<![CDATA[Comic Book Paper Doll Chronicles - Blog]]>Sat, 16 Jan 2016 14:39:22 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[I've Moved to a New DomAin ~ Come Visit Me!]]>Mon, 26 Oct 2015 17:44:28 GMThttp://comicbookchronicles.weebly.com/blog/ive-moved-to-a-new-domain-come-visit-me
Come visit me now at
Pop Culture & Paper Dolls

I am combining my various blogs into one big site that can accommodate everything and will make it easier to update and share. Some of the content here will be ported over there in some form.
In the meantime, this blog will remain an archive for the foreseeable future.
<![CDATA[Selina Kyle ~ Catwoman: Plate 11]]>Wed, 30 Apr 2014 21:26:42 GMThttp://comicbookchronicles.weebly.com/blog/selina-kyle-catwoman-plate-11Picture
Batman's earliest recurring villains are ones that often only Batfans recognize: Dr. Hugo Strange and Doctor Death (comic books love their doctors!). But with the debut of Batman No. 1, DC comics introduce two of Batman's most recognizable and enduring rogues: the Joker and Selina Kyle (known first simply the as "The Cat").

Selina has had a long evolution of costumes and origin stories ~ and at the height of the Comics Code era in the 50s, she was mostly written out of the series (like the Joker) for being too sexual and more than somewhat fetishy. 

Fortunately she made a comeback in the 60s and it's been all stilettos and leather whips since. One of her most recognizable outfits, however, is one of her oldest: the wholly impractical purple gown (harkening back to the 40s), with a green cape (purple and green were common "villain" colors.

 Did I mention this before? I think I did. Riddler, Joker, Lex Luthor, etc.; they all wore purple and green because it would contrast the blues, reds, and yellows of the heroes. 

Anyway, after some very far out outfits in the 60s (which we will likely get to at some point), Catwoman returned to this classy look for a good spell. The 80s would finally put her in something slightly more practical, though 100x more sexualized ( with a tail no less). These days, while still sexy, much of her outfit is functional and a pair of goggles are common headgear along with her cat ears. But it's this initial outfit I have chosen for her first plate because even though it came from the 40s, it was common in the Bronze-Age. 

Also, in keeping with the Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy theme, I have given her the likeness of Anne Hathaway who played her in The Dark Knight Rises

You're probably not keeping track, but yes, I did skip two Batman plates (9 & 10). I'll get back to them in a bit. I just realized I still have characters I haven't posted!

<![CDATA[Swamp Thing Plate No. 2: Matthew Cable and Abigail Arcane]]>Sat, 26 Apr 2014 01:01:15 GMThttp://comicbookchronicles.weebly.com/blog/swamp-thing-plate-no-2-matthew-cable-and-abigail-arcanePictureMatthew's first appearance [1972]
Brace yourself for a lot of blather; I thought I had this down tight, but as usual got chatty and just thought: oh well!

So in my l
ast post I mentioned these two characters as the supporting cast of the original volume of Swamp Thing. The two are actually pretty tragic; Matthew Cable, the Lieutenant who failed to protect Alec and Linda Holland, and Abigail  Arcane, the niece of quite possibly one of the most evil characters existing in the DCU.  I don't know if Wein or Wrightson could have guessed the story arcs these two would follow over the next forty years, but I'll cut to the chase and rip the band-aid off for you.

After the events of Volume 1, Matthew and Abigail fall in love and marry, but Matthew suffers an accident that leaves him a psychotic abusive drunk with a peculiar sexual fetish for reanimated corpses (seriously, it's pretty twisted). He suffers atrociously and makes everyone around him suffer even worse, ultimately being possessed by the aforementioned evil uncle (Anton Arcane), and doing something so horrific that DC finally threw the Comics Code right in the trash with a big ol' middle finger to the censors (
We love you, Alan Moore!).  And that was that.  By issue No. 29 in 1982, Volume 2 of Swamp Thing had made its crossover into the "mature readers" category and would lead the way toward the Vertigo line of mature comics ~ and ultimately the death of the Comics Code. 

