Monday, April 02, 2007

Rescue Me: Titania

Back in the 1980's, a bunch of folks under the nom-de-guerre of "Scourge" took it upon themselves to wipe out supervillainy! As long as it wasn't Doctor Doom or Magneto or the Mandarin or the Abomination or anybody else who stood a decent chance of kicking "Scourge's" collective ass. Nope, only losers and second-rate douchebags were offed by Scourge. With the cry "Justice is served!" Scourge agents would shoot hapless second-stringers with explosive bullets (usually in the back) or maybe they'd just lure a whole passle of 'em to an out-of-the-way location and blow them to smithereens, en masse. And almost to a man (and woman) these supervillainous unfortunates had atrocious costumes. In fact, it's my theory that if they'd simply dressed better, they could have ended up as big time villains... and therefore they'd have been too big to make the Scourge posse's shitlist!

Skeptical? Allow me to demonstrate! Take for example... oh, let's say... Titania! No, not the Secret Wars redhead with the spikes-a-poppin' costume and the bulletheaded beau. I'm talking the previous Titania. I'm talking about the lady who led the all-lady-wrestler supervillain team, the Grapplers. The close personal friend of Screaming Mimi/Songbird. The one who got her ass kicked by the Dazzler. The gal who was offed while she was taking a shower by a possibly female Scourge agent in a feather boa. Ouch.


Big Barda called; she wants her headband back! What's wrong with this costume? How 'bout the fact it just looks like a one-piece swimsuit with a lot of big red buttons on it? Oh, I'm sorry... they're "explosive discs." Whatever. Bottomline? It's BORING!

I think Titania's look is a remnant of the old Marvel policy of making every costume look like it was designed by Jack Kirby. Granted, she first appeared in "Marvel Two-In-One" #54. So she was probably designed by Ron Wilson. Wilson was Marvel's most prolific Kirby immitator in the early 80's, sometime after the heyday of Herb Trimpe (assuming Herb Trimpe ever enjoyed anything that could be considered a "heyday") and before the oppressive reign of Ron "Tom DeFalco Says I Have To Draw This Way Now" Frenz. That would explain the costume's thrown-together look and its oodles of meaningless ornamentation.

So here's what I'd have done:


Titania needed to ditch the disc gimmick and stick to the theme that made her (halfway) unique: lady wrasslin'! She was a strong woman, plain and simple. In fact, her strength was super-sized over the years... first through technology and then through the Power Broker's patented treatments. And with the wrestling angle, she had a reasonably solid, memorable hook. Hey, it's less generic than some bozo with a bad haircut and a zillion little pouches, flying around and shooting goopy laser beams out of his palms.

I wanted to put Titania in a suit that looked reasonably like a wrestling costume and was at once strong, intimidating, practical, and a little sexy. Admittedly, the recent (your time) kerfuffle over Michael Turner's atrocious depiction of Power Girl was in the back of my mind. Not that Titania the First was ever a sex object. At any rate, my Titania has more muscle mass than the skinny bitches who usually show up to fight the good guys. She's a strong, sturdy, healthy gal. And sure, she's in a tight costume, but there isn't a whole lot of skin exposed. Heck, even her ears are covered up, because her cowl is based on genny-ine wresting headgear. There's a chin guard and everything! Her shoulder straps are nice and wide so there's little danger of her breasts being exposed in combat. She's wearing heels, kind of, because a wrestling-themed supercostume needs some theatrical elements. But they're not really high heels and they sure ain't stilettos. You can't see it from this angle, but Titania is actually wearing those chunky, solid boots where the heel is elevated. Kind of like platforms, only not. I don't know what you folks call them. In my time, they go by a Khundian name and it's not really translatable into English. It kind of sounds like a really watery fart. Anyway, I think I saw Gwen Stefani wearing them one time. The 21st Century ones, not the Khundian ones. God, I'm floundering here. I'm flopsweating like a sum'bitch! Dang! Aw, let's move on. I used purple as the costume's main color to symbolize royalty, because Shakespeare's Titania was a queen. And in case that wasn't obvious enough, I added two crown symbols: one on the cowl and one on the waist where a belt buckle would be. So the yellow crowns wouldn't get lonesome, I added yellow accents to the gloves, boots, and headgear. They harken back to the fuzzily scientific thingamabobs Roxxon Oil added to her costume to augment her strength.

*slaps forhead* It's called a wedge heel! God, don't you just hate it when you remember things too late?

I like to think this Titania would have knocked the gun out of She-Scourge's hands with a roundhouse kick, strangled her with her own boa, hoisted the homicidal nuisance over her head, and tossed 'er out a window. And then she'd have said sumpin' kick-ass but not terribly clever, like "Serve this, bitch!" (Am I overthinking this? Oh, just a tad.)

Oh, and Scipio wanted to know how I liked the planet of Femnaz, which is ruled by lipstick lesbians. As you'll recall, the Femnaz men are all living there again, after the Legion took it upon itself to ship their wimpy asses back to where they came from. So the good news is: men! The bad news is: they're a weak and cowardly lot. All intellectual and spindly. Feh! I spotted one miraculously brawny specimen in a coffee shop and after chatting him up for a bit I suggested we go back to my hotel room and "wrestle." *raises big bushy eyebrows suggestively* His reply? "Like the other males, I think combat for sport is barbarous." Then he tooted his rape whistle and I was thrown in jail! Thank God my cell had pay-per-view!


Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Hubba hubba, I'd let her put me in head scissors.

Ah, what a way to go...

Anonymous said...

Is there any way you can organize all of these redesign post into categories on the side? I love your designs, but hacking through the archives to see them can get pretty tedious. I'd also like to see them all grouped according to theme, so I can see all of the "Rescue Me," "Gender Resignment," and "Legion of Substitute Heroes" in one place. Okay, I guess I'm done making demands of my free entertainment. Keep up the great work!

Zundian said...

My only critique would be that as a follower of the wrestling arts (especially Lucha Libre, where they live for the masks) A woman's mask would generally have an open top/crown to allow for better view of her hair.

Wrestling costumes are meant for show, rather than ultra-realistic combat.

Jeremy Rizza said...

Jon: Yeah, I'm just happy I was finally able to draw a female who didn't look like the inbred cousin of Betty Boop.

Tyler: A capital idea! If I can't figure out how to put it on the side of the blog, I'll at least link the previous posts in each category with each new post, like I've been doing with the Gender Reassignment Challenge. Once I got the first post down with the list, it was a snap to copy and paste it into newer posts. Also, I'll see about adding tags to my older posts, if possible.

Zundian: Part of my rationale for covering the top of Titania's head is that villains as a whole have more skin covered (as it makes them look less "open" and friendly). Also, I wanted to strike a balance among the looks of showy "professional" wrestling, "pure" wrestling, and supervillainy. And yet I wanted to show some of Titania's hair, since I think female supercharacters with whole-head cowls tend to look like total Poindexters (exhibit A: Judomaster). But if that's your only critique I figure I must be doing pretty well, so thanks!