MASHUP 22: Fashion show time!

Leaping out from the pages of my ten randomly selected comics this week was one pulse-pounding theme: Fashion Week. Haven’t you ever wondered where comics artists get their ideas for costumes from (besides whatever’s lying around the apartment at deadline, that is)? Luckily for you, we’ve got the interview to tell you!


Ace reporter Barbi in her trademark Crazy Wavy Hair interviews renowned super-hero fashion consultant Zipper Zippenstein, and as always they only speak in exclamation points!

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“For instance, I designed this pullover for ultra-thin heroin-chic-heroines who want to tell the whole world their waist size, but who don’t want to be recognized doing so!”

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“Sometimes the men are hard to convince, but if you’re going to have ‘Stranger’ in your name, I say you should look strange, and what’s stranger than a fashionable sixties-era gold medallion, chained cloak, and sporty fedora, especially when matched with white gloves and a mock turtleneck?!”

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“Of course that was nothing compared to the effort of getting Rick Flagg to wear my gorgeous cowboy boots, Bavarian knee socks, sleeveless leather vest with popped color, black business tie, and knee-length rolled-up Boy Scout shorts, but luckily he went for it!”

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“I’ll never forget the great reaction from the crowd at the Milan Fashion Show, they loved that American Flagg costume as much as I did!!”

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“I love it when I get ideas from old movies, so when SHIELD came to me for new agent uniforms I jumped at the chance to introduce my ‘Producers’-inspired ensemble, along with a new eye patch for Nick!”

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“But I don’t want to forget the everyday people, the little people, those who keep us going every day, who have also inspired some of my great super-hero designs like the one for the gender-sensitive crusader …”

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“Of course sometimes you’ve just got to go whole hog and throw in the kitchen sink, for that one-of-a-kind ‘I was drunk when I designed this’ look!”

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“In fact, I think I have a YouTube video here from that period in my design career …”

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Meanwhile, behind the camera …

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“Ha ha, maybe she needs an eye doctor, but otherwise she’s fine, or so say I, Barbie, Ace Reporter, and now back to the studio!”


The images above are from the following comics, in order of appearance:

