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I'm thinking about allowing anonymous comments, since [livejournal.com profile] david_hine is about the fifth person I know who created an account for the sole purpose of commenting here. It makes me wonder if more people follow about_faces than I realize! One of my highest priorities here is discussion through comments and feedback, so I want to make that as easy as possible, even if it means weeding through spam and the occasional anonymous troll. I'll give it more thought.

For now, lots of new stuff!



HARVEY FEATURED IN DC UNIVERSE ONLINE!





I already knew he was in the game, but Newsarama devoted a whole article to the game's version of Two-Face (and... Mxyzptlk? Ooookay). I've heard nothing but buggy, mixed thinks about the game, but I'd be intrigued to see how Harvey would play out, since the description here is most intriguing:

Just hinted at in the core game, the Penguin is ready to make his move to take control of Gotham, and in a case of ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ you align yourself with Two-Face in an effort to foil the fowl fiend’s plans in a new mission string. Both the villains and the heroes can get into the action, as on the side of good, the Harvey Dent side of the scarred former prosecutor takes a dominate role verses his dark side for the other faction. However, keeping with his trademark of how he decides his actions, Two-Face could flip his coin mid-mission and suddenly turn against you.

Two-Face will also become available as a player character in Legends PvP with the ability to summon a mob of goons, set traps and fire guns or use a grenade launcher. His coin also factors into PvP as a quick toss will buff a set of skills for the side that the coin lands on (damage and DoT for bad heads; control, knockdowns and stuns for good heads)


All that is pretty damn clever, and exactly the way he should be used in such a game. Lord knows I'd love to play as him as well.

Picspam of character sketches, design, and gameplay! )



ADORABLE TWO-FACE FIGURE IS ADORABLE





The first series of these arrived at my shop last month. Henchgirl utterly fell in love with the Penguin, and I was hoping they'd do a Harvey. He looks a bit lizard-like (what's with so many artists making him look lizard-like? Acid no work that way!), but still pretty damn adorable. That said, I think J'onn's the best of the bunch, followed by Ollie, who should either look angrier or come with chili.



A COVER FROM THE UPCOMING TONY DANIEL STORY ACTUALLY LOOKS INTERESTING

I feel like I'm too harsh to Tony Daniel. Yeah, I'm not a fan of his work thus far, but I'll do my damnedest to be fair when it comes time to review the issues as they're released. Until then, I can only wait and worry about what he's going to do, based on the little we've seen thus far.

But today, [livejournal.com profile] prof_pig sent me a heads-up to a new cover (variant?) by Daniel for the storyline. And damn if it doesn't raise some interesting possibilities.





I really like the scarring. The real test will be seeing what, if any, character Daniel will give to Harvey's non-scarred side, but he doesn't look too bad here. Definitely of the Jim Lee school of design, but not bad at all.

The Prof wondered if this cover indicated a reference to the excellent (and still under-loved) Long Shadows storyline by Winick, particularly the finale where Dick seemingly convinced Harvey that Dick was the one true Batman. I still think it made way more sense for Harvey, in that context, to have realized that this Batman was Nightwing, rather than the true Batman, because who else but Dick looks down on Two-Face like that? Hopefully we'll see where it goes from there. After all, this will be Dick vs. Harvey, Round 5!

Please don't use Gilda. Please don't use Gilda. Please don't use Gilda...
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It still strange for me to realize, but I truly think that the best Batman comics of the past twenty-five years are the ones published throughout the four tie-in series for Batman: The Animated Series. Just like the show, these comics are pure, classic Batman, timeless tales that are rich in character and fun, even when they lack actual plot developments. If there were allowed to have an overall plot arc, I'd argue that they're the long-form Batman equivalent to All-Star Superman.

Virtually all of the characters in the show got chances to shine in the comics, which gave even the villains a new dimensions not even realized in TAS. Harvey is no exception. Bear in mind, he was only explored as a character in two episodes (Two-Face and Second Chance), which the rest of his appearances reducing him to being a plain villain or supporting rogue. The comics went a bit further, some of which I include among my Top Ten Two-Face stories.

