Karen Haber Reviews DC Comics Super Heroines and Infected by Art Volume 6

DC Comics Super Heroines: 100 Greatest Moments, Robert Greenberger (Chartwell Books 978-0-7858-3618-6, $24.99, 312pp, hc) September 2018.

Occasionally a book comes along that I wish I could send through the time-travel mail to my 13-year-old self. DC Comics Super Heroines: 100 Greatest Moments is one of them. Yes, it’s got lots of women in tights – about 100 – but they are busy doing cool superhero stuff.

This wants to be a celebration of Girl Power. And to a certain extent, it is – but many of the examples of female comic heroes here were inked in the middle to last quarter of the 20th century, the Silver Age of comics, and represent outdated social values from that time. Don’t look for much diversity here. There’s at least one African American, one Asian American, and the obligatory lesbian couple.

Yes, most of the clothing is tight, form-fitting, and the artwork accentuates female pulchritude. But this is also a book packed with images of strong women full of agency and power, as well as explanatory text, and it might be a useful gift for younger comic newbies.

It has fine color reproduction, good quality paper, attractive design. The entries run A-Z. I wish there was an artist and writer index, but there’s always the internet for that. Meanwhile, each spread features writer and art credits.

I could only find the work of three female art­ists in this book: Nicola Scott, Mariah Benes, and Sandra Hope, and two writers: Julie Benson and Shawna Benson. Among those missing in action: artists Trina Robbins’s Wonder Woman illustrations and Rebecca Quay’s work for Black Orchid, and writer Gail Simone (Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Black Canary).

Nevertheless, editor Robert Greenberger has done heavy lifting here, assembling and curating the presentation. The work of many comic artist greats appears: Gil Kane, Joe Giella, Dick Gior­dano, Carmine Infantino, and George Perez. Let’s not forget the writers: Jerry Siegel, Jack Kirby, Marv Wolfman, J. Michael Straczynski, George Perez, Frank Miller, and Len Wein.

Infected by Art Volume 6, Tod Spoor & Bill Cox, eds. (Art Order 978-0-692-15245-4, $39.95, 328pp, hc) Fall 2018. Cover by Annie Stegg Ge­rard & Candice Broersma.

Infected By Art 6 offers 274 artists’ work, includ­ing new names and familiar artists, among them Stephanie Law, Ed Binkley, Dave Seeley, Annie Stegg Gerard, Mark Fishman, Lisa Falkenstern, Bob Eggleton, Lisa L. Cyr, Jeremy Wilson, Forest Rogers, Richard Hescox, Ruth Sanderson, Don Maitz, Tran Nguyen, Justin Gerard, Tom Kidd, and Stephan Martiniere.

The range of media is wide, from traditional paint, pencil, pen and ink and gold leaf, and sculpted, to digital. The subject matter tends toward figural work, nudes, horror, and fantasy. Yoann Lossel’s “The Rise” won the grand prize, with Forest Rog­ers, Patrick Jones, Olivier Villoingt, and Candice Broersma receiving other prize awards.

The artwork is nicely featured, with good color reproduction on glossy paper and many full-page or half-page images. The artists’ index in the back is a much-appreciated feature. The production quality of this young annual has improved every year as IBA has become an important fantastic art survey and reference volume.

This review and more like it in the August 2019 issue of Locus.

Locus Magazine, Science Fiction FantasyWhile you are here, please take a moment to support Locus with a one-time or recurring donation. We rely on reader donations to keep the magazine and site going, and would like to keep the site paywall free, but WE NEED YOUR FINANCIAL SUPPORT to continue quality coverage of the science fiction and fantasy field.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *