This is Glory in the 90’s.
If your familiar with the 90’s era super hero comics, you recognize the tropes. The Liefeldian (more on that later) proportions, the ugly costume, the fact that her legs can’t possibly work and so much more. Now if your eyes aren’t bleeding, we I’ll explain.
In the 90’s comic books it upon massive success by managing to get the general public part of the “collector market”. Basically, people believed “Hey! Those old comics from the 40’s are worth thousands today! If I buy fifty copies of Superboy #0 I’ll be rich ten years from now!”. Comics companies stepped up to the demand, releasing hundreds of new and relaunched series with shiny #1’s on the covers. The watershed moment was with Uncanny X-men #1 which sold 8.1 million copies. For perspective, a comic is considered a blockbuster if it sells 11,000 copies. Comics were big, for all the wrong reasons, but big none the less. Such things like quality and common sense be damned.
Now, as many as you can guess, this collectors market was a bubble. Which popped when people began realizing the comics would never reach the value of the thousands. The reason was simple, books like Detective Comics #1 or so, were considered valuable due to their rarity. Many had been destroyed because people never considered them valuable. With the 90’s however, people were buying dozens of copies of one comic, which made the books sell out, which led to multiple printings. See the problem? Soon the market was flooded with millions of copies of the supposedly “hot collectors item” that was supposed to be worth millions. A modern example of this is Amazing Spider-Man #583 where Spider-Man met the President (it was released right after his election). People bought the comic because, surely, it would be worth thousands some day. There where five printings.
So, the comics were never going to be worth thousands. But that dosen’t matter, because it’s the stories that matter! As long as the writing and art are good, comics will find an audience-
Oh wait. These books were crap. In the sweaty desperate rush to cash in on the publics short sighted lust for cheap collectibles, Marvel, DC, Image, and other publishers released books of a wretched quality. Not to say every book was unreadable (Vertigo’s library would be a good example), but…guh.
Now lets bring this back to Glory. The character was created by Rob Liefeld, possibly the most popular artist of the 90’s. Liefeld’s art is easy to criticize now, but at the time everyone was copying his style of questionable proportions and squinty, squinty eyes. Liefeld eventually launched his own publishing imprint “Extreme Comics”, which was part of image comics. He realesed books like Glory and Supreme. The Extreme books where criticized for being very…similar to other popular books at the time. Glory’s, origin and conceit is clearly heavily based on DC’s Wonder Woman. Very, very, heavily based.
So why bring Glory up at all? Because four months ago, Liefeld relaunched his Extreme Comics line. But this time, the books are written by indie comics creator like Brandon Grahm (King City) and Ross Campbell , who is the artist on the current Glory book. O what does Glorly look like in 2012?
Now, that, that is a cool character design. The first thing I want to talk about is that she’s huge. Glory is supposed to be an Amazon warrior (Cough, Wonder Woman, cough) and she actually looks like one. The 90’s Glory is a swimsuit model (and her costume was one) meant to look hyper beautiful and nothing else. ’12 Glory is an actual Amazon, beautiful, but built like a tank.
Costume wise, Campbell actually doesn’t just stick to one costume like every cape comic ever created. He designs super weird other worldly armor, and more conventional super hero suits, while alays keeping red a prominent color. Further Campbell has given her a truly ridiculous mane of silver hair, that he somehow makes work. Whenever he has Glory on the page he uses it to make her stick out and grab your attention.
The redesign Campbell pulls off with Glory is actually pretty inspiring for me. He took a boring forgettable concept and made something exciting.