Sunday, August 21, 2005

I Like Bee Belts And I Just Can't Lie: The Red Bee

What's his deal:
D.A. Rick Raleigh fought crime during the early 40's with the aid of trained bees secreted in his belt buckle (first appearance: Hit Comics #1, July 1940). He had no superpowers, but he was a good fighter and detective, plus he had a small, red, armored car with which to tool about. Originally a brunette, he mysteriously became a redhead later on. Just like Lucille Ball! His finest moment: trapped and freezing in a Limbo-like dimension, he scammed Animal Man out of his jacket by pretending to cry (Animal Man #25, July 1990.)

Original Red Bee
Crimes against fashion:
Mainly? The gauzy, billowing pink sleeves protruding from a turtleneck vest with flared shoulders. And the yellow-and-red striped leggings didn't help matters.

Our meeting:
I was on the hunt for cravats in WW2-era Superior City when I "accidentally" walked into the wrong changing room (broke the lock in the process). There, I discovered the aforementioned godawful costume inside a briefcase (broke the lock in the process). Then Rick himself showed up. Long story short: my face is still a little puffy from all the bee stings, and I promised to make things up to him by redesigning his costume. We met again over drinks in a swanky nightspot.

My presentation:
"Rick, as I've done with all my clients, I've created two different options for you.
"With the first, we butch you up so folks will take you more seriously. The puffy sleeves and turtleneck are gone, replaced with a leather pilot's jacket. It's emblazoned with a bee insignia of my own creation. I made your belt a lot larger, and the buckle is now shaped like the cell of a honeycomb. I downplayed the stripe motif by moving it from your legs onto your boots. I also added gloves with rolled-down cuffs, which are all the rage nowadays. Your old domino mask is a keeper, except I made it blue to balance out all the red. Voila. Now you fit in with all the other mystery men.

"And here's my second option, where we just go nuts.
"Let's face it, pal, your modus operandi is quite frankly bizarre. So why not play into that? You like to wear a turtleneck, Rick? Fine, now it goes up to your nose. You're keen on stripes? Swell, now you're covered in 'em. Check out those pointy pixie toes on the boots! And the big flared gloves! The front of the buckle is made of green tempered glass, just like the goggles. The wings are silk, stetched over intricate metal frames. They're hinged, so that any sudden movement -- like a dramatic jump from rooftop, for instance -- will cause them to flap upward and hang there for a few seconds. The crowning touch? The haircut, which anticipates the punk rock movement by a good thirty-five years. (The what, you ask? Don't worry about it.) Now, this means that in your civilian identity, you'll have to wear a wig. Don't gripe at me; if Supergirl could do it, so can you. (Who's that? Don't worry about it.) The one downside with this outfit: you won't be able to get into it without the help of a second person... or at least a trained bee."

Rick's response:
He muttered something about "mulling it over," made an excuse about running to the men's room, and never returned, sticking me with the check.


Gryphon Rose said...

I like the first design but the second one is brilliant! Especially the hair!
BTW, did he say what he did with my jacket? I loved that jacket.

- Animal Man

Jeremy Rizza said...

The very first thing he did with your jacket, Animal Man, was to remove the original sleeves, and replace them with puffy, gauzy pink ones. He's really quite handy with a needle and thread!

Gryphon Rose said...

Handy with thread, yes, but that was no . . . never mind.

Martin Gray said...

Stupendous job, sir! Both costumes work, but I like the butch one best . . . don't you dare touch the original Firebrand, though, I want Rod Reilly diaphanous!

Jeremy Rizza said...

Thanks, man! Re: the original Firebrand, can I at least get rid of that overly-pleated Zorro mask?