 75 Years of DC Comics in its window displays. It’s an interesting juxtaposition of comics and fashion, made more fascinating by Wright’s uncertainty about the message Mario’s intended to convey.

“On the one hand,” he writes, “I suppose it casts comics as a generic pop-culture backdrop, a colorful splash of nostalgia against which gray suits can stand out, your mileage may vary. On the other hand, it does posit this $200 book as an upscale item for sophisticated people who drop lots of money on clothes.”

Wright wonders “if Mario’s is using comics as ironic kitsch or cool bits of culture.” Which do you think it is? Check out his photo-filled post then sound off below.

Beetle Bailey marches down the runway with new fashion line

Part of the Beetle Bailey-inspired collection

Cartoonist Mort Walker’s lanky and lazy Beetle Bailey — so lazy that he’s remained an Army private for 60 years — has become, of all things, the inspiration for a  limited-edition line of designer clothing.

Working with King Features Syndicate, designers Darren Romanelli and Hitoshi Tsujimoto developed an Americana- and military-infused collection of T-shirts, sweaters, jackets, hats, shoes, pants and bags — many of which will feature Walker’s original cartoon designs. Among the items are authentic G1 leather jackets (shown at right) featuring an image of Gen. Halftrack’s secretary Sheila Buxley sitting atop a bomb beneath the words “Blonde Bombshell.” The line will be unveiled Jan. 16-18 at the apparel trade show PROJECT New York.

“It’s an Americana type of clothing line,” Walker told The Associated Press. “It’s real authentic clothes that people wore — jackets, blue jeans and stuff like that. All sweaters, all the stuff that the ordinary guys wear, not the fancy guys.”

In addition to the debut of the clothing line, the show will feature a retrospective dedicated to Walker and Beetle Bailey.

Beetle Bailey made his comic-strip debut on Sept. 4, 1950, as a college student named Spider. Six months later he accidentally enlisted in the Army, where he’s remained ever since. The strip appears daily in more than 1,800 newspapers worldwide.

David Mack designs a pair of Etnies to benefit the CBLDF


To benefit the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Etnies donated 20 blank sneakers that were customized by comic book artists. And courtesy of the CBLDF, we’re happy to give you a look at the pair of shoes designed by David Mack.

The shoes made their first appearance at a party yesterday for the website Seen, which launched yesterday. Other artists who contributed shoes include Becky Cloonan, Jill Thompson and Eric Powell.

The shoes will be auctioned off at Comic-Con International later this month. Check out more pictures of Mack’s shoes after the jump …

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I am the Pirate King! I can wear anything!

Straw Hat Pirates Jeans

Straw Hat Pirates Jeans

For a little more than $200, you can strut around with the familiar One Piece slogan “I’m gonna be the Pirate King!!” emblazoned across your denim-clad behind.

Anime News Network reports that beginning in late August Japanese retailer Cospa will offer Straw Hat Pirates Jeans, featuring buttons engraved with the figurehead of the Thousand Sunny, the front-right pocket and waistband imprinted with a straw hat-wearing Jolly Roger, and pants legs printed with the names and positions of each of the Straw Hats. Oh, yeah, plus that big stylized lettering across the butt.

Colette’s DC Comics fashion line now available


French clothing retailer Colette is selling the DC Comics clothing and accessories announced last week. You can check out what they’re offering on their website, from € 375 Batman logo T-shirts to € 900 Wonder Woman dresses to more “reasonably priced” € 49 T-shirts featuring covers to various comics.

That Superman scarf pictured above costs € 320, which is about $392. So, yeah …

Straight for the art | Jess Fink’s David Bowie

David Bowie by Jess Fink

David Bowie by Jess Fink

She’s best known as the writer/artist behind the deliciously dirty, very NSFW webcomic Chester 5000 XYV. But Jess Fink is apparently quite crafty as well — she took this gorgeous illustration of David Bowie’s short-lived glam-pirate look and turned it into a pair earrings she gave a friend for Christmas. Click here to see the jaunty jewelry in its finished form.

I just have two questions: 1) How can I get Fink into my David Bowie sketchbook? and 2) Where can I get a pair of those earrings?

Wolverton tees now available — I think

Basil Wolverton T-Shirts

Basil Wolverton T-Shirt

Declare your love for the creator of Powerhouse Pepper and Lena Hyena with this new collection of Basil Wolvert0n T-shirts from streetwear fashion giant Stussy. Flog reports the company has apparently not only created a line of shirts but has an interview with Basil’s son, Monte. I say apparently because for some reason the Flash-based site isn’t loading on my computer, but perhaps you’ll have better luck.

Introducing Monkey D. Luffy, supermodel

Men’s Non-No magazine

Men’s Non-No magazine

One Piece‘s Monkey D. Luffy is the protagonist of the bestselling manga ever and the star of a television series, nine feature films and 27 video games, plus light novels, art books and — well, the list goes on.

Is there anything he can’t do? Apparently not, as this week Luffy adds fashion model to his resume.

Anime Vice reports that he’ll appear on the cover of the new issue of Shueisha’s Men’s Non-No fashion magazine, illustrated by One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda. It’s the first time the 24-year-old publication has showcased a manga/anime character and the first time Oda has illustrated a cover for a non-manga magazine.

Other members of the Straw Hat Pirates, as portrayed by real models, will be featured inside.

Since One Piece debuted in 1997, the 55 volumes (and counting) of the comedy-adventure have sold a combined 176 million copies — 14.7 million this year alone. For a little perspective on that 2009 figure, I’ll turn you over to blogger David Brothers.

Let R. Crumb keep you warm on the slopes

It looks so comfy

It looks so comfy

Looking for a good snowboarding jacket? Want to wear something that shows your reverence for the underground comics movement? Or at least for Mr. Natural? Then behold: Burton has just the thing for you:

Check out the print by cartoonist Robert Crumb. A prominent figure in the 60s and 70s counter culture, Crumb is world-renowned for his subversive voice and controversial artwork. We’re only producing 500 pieces in this print, and shipping it in a black bag so you can look sketchy when taking it to the register. Beyond that, the Burton Restricted Dyer Jacket keeps riders like Mikey Rencz and Mark Sollors dry and warm when rooping around the British Columbian backcountry with the help of a hopped up DRYRIDE Durashell™ 2L fabric and strategically placed expedition weight Thermacore™ insulation.

I have no idea what that last sentence means, but I assume it translates as “keeps you warm.” The whole thing costs between $250-$270, depending on how much Thermacore you stuff it with I suppose (found via Mike Lynch).

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