Wednesday, July 09, 2014

No relation to Bea Arthur or Rue McClanahan.

I absolutely love Roy Thomas's 1970s Marvel series The Invaders (featuring the WWI Nazi-busting team of Captain America, Namor, and the Original Human Torch, plus pals), and I love the quirky, fluid figures of Frank Robbins, who drew the vast majority of the series' issues...but I've always had a huge problem in their design for Golden Girl, the Marvel Universe's (chronologically) first Japanese-American superhero. It's basically a shortie kimono robe (and it don't look like there's nuthin' beneath it, either). Did I mention she's a teenager? She's a teenager.

Panels from The Invaders (1975 series) #28 (May 1978), script by Roy Thomas, pencils by Frank Robbins, inks by Frank Springer, colors by George Roussos, letters by John Costanza

Let's not even go into the striped pajama look for Davy Mitchell, the Human Top. (Not in this post, anyway.)

Gwen Sabuki's costume got a little longer when it was drawn by different artists...but hey, it's still something you'd probably buy in Victoria's Secret not that I know anything about that.

Panel from The Invaders #38 (March 1979), script by Don Glut, pencils by Alan Kupperberg and Don Heck, inks by Chic Stone, colors by Carl Gafford, letters by Jim Novak

Especially when it's drawn like this:

Cover of The Invaders #39 (April 1979), pencils by Alan Kupperberg, inks by Joe Sinnott

That's why I was extremely happy to see this uniform on Golden Girl in today's All-New Invaders #7. I especially like the way it adapts the original color design and pattern of the kimono to a practical fighting outfit. With pants!

Panel portion from All-New Invaders #7 (September 2014), script by James Robinson, pencils and inks by Mark Laming, colors by Guru-eFX, letters by Cory Petit

This flashback takes place after the events of The Invaders series and its is-it-still-in-continuity sequel What If? #4, and is in fact after the disappearance/death of Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes, so this could be a "chronologically later" Golden Girl uniform.

But I'd like instead to think that this is actually a retcon of Gwen Sabuki's uniform and the one she woudl have worn "all along." It's certainly one of the best and most forward-thinking retcons of a stupid uniform into a practical, believable, yet still aesthetically attractive one.

Also, it's not a cast-off from one of Prince Namor's "lady friends."

Panels from Uncanny X-Men Annual (2006 series) #2 (March 2009); script by Matt Fraction; pencils, inks, and colors by Daniel Acuña; letters by Joe Caramagna



SallyP said...

Pants! Pants are indeed a good thing.

Blam said...

They didn't call him Untersee-Man for nothing.

Blam said...

I absolutely love The Invaders too, Bully. Frank Robbins' and Frank Springer's art was definitely weird to my young eyes, but there's no denying that it was also part of the series' charm. I still have a vivid memory of reading Invaders Annual #1 like it was a lost Gospel, thrilling at all of 6 or 7 years old to genuine Golden Age guest artists whom I'd only read about in the Overstreet guide and to the way it retconned explanations for the pre-Invaders usage of Cap's original shield in an older Avengers tale that I hadn't even read. I was a continuity nut and a rabid student of comics history well before I'd know why that was so unusual at such a young age. The fact that I ever got to collaborate with Roy in some small way thrilled the perpetual 6-year-old in me to no end.

Blam said...

How do you like All-New Invaders, by the way? I buy very few new comics in periodical form these days, and I've read barely any new Marvel stuff for about a dozen years now (long story, not Marvel's fault), but I do have a subscription to Marvel Unlimited that I'm using to sample current material that doesn't require knowledge of Civil Secret Skrull Illuminati Initiative as well as enjoy older stuff and while James Robinson is hit-or-miss for me the parts that hit really hit.

Bully said...

Blam: i like it a lot, although it is occasionally trying to do too many things at once. The first arc, which i guess will be reprinted in the first trade, is pretty good, and I liked the two-part story i mention above, although it suffers from being told as a flashback and with too much focus on "hey, the Original Human Torch is the bestest SHIELD ever!" I'd wait for a trade or digital issues to go on sale.