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World’s Finest Comic Book Artists: Liam Sharp

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With less than a month until our favourite warrior princess makes her highly anticipated solo appearance on the silver screen, all eyes are currently on Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins, but lest we forget the revolution that has taken place in DC’s recent Rebirth shake up of the Themysciran Titan.

Rebirth has been a massive success story for DC, the 2016 relaunch heralded the end of the The New 52 run, returning the DCU to a time prior to the Flashpoint Paradox, whilst still incorporating elements from New 52, mostly its continuity. The principal architect of Rebirth, superstar scribe Geoff Johns described the relaunch as – “Re-laying the groundwork for DC’s future , Whilst also celebrating its past and present. It’s not about throwing anything away, in fact it’s quite the opposite”

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A selection Of Liam Sharp’s Incredible Cover Art For WW Rebirth

Rebirth Wonder Woman finds Diana caught in a dilemma, in that she is no longer able to distinguish between reality and falsehood when it comes to pertaining her past. Is she really the daughter of Zeus or was she formed from clay by her Mother Hippolyta and given life by a pantheon of Greek Gods. These questions and more have been supplicated over the course of the Rebirth issues entitled “The Lies” as Diana searches for the truth behind her existence.

The WW Rebirth series has alternated each issue between her present and past, with a retelling of her canonical origin story in the “Year One” chapters by Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott, and the contemporary tale of Diana’s trials to discover the truth behind “The Lies” by Greg Rucka and Liam Sharp.

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But, my amazing Amazonian associates, this post isn’t primarily about our illustriously immortal idol, this post is dedicated to the talented artist who has brought Rebirth Diana to glorious life right before our very eyes, for me, Diana’s world has never been more vivid and evocative before Liam Sharp’s awe-inspiring visuals. There have been many astoundingly talented artists who have enamoured me with their take on the Amazon Ambassador over the years – Nicola Scott, Phil Jimenez, Amanda Conner, Brian Bolland, and of course the great George Perez, but Liam’s astonishing eye for detail and composition has catapulted him to the fore for this particular WW fanatic.

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British artist Liam Sharp made his debut in another of the Precinct’s very favourite things – science fiction anthology comic – 2000 AD in the 1980’s, his work included Judge Dredd, Finn and the A.B.C Warriors. He has also worked for Marvel on titles such as Death’s Head II, X-Men and DC Comics on issues of Batman and Superman, and the stunning Testament series for Vertigo. 

Liam’s current run on Wonder Woman will come to an end, alongside Greg Rucka in issue #25 when writer Shea Fontana and artist Mirka Andolfo take over duties, who recently brought us DC Super Hero Girls. Though we are always happy and willing to give any new team a chance to wow us with their take on the Themysciran Titan, the loss of Liam’s wondrous visuals on the title is a sad thing nonetheless.

With that in mind, just yesterday Liam posted on his Facebook page an exclusive look at his upcoming pencils for issue #23 of WW, and with his kind permission we have brought these astounding masterpieces to you, fellow agents of Precinct1313. Liam, we salute your artistic genius good Sir, and very much look forward to your future endeavours.

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Astonishing detail really makes us hope for a black and white variant of the WW Rebirth trade collections.

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Visuals courtesy of Liam Sharp and DC Comics. Wonder Woman is copyright DC Comics.

‘Suffering Sappho’ Calm Down Folks, Wonder Woman Has Always Been Bisexual…

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You may have noticed that we spend a lot of our time here in Precinct1313’s legendary comic crypts discussing the awesome Amazon, Wonder Woman, in fact well over 60% of the articles emanating from these creative catacombs are about the Themysciran Titan, due to the fact that she is, without a shadow of a doubt, our favourite comic-book character.

In the past few days we have received several PM’s from readers asking us for our opinion on the recent news that the venerable Princess of Themyscira is bisexual. Of course our quick answer to this question would be, “Great Hera, where have you been for the past 75 years, this is not new, Diana has always been bisexual”. It may have been implied more often than actually spoken out loud, but the signs were always there, both from her humble beginnings in the 1940’s (where, let’s be honest the allusions were so obvious, you’d have to be blind to miss them) to the actual Greek mythology that she originates from.

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If you don’t necessarily closely follow the comic book scene, allow us to enlighten you on recent events that have led up to this, frankly ridiculous furore. DC Comics, that bastion of scintillating superheroes, recently softly rebooted it’s universe of characters with an event known as ‘Rebirth’.

