Saturday, July 15, 2006

Rescue Me: The Vamp


She's fifty and fabulous! Isn't it great how Gramma can still fit into the slacks she wore in 1968? And I think the facelift is settling quite nicely. I'm sorry, but when I hear the name "Vamp" I don't think of somebody who looks like this. Like a swashbuckling Gibson Girl with Leonard Nimoy's face. Also? Brainiac 5 called; he wants his belt back.

The Vamp was an agent for a criminal organization called "The Corporation." (Insert Enron joke here.) They cave her the power to transform into the Animus, a frankly awesome-looking creature that was a goggle-eyed, big-brained future guy crossed with a brawny caveman, dressed in animal skins and wielding a ginormous crystal club. The Animus rocked. The Vamp? Not so much. Although she did manage to infiltrate America's top security agency. S.H.I.E.L.D. even gave her that belt, whch somehow allowed her to absorb any foe's powers and skills. Anyway, long story short, the Vamp eventually got killed in that "bar with no name" massacre that Scourge pulled off, and then somebody cloned her, and then the clone got killed. There's more to it than that, of course, and it involves Typhoid Mary and Deadpool, but I really don't have the time or interest to go into it.

So, how would I have dressed the Vamp, if I'd had my 'druthers? Like so.


I wanted to incorporate the style of a silent-era, honest-to-goodness VAMP into her costume, since that actually makes sense. So I used Art Nouveau/Japanese sinuous iconography on the bodysuit. Where's the belt, you ask? Good question. I really wanted to use the twisting snake thing, and the belt -- or any belt, really -- didn't look too good in conjunction with it. So instead I miniaturized the technology and put it in that flower on her waist. It's supposed to look raised, like it's a brooch or sumpin' but that part didn't turn out too good. Ah, well. I also did some sketches where her hair was pulled back (too severe and/or dowdy, even if done in an Oriental way) or in a wavy bob (made her look too much like Lady Viper) or a straight bob (very Louise Brooks but I personally don't think it's very sexy). I like the long, wavy look, like Theda Bara wore as Cleopatra. And I figure Black Canary can do martial arts with long hair, so the Vamp wouldn't have any problem either.

But what do you guys think?


Anonymous said...

Sweet. I like the iconography--it ups the stakes with a little blasphemy to round out the evening.

I quite like the silent-film/art nouveau approach...the stylization of the leaves and snake are spot-on. I think it would work if the gold petals are raised and the red outline flush against the costume. Heck, you could have raised gold eyes on the snake to continue the theme & add functionality.

Looks great, makes sense.

Anonymous said...

I think a Veronica Lake style haircut would work too.

Anonymous said...

wow. your redesign is so superior. i love it. would also make a good look for princess python. love the silent film angle as well as the "sin" serpent.

where do you find all these awful old comics? i guess the 70's had a lot of 'em.
btw, your blog often gets me laughing so hard i'm afraid i'll pee my calvins.

Anonymous said...

Let me get the praise out of the way, first, because there are things I like about this costume -- the flats, the way it manages to be very attractive, even sexy, without showing off ridiculous amounts of skin or begging for a "wardrobe malfunction" like the orginal costume.

What's she look like from behind? No, I don't mean "does she have a cute ass", I mean, "do the patterns undulate around her legs?" Where does the snake end? It seems you have wisely refrained from some sort of cheesy "helical fishnets" look, but what *is* going on with the design when viewed from the side or behind? This can be important for both fight and crowd scenes, so she's easy to pick out of a panel.

Another thing, although this is more a general observations -- corporate-owned superhero comics need characters to serve as scavengers/decompsers, ridding the continuity of conceptual roadkill. While Marvel has found another, unsatisfying way to do this, I always had a little love for a "good-guy Sentinel" concept to do some mutant housecleaning.

I was thinking of a human-sized robot without the stupid, ineffective built-in weapons, concentrating on indestructibility, speed, strength, and most of all, intelligence. Like a cyborg Mr. A, he'd inflict mercilessly rational and sardonic punishment on last year's worst new mutants.

If you can do anything with the concept as a "Moral Reversal", give it a go -- I'm curious what you'd come up with.

Jeremy Rizza said...

Chawunky: Thanks!

Anonymous: I considered a Veronica Lake 'do but again, putting a lady in a green bodysuit and covering one eye with her hair might be too close to Viper. Especially with the S.H.I.E.L.D. connection.

Stanman: Where do I find those awful old comics? It's a little system I like to call "Jeremy subscribed to them when he was a kid." In the case of this comic, he got it in the mail when he was eight.

Anonymous 2: Thank you; I strive for practicality in a costume, at least when the wearer will be engaged in hand-to-hand combat. I reserve the right to make spell-casters and the like as theatrical as humanly possible. What does she look like from the back? Excellent question. I like to put my figures in action poses because I think it looks more exciting -- however, I'm limited in how I can pose them because I want the front of the costume to be clearly visible. That means I can't angle them too much to the side, and I can't have their arms blocking their chests. I don't normally add any kind of detail to the costume on the back. I'm also too lazy to draw the figure a second time, but I'll consider changing my method. And in the Vamp's case, her bodysuit is backless -- to the middle of her back, which is still tasteful. Neither the snake nor the vine wraps around her legs. They both merely zig-zag down the outside edges. I decided the snake's tail wouldn't be shown; instead its body cuts off without any tapering at the bottom edge of her boot. And I respectfully disagree with you about certain characters being "conceptual roadkill." I used to love massacres like Scourge's and the ones perpetrated on the Morlocks (on an almost-yearly basis) but I've found since then that pretty much any character is a good character with the proper writing. Zeb Wells, for instance, found a way to make Leapfrog interesting years ago in that "Tangled Web" anthology. My philosophy now is, if a writer doesn't like a character, he/she simply shouldn't write about them. Some other writer may have a way to polish them up and make them shine.

Scipio said...

Love the snake.

But... didn't you mis-place the "flower bud"?

Anonymous said...

My philosophy now is, if a writer doesn't like a character, he/she simply shouldn't write about them. Some other writer may have a way to polish them up and make them shine.

Fair enough. Let me share a few leftovers from the early, embarrassing days of X-Factor with you, namely the Alliance of Extraneous Mutants:

TIMESHADOW -- Like Flashback from Gamma Flight, but less so.

-- A Valley Girl with electrical powers, notable for calling Apocalypse "Pockie Clips" IIRC.

Behold them inaction at the above link for the "Alliance of Evil"; they are serious candidates for a "Rescue Me!".

Jeremy Rizza said...

Scipio: This isn't a Michael Turner design, honey. Anyway, I'm pretty sure the Vamp's bud blossomed quite some time ago.

Anonymous: Wait a minute... they're dead? Tower, too? (I liked Tower! Not quite sure why, but I liked him.) But Frenzy's okay? Huh. I remember their first appearances in X-Factor. When Apocalypse had his headquarters in the Fisher-Price "Little People" A-frame house playset, and he'd pop out of the floor on a hydraulic platform. His whole operation was more low-rent then, wasn't it?

As long as a lame villain is dead, I'll consider redesigning them. I want to get through all of Scourge's victims first, though.

Anonymous said...

In reply to a comment about Mirage that also applies to Vamp, in Deadpool 0 - "Night of the living dorks", dead loser villains got cloned by Arnim Zola,
and killed in funny/gory ways by Deadpool.
the clones included Vamp, Turner D.Century, Mirage, Red Raven, The Whizzer, Egghead, Salem's Seven, etc.
really funny short comic.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone tried a "Re-Vamp" joke yet? No? Because...

Note to self: if no one has come up with it after a week, maybe that's because it's not funny.