about_faces: (Two-Face... FOREVER!!!)
In honor of today being 2/22, the intrepid [livejournal.com profile] lego_joker decided--for whatever inspired reason--to throw together collages of every single time that Harvey got hit in the face with acid. The result is oddly compelling in a way that's both hilarious and horrible. The colleges in question only cover the comics in the regular continuity, and he has plans to eventually put out a fourth collage of "Elseworlds/Impostor/Rescarring/Other Media stuff" once he figures out how they'll all be put together. I, for one, cannot wait. For now, I'll let [livejournal.com profile] lego_joker take over with his collages and notes.

Behind the cut, all of your favorites: 'Ugh! My face!' 'Aaghh! My face!' 'AARRRGGH!! M-my face--!?!' 'GAAHH--' 'YAAARGHH!!' 'NAAAGGGHHHH!' And many more! )
about_faces: (Default)
The penultimate post in this series is also the last of the official Who's Who profiles. A couple of my favorites are in this one, so I hope you enjoy. As always, keep the comments a-comin'! Even though I'm too busy composing entries (and doing IRL stuff) to reply as quickly as I want, know that your responses are half of why I do all this in the first place!


Read more... )


And that's that for Who's Who. After 1993, the interest in character profiles apparently tapered off, and frankly, I'm amazed it lasted in the first place. While there have been similar resources published since the late 90's, none were published under the Who's Who banner, nor were they nearly as comprehensive.

Last year, DC announced that there were plans for a new Who's Who volume to celebrate the company's anniversary, but that never happened and now almost certainly never will. At least, not for a while. The DCnU is too Nu for anyone to have established history, and if they made something up, you can bet most of it would be contradicted by later writers. Sure, there's all the PRE-DCnU stuff, but the last thing DC wants is to remind readers of what was, back when characters wore briefs on the outside of the outside of their costumes. God, how stupid is that? You'd think they were SUPERHEROES or something! A-duh!

As they stand, old Who's Who books are treasure troves of great, lousy, and lost characters, and if you can ever find copies in dollar bins, pick up a few. You never know who you might meet. If you want to find more Who's Who online, Grantbridge Street has posted complete collections of profiles from the Legion of Superheroes, Superman, New Gods drawn by Jack Kirby himself, and more in his archives. If you want to see more of these big looseleaf profiles, again, check out the DC Who's Who Tumblr, which is still being updated. Good stuff all around!

Tomorrow, the final post: Secret Files and Origins. Plus old man ranting.
about_faces: (Schizy)
So I've been seeing these die-cast lead figurines of DC and Marvel characters for the past couple of years, which are apparently imported from either the UK or New Zealand. Have you guys seen these as well? This is the Harvey figure:




Many more pictures of it and other DC figures can be found at this Flickr account. They're all rather neat, especially the Riddler and Scarecrow figures. What I like most about the Two-Face one is how it makes the interesting choice to put the tacky suit on the good side, letting the horrific scarring play off of a rather nice light gray suit. It's very much Two-Face as ganglord, the kind of guy who gives orders and passes judgment rather than getting his own hands dirty, if he can help it. So yeah, it's neat.

But what interested me way MORE is the booklet that came with the figurine, which included the origin and history of the character, three recommended stories, profiles on allies and enemies, and more.





I was hesitant at first, fearing that it would be nothing more than one great big Jeph Loeb wankfest. And while it was a lot of that, it was also surprisingly comprehensive when it came to a post-Crisis history of the character! This is the only time I've ever seen anybody (in a professional publication, no less!) go into detail about Harvey's abuse, plus include the "contribution" of serial killer Dr. Rudolph Klemper to the unleashing of Two-Face. It's quite well-written and compiled, thanks to Jim McLauchlin, whom I believe was the same Jim McLauchlin who helped make Wizard magazine halfway readable back in the 90's. I keep forgetting if it was McLauchlin or Pat McCallum who made that mag great when it great.

That said, there are flaws. I know that some of you suggested the idea that Eye of the Beholder and The Long Halloween didn't have to negate each other, and could both count as canon. That's exactly what this does, and it actually kinda works... until you get to the part where the twist ending absolutely makes NO FUCKING SENSE. Don't take my word for it! Read it for yourself, both in the origin and in the last scan, which provides a synopsis for TLH specifically.

Warning: SPOILERS for The Long Halloween, Dark Victory, Hush, and Face the Face. Really, is there anyone reading this who HASN'T read those storylines? If not... well, you ain't missing much. There's a reason why I haven't reviewed them here yet, even though those are arguably the most high-profile Two-Face appearances to date.

