Saturday, October 27, 2007

Comicbabe battle Round 4 - Spiderbabe Winner - Part 3 ( or the lives and times of Felicia Hardy )

I know I just finished my post about the Black Cat but no post on comicbabe battle would be really complete without an indepth look at the history and evolution of the hot ladies who manage to get a spot in the countdown. Especially when there´s so much to comment on like in this case.

Also I want to rectify something I wrote in my last post. Firstly that it´s impossible to find a picture of the Black Cat drawn by Mark Bagley featuring her in her " holy cleavage I can see her belly - piercing " outfit. You just can´t find any that´s better than these two.

Secondly it seems that the fact that Felicia Hardy is bisexual was mentioned in the Kevin Smith penned THE EVIL THAT MEN DO miniseries. Okay, I´m just trying to forget that mini, dammit. According to Marvel it´s part of continuity now but that doesn´t mean I have to like it.

Black Cat and the worst retcon ever

When Kevin Smith started with the mini I had so high hopes for the story even if there were words used like LEBENGEBROCHENENNACHT that make no sense whatsoever in german. To americans it may sound cool but for germans it´s just awful. That´s what you get when you use a translation programm instead of asking somebody who knows both languages. You know what ? Next time you need something in german ( or spanish ) just drop me a line, Mr. Smith. The same goes to you Mr. Morrison, Mr. Johns or Mr. Waid. I´ll even do it without charging. If you want you can send me some comp copies.

Anyway, the series was on a good course with nice art by Terry Dodson ( who somehow ends up in all the worst written Spider - Man series of them all ) but halfway through the story it seems he hit a creative wall. And it took a year ( if not more ) before the series continued. And that´s when a shift happened. It was almost like reading two different series. The one that had started and the one that had ended.

The first one was action - packed, fun, intruiging and mysterious. You know in which direction the plot was going. Then came the gap and in this gap came - DC´s megaselling series IDENTITY CRISIS. Now it´s a common fact that Identity Crisis had a huge impact on the continuity of DC´s comics not only for cementing the Silver Age stories and making them more believable but also for laying the groundwork for INFINITE CRISIS. What´s not so much known is how much influence it had on Marvel´s continuity especially the THE EVIL THAT MEN DO miniseries.

When the series continued not only one but two characters had their history retconned and the focus of the whole series shifted. Now that Identity Crisis had come out rape was the big thing and it was now not only added to the Black Cat´s origin but also to one of the villains. People say it´s pure coincidence but to me it seems that Kevin Smith was trying to outdo Identity Crisis shock values.

I´m not a big fan of the retcon Marvel did on Red Sonya and I don´t like the one they did on the Black Cat. I know rape is an important issue but I don´t think it helps to include it in the origin story of every superheroine. That´s just pandering to a cliche - and not even a very good one.

As you may have noticed I´m not too thrilled with this miniseries. To say the truth I felt ripped off. I had to wait for a year and just when I thought that the series would be left openended that was what I got for my money. So my advice is : if you buy it for the gorgeous Terry Dodson art that´s okay but the story is just weird.

But let´s not dwell to long on that and take a look at the history of the Black Cat in the comics as it happened. The real history. When Spider - Mam and the Black Cat first met she was a catburglar ( if I remember correctly ) who used her womanly powers to confuse Spidey. During a few encounters she began to find him more and more interesting till they began a relationship. Peter even went so far as to reveal his secret identity to Felicia. Who wasn´t that thrilled to find out that the big and mysterious Spider - Man was just some ordinary Joe Schmoe under the mask who wanted to lead a normal life. That was just too weird for the adventure seeking Black Cat who never wanted to have a civilian life.

That almost was the end of it but since it was the first time Peter didn´t have to lie about his dual identity he swallowed the fact that his new girlfriend had a costume fetish. During this time the first SECRET WAR happened which led to a really stupid storyline about the Black Cat.

Black Cat and the worst storyline ever

After a near - death experience the Black Cat feared that Peter might become overprotective of her because of her lack of superpowers thus putting himself in harms way. So what did she do ? She invented some superpowers for herself. Hey, that were the 80s so don´t expect the women in comics to stray too far from their cliches. No, the Black Cat just PRETENDED to have superpowers which in this case meant having " bad luck powers ". Through weel placed traps and stunts it seemed that accidents happened to people crossing her path.

