Blog Archives

The Astonishing Art Of Amanda Conner…

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I’ve been actively reading and collecting comic-books since I was a mere six years of age, my first ever encounter with a Superhero was through the dark and surly one himself – The Batman. From there I became a superfan of the Themysciran Titan – Wonder Woman, and eventually over the decades became a devoted stalwart of DC Comics and their menagerie of costume clad heroes and villains.

Not being content to just absorb the wonderfully fantastic stories wrought from the fevered minds of the various comic creators over the years, like most things I love in life, I was also heavily into the creative process behind the formation of the thrilling and titanic tales brought forth by said tomes… especially the diverse styles of the sundry artists who have regaled us with their wondrous takes on classic characters.

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From an early age my favourite artists included such talented individuals as Neal Adams, George Perez, Brian Bolland, Norm Breyfogle, Adam Hughes, Phil Jimenez, Nicola Scott, Emanuel Luppachino and many, many too numerous to mention. Picking a favourite from these would always prove to be an insurmountable challenge… that was until I discovered the astonishing art of one Amanda Conner, from that point on anybody enquiring as to who my fave artist was, would not be able to shut me up as I enthused and rhapsodised over her awesome artwork. Quirky, zany, fun, and instantly recognisable… for me personally, Amanda will always be numero uno!

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Amanda’s creative career began in the late 1980’s working for companies such as Archie Comics, Marvel and Harris’ Comics on their Vampirella series (which is where I first discovered her phenomenal oeuvre) But it was her work on the sundry female DC characters that led me to fall in love with her adroit artistic endeavours, especially her work with Starfire, Harley Quinn and Power Girl, which all remain (and always will) my absolute favourite versions of those iconic characters. 

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On May of this year at the Comic-Con Revolution event in California, Amanda was honoured as the recipient of the Joe Kubert Distinguished Storyteller award, a prestigious achievement given only to the most outstanding comic-book creators, who exemplify both Joe Kubert’s artistic talent and commitment to the nurturing of the comic-book community. And long may she reign…

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DC Women Of Action

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DC Comics have a long and storied history of female characters, be that hero or villain, DC have been regaling their fans with fantastic tales of inspirational women overcoming adversity and empowering their readership for decades. Though the most obvious comes to mind, that of feminist icon and groundbreaking creation that is Wonder Woman, DC have, probably, the largest roster of super-females in their progressive catalogue than any other company… most of which have been in continuous publication, within their very own monthly series, for over seventy years.

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Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Catwoman, and Shea Fontana = MUST BUY!

Shea Fontana, the author behind DC Superhero Girls, Wonder Woman: Heart of the Amazon, and Batman Overdrive took to Twitter recently to announce her newest project for DC Comics – DC: Women Of Action. This hardcover, 176 page book celebrates the greatest female creations that have emerged from the Superhero publishing giant over the past eighty years. The beautifully illustrated tome profiles the most independent and popular female heroes and villains and the real life female authors and artists who have proven a fundamental and intrinsic reason behind their continued success.

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The book will feature such paradigmatic characters as Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Batgirl, Harley Quinn, Power Girl, Black Canary, Starfire, Hawkgirl, Amanda Waller and many, many more exemplary creations that have graced us with their empowering presence over the decades, all wrapped up in a must buy volume which is available from your local comic book emporium from October 22nd. 

Well, I know I’ll be purchasing this titanic tome when it releases in October, who else is with me, fellow fans of fantastic female fiction…

Comic Cover(s) Of The Week

One Cover To Rule Them All…

Well hey there fellow fans of fantastic fiction, and welcome to another exhilarating episode of Comic Cover Of The Week. And this week we have a cornucopia of cool and collectively creative covers for your decidedly discerning delectation”

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Before we begin, picture this scene… yours truly hasn’t darkened the doorsteps of my local comic book emporium for just over a month due to circumstances beyond my control (look, someone had to stop that rampaging horde of evil ninjas, right!?) So, there I am crossing the treasured threshold of my favourite purveyor of superheroic saga’s, when the proprietor looks me grimly in the eye – “been awhile Bruce” he proffers ” you may want to sit down, the shock of your pull list may take you back a bit” he continued with a wry glint in his eye, as he realises that he may be able to shut early even if I only buy a modicum of my haul. From my back pocket I could hear my, near sentient, wallet groan and sigh when the inevitable mountain of comics slammed down on the shop’s counter with such force, that the planet almost tipped off it’s axis and hurtled into the sun! There were quite a few, that’s for sure…

So let us begin by careening into a chasm containing a cavalcade of cleavage clad comic-covers starring the delightfully delectable and exquisitely enchanting – Elvira: Mistress of the Dark. 