But what happened to poor horrid Matthew? Well, he sacrifices his life to save Abigail from her evil uncle and falls into a coma from which he never wakes. After countless more issues of suffering, Abigail shuts down his life support and basically euthanizes him as a mercy. So yeah, he's kinda dead these days.

Neil Gaiman took pity on him though (seriously, this was rough reading back in the day), and because Matthew died in a state of dreaming, reincarnated him as a companion for Dream in the Sandman series 7 years later (see below).  It's never explicitly stated that this is Matthew Cable, but subtle clues indicate that it must be and it's generally understood to be canonically true. Though both Swamp Thing and the Sandman series have been playing out in DC's New 52 reboot, Matthew's place in this continuity and his ultimate fate have yet to be revealed.

Matthew's first appearance as the Raven in Sandman No. 11 [December 1989]
PictureAbby's first appearance [1973]
Meanwhile poor Abby has fared no better, though she outlived Matthew by three decades and through all the remaining volumes of Swamp Thing (we're on No. 5 these days). After her broken marriage and the horrors of what her uncle inflicted on her, Abby runs off with Alec and an unlikely but totally believable romance blossoms, leading to possibly one of the most bizarre three-way sex scenes in comic book history (and yet I challenge anyone reading the book to tell me they weren't glued to the page to see what was going to happen).

Anyway, instead of it being all roses and posies, however, being the common-law wife to a vegetable goes downhill after Abby gets pregnant, gives birth to a monstrous hybrid child (seriously, Tefe is one of the most screwed up things ever conceived in the DCU), loses Alec, lose Tefe, loses everything, basically.

But as if that wasn't sufficient torture, the New 52, with its chance to reboot her and give her and Swamp Thing another shot at happiness, instead takes the two down an even darker path in one of the most beautiful and saddest deaths ever foisted on the reading public.

So yeah, they're both totally dead now.

Abby's swan song 40 years later in Swamp Thing No. 18 [May 2013]
So enjoy playing dress up with these grim souls and remember that life is precious!

While no one ever stays dead in comic books (except Batman's parents), it will likely be a long while before we see these two again.

I kind of hope I'm wrong. Abby has been an integral part of the Swamp Thing saga for so long and frankly, I always thought Matthew was dealt a bum hand (and was actually happy to see him in Sandman, at least, even as a bird).

For now, though, think happy thoughts. While we're just covering Volume 1 here none of those horrible things have even been imagined yet and the possibility of doomed romance for any of them doesn't ever factor in.

For the plate you can see Abby's head is disconnected so that you can either make it swappable or glue it in place and arrange the hair as you like.
  For ideas on how to do this, check out Harley Quinn.

And speaking of Harley, she might have something coming up next!

<![CDATA[Swamp Thing Plate No. 1 ~ Dark Genesis]]>Sun, 20 Apr 2014 12:33:57 GMThttp://comicbookchronicles.weebly.com/blog/swamp-thing-plate-no-1-dark-genesisPicture
Like Ghost Rider (and many comic book characters) Swamp Thing did not originate in his own series, but started as a part of a compilation series. For Ghost Rider, Marvel Spotlight was a way of trying out various ideas before committing them to their own titles. For Swamp Thing, he was just another 8-page horror story in a long-running safe-bet horror comic book called House of Secrets. His original appearance was in issue no.92 [July 1971] and he had the fortune of being featured on the cover (which may have helped make the difference between everlasting obscurity and comic book greatness.

It's clear from House of Secrets that there were no plans to make the shumbling green muck-monster a star; the story is a straight-forward horror tale of murder and revenge set at the turn of the last century (many horror stories in these books had historical contexts for their ghosts and monsters).  Written by Len Wein and drawn by Berni Wrightson, however, it's definitely got something special ( Wein and Wrightson must have loved the concept enough to successfully lobby for DC to make the leap from historical horror short story to modern-era starring title).

It didn't happen right away, but in November of 1972, the series was born.

The original Swamp Thing story (simply titled "Swamp Thing"), was basically the tale of a jealous man who is after  the wife of another. That whole premise was jettisoned for Swamp Thing the series (1t Issue: "Dark Genesis"). Other than both title characters dying horrible science lab experiment explosion deaths in the swamp they have little else in common (even the character's name was changed from Alex Olsen to Alec Holland).

This time around Alec and his wife Linda are doing bio-restorative experiments in the swamp and being watched by the mysterious Mister E. who plants a spy among them: a dog (henceforth called Mutt) who is bugged.  Anyone the least bit familiar with the Swamp Thing mythos (through comics or TV or those really bad movies) knows that what happens next is a fight over the formula, a terrible explosion, and Alec Holland goes wailing into the swamp engulfed in flames. Contrary to the original story, this time Linda also dies in a second confrontation with the killers.

The other character we meet for the first time in issue No. 1 is Lieutenant Matthew Cable. He comes off like one of those fed-type black suits at first; a bit smarmy and not to be trusted. But even though he's convinced that the Swamp Thing killed the Hollands, he turns out to be a pretty good guy. While misguided, he's determined to avenge Alec and Linda.

I know what you're thinking: get to the plates already! But I do want to remind everyone that I started this blog as a way of reading through and commenting on my collection, so I'm going to keep on blithering. Mercifully, this is a pretty short series (it only ran for 2 years before being abruptly cancelled).

For Plate No. 1 we introduce Swamp Thing and Mutt. I had originally drawn Swamp Thing last summer in the style of John Totleben, an artist who contributed to Vol. 2 (and one of my favorite Swamp Thing artists), but I realized that if I was
focusing on Vol. 1, it was only fair to do a Berni Wrightson-styled character. Went a little crazy with the details (Wrightson is a master cross-hatcher), but am pleased with the results, even if he doesn't quite match everything else going on,.

p.s. Don't be surprised when you download the file to find the character plated horizontally. He's actually too tall to fit upright. He's supposed to be nine feet tall but I've drawn him about 7 feet if you scale him with the other characters ~ just so he'd fit on a single sheet.

Coming up next:the other main characters of the series, Matthew Cable and Abigail Arcane.

<![CDATA[Ghost Rider Plate No. 7 ~ Look pretty for Satan!]]>Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:26:04 GMThttp://comicbookchronicles.weebly.com/blog/ghost-rider-plate-no-7-look-pretty-for-satan Picture
From Marvel Spotlight No. 7: I'm pretty sure I mentioned before the whole 70s obsession with the occult and devil worshipers and whatnot. So there's Roxanne, once again chained up and victimized and about to sacrificed by her own father disguised as a biker from the Satan's Servants gang (oh the subtlety).

Last time I rendered these outfits I was lazy about the headdress thing. This time I went ahead and made it; since she's got blonde hair through this sequence and it's not in pigtails, I figured it was only right.

The other outfits are also from Marvel Spotlight No. 6 & 7. Don't forget you can see the originals and get a color guide by checking out my original reviews for this set.  Also, you'll be glad to know we're almost caught up to where I left off originally, so there will be new stuff very soon (and a new character!).

The actual Ghost Rider
series (as opposed to these initial Marvel Spotlight issues) is going to drop off precipitously in terms of plates to draw. I mostly attribute this to lazy artists and a principal character who almost never changes his clothes. But we'll make the most of it while it lasts!

<![CDATA[Catching up Ghost Rider, Plates 4 & 5]]>Fri, 11 Apr 2014 11:39:27 GMThttp://comicbookchronicles.weebly.com/blog/catching-up-ghost-rider-plates-4-5PicturePanel from Marvel Spotlight No. 5
Aren't you lucky? You're getting TWO plates again today instead of just one!  I'm going to spoil you (and paint myself in a corner by drying up my buffer in the process probably ~ ha!).