But for now, let's take a look at the covers themselves... )


Hopefully someday there will be a renaissance of interest in these comics. Even at the time, it was clear that they were popular, rightly celebrated for being superior to the actual Batman comics being released at any given time, yet they remain out of print.

Why? God knows. Probably something to do with the WB's fickle treatment of the animated properties, shunning all but the current televised take as the only version. And while I utterly adore The Brave and the Bold, the TAS stories are still the finest Batman stories ever produced in any medium, and these comics are no exception. I hope that they will see the love and respect they deserve for a whole new generation.
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The 90's saw an increased focus on depicted the Rogues Gallery as a whole, particularly in Arkham-centric tales and sometimes also accompanied by the Bat-Family and Allies. This produced some great covers such as this:




(Scan generously provided by [livejournal.com profile] zegas, AKA Michel Fiffe, comics creator extraordinaire)

I'd kill to read an Arkham story drawn by Mike Mingola. Drawn, but not written. I love Hellboy so much more in theory than in practice, but those stories sure are pretty to look at. Much as I like Harvey here, I'm mostly impressed by his take on Scarecrow (right down to the fact that he's holding his squish-skull! Oh, Squishy), and would love to read a Crane tale drawn by Mingola. Again: drawn, not written.

As for the story itself, those who've read it might agree with me that it's fun, but not as fun as it should be. But at least it gave us one of the crackiest Bat-Rogues covers of all time...


See it and nine more covers behind the cut! )
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When Eye of the Beholder was released in 1990, it reinvigorated the character of Harvey Dent, giving him long-overdue psychological insight, deepening his tragedy, and making him a greater character than he was before. should have drastically impacted Two-Face the same way The Killing Joke did for the Joker.

It didn't.

If anything, the character became even more flat and one-dimensional. Hell, while the Joker popped up immediately after TKJ, it took two whole years for anyone to write Harvey, and three to use him in actual mainstream regular Batman continuity over the 90's, with the majority of those issues were tangled up in crossovers. In these overblown events, plot ruled all, and characterization suffered. Given the option to follow Eye of the Beholder's example of character depth or just going backwards and using Two-Face as an evil villain, the writers of this period generally chose the latter.

But hey, at least the covers are neat. Well, some of them anyway. Mostly, I think it's just fascinating to chart the drastic evolution of comics over these six years


Grab a snack, because we have an ass-ton of covers behind the cut! )


If you'll indulge me a moment of extreme anal retention, Harvey's eyes (or eye, at least) are supposed to be blue. Always. It's not just canon for every bio, but it plainly just makes a better impact. Of all these covers, only one gave him blue eyes, and I try not to let it bug me lest I feel like a total nit-picky loser. But bug me it does! Eh, maybe I can just use this as an excuse to pretend that most of these crappy Two-Face appearances over the decade were just Paul Sloane in disguise. Yeah, that's the ticket.

While we've finally reached the end, I haven't posted even half of Harvey's cover appearances from the 90's. So if I've missed out on your favorite, don't worry, I'll almost certainly be getting to it. Eventually.
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Even after the Crisis on Infinite Earths mega-event rebooted DC continuity, retconning Batman's world to Frank Miller's Year One origin onward, writers were still writing pretty much the same Two-Face from the Bronze Age. Same green scarring, same orange-and-purple suit, plus possibly even more corny puns and #2-themed crimes.

Like most things Batman, he took some time to catch up, which he eventually did in a big way. You can start seeing the psychological evolution of the character over the stories behind these covers, several of which I've posted here. Two in partcular are among my very favorites, so if you're new-ish to [livejournal.com profile] about_faces and haven't read either yet, ohhhh, please do.

Six covers behind the cut )

These last two deserve to be outside the cut, as they're covers to great and important stories and also damn cool to look at in their own right.





Brian Bolland is a god, and the action figure they made based on this image is still one of the very best Two-Face figures ever. Then there's the story inside, and damn, why the frell haven't I posted this one yet? It's moving, tender, badass, and also probably the best depiction of Gilda Dent we've ever seen, even if she is inexplicably renamed "Grace."