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I buy as many variants of the voluptuous vixen vamp’s monthly adventures as I can possibly seize my hands upon… I am a massive fan of the charming Cassandra Peterson alter ego… I mean, you can never have too much Elvira in your life!

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Next up is this captivating Catwoman variant (actually based upon a golden age original – Batman#42 from 1947) by the  stunning Stanley (Artgerm) Lau. Lau has become one of my absolute favourite cover artists over the years (joining other greats such as Amanda Conner, Jenny Frisson and Adam Hughes) Stanley is one of the best artists working in comics today as you can see for yourself with this rousing rendition of the classically costumed Selina Kyle (an extra bonus, as this is my personal most beloved costume of the calculatingly cool and capricious cat-burglar)

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All these covers and more (oh so many more…) are available at your local comic-book emporium right now! best get there quick before my meddling with the Earth’s axis plummets us into the abyss!!

Comic Cover Of The Week: Batman Rebirth #35

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This weeks captivating cover celebrates an astonishing 800 issues of Batman! For those not especially versed in comic-book lore, allow me to elucidate that even though this magnificent milestone in the Caped Crusader’s long and tumultuous history as Gotham’s very own grim guardian is a significant landmark, he has actually been the titular star of its sister comic “Detective” for an even more astounding 942 issues, since his first appearance in the May 1939 issue of Detective Comics #27!

Batman Rebirth #35 is the lucky recipient of the honour of the 800 issues award, and finds the two most significant women in the Dark Knight’s life duelling for his affections, as Selina Kyle, better known as Catwoman, and the daughter of the demon – Talia Al Ghul face off in a splendidly savage sword fight.

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As a background for why these two classic characters would be crossing blades for the intimate endearment of the pointy eared vigilante, their actual romantic entanglement with Batman spans many, many decades in the comics.

Bruce Wayne and Talia (daughter of Batsy’s nemeses – R’as Al Ghul) produced a son together (Damian Wayne, the current holder of the title of The Boy Wonder – Robin) and have a long and convoluted fervid history. Though, even their lengthy and tumultuous relations is eclipsed by Bruce and Selina’s even more protractedly intimate involvement. As a testament to the Bat and the Cat’s everlasting dalliance, Bruce recently proposed to Selina, and the two costumed creations are now seemingly on a one way trip to marital bliss (and most probably, considering this is the world of The Baman – conflict and contention.)

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“Part three of “Dream Of Me” finds the Dark Knight past the point of no return. It turns out he’s definitely going to need a little help from his friends, but this help comes with a significant downside: Batman’s true intentions will ultimately be exposed!”

Writer Tom King once again proves his worth as one of DC’s greatest current creators with yet another fantastic issue, he is a sensational scribe of almost unparalleled level, and I for one would be more than happy if he continued to write Batman’s ongoing quest for revenge and redemption forevermore! Interior art by Joelle Jones is also great, with the sword fight between Selina and Talia being a particular highlight, flowing beautifully with King’s concurrent dialogue.

Batman Rebirth #35 is available at your local comic-book emporium right now.

Comic Cover Of The Week: Batman Rebirth #24

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The Bat, The Cat… And Wedding Bells!

Where exactly do Superheroes get married anyway?… mmmmmm, I’m getting ahead of myself here. Welcome my comic collecting cohorts to another instalment of Comic Cover Of The Week, and this week our splendiferous spotlight of excellence falls upon Batman Rebirth #24. This illustriously illustrated issue is brought to you by those ceaseless composers of comic-book craft – Tom King, Danny Miki and David Finch.

Writer Tom King sure knows how to weave a compelling tale or two, it has to be said, his run on the the Rebirth Batman title has been nothing less than astonishing. His prodigious writing talents run the gamut of horror, thriller, good old fashioned heroics and comedy… narrative-wise, he really is the King (pun most definitely intended!)

Batman #24 is an emotionally charged issue from beginning through to emotive end, the Bat, the Cat and wedding bells? it’s certainly a possibility as Gotham’s grim guardian sensationally gets down on one knee to propose to the feisty feline felon known as Catwoman. So will this mean a happy denouement to the trials and tribulations of the dark and scary one’s overtly complicated and melancholic life? Maybe, but I wouldn’t hold your breath, this is the Batman we’re talking about here, when has his life ever involved anything more than tragedy and vicissitude.

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“Aftermath!” Gotham City is at peace… but a war is coming. Armed with the terrifying knowledge gained from the mysterious button, Batman must prepare for the coming storm by making a proposition to one of his enemies… one that may change everything for the Dark Knight and his allies.”

