Sunday, July 27, 2014

Why Artists Went Fan Squee Over Batgirl's New Outfit

Just as I'm getting ready to attend next Saturday's Tampa Bay Comic-con, there's been a bit of interest in the comics industry about a revamped look for one of the big names in the DC Universe.  Batgirl (technically the second one, Barbara "Babs" Gordon) is getting a new look:

Edit: the artist is Babs Tarr (Babs is drawing Babs!).  She's a big deal.  Check her out.

The response has been epic.  Within a day (I am not kidding), fan art from professional and independent graphic artists flooded the Intertubes.

Part of it is due to the outfit being so damn sensible: instead of it being a glorified swimsuit, or spandex form-fitting distraction, the new outfit is practical.  Leather jacket and armor.  Regular boots (although the laces may be a weak spot!).  The utility belt (no Bat goes without one) uses an additional leg strap to keep it and the main pouch secure.  The cowl doesn't get trapped over the ears.  Above all: THE CAPE.

Fans are divided over the idea of a cape.  Some supers can't be one without it (Superman in particular).  But in terms of practicality...  The movie Incredibles spells it out:
NO CAPES!

Batgirl is going to employ a simple, sensible alternative: snap-on, snap-off cape (via Sam Logan).


Fans are ga-ga for the snap-on.  My favorite response so far has been from Mike Maihack.  He's done a handful of Batgirl-Supergirl (in canon and fanon Babs and Kara are BFFs) one-sheets before, and with the new uniform he couldn't resist:

in Maihack's tellings, Kara's a bit of a fashionista, much to Babs' dismay...
See Kara popping that snap-on?  Yup.  Fans dig the snap-on.

As for the other reason fans are going ga-ga...

Part of the response is due to the background of Barbara Gordon herself.  Ever since her inception in the mid-1960s (the Silver Age), Barbara's place among the fandom has been usually well-received.  When the Killing Joke happened - the infamous issue where the Joker paralyzed her by shooting through her spine - the horrified response was universal (even the writer Alan Moore - himself a master Deconstructor, he dissed the capes too - regretted the move).  Bat-fans within the industry quickly worked to make Barbara a new heroine - Oracle - while the fans working via fanart and fanfic came up with stories of her regaining the use of her legs.  It took yet another multiverse Crisis (DC unfortunately has gotten into the sad habit of rebooting itself every 3-4 years now /headdesk) to return to an earlier reboot making her college-age again and back to mobility.

The fan-love for Barbara comes from her origin.  The reason she became Batgirl was because she was a fangirl in costume (from the Hero Sandwich blog):
Artist Carmine Infantino















One things the comics creators try to do is develop a character/hero the potential audience can relate to.  When it became clear that kids were superhero books' biggest readers, the publishers created "sidekick" pre-teens (Speedy, Robin, the Newsboy Legion) to act as in-story surrogates.  Sometimes it worked, sometimes you'd get a Scrappy.

In Barbara's case, she was relatively unique.  Most sidekicks - and heroes that mentored them - came from damaged backgrounds, suffering some terrible injustice or fleeing a deadly fate that would become a motivating factor in their decision to dress up and fight crime.

Barbara was on her way to a costume ball, dressed up as her favorite superhero, when she has to stop Killer Moth - yes, villains from the 1950s and 1960s were a bit lame - from kidnapping Bruce Wayne.

She's pretty much an ascended cosplayer.

Hence the fan-love.

I wonder how many costumers at the Tampa comic-con are gonna have snap-on capes... (don't look at me. I'm gonna try to fit into the Jedi outfit mom sewed for me).

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

In the Good News Bad News Categories: July 2014 Edition

1) Bad news: I couldn't keep up with Camp NaNo this month.  Just couldn't, too many distractions and just didn't plan ahead for it.  Good news: I am putting in to be a regional moderator for Polk County/Lakeland for the regular NaNo this November just to see if I can spread the 50k a month manifesto. Even better news: trying to get stuff written got me motivated enough to finish another story submission to Mystery & Horror LLC, so we'll see how that goes... :)

2) Bad news: found out I had a flat tire.  Equally bad news, nearly crushed a finger coping with the nightmare of getting the spare tire off and nearly losing the car on the driveway incline.  Good news: finger's just bruised and was able to get the tire fixed rather cheap and refilled with Nitrogen.

