Beatriz Da Costa (Fire)

Publisher: DC Comics
First Appearance: Super Friends #25 (October 1979)
Created By: E. Nelson Bridwell and Ramona Fradon

Bea originally debuted in Super Friends as the Green Fury, with inconsistently-defined flame-based powers courtesy of ‘Brazilian mysticism.’ Luckily, that didn’t last long, and post-Crisis she returned as a former model and showgirl who became a secret agent for the Brazilian government. An accident on the job with a substance called pyroplasm endowed her with the ability to exhale green fire, because comics. She named herself Green Fury, then Green Flame, and joined the Global Guardians, an international team of superheroes funded by the UN.
When the UN withdrew funding from the Global Guardians in favor of the newly-formed Justice League International, Bea and her best friend Tora Olafsdotter (Icemaiden II) signed up with the latter. Soon after, they changed their names to Fire and Ice, and Bea got a major power up that enabled her to turn her whole body to green fire, fly, and shoot fiery blasts from her hands. Bea served the longest continuous term of any JLI member, even through Tora’s death, which devastated Bea.
With the dissolution of the JLI, Bea joined up with Checkmate, a cloak-and-dagger UN-sponsored agency dedicated to monitoring metahuman activity. There she was blackmailed by Amanda Waller, Checkmate’s White Queen, into performing covert assassinations in order to cover up her father’s past war crimes. Eventually she agreed to turn her father over to the authorities instead.
Bea has currently teamed up with several old JLI teammates (including a resurrected Tora) and their successors to track down their former-friend-gone-rogue Max Lord in Justice League: Generation Lost.
So What’s So Great About Her?

Like all of the characters associated with the banter-y, lighthearted Justice League International, Bea is often dismissed as a goofy joke character. She spent the late 80s trading quips with the likes of Blue Beetle and Booster Gold, gleefully showing off skin in what’s now a hilariously dated outfit, and dragging the much less brazen Tora into zany situations.
Of course, later issues of Justice League America, post-Tora’s death, showed a deeper side of her, as she struggled with her grief and her confused feelings about Tora, original Icemaiden and new teammate Sigrid Nansen, her own sexuality, and a budding relationship with Tora’s former lover Guy Gardner, who she’d previously hated. And a follow-up miniseries by the original JLI creative team, I Can’t Believe It’s Not the Justice League, delved deep into Bea’s anguish, still painful after all these years, when she encountered what may or may not have been Tora in what or may not have been Hell (and the miniseries itself may or may not have been canon). But she’s still JLI, and JLI characters still tend to get painted with the ‘comical failure’ brush.
The recent Checkmate series, though, and the current Generation Lost show a radically different Bea than JLI one: a woman who has been trained to kill since childhood, a woman who will use her incredibly destructive power or her bare hands to commit murder in order to protect a father who does not deserve her loyalty. This Bea struggles with the balance between superhero and government agent, but internally; no pyrotechnic outbursts for her.
While the Checkmate characterization may seem like a drastic departure from earlier depictions of Bea, a lot of it was already present in the character. She’s had the secret agent backstory almost from the beginning, she’s always been more complex than she lets on, and she’s always has loyalty in spades. It’s the tone of the book (and the dialing-down of Bea’s flamboyant, temperamental personality) that makes her seem so different. And heck, she has reason to be down at least five of her oldest and dearest friends had just kicked the bucket at the time, one going evil along the way.
Now with the JLI reunited, I’m calling for a return of the brash, hot-tempered, breezily sensual Bea of the JLI but afforded the kind of respect characters like the competent, conflicted Bea of Checkmate get. After all, her power set is basically identical to Marvel’s Human Torch, and people take him (reasonably) seriously. Why not Bea?
At her core, Bea’s a bright, flashy character with a deep love of life, and a ton of fun to read. She’s got a sense of humor; she’s got a temper; she’s got a healthy dose of self-confidence. And now, thanks to Checkmate, she’s got a level-up in badass Checkmate and that’s only fitting. Because at the end of the day, Bea, like her JLI fellows, can be silly and flawed and painfully human but she’s still a superhero, and she can still kick all kinds of ass.
Notable Appearances:
As mentioned above, Bea served the longest term on the Justice League International. Her branch was renamed Justice League America with issue #26.
Justice League International v1 #12-25
Justice League America #26-113
Martian Manhunter #10
Formerly Known as the Justice League
I Can’t Believe It’s Not the Justice League
Checkmate v2 #1-31 (especially #11-12, which reveal the backstory with her father)
Bea is currently co-starring in Justice League: Generation Lost.

If we’re talking crap comic book superhero films: Dolph Lundgren Punisher must be spoken

If people are going to insist on swinging Catwoman and Elektra around the place like some form of ‘Get Out Of Argument Free’ card in discussion of female superhero movies. I’d like to remind people of the following items of comic-book to cinema.
The Punisher I:Dolph Lundgren Version
I’d also like to illustrate the subsequent Punisher films.
The Punisher II: The Profit Margin
The Punisher III (The BreakEven!
Where’s my sequel/franchise reboots for Elektra (break even) and Catwoman (narrow loss) since they returned much better investments that the first Punisher, and that saw two franchises?

Cross post

Head over to the ‘Bully Says’ blog and readJohn DiBello full post
Comics oughta be fun. Comic book conventions ought to, as well. But as long as harassment goes on and there is no clear-cut official written rules on convention behavior and what to do in circumstances or physical or mental assault, our hobby runs the risk of alienating and endangering those within it.
I’ve put a word across to a friend who’s involved in the business. If you’ve got contacts for events like these who work in the management teams, pass the link onto them, and pass the link around.
(Thanks to kalinara@WFA for the headsup)
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Tags: Comic book, Comic-Con International, comics, Convention, Fan convention

Saturday Morning Cartoons

Lisa Fortuna mentions there’s no Wonder Woman cartoon, and it occurred to me, that I wasn’t immediately keen to see a Wonder Woman cartoon produced. Which, given my loyalty to ElectraWoman and DynaGirl, wasn’t entirely something that made sense to me.
I thought about it for a bit, and what struck me wasn’t that I didn’t want a Wonder Woman cartoon I wanted there to be more than one go-to female lead for a Saturday morning cartoon. The DC male usual suspects list has expanded from the go-to team of Batman and Superman to include Green Arrow and Blue Beetle. So why just stick with a cartoon Amazon when there’s options for a go-to team from Zatanna, Black Canary, Huntress, Spoiler, Misfit, Barda, Supergirl, Raven, Starfire, Arrowette, Mia/Speedy(II) cartoon, Fire, Ice, or Barbara Gordon (either Batgirl or Oracle)
And then it struck me, that I could hear the auto-counterargument of ‘But nobody knows who [$female_character] is…’ as the reflexive beat down. True, few outside of the comic book circles know Arrowette, Speedy, Fire, Ice et al… just like the way few outside of the game know this chap called Blue Beetle. I like the Blue Beetles (more Ted and Jamie, less so Dan) but outside of fandom, who’s really heard of the Blue Beetle? At least Green Arrow was on Smallville but so was Black Canary.
Beetle? His push will come from the cartoon. So I say it’s time to give the push to some less recognized female characters. I mean, imagine a set up of Brave and Bold II: Oracle, Black Canary and Zatanna.
How much literal, figurative and animated ass would this line up kick?

Tags: Barbara Gordon, black canary, Blue Beetle, Green Arrow, Saturday morning cartoon, Wonder Woman

Batman 673

Goddamn Batman! I’m actually excited about getting to the comic store and handing over cash for DC products. Roll on the shopping spree tomorrow!
Dear DC
Thank you for listening.
Dear Friends of Girl-Wonder.
Thank you for speaking.
Dear Opponents of Girl -Wonder
Thanks for letting me quote Christina Aguilera at you.
Dear Mary
Thank you. You thought of it, you believed in it, and look what it’s done so far.
Designated Sidekick
(and damnit, I’m crying because Steph got the recognition so long over due)
Tags: batman 673, dc comics, project girl wonder, robin, stephanie brown

Selling with the Sexy

I’ve been looking over the sales figures for Marvel, and I have to admit, I’ve been wrong about the sales power of sexy.
Right now, there’s a scantily clad sales machine with slender hips, massive torso, clad in a loin cloth skirt and very very little else. This semi naked sales machine has doubled, and I mean DOUBLED the sales figures of one of the tie in comics.
This sales bombshell is none other than….