This little story was the first true turning point for Harvey as a character, deepening his psychology beyond "had acid thrown in face, went bonkers because was no longer pretty." Here's is where Harvey truly began his post-Crisis evolution, which was fully realized with the release of this issue:





This is the image used for most wiki-type profiles on Two-Face, implicitly making this the iconic image of the character. Would we still think that even if it wasn't the cover for the best Harvey Dent story ever written?

I love Neal Adams, but whenever I see his stuff after the 70's--especially once he started inking himself and took complete control of his artwork--I can't help but wonder if his work is really pretty but kinda soulless. Personally, I think Dick Giordano's inks were the true secret weapon to Neal Adams' artwork in the 70's. There's just no comparison.

This cover is Adams inking (and possibly coloring) himself. There's a lot I should dislike about it. It's an extreme close-up, literally front and center, the division going right down the middle. For a Two-Face drawing, that's about as boring and standard as you can get, and that's even taking into account that symmetrical design is artistic hackery. I once had a drama professor in college who critiqued a student's set design by uttering, "You have symmetry. And I hate it."

And yet, the piece itself feels dynamic enough to compensate. Part of that is the hair, which is loose and lively even on the good side, whereas many artists would have it perfectly combed and pat. Feh to that, I say. It's interesting that the scarred side's hair mussed but not discolored, save only for the ambient neon lights from outside the frame. Not sure how same-colored Harvey hair would look in a whole story, but with this lighting, it works well in ways no one else as really tried.

Actually, it reminds me of the garish original coloring for The Killing Joke, which I prefer to Bolland's recoloring. The original feels painted with the colors of madness, and taking that into account, that could be another reason why I like this piece and the unaccounted-for use of bright, ugly green light. The good side is warmly colored, while the bad side lives in a Dario Argento film. Nice.

I know that it's a weird thing to say, but the scarring makes me very happy. For one thing, it's not a clean down-the-middle burn, leaving the question of where the unscarred flesh ends and the scar tissue begins up to the colorist, who wisely makes it only a slight discoloration. Actually, it reminds me of when I recently burned my hand on a pot, and my skin turned that same kind of sickly pale (not to mention it hurt like hell, which makes me wonder if Harvey lives with chronic pain). It's akin to the coloring employed by the Two-Face cosplayer from Gotham Public Works, but since he can't do the exposed teeth, I've always thought he resembled more like a half-waterlogged Romero zombie. Man, I'm really pushing the 70's horror directors in this post!

The background may also be what really gives this life, even if it is very "1980's nightclub" in design. See also: the flamingo half-tie. Why has almost every artist equated evil with tackiness? Probably because it's more fun to draw. At least his shirt isn't split, although there seems to be a suspicious stain forming under his scarred side's collar. Ewwww.

Finally, there's Harvey's expression itself. It's always striking to see him doing something other than snarl or glare. His scarred side is already doing something monstrous and evil-looking! His good side should play off that, not do exact the same thing!

So yeah, best Two-Face image ever? It's certainly up there, but I'll withhold final judgment for now. What think you guys?
about_faces: (Two-Face... FOREVER!!!)
This time around, I seem to start talking less about Harvey and more ranting about comics in general. So this should be fun!


Seven covers from the Bronze Age right up to the Crisis reboot of continuity )

Finally, I think this cover deserves to be outside the cut:





Really, I love superheroes dedicating a room to their arch-enemies, whether it in their headquarters or in places like the Flash Museum. Really, why wouldn't Batman create an entire "Hall of Infamy" in the Batcave, with framed portraits, no less? Do you think he painted them all himself?

I've always loved that cover, particularly for how innocent and friendly the Mad Hatter looks. Have I mentioned how much I love the Mad Hatter in TAS, but hate him in comics?

It's all Grant Morrison's fault, because ever since Arkham Asylum, Jervis is now always considered a pedophile. It's the same kind of late 80's-early 90's mentality that turned Toyman into a child murderer (and then also a pedophile). I hate it so much, and between Jeph Loeb bringing back Jervis as a little man who speaks nothing but quotes, it's pretty much ruined the character. I was hoping Gail Simone might revitalize the character, but instead, now he also fucks hats.

Let me say that again. He. Fucks. HATS.