3) Bad news: still lonely.  Good news: ...well, I need to figure out social skills before I can fix this kind of bad news... sigh.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

It's Summer And That Means Camp. Camp NaNoWriMo

Seriously?

Apparently, people wanted to do the whole novel-in-a-month thing during other months, so the makers of National Novel Writing Month created Camp NaNo.

So... I'm signing up for the July one to see if I can get re-focused on the writings I've done for the regular NaNos.  It seems that once the month is over, I lose interest or get distracted and all, which isn't fair to my work(s) piling up.

And I think Camp NaNo tries to do the support/motivational stuff via online chats and sharing.

So... does anyone else do Camp NaNo?  Any suggestions?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Anniversary: 20 Years of North Regional Broward County Library!

As I mentioned earlier and elsewhere, today is the official 20th anniversary of the North Regional Library in Broward County.  I showed up for the celebrations, and to document how the place looks today:

 BUT FIRST DUCKIES!  There was a parade of ducklings cutting across the Broward College campus (North Regional is a shared library with the community college here), so yes I had to take pictures!
They've added some additional signage out front over the years...
 The (in)famous stained-glass hanging art in the stairwell is no more.  Apparently Hurricane Wilma left a mark on the building.  Sad to say, but being a glass sculpture was a bit odd to hang in south Florida, especially with the sunlight focused off all that reflective mirrors up in the skylight above... we had one of the artwork shards shatter every so often, much to the staff's concern...  I don't know what the library system plans on putting up there to replace it... preferably something cloth?

 The stairwell itself.  Behind it there's a wall blocking off the college's Learning Resource Center: it's being enlarged/renovated, so here's hoping something nice comes out of it...
 These boats have been here in the Children's area since NR opened.  Also to note, the Young Adult/Teen room was being heavily used today, which is nice: when I started here we didn't have much teen activity, so it's good it's picked up...
 I was responsible for the collection management of the 900 Dewey shelves.  We never DID get enough books on Jamaica - History to satisfy demand, did we...?  Sigh.
 And... the party!  In the auditorium...
This was as the crowd was getting in.
The library hired a trio - Drum Cafe - to work an interactive show this afternoon, so it did get a bit noisy... I SAID IT GOT A BIT NOISY IN THE... NO, NOTHING TO DO WITH BAKING SODA, NO.  WHAT?  SPEAK LOUDER, THE PERCUSSION SECTION IS... WHAT?  HELLO?

I thought I had picture of cake.  Sigh.  Lemme go check my cell phone, await updates please... :)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Because It's Friday The 13th, and You NEED More Cat Pictures On The Internet

Considering the unlucky day that is Friday the 13th, I decided to box up Mal my black kitteh:
You know, just to be on the safe side...

He's getting to be as long as my forearm, getting bigger every day...

I will see you all in North Broward tomorrow for the 20th anniversary of North Regional Library!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Look What I Found On the New Processing Cart At Bartow Library

Someone's gone and done a YA novel about Library Ninjas...

I oughta be kicking myself though.  I've been thinking up of the need for library ninjas since the 1990s when I wrote my American Libraries humor article about squelching book theft.  Which led into my "Overdue" short story in my Grapefruit Wars anthology...  Shoulda known there could be a market for a full book.

Well played, Downey, well played.

I still got the market cornered on cyborg ninjas battling exploding space penguins...  wait, don't start writing that out!  NO!  MY IDEA, MINE!  Aaaaaaa (rushes off to power-type during this Memorial Day weekend)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

I Think I Should Warn You I'm Digging Out My Old HTML Pages

...and I may stick them to this blog.

There's this whole Pages option over here on the Menu I MUST try out...

And there's one set of pages that is entirely apropos.... bwhahahahahahahaha