Oh that chest and those legs and that tiny skirt

The Incredibly Sexy Hulk.
World War Hulk is #1 on the comic book box office, and the Hulk’s impact on the Heroes for Hire franchise has not been missed.
08/06 Heroes for Hire #01 84,006
09/06 Heroes for Hire #02 66,949 (-20.3%)
10/06 Heroes for Hire #03 60,770 ( -9.2%)
11/06 Heroes for Hire #04 38,070 (-37.4%)
12/06 Heroes for Hire #05 31,318 (-17.7%)
01/07 Heroes for Hire #06 27,513 (-12.1%)
02/07 Heroes for Hire #07 24,476 (-11.0%)
03/07 Heroes for Hire #08 22,563 ( -7.8%)
04/07 Heroes for Hire #09 21,444 ( -5.0%)
06/07 Heroes for Hire #10 -20,503
06/07 Heroes for Hire #11 41,298 WWH related
06/07 Heroes for Hire #12 41,229 WWH related
09/07 Heroes for Hire #13 40,086 WWH related
00/07 Heroes for Hire #14 Part 4 of WWH content
00/07 Heroes for Hire #14 Part 5 of WWH storyline
You want to sell comics in this modern day market place? Strip down one of the big boys and put him in the crossovers.
Half Naked Hulk sells comics. Big bulging semi-naked men sell comics. It’s just economics, so DC, pants those eras, buff those pecs and show me some Batmanflesh for that sales bonanza.
It’s what the market wants isn’t it?

Oh that chest and those legs and that tiny skirt

The Campaign for Change in Comics: Shouting loudly is fast tracking the change

‘You can get much further with a kind word and a gun batarang than you can with a kind word alone.