Batman #24 is available at your local comic book emporium right now.

The Week In Geek… With Precinct1313

Welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313 to another episode of ‘The Week In Geek’ where we love to share our favourite Comic Book, Video-Game and Cult Movie news for your perusal and pleasure…

David Ayer Sends Out A Siren Call…

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Best be prepared folks, I may just get a tad bit over-excited on this one… just sayin’.

‘Gotham City Sirens!, Gotham City Sirens!!, Gotham City Sirens!!!, Gotham City Sirens!!!!, Gotham City Sirens!!!!!, Gotham Cit… Phew!’

OK, now that I’ve calmed down (a bit) let’s get straight to the epic news that DC Comics’ troublesome trio, Gotham City Sirens, have been announced as a major motion picture as part of the burgeoning DC Cinematic Universe. Suicide Squad director, David Ayer will be returning to helm the flick, and it will also mark the return of Margot Robbie as the Hellacious Harley Quinn. 

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Gotham City Sirens is one of our all time favourite comic book runs here in Precinct1313, the scintillating series was first published in 2009 and brought together three of Batman’s most famous female foes, feline felon – Catwoman, vined vixen – Poison Ivy, and of course mischievous misfit – Harley Quinn. The series lasted just two short years despite being a financial and critical success, to make way for DC’s ‘New52’ reboot. However, the Triumvirate of Temperamental Troublemakers have come together to cause mischief, mirth and misbehaviour several times since then, mostly in Harl’s own long running (and most excellent) comic book series.

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Little else is currently known about the project, but Warner Bros have announced that the marvellous movie will be scripted by Geneva Dworet-Robertson, who is also currently writing the screenplay for another famous fictional female, Lara Croft, for the 2018 dated  ‘Tomb Raider’ reboot.

Exciting times ahead indeed, my fellow fans of fantastic fiction, what with next year’s Justice League movie and of course Wonder Woman’s solo film, let’s be honest it’s about time that more female led comic book movies were being developed, and DC have an infinite amount of Superheroines and Villainesses they can bring to the silver screen, we have our fingers crossed for Batwoman, Power Girl and The Huntress being next.

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Comic Cover Of The Week: Harley Quinn Road Trip Special #1

Copyright: DC Comics

Copyright: DC Comics

Welcome back fellow fans of fantastic fiction to another instalment of  Comic Cover Of The Week, and this week our spotlight of splendour falls upon “Harley Quinn: Road Trip Special #1.” What do you get when you take DC’s most popular female psychotic, throw in a little feline felon, plus a dash of vined vixen?, the long awaited return of the excessively popular trio known as the Gotham City Sirens, of course! That’s right Harley, Catwoman and Poison Ivy team up once more on a crazy cross country road trip chock full of mirth, madness and mayhem.

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“We’re back!”

Writers Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti present us with another fast and frantic issue that really showcases why the popular 2009-2011 series Gotham City Sirens needs to return… pronto! As with most stories starring the mischievous minx of mirth, this offers a fun and light-hearted tale that follows our terrific trio as they travel across America, so Harley can attempt to fulfill her Uncle’s dying wish to transport his ashes to Long Island… and of course, as always, utter chaos ensues.

Harley Quinn: Road Trip Special is available at your local comic book emporium right now. Written by: Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti. Cover by: Amanda Conner. Interior art by: Bret Blevins

DC Comics Dropping Bombshells This August…

(DC Comics, 2015)

(DC Comics, 2015)

This August DC Comics will drop Bombshells on an unsuspecting public, with these amazing variant covers inspired by vintage World War 2 style artwork. This follows on from June 2014’s extremely popular Bombshell variant run, which saw the alternate cover comics become very scarce and highly sought after collectables, this time they are taking the design run even further, by adding character statues and an ongoing digital comic series entitled “DC Comics’ Bombshells”. 

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DC Bombshells #1 will follow the adventures of Batwoman, Supergirl and Wonder Woman as they take the fight to the axis of evil on the front lines of World War II. The first issue of DC Bombshells will be available digitally on August 12, and throughout August every major DC comic release will also ship with a variant version of the cover, and judging by how successful the previous run was, these will sell out extremely fast. So why not head on down to your nearest comic book emporium and reserve yourself a Bombshell today, you won’t regret it.

Comic Cover Of The Week: Convergence – Harley Quinn #1

(DC Comics, 2015)

(DC Comics, 2015)

New comics Wednesday is upon us once more, and having just returned from my local purveyor of stupendous, spandex-clad superheroes with this weeks purchases, I have to say the cover that stands out the most for me is the Harley Quinn Convergence #1, the soft pastels effect is gorgeous. Convergence is DC’s month long epic saga that brings together every single hero and villain who ever existed, across all timelines and alternate realities.

