Thursday, August 25, 2011

Batman and Hellcat



I always found Hellcat to be an interesting character due to her transition from a Katy Keene type comic book model to a full fledged superheroine. I enjoyed her bubbly personality and the way she would play off of rougher characters like Valkyrie and The Hulk in the pages of The Defenders.  Because of that, I wasn't a huge fan of attempts to darken the character through her relationship to Daimon Hellstrom, the Son of Satan.  That eventually led to her death, but fortunately this is comics and she got better.  I really liked the costume redesign that I used for this cover which she was given by the very talented Norm Breyfogle.  Unfortunately, she did not use it for long - I wonder if that was because the powers that be thought it was too close to Batgirl?

6 comments:

pblfsda said...

With the red hair and yellow gloves it's definitely poaching on the Silver Age Batgirl's property. But I think the real reason they dropped it has to do with the market's drift toward the trade format (stick with me here): the original Defenders series lasted over 150 issues (plus an Annual and 5 Giant-Sizes), during which time the team and some of its individual members occasionally changed their look. There were also subplots that would last YEARS, even though the typical main plot was two or three issues. Remember 'the elf with a gun'? Or Lunatik, or the rogue Fury LMD? The emphasis on plotting stories that will fit entirely into trades make that style of storytelling verboten in comics today. Quick, how many miniseries and one-shots have the Defenders had since Marvel filed for bankruptcy in the 1990's? Your guess is as good as mine (or GCD's). Five? Six? They have to constantly restart the series with every story arc, usually by casting the members from the first three years of the old title. So I think the reason they dropped the blue Hellcat costume is because it was too much like Dr.Strange's and Nighthawk's costumes. If the Defenders had an ongoing title with a slowly rotating membership, that wouldn't be an issue. It would just be "Hellcat's costume for now", not "Hellcat's costume, period", which is the case when your entire series lasts five issues or the length of a trade.

Cathy and Dave said...

Dave sez,

Very cool cover! Hellcat is really an underrated character!

Student Loans said...

this is a flat out SPECTACULAR cover Ross. As a near-exclusive purchaser of DC comics, The Defenders was the only Marvel comic I got excited about, and I still don't know why. I won't fall on the old cliche that DC was more story-driven, while Marvel's publications focused more fast action, but I always felt The Defenders had a very DC Comics feel to them. Now the artwork here is amazing Ross. You HAVE to tell us where you swiped that image of Batman. its unrecognizable. full disclosure now!

blackduke said...

Yeah, I remember trying to dig 90's Hellstorm ongoing, because it was later supposed to feature Warren Ellis writing very scary Satan, but what the series did with Patsy make me drop it.

By the way, if you like Patsy, then I have two mini-series to recommend you - Patsy Walker: Hellcat from 2008 and Marvel Divas from 2009 (also starrying Black Cat, Photon and Firestar).

Ross said...

The Batman image is by Norm Breyfogle, I found it on a Batman Fan club page, I believe it was a commission piece. I really wish Breyfogle was back as a regular artist on a Batman title, he is one of the all time best!

Worldmusic said...

There is a hardcover collection of Gene Colon's work on Batman in the early '80's out now. My first issues of Batman was the Gene Colon drawn Vampyre storylines ('83) so for me, second to Jim Aparo, Colon will always be the epitome of the Batman artist. Moody, creepy, washed images. He's the main reason I picked up Marve Wolfman's Nightforce.

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