Ten HUGE scans behind the cut! )


The rest of the booklet looks at profiles of allies and enemies (with Harvey, sometimes they're both), which was an assortment of choices that were alternately basic (Batman, Gordon, Gilda, Renee), knowledgeable (Paul Sloan), acceptable (Penguin? I guess) and bizarre (the Suicide Squad? Oh, Salvation Run, yeah, I guess that kinda doesn't make any sense at all?). After that, we get a history of Gotham's organized crime, from Falcone up through to Black Mask, which of course completely goes for the skull-face Mask characterization. Whatever. Why do I care? I'm really wondering. Eh.

I know my tone was largely critical and exasperated, but in all honestly, this was a pretty great history of the character. I'd be very happy if this were somebody's first exposure to Two-Face, rather than just any one story. It's certainly a fair sight better than his pages on Wikipedia or ComicVine, although I'm certainly doing my part on that count.
about_faces: (Default)
Today, we look at a bit of Doug Moench's next Two-Face appearance... but NOT the whole story. I have a specific goal in mind, one inspired by Henchgirl's awesome, definitive look at Catwoman's origin (which you've ALL checked out, right?), wherein she set the following guideline:

Events must be either CONFIRMED by another comic or UNDISPUTED throughout continuity to make it onto the timeline as canon.

Considering that I'd like to create a similar timeline for Two-Face, I'm faced with the problem of reconciling stories I don't particularly like, such as The Long Halloween and Dark Victory, both of which were confirmed by the very first issue of Tony Daniel's current Batman run. I just don't want those events to supersede the events of Eye of the Beholder.

Y'know, I think I mention and/or link to EotB in every other post here. I can't help it. EotB is not just my favorite Two-Face comic, but I truly believe that, objectively, it's one of the best Batamn comics ever published. And yet it's painfully obscure, kept out of print for unknown reasons, and its contributions either going ignored or credited to lesser works.

As such, I was afraid that Loeb's legacy now ruled the character's timeline (as far too many fans already believe). But then I recently discovered that EotB was, in fact, confirmed three years after its publication, in Showcase '93, written by--of all people--Doug Moench! You might know which story I mean:





The story is better than average, but ultimately hindered by the fact that it's tied into Knightfall. What really intrigues me is that it's the only story to DIRECTLY follow themes and motifs established in EotB, making it--in my view--a spiritual sequel! No other Two-Face comic so explicitly references EotB, not even DeMatteis' Batman/Two-Face: Crime and Punishment, the only story to tackle the issue of Harvey's abuse as a child.

So with your indulgence, I'd like to look at just the strongest part of the story (the first half), which I trust will prove that EotB is true canon. It gets especially interesting (to dorks like me, anyway) to see where this version is subsequently taken by Moench and, later, Dixon.


The former D.A. returns to the scene of the crime, behind the cut )


I'm not certain that it's worth posting the rest of this story. From here, Harvey proceeds to put an exhausted and bestubbled Batman on "trial," which I believe is the first time anyone's written Harvey staging his own insane kangaroo court scenario. For my money, that trope never gets better than the one in No Man's Land in both the comics and novel, for different reasons.

Moench's is good, but ultimately, I think it's undone largely because the focus permanently shifts away from Two-Face and is put entirely on Bruce and Tim, reducing Harvey to being a raving madman. Disappointing, considering how promisingly this story began.

If you would like to read this whole story, it can be found in the second Knightfall trade paperback, which is hopefully still in print. I wish that it, along with Eye of the Beholder, had been included in the abysmal Batman VS Two-Face trade paperback instead of crappy stories like... well, like the NEXT time Doug Moench wrote Harvey. We'll get to reviewing that infamous tale in due time.
about_faces: (Dave McKean's coin split)
First off, have all of you already read "Eye of the Beholder" from BATMAN ANNUAL #14, the definitive Harvey Dent story that also directly "influenced" THE LONG HALLOWEN and THE DARK KNIGHT?

You've read that, right? If not, click on that link. Surely there must be one or two of you who haven't read it.

It's okay. Go on. I'll wait.

...

Back? Then you're ready for Harvey's profile update in the 1991 edition of WHO'S WHO.


Two big scans with neato art by Chris Sprouce and Dick Giordano behind the cut )


As you can see, Mark Waid (back when he was still more of an editor and resident DC comic knowledge brainiac) has devoted the whole of Harvey's bio here to essentially retelling "Eye of the Beholder" and nothing more. Combined with the brand new art by "Eye" artist Chris Sprouce, I take this to mean that DC was well aware of how great a story "Eye" was, and were rightly keen to push everything about it as being THE Two-Face story.

