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)
So it's recently come to my attention that some of you have never heard of this story where the Arkham inmates played softball against the inmates of Blackgate Prison. Because that totally, actually happened.

This is one of those great little oddball (no pun intended) stories that will probably be of interest to most because it features early Batman artwork by Tim Sale. That said, it's only Sale's pencils inked by Jimmy Palmiotti, and while Palmiotti is a fine enough inker and even better co-author of books like Jonah Hex, the result is art that looks like a poor man's Matt Wagner with a dash of poor man's Bill Sienkiewicz. Which is to say, it's still pretty darn interesting to look at.

To make matters even more flawed, it's written by Alan Grant. Oh, Alan Grant. Now there's a writer I never learned to appreciate until very recently, even though I grew up reading his Batman work. Whereas I used to find his writing cheesy and a tad pretentious, I now find it charmingly earnest and ambitious. I enjoy and admire those qualities in writers even their stories are subpar.

As such, I hadn't given "Madmen Across The Water"* (from Showcase '94 #3 and 4) much thought until yesterday, when I was rereading it in preparation for this post. While it still falls short in areas I prefer, namely treating the Arkham inmates as characters in their own right rather than just crazy characters in wacky outfits, I had forgotten how much I enjoyed the character of Jeremiah Arkham as written by Grant, and I think that this story is one of his finest appearances.

And again: it's about the Arkham inmates playing softball. I don't know why you haven't just skipped all my rambling and clicked on the cut-tag already!

Ivy at the bat (but not THAT Bat) behind the cut! )

Again, if you'd like to read the whole story, it's been collected in Tales of the Batman, a collection of Tim Sale's miscellaneous Batman work. It also features the James Robinson story Blades from Legends of the Dark Knight, which is considered a classic by many. I loved it back in the day, but it's been many years since I read it, and I don't know how well it holds up.

*The title is taken from an uncommonly-great Elton John song, although I greatly prefer the extended version.
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: (coin flipping through the air)
So, doo doo doo, there I was, finally going to read the AV Club's review of Two-Face, Parts 1 and 2 for their ongoing TAS retrospective. That, of course, is why I wrote the big rambling post last night, because I wanted to get it in under the wire. "So okay," I thought, "now I can finally read their review, hooray!

Then I read the first paragraph of the review:

“I believe in Harvey Dent.” The phrase has become primarily associated with The Dark Knight, but was first uttered in Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s The Long Halloween, the miniseries that served as a major influence on Nolan’s big screen take on Two-Face. Building on the underworld community established in Miller’s Year One, The Long Halloween has Batman teaming up with Harvey Dent and Captain James Gordon to take down a killer picking off members of the Gotham mafia, murders that coincide with holidays on the calendar. Much like this week’s Batman: The Animated Series two-parter “Two-Face,” Halloween portrays Dent as a valiant public figure struggling to negotiate his desire to see punishment for Gotham’s criminals with his obligation to the legal rules and procedures that he has sworn to uphold. And while Two-Face’s origin changes depending on the medium, there is one constant: once he loses the left half of his face, there’s no Harvey Dent left to believe in.

... I was originally going to post that above quote with an "AAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!, and let you, my readers, take it from there in the comments. Because the thing I love about you guys is that I don't have to actually explain all the reasons why this is so infuriatingly WRONG because you guys ALREADY KNOW. Besides, it was hard for me to type with my fingers curled into shaking fists.

But Henchgirl insisted that I step back, take a breather, and come back to this later. She wanted the same for herself, because--god, I love her--she was just as pissed off as I was. But for different reasons! That's the real magic of the reviewer's opening statement here: here's just so much fail to go around!

Look. I know that The Long Halloween is always going to be a popular, seminal comic for many. And I know that while is "borrowed" liberally from the far superior Andrew Helfer story, Eye of the Beholder, the fact is that EotB is not in print anywhere, it's not well-known, and people just aren't going to read it as much. I don't like it when somebody on a message board or a blog doesn't acknowledge EotB, giving TLH all the credit, but I understand it.

Nor, for that matter, do many comics fans realize that TLH didn't actually invent the idea of showing Harvey Dent as a crusader for justice before he became Two-Face, no more than TAS did! Nor did it invent the iconic rooftop meeting between Jimbo, Bats, and Harv, which carried its way all the way through to The Dark Knight. Nor was it the first time we'd ever seen Harvey as a man "struggling to negotiate his desire to see punishment for Gotham’s criminals with his obligation to the legal rules and procedures that he has sworn to uphold."

I don't like it, but I understand it. People just don't know any better. And why should they? Can I really expect all fans to have spent/wasted as much time as I have--and still do--reading comics? No. Of course not.

Besides, they're just fans. It's not like they're, say, an actual paid, professional reviewer for a major pop culture publication, writing as an authority about Batman to an audience of largely non-comic readers.

Because heaven forbid that a reviewer--someone who is attempting to bring a fresh, educated perspective to something in an old episode that the readers have undoubtedly already watched--actually be KNOWLEDGEABLE about a character.

Not only does the reviewer draw from a work which is incredibly derivative and so popular that many people, like him, only associate Harvey Dent from that story, but he's also wrong about his big conclusion: that the only constant in all origins is that "there’s no Harvey Dent left to believe in."

The Henchgirl Interjects: HAHAHAHAHAHA *breath* AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I'd say more, but I don't want to steal your thunder, dear.

No, no, it's okay. I don't mind sharing this one. Go nuts.

YAY! RAGE! But I don't like italics. Just a second.

Huzzah. Now, are you sure you want me to rant? Because there isn't going to be much left for you to cover once I'm done.

Girl, I spent, like, four hours working on a long, ranting post yesterday. I need a break. Please, help!


Let's get into it, shall we? )
about_faces: (Reading the Newspaper)
Seven more neato original works of Two-Face art by Giuseppe Camuncoli, Simone Bianchi, Art Adams, Tim Sale, Gabriele Dell'Otto, Chris Giarusso, and Batton Lash! )

One more round of art to come tomorrow, probably before (or possibly after) I write up my full review of Two-Face: The Long Way Down, the conclusion of which comes out today in Batman: Streets of Gotham. I'm hoping something amazing happens with the ending, otherwise I won't care much to write about a story that no one cared about at all.

I might include scans, but they will be seriously limited. Even if the story is mediocre, I'd still like people to go out and buy it, so DC won't get the message that no one cares about a comic starring Two-Face. Even if, as I fear, it's kinda true.
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)

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