"You’ve gotta ask yourself one question. Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?"
Ultimate Spider-Man #37Bendis, Bagley, Thibert2003

"You’ve gotta ask yourself one question. Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?"

Ultimate Spider-Man #37
Bendis, Bagley, Thibert
2003

As do we all.
"Hulk want Freddie Prinze Junior!" - Ultimates #4 June 2002

As do we all.

"Hulk want Freddie Prinze Junior!" - Ultimates #4 June 2002

Arvell Shaw Tears It UP (How High The Moon Bass Solo)

If you have ever loved a bass lick or are a musician who is due for some good old-fashioned humble pie, you need to watch this…

The DC Heroic House Style: How Boys and Girls Soar Through Gotham

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For Boys

It is not difficult to find yourself or your beliefs in iconic heroic imagery. I think that’s one reason why comics fans cosplay (“costume play” … play dress-up. Also, it’s one reason why sports fans wear warpaint and replica jerseys to ball games… What is “cosplay”? What is “nerd”? But I digress…) We see ourselves in superheroes or, at least, what we believe, what we want, what we admire and what we aspire to be.

There is something universally badass about deception—hiding your inner hero beneath an unassuming facade. As a kid, I wore my Superman pajamas (cape and all) underneath the suit I’d wear to church on Sundays. “Ha! You think I’m just some kid but, underneath these Ninja-Turtle suspenders, I’m Superman!” Deception works in so many stories too. Power Rangers. Transformers. The Man in Black from The Princess Bride who reveals in mid-battle that though he had been sword fighting with his left-hand … he’s actually right-handed! Or Goku and Picollo dropping their weighted clothes when battling Raditz! Deception is so badass. And I believe deception is metaphorically entwined in cosplay culture. I could be normal. I could be me. Or maybe you’ve underestimated me. Maybe I’ve underestimated me. Hell, I could be just like that totally badass splash of Nightwing above. He is, after all, the fantastical embodiment of the values I hold dear…

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For Girls

Oh … umm … Why is Batgirl falling doggystyle through Gotham City?

If we dissect the above splash of Batgirl (from Batgirl #5, February 2012) into the rule of thirds (one of the earliest design principles you’ll learn in any photography or graphic design program … i.e., it’s basic and DC artists know this stuff) the focal point of the image is Batgirl’s ass and vajayjay. Face down. Ass up. I get that Batgirl is an acrobatic superhero but artists make choices and the ways in which artists choose to showcase Nightwing (another acrobatic superhero) and his skills suggests power and not sexual submission like the ways in which artists choose to portray Batgirl.

Even in the most balls-in-your-face drawings of Nightwing—like the Nightwing #1 cover, Sept. 2011 (see below)—Nightwing’s face is the focal point of the image. Nightwing (below) is moving toward the reader from a position of power or advantage. Batgirl (above) is fleeing the reader who predatorily stalks her from above, staring down omnisciently at her penetration points.

My point in this comparison is to show that the above splash of Batgirl was not simply an innocent illustration of an acrobatic superhero performing a stunt that was then misinterpreted by a disgruntled audience. DC’s artists are professionals and they have purposely chosen this pose to serve a purpose.

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For Everyone

Writers make choices. Artists make choices. Editors make choices. Have you heard DC (and Marvel for that matter) spout off this stuff about world-building and reaching out to an expanding female readership? Yet, they suggest (for lack of a better term… maybe proclaim on high) that the apex of feminine worth and heroism is rooted in sexuality.

To be brief and blunt, DC misrepresents and devalues women—mothers, daughters, sisters—and womanhood. DC has chosen to portray an iconic heroine (a role-model for little and grown girls alike) as a sexual object. If you love comics, respect the art, and want to see it develop into a deeper and more innovative literary medium, this overtly sexualized image that DC has crafted for girls to gaze into and see themselves should piss you off.

They were good. I’m the best.

Iconic Pop Art from Wolverine (1982) by Chris Claremont, script, and Frank Miller, pencils.

Tab Benoit “When a Cajun Man gets the Blues”

MY GAWD! I was born and raised in Texas but I swear I can hear hints of my father’s coonass upbringing in the bright twang of that old tele and honey gruff of Tab Benoit’s voice. Great tune. Good message. Check out Hurricane on the Bayou for more Tab and friends. The song begins around 1:55 but he says a few things worth hearing before then.

Sage's Selva Guitar #5

Sage, from Selva Guitars, lives in a Gypsy wagon within the Boston, MA, city limits, where he designs stunning, backpacker-style guitars with an endearing mountain twang though they still need a few modifications for durability’s sake. You can hear in Sage’s voice that he truly is a dreamer and designing guitars is his dream. I hope he gets his designs right because, when he does, I will be first in line to purchase my own.

From Jeff Smith’s Bone

From Jeff Smith’s Bone

Unreal Standards for Little Boys
Someone should write this book and make bajillions. You could change the subtitle to something witty and pop-political relevant like “Vicarious Dreams from My Father” or make it a mysterious cliche “Confessions of a Once Prospective Superhero.”

Unreal Standards for Little Boys

Someone should write this book and make bajillions. You could change the subtitle to something witty and pop-political relevant like “Vicarious Dreams from My Father” or make it a mysterious cliche “Confessions of a Once Prospective Superhero.”

"Female Drummer" by Sam Barrett

This oddly beautiful old pub tune from Yorkshire sung by Yorkshire’s own, indie folk artist, Serious Sam Barrett, tells of a young woman who poses as a boy to join the army. She roams. She out plays the men on that “ro-ba-du-ba-dum.” She is every bit a soldier as the men whom she lives alongside. She tells of the breech and how she somehow managed to keep her secret despite the practice of trouser-less beatings as punishment in the King’s army at the time the song was written. She tells of the girl in London who, bemused but unaware, falls in love with her. That bit of humor in the tale of such a brave girl who is forced by birth, culture, and circumstance to forfeit her freedom for a simple domestic life is brought to a bittersweet head by Barrett’s raspy-honey vocal presentation.

That 12-string beauty he’s playing (though I can’t tell its make from the video) looks and sounds like those vintage Silvertone acoustics that middle-class folk used to buy from the Sears catalog during the first half of the 20th century. She’s a real treasure. If Mr. Barrett comes to a pub/ bar near you, go see him; he has the uncanny ability to move and captivate an audience with just his voice and his 12-string acoustic. In an age of techno indie synthesized pop, Mr. Barrett’s show is something special.