This event has been a huge success for the company, thanks not only to fantastic storylines, great art and a reverence for their characters lengthy history, but also because they had actually listened to their fans, who had been very vocal over the direction the company had been taking the heroes and villains over the years, some missteps had been made, and Rebirth was their attempt to bring their much loved characters back to a time when their popularity soared like the Man of Steel himself.

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Wonder Woman Rebirth Has Been Astonishingly Great… In Fact This Could Very Well Be Our Favourite WW Run Of All Time!

In fact Rebirth has turned out to be the most popular and profitable event in comics since forever, with DC Comics currently holding a huge market share in the comic book industry and soundly trumping their closest rival Marvel month in and out, they are currently holding 44% share in total comics sold worldwide, with Marvel sitting at 32%.

And one of their biggest hits has been the Rebirth issues of our favourite Hellenic Herald. Wonder Woman: Rebirth has been getting rave reviews each and every issue, the storyline by sensational scribe Greg Rucka has been sublime, alternating each issue between her origin story and modern day adventures, with awe inspiring art from Liam Sharp and Nicola Scott making every issue a majestic masterpiece.

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Liam Sharp’s Visuals Are Breathtakingly Gorgeous!

Greg Rucka has recently proclaimed that ‘Yes, Diana has had same sex relationships’, in an interview with Comicosity he stated – “It’s supposed to be paradise (her home island of Themyscira) You’re supposed to be able to live happily, in a context where one can live happily, and part of what an individual needs for that happiness is to have a partner, to have a fulfilling, romantic and sexual relationship, and in this case the only options are women. But an Amazon doesn’t look at another Amazon and say ‘you’re gay’ they don’t know the concept exists”

The link to the full interview is above and if you have the time, it’s an interesting read. The context has always been clear though, Diana, though her origin has changed slightly over the years (child of clay or daughter of Zeus) spent millennia on an isolated island populated by just women. She had never met a man, so it was obvious that she would have had same sex relations with other Amazons, as stated earlier, this was always implied, and in some cases (Grant Morrison’s Wonder Woman: Earth One being the most recent) was actually written about.

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In the 1940’s when Wonder Woman was first unleashed onto the world, the suffragette movement was beginning to gain tract and Diana who emerged triumphantly from the mind of her creator William Moulton Marston was at the forefront of this. Marston specifically created a female superhero to counter the dominant male oriented comic book market, as strong and smart as her male counterparts but filled with compassion and love of nature and the world around her, basically a deeper more rounded creation than any of the male superheroes.

It was in fact Marston’s wife Elizabeth, and Olive Byrne (who lived with them, in an extended relationship) that inspired the creation of Diana. Marston was a psychologist as well as a writer, and it was through this that he determined that women overall were more honest than men in certain situations, and could work faster and more accurately.

In an interview in a 1943 issue of ‘The American Scholar’ Marston wrote “Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength and power. Not wanting to be girls, they don’t want to be tender and peace loving as good women are. Women’s strong qualities have become despised because of perceived weakness. The answer was to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman, plus the allure of a good and beautiful woman” 

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1940’s Amazons Were Into Bondage Games, And This Has Been A Fundamental Part Of Diana’s Heritage Ever Since 

Wonder Woman being bisexual doesn’t change the character in any way whatsoever, it has always been part of her make up, it’s her heritage and should have zero bearing on whether people derive enjoyment from her continuing tales of heroism. DC Comics are not jumping on a bandwagon, they haven’t all of a sudden decided to make Diana bisexual to be hip and trendy, this is what she has always been. Wonder Woman is an exceptionally important character, the original female Superhero, THE progenitor in her field, a shining example of inclusivity and empowerment and her sexual orientation has no bearing on this.

Comic Cover Of The Week: Wonder Woman Rebirth #6

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Welcome my comic collecting cohorts to another instalment of ‘Comic Cover Of The Week’  and this week’s wonderfully wrought cover is brought to you by the fantabulous Frank Cho.

Wonder Woman Rebirth has been a rather wondrous soft reboot of DC Comics’ premier Superheroine. After nearly 75 years in print, Diana’s history has become rather convoluted, in comparison to her Trinity stablemates – Batman & Superman, the amazing Amazon’s past has been, at times, in conflict with itself. Is she the daughter of Zeus? or was she formed of clay and brought to life by a pantheon of Greek gods? These questions and many more have been asked by the fans over the last seven and a half decades of her virtual existence.

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Her byzantine history is finally being definitively addressed through DC’s ‘Rebirth’  a soft reboot of their entire universe of characters, that will finally provide an answer to those many questions posed by her faithful fans.