Ghost Rider's debut in Marvel Spotlight No. 5 featured more costume changes than any other comic book I think I've ever seen. Part of the reason is that it jumps in time and covers a lot of exposition in different locales, so the characters have to look different to convey that.

If you weren't here when I launched this blog, you may have missed it, but you can catch up on the Ghost Rider page (and see color references for everything below).
Once we get to where I left off, I will resume more in-depth commentary (mostly for my own amusement ~ this series is just full of comic book hilarity too good to pass up).

hile I'm redrawing all the distinct pieces of clothing, I should probably note that I am not duplicating things that really require only a change in color. So, for example these yellow pants Roxanne is wearing ~ they are the same basic style and cut as a pair of brown pants and boots she will wear later on in the comic. Rather than draw both, you can just print more than one and color to your heart's content (or not). I definitely feel cheaty doing this (since in the original set I drew every bloody piece of clothing even if it was only just a color variation), but in the long run this just made more sense.

<![CDATA[Meet your challenges: Movie Costumes and Sharpie Pens]]>Tue, 08 Apr 2014 12:42:50 GMThttp://comicbookchronicles.weebly.com/blog/meet-your-challenges-movie-costumes-and-sharpie-pens
This year I am trying to challenge myself to create more, post more, not shirk from the hard things. So this weekend when I thought about drawing the Winter Soldier and then quibbled about how hard all those details looked, I sat myself down and said: "Self, this is the kind of thing you can't let yourself blow off." So I did it. And yes, there was some slop involved and yes, I could argue it's incomplete without the last two costumes, but I got up the mountain and for now I'm not bothered about whether I did it upright or on my knees.

And then I posted the bloody thing and said "blah blah what a pain in the ass" and "I ain't looking forward to drawing the Dark Knight costume for Batman", and of course then I realized that I had to.

So this post serves a couple of purposes:
accountability, first of all; you can see I have drafted Batman's Dark Knight costume in all of its fiddly masochistic glory. I had excellent references, so I am not sure what I was so worried about except, once again, just the daunting level of detail (this did take a while). Secondly, once I have inked something, I erase all the pencil lines and lose the dirty draft and sometimes I really like my dirty drafts; there's always so much more nuance with pencil that I can't achieve in ink. And lastly, just to show you my basic tools: a kneaded eraser (no crumbs!), a drafting pencil (.9mm, which is actually a very large lead), Copic multiliners in a variety of sizes (I use the .3 and the .1 mostly), a Copic black sketch marker for filling in larger areas, and a Sharpie (down at the bottom there), which I confess is really bad form, but I've been using it for the outlines.

Part of me resents this because Sharpies have no archival qualities; they turn gross after many years. I've been trying to be more conscientious about the tools I use, but this is one weak point I haven't manged to kick (and I just bought another set of them, so I suspect I won't be kicking it any time soon).  I have a size .5 multiliner, but it's not heavy enough and I like that Sharpies "give" when you press them. Makes for a fuzzy line, but also feels more easily controllable. Old habits....

Anyway, I'll have this finished soon enough, though I said I was giving Batman a rest. So I may not post the final for a while. I have so many other plates piled up! Yay!

So what challenges are you stepping up to this year?
<![CDATA[I am easily distracted: Captain America's Winter Soldier]]>Sun, 06 Apr 2014 03:36:01 GMThttp://comicbookchronicles.weebly.com/blog/in-which-i-am-easily-distracted
UPDATE: okay, those two costumes on Plate No. 2 were just about the fiddliest, mind-melting things I have drawn so far. There's a reason I don't do "real" costumes ~ just the insane amount of detail (dreading Batman's Dark Knight suit)! Did a lot of tweaking and cleaning up on the body after I scanned it (rather than redraw it); still has problems, but I decided to just live with it.

And to be honest, I gave up on the Winter Soldier costume somewhere in the inking process and missed a few things (and didn't manage to straighten the gun out, though I tried). But oh well, I think it'll pass for an approximation. I do have one more plate that I want do with the jacket and mask that he wears in the film and possibly his clothes from the end scene, though I can't recall what they look like and there are no reference pictures on line, so yeah, that last plate might be a looong while coming.