Plot Synopsis: Harley’s life has become mundane and almost normal (!?) over the past year, but will she be ready to return to her crazy old ways when Catwoman and Poison Ivy recruit her to help fight… Captain Carrot!!

Harley Quinn Convergence #1 is available right now at your local comic book emporium. Written by: Steve Pugh. Interior art by: John Dell and Phil Winslade. Cover art by: Steve Pugh. Variant cover by: Chip Kidd.

Catman Returns

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Former Bat-villain..Catman has been conspicuous by his absence since the New-52 relaunch of the DC Universe, with his last known appearance in the fantastic Gail Simone scribed ‘Secret Six’ comic series in 2011. Announced this week is the return of the feline felon in a new Secret Six series starting in December,  once again penned by Gail Simone. In an interview with comic review site – Hero Complex, Simone described the new run as the ‘Twin Peaks’ of comic books, which instantly made us even more interested in reading it, as we are massive Twin Peaks fans here at Precinct1313!

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Catman, real name Thomas Blake was created by Bill Finger and Jim Mooney and made his first appearance in Detective Comics #311 in 1963. Catman’s original origin showed him as a famous big game trapper of jungle cats, eventually turning to crime through boredom, he became a cat burglar in Gotham City, styling himself as a male version of Selina Kyle’s Catwoman, which lead to Selina often being blamed for Catman’s crimes.

Catman is an olympic level athlete and is trained in various martial arts, he is close to Batman himself in terms of martial prowess, which has shown in several of their altercations over the years, he also has a mystical costume made of African cloth that purportedly gives him nine lives. Though overall a criminal figure, Catman actually has a code of conduct and a strong sense of honour that puts him above other Supervillains, making the character more of an anti-hero than outright villain.

For anyone discovering this classic Bat-villain for the first time here, and would like to read more on the character, may we suggest the amazing Gail Simone written Secret Six: Villains United graphic novel, a fantastic return to form for the feline foe, which sees Blake group up with five other DC comics villains, which includes Deadshot as they fight against the Lex Luthor led Secret Society of Supervillains. The 2005 series also included appearances from Deathstroke, Black Adam and Harley Quinn and comes highly recommended.

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Who is your Favourite Catwoman?

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Selina Kyle has been portrayed in film and television more often than any other female comic-book character in history, her first ever live action portrayal was by Lee Meriwether in the 1966 Batman movie. The second actress was Julie Newmar who played Catwoman in two seasons of the Batman tv show in 1966 through 1967. In the third season of Batman, Eartha Kitt was brought in to replace Miss Newmar, who was unable to reprise the role due to other acting commitments. With the second in the Tim Burton Batman films…Batman Returns, Selina was played fantastically by Michelle Pfeiffer.

Then in 2004 came the film that most Catwoman fans (including us!) are desperately trying to erase from memory…simply called Catwoman, Selina was played by Halle Berry, who is an amazing actress…unfortunately the film was rather awful and despite Halle’s character being called Selina Kyle/Catwoman it had very little to do with the actual character herself. 2012 brought a new Selina to the big screen…in the Nolan movie: The Dark Knight Rises, Selina was played by Anne Hathaway and is to date the closest any actress has got to the original comic character. So who is your favourite….cast your vote below for the greatest Selina Kyle.

Precinct1313’s all time favourite comic-book characters..daily countdown.

The top 3 are here, beginning with…

NUMBER 3 is: Catwoman.

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Catwoman.. real name Selina Kyle was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, her first appearance was in Batman#1 in 1940. Selina is the epitome of the anti-hero type of character having been both a villain and hero in the seventy plus years since her insertion into Batman lore. There have been many revisions of her backstory over the decades but throughout all of them the core character has been left fundamentally unchanged, she is a cat burglar but with strict moral codes, she only ever stole from the wealthy (sometimes even distributing the wealth to those in need) and would also take time out to stop violent crime. Another constant in Selina’s changing origins is her love and respect for Batman, they have been in an on/off relationship since they were both introduced to each other over seven decades ago. Selina is a master of several fighting styles, possesses almost supernatural agility and is an expert at stealth and infiltration.

An interesting side note is that when Bob Kane invented Catwoman he was heavily influenced by the actress Jean Harlow, more recently she has been styled more like the actress Audrey Hepburn. Catwoman has been featured in more live action television and films than any other female comic-book character in history, and has been played by several different actresses including..Julie Newmar, Eartha Kitt, Michelle Pfeiffer and more recently Anne Hathaway..here’s to another seventy years in the company of the lovely Selina Kyle.