If that was the case, what happened? Why has "Eye" fallen out of favor? My best guess is because THE LONG HALLOWEEN took several of its core concepts--the iconic rooftop meeting, Adrian Fields, Harvey's abusive father, the tragic super-team of Gordon, Batman, and Dent--but got a whole lot more press and attention, thereby overshadowing "Eye" to this day. It hasn't been reprinted anywhere since the mid-90's, and even that volume is long out of print. Ah, but I can and have ranted about the lamentable mistreatment of this story at length.

I feel a twinge of dissatisfaction reading this bio after the two WHO'S WHO that preceded it, particularly for how it focuses solely on one story and ignores any other events from the character's long and winding history. And yet, looking back on those two other profiles--both of which include storylines that have long since been forgotten or retconned or ignored or just weren't very good to begin with--maybe Waid's take here is the best.

Instead, Waid strips away the event filler of "then this happened in Issue Number Such-And-Such" and focuses purely on the origin story, which actually makes for a pretty ripping yarn even in profile format. It makes the story of Two-Face more timeless, more iconic, more enduring. Because no matter what the character has done or been beyond this point, it all goes back to this solid, powerful origin that continues to influence BATMAN comics, whether writers and readers know this or not.

Man, this post just turned into a whole love-fest for "Eye of the Beholder," didn't it? Sorry about that. Well, not really, who am I kidding? I love that story, and wish more people knew it even existed. If DC really knew what they had at the time, then it's all the more disappointing that they eventually forgot.
about_faces: (Reading the Newspaper)
My very favorite part about going to a comic convention is getting original artwork. The day I discovered that most artists are nice enough to do sketches, oh man, my whole little world was turned upside-down. Here was an original piece, however simple, made by the hand of a notable comic artist, for me! Art became (and still is) the main goal of any comic convention I'd attend.

After I met somebody who would commission comic artists to do Batgirl artwork--and had subsequently acquired a stunning Batgirl portfolio--I realized that I wanted to do the same thing with Two-Face (and Hal Jordan, who was my second favorite character). Seeing as how commissions cost anywhere from $25-$150, my collection is not yet that huge.

Here's what I have so far, from the quickest free sketch to the more expensive pieces )

One of the biggest reasons I've been reluctant to commission more Two-Face artwork is that, well, there's nothing quite so dispiriting as having spent good money for an artist to put their hard work into a piece that just isn't very good.

Perhaps my worries are unfounded, as I can't actually think of any time I've ever received a piece that I wasn't at least satisfied to receive for what I'd paid. But I think it's a legitimate fear, considering all the subpar Two-Face drawings I've seen through my Google scourings and on DeviantArt.

Here's the best I've found so far from pro artists, both from con sketches and their own galleries. Most of these guys are biggish names, the kinds of pieces I'd love to stock in my own portfolio.

Professional Two-Face original artwork behind the cut )

And then, of course, there's fanart, but I'll save that for a future post. Has anyone seen any great Two-Face artwork, pro or otherwise?
about_faces: (Default)
Back on the old [livejournal.com profile] scans_daily, I posted this story--1990's BATMAN ANNUAL #14, "Eye of the Beholder," twice (three times if you count the entry on [livejournal.com profile] fullscans_daily). That's because I frickin' love this story.

It's a story that's borrowed/ripped-off from (THE LONG HALLOWEEN, and subsequently THE DARK KNIGHT) as often as it's been ignored (ROBIN: YEAR ONE), but so far, in terms of a sheer character study, I'm firmly believe that it has yet to be surpassed. Because even when it's not ignored, other writers don't quite seem to have a grasp on the complex subtleties that Andrew Helfer imbued to his new post-CRISIS origin of Two-Face. And attempts to develop it further fall hilariously flat too (why hello thar, BATMAN: JEKYLL & HYDE!).

But for many, it's considered a must-read BATMAN comic, and for good reason. Not only is it one of my all-time favorite comics--BATMAN or otherwise--but it is also just above BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES for being the gold standard on everything related to the character of Harvey Dent.





NOTE: This is the slightly-extended edition of what I already posted on scans_daily, as I believe that this is a story that deserves to be read, even though DC bizarrely hasn't reprinted it since 1995. Why it's not included in the BATMAN VS TWO-FACE collection is utterly beyond me. So until you can find it scouring through the back issue bins or on eBay, I present it to you here in this edited version. Hope you enjoy.


Once more... the definitive Harvey Dent story )

Finally, a question, readers: do you like my commentary interspersed through the scans like this, or would y'all just prefer I leave my essaying until the end in one big chunk? I imagine some people don't care for my blathering on and just want to read the scans, which I understand. At the end of the day, the comics really do speak for themselves, or they should anyway.

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