  1. “Barbie”, Vol. 1, No. 9, ©1991, Mattel, Inc. (published by Marvel). Lisa Trusiani, writer; James Brock & Anna-Maria Cool, pencilers; Jeff Albrect, John Lucas, & Roy Rochardson, inkers; Janice Chiang & Mike Heisler, letterers; Mike Worley, colorist.
    It takes this many people to put together a freaking Barbie comic book?! By that measure “Hell-Boy” ought to require two hundred people slaving away night and day! And what would Marvel not whore itself out for in the nineties? Damn continuity, pride, or a commitment to quality, if someone’ll pay us money we’ll put it in a comic! Get ready for “Captain Crunch Adventures”, kids!
  2. “Power Pack”, Vol. 1, No. 16, ©1985 Marvel Comics Group. Louise Simonson, writer; June Brigman & Bob Wiacek, art; Glynis Oliver, colorist; Joe Rosen, letterer.
    I know a lot of people hold the “Power Pack” series in high esteem, but I frankly don’t get it. Their costumes are silly, and the whole idea of putting kids in mortal danger all the time is frankly unsettling. I’m glad that in this issue you get a taste of what kids of super-heroes must go through as little Franklin Richards co-stars and complains about his frequently-missing parental units.
    Plus, no self-respecting half-horse alien child would wear leg warmers.
  3. “The Phantom Stranger”, No. 3, ©1987, DC Comics, Inc. Paul Kupperberg, writer; Mik Mignola, breakdowns; P. Craig Russell, finisher; Sean Workman, letterer; Peter Scotese, colorist.
    Geez, what didn’t “Hell-Boy” creator Mike Mignola work on in the eighties and nineties? This book seriously suffers from the fact that Mignola was only doing breakdowns, as P. Craig Russell (whoever that is) seriously lacks the ability to breath the same kind of dark life into the panels that Mike does when left to his own devices. The whole issue looks like a bastard child of Rob Liefeld and Jim Aparo, with random lines drawn across figures like berserker cross-hatching. None of the brooding, psychedelic feel anything involving the Phantom Stranger should have shows up here, just relics of a mis-spent Seventies disco era like the flashing gold medallion and white “Jazz Hands” gloves. Sad.
  4. “American Flagg”, Vol. 1, No. 5, ©1983 First Comics and Howard Chaykin. Howard Chaykin, artist/writer; Leslie Zahler, colorist; Ken Bruzenak, letterer.
    I’d like to find Howard Chaykin’s zipitone collection and burn it. This issue features more crazy neo-Nazi sympathizers, cross-dressing street hustlers, and fascist city-states, all patrolled by a bunch of guys in knee-socks. Only in comics, my friends, only in comics.
  5. “Timespirits”, Vol. 1, No. 5, ©1985 Steve Perry and Tom Yeates. Steve Perry, writer; Janice Chiang, letterer; Steve Oliff, colorist.
    Six years later, letterer Janice Chiang would be working on Barbie comics (see above), proving once again that it’s easy come, easy go in the comics biz. One day you’re lettering a cutting-edge comic about time-traveling Native Americans who bring Jimi Hendix to life in order to fight a future techno-company from making profits off of kids at fake rock concerts (no, really), the next you’re slave to the ridiculously-proportioned queen of plasticity. Hope things have picked up for you, Janice!
    Seriously, this comic concludes with a Native American boy from the 1600’s hopping into a time portal with a bowler-wearing era-hopping salesman, a prototypical near-naked furry cat-woman, a down-on-his-luck cigar-chomping trenchcoat-wearing concert promoter, and Jimi Hendrix. Somebody pass the bong, stat!
  6. “Bullwinkle and Rocky”, Vol. 1, No. 2, ©1988 PAT Ward (published by Marvel Comics). Dave Manak, writer; Ernie Colon, penciler; Al Milgrom, inker; John Wellington, colorist; Grace Kremer, letterer.
    Seriously, Marvel in the late 80’s and early 90’s = Whore. Really.
  7. “Bullwinkle and Rocky”, Vol. 1, No. 1, ©1988 PAT Ward (published by Marvel Comics). Dave Manak, writer; Ernie Colon, penciler; Jacqueline Roettcher, inker; John Wellington, colorist; Grace Kremer, letterer.
  8. “Timespirits”, Vol. 1, No. 5, ©1985 Steve Perry and Tom Yeates. Steve Perry, writer; Janice Chiang, letterer; Steve Oliff, colorist.
    I think this issue really suffers from lack of a dead 1960’s drug-abusing rock star, but the appearance of an eyeball-headed spirit lizard largely makes up for it. Largely.
  9. “Beavis and Butt-Head”, Vol. 1, No. 4, ©1994 MTV Networks, Inc. (published by — wait for it — Marvel Comics). Mike Lackey, writer; Rick Parker, art; Bob Sharen, colors.
    Ok, seriously, after reading this I have to wonder what Stan Lee wouldn’t put his name on. And calling Marvel a company willing to whore itself out to literally any property is, upon further reflection, an insult to whores everywhere. The art in this is actually fairly interesting, with an underground-comics feel full of vibrant colors and energy. I liked Beavis and Butt-Head back in the day, and this issue is exactly what you would expect from the series. Raunchy, juvenile, vibratory, and obnoxious. Pretty good, all in all.
  10. “Power Pack”, Vol. 1, No. 13, ©1985 Marvel Comics Group. Louise Simonson, writer; Brent Anderson, Penciler; Bob Wiacek, inker; Glynis Oliver, colorist; Joe Rosen, letterer.
    In this issue, we see kids watching a baseball game! No, really. That’s the issue. I know, I know, baseball is arguably one of the most boring things you can watch on TV, but this takes the fast-paced, action-packed game into the fabulous static world of comic books!! The big draw for the kids in this issue, what really gets them pumped about going out to the ol’ ball game, is that there might be fireworks afterwards. Why this would be exciting to children who can, literally, throw gigantic exploding balls of light and power into the sky on their own is beyond me.

3 Responses to MASHUP 22: Fashion show time!

  1. Sweet! While I enjoyed the mashup, I enjoyed the credits even more. If the opportunity ever presents itself, I will definitely read Timespirits. Also, re your description of baseball, I say “amen!” Thanks.

  2. To be fair, Marvel wasn’t alone in whoredom–I remember Superman and Supergirl shilling for RadioShack back in the ’80s. Of course, that was just a one-shot, rather than an effort at a monthly title….

    Okay, so Marvel was way worse about selling out, but they were also a lot closer to bankruptcy than the Distinguished Competition has ever been.

  3. It’s funny how cyclical things are. Marvel was really struggling while I was growing up, always in second place to Superman and DC. Then the X-Men titles took off, and since then it’s been DC struggling. Weird. I imagine the pendulum will swing and eventually Marvel will be in trouble again, although I am impressed that they’ve been wise enough to diversify into movies under their own production house to cushion the impact of the comics market bottoming out again.