  • Al Capone Some Goddamn Batman
    My Background: I’ve read Dale Carnegie’s ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’, Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, Kotler and Roberto’s Social Marketing, and I’ve written Competitive Marketing Strategy (along with Strategic Internet Marketing). I’ve got a bit of a background in marketing, lecturing, social marketing, politics, lobbying and selling expensive commercial product to an unwilling market. I have a PhD where I developed a new theoretical model to describe how people deal with the hypernew products and the key factors involved in getting the really new stuff out of beta and into people’s hands via their hip pocket.
    My role: I’m a mercenary civilian contractor. Trained as a marketer, employed as a marketing educator, and working as a columnist and military adviser consultant to Girl-Wonder and the Project Girl Wonder, my self anointed part in this process is to aggravate, agitate and educate.
    It’s easy to dismiss complaints about sexist portrayal of women in comics if it’s just coming from female readers. All the usual dismissal methods roll out and get thrown around. Throw in the complaints from men, and it makes it harder to pull the wholesale dismissal. Being an aggravating male with a propensity to snipe on topic areas where I can pull out the heavy artillery as required means I can get under the skins of certain bloggers, draw some heat, and make the sockpuppets dance.
    It’s called stirring. I do it well. For example, to agitate the crowd, I could put forth my hypothesis that the desire for overwrought caricatures of women that are distorted, impossiby proportioned and unattainable figures could be the result of overcompensation to mask other latent desires and needs. Similarly, being able to start fights, point out flaws, raise counterpoints and every now and then stand on the rooftops and shout at the top of my lungs is a valuable part of the change movement. Gandhi was the last saint like figure to bust out a completely passive move set for victory. The rest of us get along by being much more human and flawed.
    Somedays, at the end of it all, you just can’t avoid the fact Dan DiDio has a tendency to be a dick (not as in Grayson). He’ll never accept such a judgement of himself, but when you’re looking at the things he does accept, it’s worth being in the category of wrong in that man’s head. That said, is it counter productive to call him a dick? Probably not since a huge chunk of recent rounds of problematic content to come from DC have had his fingerprints on it, letting him (and the successors to his title) know that his actions are tarnishing his reputation will help in the long haul. If people thought he was a respected figure for the decision that’ve been made, statements said, and general dickishness, then it’ll be a cold shower moment of ‘Wait…do I want that for me?’ for the next in line to consider when planning how they’d deal with the situation if they were the editor
    One of the things about this sort of change campaigning activity is that our internet addicted TV stained minds have been taught by by a news media with weekly ratings battles that any sort of long term activity beyond 18 months is a failure. Compare this with the fact it takes 10 to 12 years to get someone through school, another 3 to 5 years to get through college/university, and the entire Harry Potter franchise took 10 years to from releasing the first book to releasing the last book. Changing the way a comic book industry works in 18 months? Sure,it’s possible, but I heartly recommend fire and nuking from orbit if you want to be that quick. Otherwise, take some time and schedule it for generational change.
    My view on the comics book change movement: Are the various campaigns making headway? Hell to the yes. Are we all doing it the hard way? Yes, because there isn’t an easy way. This is generational change that I’m talking about in aiming for the reform of the comic book industry. I’m talking about keeping the fires burning for the people starting out into the game now as much as trying to persuade those at the top to reconsider their position and standards. When the DCU and Marvel replace the current editor, that editor will still have been shaped by coming through the same sort of system that created the current mindsets. Within a few editors, and a couple of generations of writers, artists and in-house staff changes, then you’ll start to see people implementing the sort of changes that are being blogged about here and now.
    I’ll speak solely for Girl-Wonder (there are other groups who can speak for themselves). People have heard of the site, the associated causes, and the Robin-in-a-jar project. I was looking at this sort of recognition around three to five years in, and certainly nothing of the level we’re at right now we’re on the radar of the majors and that’s rapid fire success.
    The Framework: In social change, there’s this wonderful little model we use to demonstrate how social causes take effect.
    Prochaska and DiClemente’s Stages of Change Model
    Stage Characteristics
    Pre contemplation Potential targets are unaware of issue
    Contemplation Targets become aware of the issue and start to consider it in light of their lives
    Preparation Targets determine what they need to know or do to change their behaviour
    Action Targets trial the alternate behaviour
    Maintenance Targets adopt the alternative behaviour long term as their ‘normal’ behaviour
    In my opinion, Girl-Wonder is somewhere in Precontemplation to Contemplation for the vast bulk of the comic book fandom, industry, readership and creator base. To get to Action and Maintenance will take time, and the implementation of an additional array of strategies which will come into play in Preparation and Action. That’s the time and place for negotiations, creating alternative products for creators, making exchanges and trade offs.
    Right now? There’s a need to raise the roof, start the fires and let the world know that there is an issue, the issue is important enough to require addressing, and that girls read comics and they’re pissed.
    You’d be surprised how much this is an under realised issue in the business. Even the fact that girls read comics wasn’t something the mother of a girl standing in the comic store in front of me was 100% onboard with despite the fact her daughter was selecting comics to purchase. There’s some light on the subject, but there needs to be more light. Perhaps a large bonfire with a huge plume of smoke so people can see that yes, there’s smoke, there’s fire and there’s something afoot here worth investigating (and it’s a worthy sacrifice for the rum to make).
    So right now, on the generational change for the betterment of comics project timeline, this whole damn thing is running way ahead of schedule because ass is being kicked, attention is being raised, dialogue is being opened with people who are saying or thinking ‘Look, I know so and so is a tool about this, but I don’t want to be one myself, what can I do?’ and a bunch of very pissed off people are getting to shout loudly, stomp and do all the sort of frustration venting moves that are par for the course in any other environment seeking long term change.
    Once the foothold is established in contemplation, and the advance scouts hit the beachhead of Preparation, then it’ll be time to look at options, alternatives and talking quietly in deal making situations. Right now, this movement has some attention to raise, and one of the many ways it’s being done is by shouting loudly and being visible.
    PS: Project Girl Wonder is in currently in dual win situation either DCU relents and matches Jason ‘Not Dead’ Todd’s Case with Stephanie ‘Still Dead’ Brown’s case, and the balance is redressed, or DCU continues to provide a clear example of how a dead female Robin is treated with less respect than a dead-and-got-better male Robin. DCU can prove a point about gender in comics, or correct an editorial oversight.
    PPS: For those wondering about time frames and comparative success look at how long it took for comics and tradepaperbacks to move from ‘Funnybooks for kids’ to being sold in mainstream book stores and reviewed in mainstream newspapers. (Don’t forget to check when the last ‘Comic books aren’t just for kids’ story ran as well)
    Prochaska, J.O., DiClemente, C.C. & Norcross, J.C. (1992). In search of how people change: Applications to addictive behaviors. American Psychologist, 47(9), 1102-1114.