In the meantime; enjoy! I know he had short hair when he wore the other costumes, so I might make an alternate head and include his dress military uniform. I included his "classic" costume from the comic books just for giggles ~ though I have to say, it's hard to look manly in those little hot pants.

And even though this was a total pain in the ass to draw and took me four times longer than any of the other plates I've made this weekend, I'm pleased enough with the results that maybe, just maybe, I will concede to doing another character or two from a comic-book related film (other than the aforementioned Dark Knight, which I'm doing anyway).
I was just minding my own business making Ghost Rider dollies and being all focused and good and whatnot and then suddenly...oooh shiny!

So yeah: guess who?

I'm trying to stay away from one-offs and movie tie-ins and things I don't actually read in the world of comics (all of which this would qualify), but there was just something irresistible and I just finally decided to give into it after fighting the impulse all day long.

And honestly, sometimes that's when I do good work ~ when I just jump in and throw caution to the wind and knock something out. Don't know when I will finish this or if it will be worthy of posting (though I hope so), but I certainly got off to a good start. Was going to post the figure since he's finished, but then there wouldn't be any suspense! Also, I might redo his body because his posture is a little weird

I've got maybe three other suits I want to make for him before he's done, so I'll probably post him complete once he's finished.

And that's officially the first-ever modern gun I have ever drawn, so I'm pretty impressed that I didn't bail, though it clearly needs some straightening out. Took me forever to draft. Might yet screw it all up in the inking, but in the meantime, I thought you might enjoy seeing a bit of my process (sorry about the crummy photo). Unless I am really confident in my pencils, I usually let them sit overnight so as to look at them in the morning with fresh perspective.

I should mention I am working from a number of photo references because I wouldn't have any clue otherwise ~ so that really helps a lot!

<![CDATA[Ghost Rider Plate No. 2: Roxanne Simpson, Stunt chick!]]>Fri, 04 Apr 2014 10:47:09 GMThttp://comicbookchronicles.weebly.com/blog/ghost-rider-plate-no-2-roxanne-simpson-stunt-chick
Herewith is the missing Plate No. 2 from the Ghost Rider paper doll series: Roxanne Simpson.

Roxanne and Johnny Blaze grew up together, raised by Roxanne's Father Crash Simpson, which always made their romance a little creepy, but it's less creepy than other things that have happened in comics. And even though Roxanne's role throughout the book was to be kidnapped and rescued like Nell Fenwick, at least she was a stunt biker chick and wore more jeans than dresses, which appealed to me growing up a tomboy. Unfortunately Marvel didn't know what to do with her, so beyond being the tough girl who spends her time tied up or passed out, she never managed an actual, you  know, personality.

While I am playing catch-up from the original dolls, I won't say much about the particulars of these outfits (they're from Marvel Spotlight No. 5 , her debut). Once we get to where I left off, I'll return to commentary and  screenshots of the comic book.

Roxanne started a redhead. went blonde for a while, then returned to red, so you can pick your poison when coloring her ~ or print two and have both!
Yeah: like that [Marvel Spotlight No. 6, October 1972]
<![CDATA[Oh Yes I Did: Happy April Fools Day!]]>Tue, 01 Apr 2014 12:46:09 GMThttp://comicbookchronicles.weebly.com/blog/oh-yes-i-did-happy-april-fools-day
You can download the picture above to color or you can download the plates and make your own variations. I originally had Bruce without the cowl in the tiara, but with the cowl is definitely funnier.

I had intended to do a 70s theme (in keeping with the Bronze-Age), but 70s dresses just weren't that exciting to me and there's something outrageously awful and funny about the 80s with all that bunching and flouncing and the horrible excesses of sequins, satin and metallic lamé. Also, the 80s spawned the ubiquitous tuxedo t-shirt, saw the rise of Converse prom shoes, and continued to abuse the eyes even for menswear with red, pink, gray, and, yes, satin and metallic lamé for the tuxedos as well. Add a "Prom Queen" sash, balloons, lots of glitter, and maybe an actual bomb or two ~ go wild!