Which would include Peter himself since he crossed her path more often than anybody else. But I guess his blood was not in his brain at that moment. Now of course Marvel does not encourage it´s readers to fake superpowers. That´s dangerous. Just think of what would have happened if Spidey would have said : " Okay, Black Cat, I have to turn of the oven while you take care of Rhino, the Scorpion and the Lizard with your superpowers. " Thankfully that never happened.

What did happen was that while Spider - Man was away on the Beyonder´s little all expenses paid save the universe trip the Black Cat gained real bad luck superpowers through the machinations of the Kingpin. Readers of the spidertitles may remember the issue in which she defeated Sabretooth with her bad luck powers. Which to this day makes me cringe when I read it.

Now it´s always lame to " upgrade " a character by having him beat someone who´s so totally out of his league that it´s ridiculous. First you don´t really upgrade him if it´s not believable. Suspension of disbelief can only go so far.

And second if it happens too often and it´s always the same opponent than you have the opposite effect and the villain is depowered. I think if you go through the Marvel comics of that time everybody and his brother was suddenly winning against Sabretooth who had gone from mutant psychopath serial killer to lame - o toothless pussycat.

It became so bad that Marvel needed an X - Men Special to turn Sabretooth into a real danger for superheroes again and going so far as to eviscerating and almost killing Psylocke in what may well be the best X - Men comic ever. I know I have read ( and bought ) this issue by Scott Lobdell and Joe Madureiras more often than any other X - Men comic I own and I think it´s because of Sabretooth´s return to his badass roots.

So if someone asks me the Black Cat never defeated the real Sabretooth. If there ever was a clone in the Marvel universe this was him. A Sabretooth clone built by Weapon X who was fieldtested against the Black Cat and got his ass handed to him. That´s my story and I´m going to stick with it.

Black Cat and the break up

I don´t know what happened then exactly only that Felicia and Pete broke up and that her powers were changed. They seperated than got togehther again till Pete found out that it was all a ploy by the Black Cat to destroy his life ( together with some guy called the Foreigner ) because she never forgave him for breaking up with her. In the end she realized she still loved Peter and helped him defeat the bad guy. She then went to Europe ( you can read all in more detail on wikipedia ) came back to find Peter married and started to stalk and harrass Mary Jane. She even went out with Flash Thompson to get Peter jealous. Man, Marvel really is the soap opera of comics.

As to current developments Felicia is good friends with Peter and Mary Jane....or better a good friend of Peter who always ends up thinking : " Why did I marry that other woman.....what was her name again.....something with M I think. " or something along the lines. And a not so good friend of " plain Jane " as she calls MJ who knows that Pete still has feelings for her and sees her as a rival waiting in the wings. Ahh, the joys of married life. But who knows ? After ONE MORE DAY it might be a whole new ball game. Currently the Black Cat was a member of HEROES FOR HIRE but who knows were she really stands since she helped Peter during CIVIL WAR.

Black Cat and worst costume ever

Now while Marvel´s curviest catburglar had a few costumes over the years which ranged from basic black to black with window to black with zipper that´s more or less open depending on the artistic ability of the current artist.

But I think the worst was a hideous thing that looked like a pirate outfit. Maybe the guy guy who invented it thought that Marvel was doing pirate comics and that the Black Cat was the female captain of a pirate ship. Anyway, the less said about it the better. Harrr, harr.

Final comments

So like many of the finalists the Black Cat had to endure ridiculous storylines, senseless retcons and garish costumes. She still has managed to rank as the hottest spiderbabe ever mainly for two things :

Firstly of course the costume. The design is simple but with a name like Black Cat you shouldn´t overcomplicate matters. And a bit of distraction always helps. Hey, it worked with Spider - Man.

Secondly because if I was Spider - Man I would have stayed with Felicia. Come on, aside from the obvious reasons she knows how it is to live with the costume. She understands things about Peter Mary Jane just can´t comprehend.

So : advantage Black Cat.

Black Cat in real life

In one comment to my last post about the Black Cat I was asked who I think looks like the Black Cat in real life. I have to say I haven´t given much thought to it. I mean there are a lot of stunning celebrities but who would fit the role. Katie Price maybe.

Although I see her more as a Power Girl type of girl. The same goes for Pamela Anderson.