Green Arrow, Black Canary, and the Wedding Issue: AKA Let’s destroy the viability of this franchise!

Dear DC
Why are you systematically trying to destroy the Green Arrow and Black Canary franchise? Why must you insist on adding Deathstroke the Uninteresting into the mix? Deathstork hates Ollie. We get that. We got it the last 3 times, and the time before that and over in JLA and would you just get a new schtick here? Oh, look Deathstrokinghimself has pointed his big sword at Canary again… twice or three times now? CANARY CRY? No. Canary whimper.
That’s okay, it’s not like Canary wouldn’t be able to hold her own against a human oppone… oh forget I said anything.
Plus, for the record, as a man who has been hit by their partner (said partner is an ex-partner), no, it doesn’t lead to hot sex and lasting marriage. It leads to damage, confidence loss, feelings of betrayal and a shit load of other problems with later relationships, trust and friendships. It’s abuse, it’s violence and that whole fight to slap sequence is serious domestic abuse from both sides. Why did you turn the Canar/Arrow relationship of sheer joy at being reunited after the OYL absence into something so destructive?
So, fuck you DC. If you wanted me to quit a franchise, next time, send a fucking e-mail. I’m out. It’s only a matter of issues before Mia and Roy and Connor are trainwrecked as well. I’d rather remember the Black Canary of Birds of Prey, and the Green Arrow of Quiver than this mess.
Disappointed Sidekick
PS: Why don’t you go commission a movie where you take GA out of the costume, confiscate his arrows and bow and stick him in a super villain prison just to finish off the franchise?
PPS: Go read Karen’s take on the comic.
PPPS: Thus far, I’ve seen one positive review of the comic. If you liked it, that’s your choice, and I’ll respect that so long as you respect my choice to dislike it. Agreeing to disagree is part of the way the world works.

Designated Survey 01: What are your priorities for art, character and costume in comics?

Missing Attachment
There’s a lot of assumptions in comic book fandom about what’s important, what other people like, who reads what and what priorities people put on different factors.
Me? I like a little bit of numbers with my speculation. So with that in mind, I’d like to introduce to you all…
Designated Survey

Designated Survey

Click Here to take survey
This debut issue of the Designated Survey is asking you to put some preferences down on what you want in a comic book, what’s important in comic book characters, and what makes a superhero outfit more than just a fancy dress costume?
Plus a couple of questions of what really matters when it comes to parting with money for four colour stories.
Links for spreading the survey around the place after the cut.

For those of you who wish to pass the survey around, copy and paste the link

Click Here to take the Designated Sidekick Designated Survey

When worlds collide: X-Bratz?

Arad, the man behind the ‘Spider-Man’ and ‘Fantastic Four’ franchises, raised eyebrows in Hollywood when he switched gears from his comic book safety zone to produce the tween-empowerment movie inspired by the freakish dolls with enormous heads. In explaining the move, he insisted that Bratz are ‘X-Men for girls’ — it’s just that their superpowers are singing, fashion, soccer and cheerleading.
Oh. My. PLEASE? PRETTY PLEASE? Can we have X-4 be just that?
Wolverine singing cabaret numbers?
Cyclops shopping for brand name glasses?
Soccer with Nightcrawler? and with Colossus in a little cheerleader outfit cheering his beloved Nightcrawler on?
Professor X’s Magic Makeover Party!
Iceman’s and Pyro arguing over who has the prettiest scrapbook (then making up and making out)
Angel being all angsty and writing poetry and standing on the roof of … damn, is this X-men or Buffy? Um, Warren being all pretty and winged and trying to find a salon that styles feathers.
Please? It’d be like ‘Bratz for Boys!’. A sure fire winner!