Thursday, July 14, 2016

Hottest of the hotties from DC, Marvel (Honorable mentions: Dagger, Talia al Ghul, Tigra)

And now, for the comic book babes who didn't quite make the Cary's Comics Craze list of the 15 hottest hotties from DC and Marvel. …
Cloak & Dagger by ratscape ℅ Deviantart.com

Dagger 

Yup, as in Cloak and Dagger.

As in the shapely blonde who has a skin-baring costume that goes down to there in the front. As in I have no clue what her powers are, but when she looks like that, can you blame me for being distracted? 'Nuff said.

Talia al Ghul 

For fear of sounding like a broken record in this series, but there's nothing like the original version when it comes to the daughter of Ra's al Ghul: Co-creator Dennis O'Neil's.

There's one artist who is the greatest at drawing Talia al Ghul — and that's Neal Adams.

However, saying that, artist Irv Novick's (particularly BATMAN Nos. 330 and 332 through 335) is damn sexy. Artist Trevor Von Eeden's Talia in BATMAN ANNUAL No. 8  is awfully hard to beat too.

What makes Talia sexy? It's not just her exotic looks, olive skin, awesome, flowing hair or even her rockin' bod; the trick to making Talia intriguing is her complicated relationship with Batman, her "beloved."

Talia loves Bruce Wayne/Batman more than she loves any other man. She yearns to be with him — but her devotion to her father, one of Batman's greatest enemies, is the reality that keeps them from being a couple. Her conflicted dedication to the two most important men in her life ultimately means she can't turn her back on Ra's al Ghul — even as twisted as her father is — just as she can't let Batman be harmed.

The big reveal on this final, splash page of BATMAN No. 333
remains powerful. Art by Irv Novick
That conflict, when handled properly, delivered memorable story after great story through as late as the mid-1990s.

But once writer Grant Morrison introduced Wayne and Talia's son Damian into the DC Comics continuity in the 2006 "Batman and Son" storyline (BATMAN Nos. 655-658), Talia no longer had the appeal she had in the Bronze Age of Comics (1970 through 1985).

Now, Talia is a completely different character than the one I found so appealing as a teenager. Sure, artists draw her shapely (but the recent Talia pales in comparison to Adams, Novick's and Von Eeden's) and Talia's new bloodthirsty and cold-hearted personality as the head of the League of Assassins keeps her from being the deep character I had fallen in love years ago — and all that keeps Talia from being as sexy as she once was. So that squarely makes her an honorable mention as a hottie in DC Comics.

So do you want great Talia al Ghul stories? These are your must-reads:
Penciler Ross Andru delivers one of the shapeliest
renditions of Talia al Ghul ever on this cover of
BATMAN No. 330.

  • DETECTIVE COMICS No. 411 (Talia makes her first appearance in this issue with the cover date of May 1971)
  • BATMAN No. 330 (Talia's sudden appearance in Gotham City adds tension to the already tumultuous relationship between Batman and Dick Grayson/the original Robin, now an independent young man who has been away at college.)
  • "The Lazarus Affair" (BATMAN Nos. 332-335; Published in 1980, this memorable, four-part story keeps you guessing. It is sinfully underrated and is by one of the greatest creative teams in Batman's history: Writer Marv Wolfman, interior art by Irv Novick, covers by Jim Aparo and inking by Adrienne Roy. Why this hasn't been reprinted in a trade paperback is beyond me!)
  • BATMAN No. 400 (This double-sized anniversary issue, written by Doug Moench, features one of the greatest battles between Batman and Ra's al Ghul — with Talia playing on the side of angels.) 
  • BATMAN: SON OF THE DEMON (1987 graphic novel written by Mike W. Barr)  
  • THE SAGA OF RA'S AL GHUL (This four-issue limited series published in 1988 collects many memorable stories pitting Batman against Ra's al Ghul. Most notable are those from the 1970s written by O'Neil in BATMAN Nos. 232 and 242-244)
  • BATMAN: BANE OF THE DEMON (1988 four-issue limited series)
  • BATMAN: BRIDE OF THE DEMON (1990 graphic novel by Barr)

Tigra 

Greer Nelson's alter-ego was this close to making the final cut — until CCC contributor and one of my best friends, David Hudson, helped me realize I left Jean Grey off this list.

And I half-considered eliminating Tigra in place of Black Widow, but Natasha Romanoff is one of my three choices for the three hottest redheads in comics — besides Barbara Gordon and Jean Gray. Look for that op-ed soon! 

There's something undeniably appealing about Tigra that I just can't shake.

She didn't make much of a splash during her very short time as a full-time Avenger in the early 1980s. But the way she rocks her teeny-weeny bikini sure made an impression on me! Of course, knowing Nelson, a brunette, has orange-red hair in her feline form could have something to do with making Tigra so memorable too! 

Bronze Age artists Al Milgrom and Bob Hall are my go-to Tigra artists. 

Milgrom, also a great writer — one I didn't appreciate when he took over writing THE AVENGERS (starting with issue 228, through No. 250, aside from three issues) — handles Tigra the best. She's in WEST COAST AVENGERS during Milgrom's run (Nos. 1-40 [except for issue 38] and Annuals 2 and 3).

You mean you missed the three-part "Hottest of the hotties from DC and Marvel" series? Have no fear; start here with Part 1, covering the first third of my alphabetical list of my 15 choices of the most gorgeous superheroes and villainesses from comics' Big Two. 

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