And yes, I had some misgivings about posting this. Not just because it feeds the weird homophobic subtext that's haunted Batman for so many years, but because Sunday was officially Batman's 75th birthday and it just seemed kinda disrespectful (and I was too lazy to do the birthday party theme I had planned with Scarecrow and Two-Face). But I'd been wanting to do April Fools gag outfits for forever and let's face it, Batman can wear whatever he wants without fear of ridicule because, well...he's Batman.
<![CDATA[A Legend is Born! Ghost Rider Plates 1 & 3]]>Fri, 28 Mar 2014 13:26:28 GMThttp://comicbookchronicles.weebly.com/blog/a-legend-is-born-ghost-rider-plates-1-2Picture
So I promised I would post up the new Ghost Rider paper doll and voilá!

Marvel just launched an "all-new" Ghost Rider series on Wednesday which manages to be even more idiotic and intellectually offensive than their last version, so it's fitting, I think, that I give the one and only original classic Ghost Rider the love he deserves. 

And yes, sometimes I feel in a more just world, Ghost Rider would belong to the DC stable where he might not be so horrendously abused. Seriously; I have loved this character for decades. He was my first comic book love ~ far and above Batman the whole of my childhood and many years after.  Marvel has never done right by him.  Harsh, I know, but even in his original incarnation he never had a strong consistent team until the very end. I'm sure you'll hear more about it as we go.

So enough of my ranting: enjoy the paper dolls! As I said before, I am really proud of how these turned out. I feel like I captured the skully Ghost Rider and Johnny Blaze very well. And dig that 70s leather jacket with the Elvis collar. Right (Ride?)-on! And if you're wondering what happened to Plate 2, I'll be posting it very soon!

<![CDATA[Using Models for Drafting]]>Wed, 26 Mar 2014 00:04:30 GMThttp://comicbookchronicles.weebly.com/blog/using-models-for-draftingPicture
I originally started this blog with Ghost Rider (you can see the old original posts in the Ghost Rider gallery section). But after a couple of years and starting fresh and all, I felt like my Ghost Rider dolls weren't up to snuff (and didn't match the style of my Batman dolls).

So I've redrawn them and will be posting them this week, but I wanted to say a couple of words about what a pain in the bum drawing skeletons can be. Because it took me three tries before I managed to get a Ghost Rider body that I liked (which would also match my Johnny Blaze body), and doing all those little bones can be very tedious.

To help, I used a moderately anatomically correct model (seen at left). I wasn't worried about being perfect (the artists who drew Ghost Rider never were, let's face it), but I wanted it to look good. I hope you will be as pleased with the final effort as I am. I got a little lazy and fudge-y with the ribs, but overall, I'm ready to move forward.

So come back Friday when I'll be posting the first couple of Ghost Rider plates in all their glory. And don't worry, he'll have an attached head in the final plate. I just always draw my bodies and heads separately in case I want to redo them or make them interchangeable.

<![CDATA[The Million Dollar debut of Plates 7 & 8: Batgirl!]]>Wed, 19 Mar 2014 21:50:56 GMThttp://comicbookchronicles.weebly.com/blog/the-million-dollar-debut-of-plates-7-8-batgirlPictureDetective Comics No. 359, January 1967
Barbara Gordon (a.k.a Batgirl) was introduced January 1967 in Detective Comics No. 359 and was the creation of Bill Finger (writer) and Sheldon Moldoff (art). Batwoman predated her  as well as a character called Bat-Girl, who was the younger sister of Kathy Kane (Batwoman). This was when having little sibling sidekicks was all the rage. Betty Kane was obnoxious and stupid, however, so she got dispatched by the merciful gods of retcon, and Barbara Gordon took her place as an older, more mature superhero a mere 6 years later.