The Rebirth series is split into two alternating titles, written by the groundbreaking Greg Rucka, with rotational art duties performed by nifty Nicola Scott and luminous Liam Sharp. Wonder Woman Rebirth expertly focuses on two halves of her life, her ongoing adventures during the modern era and her ‘Year One’ origin story.

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Wonder Woman #6 finds the awesome Amazon encountering the world outside her paradise home of Themyscira for the first time, alongside her cicerone, Steve Trevor. Unable to understand the language or customs of these outsiders, Diana’s day becomes increasingly embroiled in mishap and misunderstanding.

Wonder Woman Rebirth #6 is available at your local comic-book emporium right now.

New Comics Spotlight: Wonder Woman Rebirth #1

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DC Comics’ recent relaunch of their Superhero comic books through ‘Rebirth‘ returned the DC Universe to a time prior to the ‘Flashpoint’ storyline, but still incorporated the continuity and consequences of much of the prior ‘New 52’ reboot. The main architect of Rebirth, superstar writer Geoff Johns, described the relaunch as “Re-laying the groundwork for DC’s future whilst also celebrating its past and present. It’s not about throwing anything away, in fact it’s quite the opposite.”

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Each of DC’s major heroes are receiving a one shot comic that precedes the relaunch of their monthly titles (in most cases now twice monthly) back to issue issue #1 (the only deviation from this are Action Comics and Detective Comics which will return to their original numbering that were prior to the New 52 reboot.)

Of course, of all the one shot titles available the one that I was most looking forward to was Wonder Woman Rebirth, and thankfully the one off special did not disappoint, in fact it was everything I had hoped for, and more.

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The Minotaur is no match for the mighty Amazon

Comic book scribe extraordinaire Greg Rucka returns once more to bring his inimitable writing style to the amazing Amazon’s amphitheatrical adventures. Rucka’s previous run on Wonder Woman ended in 2006 and was the recipient of an Eisner Award for best writer. Hailed as one of the foremost authors of the Themysciran Princess, Rucka was a fan favourite choice to pen her ongoing escapades.

WW Rebirth finds Diana in a dilemma in that she is no longer able to distinguish reality and falsehood when it pertains to her past. Is she the daughter of Zeus, or was she created from clay by her mother Queen Hippolyta and then given life by a pantheon of Greek Gods. These questions and more will be asked by the Amazon herald as she explores her history, searching for the true reason behind her existence.

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Emblematic of Diana’s move away from the New 52 storylines are reflected in the differing art styles encompassed in the comic, with the first two thirds of the issue illustrated by Matthew Clark whose style reflects the earlier incarnations, but when Diana takes a major turn in the book, Liam Sharp takes over the artistic duties with a complete departure to Clark’s art, his technique reflects the metaphorical change in the story beautifully as Diana also sheds her New 52 costume for an outfit that resembles rather closely Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman costume from the recent Batman v Superman movie.

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Liam Sharp’s visuals are tremendous throughout

Greg Rucka, Liam Sharp and Matthew Clark create a bold new direction for the continuing exploits of Wonder Woman, fantastic writing, sublime artwork from Sharp and an intriguing new start to the chronicles of the world’s most beloved Superheroine.

Precinct1313 Rating: 5 Golden Girdles Of Gaea Out Of 5.

Classic Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman #222

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Join us as we wend our way across the beautiful paradise island of Themyscira, before descending into the depths of the ancient Amazon archives in search of yet more ‘Classic Wonder Woman’  Precinct1313’s comic cover countdown to the 75th anniversary of the legendary Amazonian Princess.

This week’s terrific tome is brought to you by, Greg Rucka, Ray Snyder, Cliff Richards and Todd Klein, with another captivating cover by the talented JG. Jones. Released December, 2005. The tantalising tale secreted behind the classic cover is titled ‘Blood Debt’ and once again finds our hellenistic heroine tangling with her nemesis, Cheetah.

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We’ve written about the felonious feline Cheetah on several occasions, being that she is one of our all time favourite supervillains. Wonder Woman’s constantly recurring arch-nemesis has been around since 1943 and was developed by Wondy’s creator William Moulton Marston. There have been several versions of the character over the decades, beginning with the original – Priscilla Rich, followed by Deborah Domaine and finally post-crisis variant (and our favourite) Barbara Minerva, who is easily the most deadly and ferocious of the pack.

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In ‘Blood Debt‘ Diana and Cheetah face off once more. Diana is on trial at the Hague for the murder of the villainous Maxwell Lord (details on that right here, fact fans) after the incident was broadcast across the planet by the (Batman created) Brother Eye satellite system. Diana pleads not guilty to the charges and is given parole, but whilst residing in the Hague and awaiting trial, she is once again attacked by Cheetah, only this time, the malicious moggie manages to defeat a world weary Wonder Woman.

Join us again next time for another classic WW cover, my astounding Amazonian associates!

Classic Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman (Vol 2) #219

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Copyright: DC Comics

By Zeus’ decree, we continue our search through the ancient Amazon archives to bring you yet another thrilling instalment of  “Classic Wonder Woman,” Precinct 1313’s weekly comic cover countdown to the 75th anniversary of the Themysciran Titan.

This week’s tantalising tome is titled ‘Sacrifice’ and is brought to you by master scribe Greg Rucka, with a cadre of amazing artists that includes – Rags Morales, David Lopez and Karl Kerschl, plus another incredible cover by JG. Jones. Released: September 2005.

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Sacrifice is the conclusion of a 4 part crossover story that continues from Superman #642. After Superman almost beats Batman to death, it is discovered by the Martian Manhunter that he was under the control of Maxwell Lord , powerful telepathic and one time chairman of Justice League International and shadowy corporation Checkmate.

In the 2005 “Countdown To Infinite Crisis,” it was revealed that Max was actually a criminal mastermind who had reformed the Justice League to gain pertinent information about Superheroes, whom he considered a considerable threat to the planet. Max was gifted by Alex Luthor (God-like son of an alternate Earth Lex,) Batman’s Brother Eye satellite system (which the Caped Crusader used to keep a paranoid check on the various planetary Superheroes.) With the control of Brother Eye, Max created an army of O.M.A.C.s (nano infected humans, transformed into powerful cyborgs) which he programmed to hunt down and destroy Earth’s Superhuman population.

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Once again under the mind control of Lord, Superman is sent to kill Wonder Woman after Max convinces him that Diana is actually his old nemesis Doomsday, and an epic super-power beatdown ensues, with DC’s two biggest heavy hitters clashing head on.

In the midst of the monumental battle, Diana realises that even if she beats Superman he will still ultimately be under the control of Lord. Breaking from the battle she manages to ensnare Lord with her golden lasso, and Lord bound by the power of Diana’s lasso of truth tells Diana that the only way she can stop him, is to kill him. Diana obliges, snapping his neck. Brother Eye broadcasts the footage of Diana killing Lord across the planet, destroying Diana’s reputation as a hero in the eyes of the world and ending her ties with the Justice League, with Batman and Superman also turning their backs on her.

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Diana has always been DC’s greatest and most skilled combatant, with centuries of martial training and demi-god status she is an almost unbeatable force. She combines this power though, with a compassion and respect of all living things that transcends her capacity for violent action. But she also has never shied away from what must be done to keep Earth and its population safe from any and all threat to innocent life, and has on occasion taken a life to save countless others.

Join us again next week for another classic WW cover, my adventurous Amazonian associates!

Classic Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman (Vol 2) #213

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The ancient Amazon archives reveal their deepest secrets to the outside world once more, as we continue on our journey to the 75th anniversary of Diana Prince. “Classic Wonder Woman” this week presents; Wonder Woman (volume 2) #213. Written by: Greg Rucka. Cover art by: J.G Jones. Interior art by: James Raiz. Released April 2005.

This week’s illuminating issue is titled “Counting Coup” and is part two of a thrilling tale that sees Olympus Gods, Zeus and Athena clash. With Diana enmeshed in the conflict she finds she must face the threat of Zeus’ bodyguard, the one hundred armed, fifty headed beast known as Briareos.

Another stunning issue from the awesome Greg Rucka, with an absolutely sublime cover illustrated by the talented J.G Jones. My favourite tales of the Amazing Amazon are always the ones that deal with the Olympic Gods and Greek mythology, and Rucka’s remarkable run on Wonder Woman wrought many great mythological narratives.

Join us again next week for another classic WW cover, my astounding Amazonian associates!

Precinct1313 Recommends: Batwoman – Elegy

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(Copyright: DC Comics)

After a long hiatus from the world of costumed crime-fighters, Batwoman triumphantly returned like the proverbial phoenix in 2006 in the pages of the weekly series ’52’. Batwoman was created by Bob Kane and Sheldon Moldoff in 1956 and made her debut in Detective Comics #233. There have been two notable versions of the character over the years beginning with the original Kathy Kane, the silver age variant. Kathy was created to be part of what was becoming known as The Batman Family and as a possible love interest for Bruce Wayne, but in 1964 following a restructure of the Batman universe, Kathy was removed altogether from bat-lore by new editor Julius Schwartz.

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