NO.

I still plan to do posts dedicated to each of the rogues, especially the ones who deserve better writing. Jervis, Ozzie, and Eddie have all been victims of terrible writing and wildly inconsistent characterization. Nobody seems to know what the hell to do with Poison Ivy, ever since they forgot her original origins centering around her obsession with Batman. What's her motivation? What actually drives her and why? We still don't know, and no one seems to care, because why should Pam actually get character development when most people aren't really interested in her as a character?

Also, I imagine Killer Moth being all flustered and flattered to learn that he's included. "Really? I'M there? He... he considers me as bad as them? Oh, I have to call my Mom!" I kid, because I love the loser. But y'know, consider this: Killer Moth has, in recent years, proven himself more enduring as a loser and a joke than he ever has as a badass 90's-tastic man-eating bug creature.

The lesson here? A villain doesn't have to be a grim and deadly threat to be enduring and enjoyable. Hell, in Batgirl: Year One, he was even kinda interesting! Comics dearly need to get back a sense of fun, even in Batman. Especially in Batman.




Next post is Post-Crisis, a post which will culminate in three of the greatest Two-Face covers of all time. Give you a hint: the artists are Perez, Bolland, and Adams.
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I love old comic covers. The great J.M. DeMatteis recently described the allure of classic covers as being "like cosmic portals, opening up doorways to other dimensions; colorful parallel universes far preferable to the one I inhabited."

Two-Face is a natural feature for covers, as he's a character who is so striking, so iconic, that even people who know nothing about him can instantly get a good idea what he's about. And once Denny O'Neil dusted off the character at the birth of the Bronze Age, he soon made regular appearances on covers.

To the best of my abilities, I've tracked down all the Two-Face cover appearances I could find (most of which I own and were thus able to scan), to post here with commentary and--if applicable--links to posts where I've looked at the stories in depth. So if you're new to [livejournal.com profile] about_faces, here's a chance for you to catch up on some stuff you may have missed!

For the rest of you, here's a bunch of neato covers to look at! And where better to start than with the start?







Behind the cut: TEN more great/cool/cracky Bronze Age covers by artists like Ernie Colon, Jim Aparo, and Jose-Luis Garcia Lopez! )




Next up: Part Two of the Bronze Age, with covers by Gene Colan, Tom Mandrake, Dick Giordano, and another by Jim Aparo! Because you can never have too much Aparo!
about_faces: (TDK mouth snarl)
Dustin Nguyen's cover from the upcoming Batman 80-Page Giant:



Can I just gave Nguyen paint a whole series about the Bat-Rogues? Please? Oh please?

I mean, I have my nitpicks. His Joker needs something a bit... more. He just looks like a guy grinning. And I don't know why Nguyen and others draw the Penguin with a tiny nose. I mean, seriously, if there's anything that's penguin about Ozzie, it's that. Also, I resent even Hush's eye being included in that roster.

But all in all, I absolutely adore this piece. Nguyen's clearly inspired by Batman: The Animated Series, and thus he takes those influences and employs them splendidly with comic versions of characters like Freeze and Croc (who I strongly feel should look like that all the time).

And, more to the point of me posting this here at all... I love his Harvey. I actually wrote a whole thing about why, but Firefox ate it, so whatever. I'll just let it speak for itself in this case.
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Today, I present the first of several upcoming looks at Two-Face cover appearances over the ages. Feel free to skim past my blathering and commentary to just look at the neato pictures, if you're so inclined! :)

Note: all cover images taken from comicvine.com, my #1 source for character appearances when I'm trying to track down, say, a minor cameo of Highfather making Two-Face cry in an issue of NEW GODS. Yes, it happened. But I'll save that for the Cameos Megapost down the line. :)


So! Where better begin than where it all began: THE GOLDEN AGE! )

I'm also planning on looking at all of the Impostor Two-Faces over the years, but I can't decide if I should do them all in one post, or in a series of posts, since lord knows I can ramble on sometimes! Furthermore, I can't decide how many scans I want to include. Whole pages (but not whole stories)? Or choice panel snippets with commentary?

Do you folks have any preferences either way?

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