She surely can make that black leather work like in Barb Wire but I think she´s definitely Power Girl material.

Another contender could be pornstar Jenna Jameson. She looks even more like the Felicia in the comics.

Who also could fit the role are Jennifer Ellison

and Tara Conner

who would be more of a younger version of the Black Cat. But who knows with the trend Hollywood´s in right now maybe that´s what we have to expect in the next Spidey movie.

Okay, I know. So far I´ve only said who I think is not the Black Cat in real life or who almost could be the Black Cat. I don´t want to beat around the bush anymore. Yesterday while I was on the internet searching for other stuff ( I´ll get to that in a moment ) I found some pictures of Gemma Atkinson who would make a dead - on Black Cat. What do you think ?

Quite the " seperated at birth " look. So that´s all for the Black Cat. It´s gone longer than I thought and I didn´t get to post all the pics I wanted but maybe next time.

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    Nerdguy said...

    Jaja, das Meltzer-Prinzip. In den letzten Jahren tauchten immer mehr Autoren auf, die ihre Lieblingscomichelden von damals, als sie die jungen Leser und die Comics noch ein bisschen "unschuldiger" waren, heute in einen "erwachseneren" Kontext stecken wollen. Gerade Meltzer hat da echt so einige Impulse gegeben, die man vornehmlich bei DC aber auch bei Marvel zu spüren bekommt. Und das finde ich ja auch ganz gut, denn sonst würde ich solche Comics in meinem Alter ja gar nicht mehr lesen. Einige Autoren treiben es aber auf die Spitze, wie z.B. seine Kollegen Judd Winick und ein bisschen auch Geoff Johns, bei denen auch das greift, was Du an Smith' Miniserie bemängelst. Man gibt sich so einen Comic und findet dort Storyelemente wie Vergewaltigung, Kindesmishandlung, tödliche Krankheiten, Suizid und familiäre Tragödien en masse.
    Modernisierung solcher Comics und Anpassung an die Altersklasse der Hauptzielgruppe etc. in allen Ehren - aber ich lese doch keinen Comic, in dem Batman durch's Bild rennt, um dort mit solchen Themen konfrontiert zu werden. Wenn es Autoren schaffen, Superheldencomics zu zeitgenössischer Unterhaltung mit ein bisschen ernsten Anspruch und Tiefgang zu machen, ist das super. Sie sollten sich dabei aber meiner Meinung nach nicht gleich als Moralisten und Protestsänger ausleben, die uns das Elend der Welt in all seiner Hässlichkeit vor Augen führen müssen, denn dafür ist das irgendwie das falsche Medium. Für Fans/Leser solcher Comics spielt die kleine Realitätsflucht in diese fiktive, bunte Welt mit Sicherheit eine nicht zu unterschätzende Rolle. Und genau das zerstören diese Autoren, wenn sie sich zu weit in "kritische" oder "aufklärerische" Gefilde vorwagen wollen und eine Figur elendig an einer schlimmen Krankheit krepieren lassen (The Question in 52), das Kind eines Helden Opfer eines Päderasten-Menschenverschlepper-Rings wird oder HIV-infiziert ist (typischer Judd Winick-Stoff) oder die Origin einer Superheldin jetzt mit einer Vergewaltigung verknüpft ist. Ich glaube nicht, dass so eine provokante Drastik in derartiger Häufung bei vielen gut ankommt.

    SUBZERO said...

    Mein Problem bei THE EVIL THAT MEN DO war nicht so sehr die Vergewaltigung an sich. Solche auch etwas realistischere und düstere Elemente haben meiner Meinung nach schon ihre Berechtigung in Comics ( wenn es sich nicht häuft und zum Selbstzweck verkommt ) versteh mich da bitte nicht falsch.

    Es ist auch nichts dagegen einzuwenden etwas erwachseneren Stoff in comics zu verbraten. Was mir so übel aufgestossen ist, ist dass es so total unerwartet kam und die Serie einfach total gekippt hat. Auch die Art und Weise wie es gebracht wurde war einfach peinlich. Das sind die Art von retcons die man sich echt sparen kann.

    Anonymous said...

    Wow! Gemma Atkinson's perfect and smokin' hot. Hot damn. I'll have to find more pics of that young lady. Thank you!