Tuesday, December 19, 2006

!emutsoc ykcus a em eviG

blockadesantahead I have to admit I'm not really thrilled with how my Night Girl costume design turned out. I might have to try again. With something skimpier. And maybe a poncho or something for when she's surprised by sudden sunrises or whatever. Oh, and while we're on the subject of superheroines with butt-ugly costumes, how 'bout that Zatanna? "Secret Origins" #27 (June 1988) showcased all of 'em! And more! Let's start with what she likes to wear for investigating spooky French castles in the rain.

zatannabows

It's an interesting look for her: the top half is suitable for the local Christmas pageant, while the bottom half is perfect for servicing a muff-diving crack addict. Although the fumes would indicate some serious douching is in order.

zatannatophat

And here's Zatanna in action, sort of, wearing her "classic" costume with the top hat and the fishnets. Because nothing screams "superheroics" like dressing as a cocktail waitress. It's not bad, I suppose, but I think it looks better without the top hat. Top hat + long hair = Gary Oldman in "Bram Stoker's Dracula." In other words, it looks ridiculous. Next!

zatannaponytail

Zatanna is all smiles after getting the Justice League's mandatory breast augmentation and lobotomy. My problem with this one is the ponytail. It's too youthful. I hate it when grown women put their hair up like that with the intent of looking sexy. I'm aware I'm not exactly their target audience, but still. I suppose she had to do something with her hair to keep it out of that monstrous collar she's wearing but really, anything would have been better that that. Hey, why not a beehive? (Kidding.) I wonder if this costume change came about because Black Canary was on the team back then, and they were afraid of having two women on a superteam dressed like hookers. These days that kind of thing isn't so much of a concern, is it, Chuck Austen?

zatannacootiehat

Ah, the Cootie Hat Era. You know a costume is hideous when your body would rather self-destruct than be seen wearing it. (It happens. I once bought a pair of zip-up ostrich skin boots dyed cornflower blue, and they caused me to lose a toe. True story. Although it may have been due to poor circulation.) But enough of the past! This story introduced what was intended to be Zatanna's new, permanent costume, for ever and ever and ever. Ready? *plays opening chords of "The Final Countdown" on a synthesizer*

zatannaslacks

Ya duhn da duhn-da-dah! Slacks! Didn't last too long, did it? The fanboy fetish for superheroine skin torpedoed this modest little number. Of course, the fact that it made her look like a vampiric theater usher may also have had something to do with it. Personally, I love the cape, but that's about it. And that yellow vest is ridiculous. Bah! Bah, I say to you now.

Hey, bonus panel!

cagliostrobellhat

Rrrowr! You wouldn't think anybody could look like a badass in a jinglebell hat (with a feather!) but I'll be darned if Cagliostro didn't pull it off. Hell, he's rocking that jinglebell hat! I mean, I always figured Cagliostro was a pimp, but goddamn. He can read my palm, anytime!

8 comments:

naladahc said...

Naelc eb anigav!

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

I've always kind of liked Zantana. I have no idea why, speaking backwords in the heat of battle to cast a spell must be the toughest thing imagineable. She's got her share of bad costumes there, though.

And what's with those bows on her arms in the first picture?

Anonymous said...

I gotta say I've always had a fondness for the top hat and fishnets outfit. It was a nice visual pun of her being both a stage magician and her own lovely assistant.

And certain artists could really make it work. Brian Bolland should draw nothing but women in fishnets, and Ryan Sook has a lot of fun riffing on Zatanna's costumes in her Seven Soldiers mini.

But the centipede hat? That has GOT to go.

catrina said...

You either forgot or used magic future drugs to selectively erase the terror of her 90's costume. Compared to all those trainwrecks, the fishnets and top hat are a breath of fresh air (although it's one of the few instances where I would advocate formal shorts, instead of those panties on the outside).

Justin Garrett Blum said...

The 90s costume wouldn't be so bad if she had lost the pointy Dracula collar. I mean, she'd still look like a trucker, but at least she wouldn't be laughed at on the street by passers-by.

In case anybody is curious, a few years ago I was screwing around and managed, I think, to make Zatanna's outfit even more fetishy by doing her up in a sort of school girl outfit. Here's an image I drew of a youngish Zee at the time.

http://videlicet.org/images/zatanna.jpg

Sorry about the proportions being a little weird. I was going for lanky, but overdid it a little. Also, I don't claim to be a particularly good artist.

Blockade Boy said...

naladahc: That just about killed me. Kudos!

Jon: Re: the bows, you know when somebody is wrapping a present and they ask you to put your finger on top to help them tie the bow? Zatanna never moved her finger out of the way.

Steven: I get your point about other artists drawing the top hat look better than this one: Tom Artis. Artis also had a tendency to draw Zatanna with this Bettie Page-by-way-of-Robotech infantile "surprised" look that more often than not made her look mentally ill.

Catrina: I had no idea that costume even existed. I vaguely recall her getting a miniseries called "Come Together" (I know, I know) so I presume that's where all that unnecessary crap got piled onto her. The vest with the Mandrake collar, the redneck-sized "Z" hanging off her belt, the stupid glowy gnarled staff (which was her father's? Really? Zatara carried aroun a stupid glowy gnarled staff? Yeah, I don't remember that.) and especially the absence of rhyming. I don't mind the idea of a character evolving but that last part especially seems like a dilution of her core concept. Really, the backwards talk was one of the few things that made Zatanna interesting (well, that and the fishnets).

Justin: Aw, I love seeing other people's art! The combination of a pleated skirt and a top hat is so wrong it's almost right. Cool, man!

Phillip said...

This puts me in mind of some drawings done by my other favorite character re-designer, Calamity Jon Morris. He posted a very cool take on the JLA a while back that included two versions of Zatanna. They're here, but you gotta scroll down a bit.

dan said...

There ain't no better Zatanna than the Don Heck and Vinnie Colletta version.