Since then, Barbara's had a long history of retcons herself. Initially a librarian with a doctorate, she later became a congresswoman and then a forensic information specialist (whatever that is), and currently, she's regressed back to a teenager with no particular direction.

What has remained true to her story, however, is that she was shot by the Joker in Alan Moore's seminal Killing Joke, and as a result became wheelchair-bound for a period of time, serving as a master information hub for the whole Bat Family under the moniker of Oracle.

By the miracle of comic books, she's back to crime-fighting, however (though many fans are incensed about it). For the purpose of this blog, we're looking at a pre-wheelchair Babs from her earlier origins, so no need for controversy.

A couple of notes: I'm numbering these plates going forward so that I can keep them more organized. The earlier downloads don't have their numbers, but I started with Harley Quinn. Also, Batgirl is the last of the Batman-related comic characters I am going to post for a while here, as I want to make sure I add other characters from other series as well before we get too deep into the fray! Don't want to make this a Batman-exclusive blog!
<![CDATA[The Times, They are A'Changing: Harley Quinn's (R)EVOLUTION]]>Fri, 14 Mar 2014 16:00:12 GMThttp://comicbookchronicles.weebly.com/blog/the-times-they-are-achanging-harley-quinns-revolutionPicture
When Paul Dini & Bruce Timm created Harley Quinn in 1992 for Batman: the Animated Series, she was just a one-off sidekick with a tragic story. Fan response was to her was so strong, however, that she became a semi-regular on the show and a year later made her crossover into the DC Comics canon. Since then, unfortunately, she's had a rocky career between artists and writers who just don't seem to understand what to do with her. To complicate matters, the Joker has become so evil and so abusive that the team has been split up , leaving her sort of dangling without direction.

While I appreciate the sensibility of getting her out of a homicidal relationship (she's no role-model for girls, that's for sure), the truth is that just as the Joker is no fun without the killing, Harley's kinda no fun without the Joker. There are plenty of arguments to the contrary and this year DC has given her another shot at her own comic book in which they are trying very hard to make her a whole and interesting person, but at some point she's going to have to reconcile with her "puddin'" because just as Batman created him, Joker created her. They belong to one another.

But enough of that: let's talk dolls! I'm finding my lack of organization is getting me all jumbled here. I should have numbered these "plates"  from the beginning, but kind of forgot, so I've one back and redone the files. Starting from here, this is the "Batman Series" and these are "Plate No. 6" and "Plate No. 6a".  While I'm dithering about updating the previous files, you can enjoy this first set of outfits for Harley

I've included here her original "classic" outfit  (and hammer), and her updated look from her new self-titled series, Harley Quinn. This particular outfit is from issue No. 0 (yes they have zero issues in comics these days). The issue is a prologue of sorts for the series, with work by a bunch of different artists. I might do a few more costumes from this book (since there are some variants), but this is the outfit Harley wears in the framework of the story (drawn by her current regular artist Chad Hardin , I believe). 

I have provided two versions of this plate in case you're too lazy to color your blacks (or can't remember where the blacks go). One with the blacks filled (6) and a second one (6a) where you can save printer ink and color the blacks yourself (or change them to blue or chartreuse or whatever catches your fancy). Either way. I have included a reference picture below as well. Remember to color one long sock black and the other red!

Harley's come a long way from the slutsville she'd been recently consigned to; she's much less sexed-up overall nowadays. The current team of Hardin and writer Jimmy Palmiotti have made an effort (it appears) to return her to a more child-like state. Even though it's a skimpy outfit, it's more practical (knee pads!), and overall the artwork in her new book has been less fan-service oriented. Yes, DC, straight girls read comic books too.
<![CDATA[Joker is saved from fate worse than death: obscurity]]>Tue, 11 Mar 2014 12:56:06 GMThttp://comicbookchronicles.weebly.com/blog/dc-saves-joker-from-fate-worse-than-death-obscurityPictureDetective Comics No. 475 [February 1978]
It's hard to believe that Batman's No. 1 villain ever fell on hard times or that what is arguably the greatest comic book foe ever created was nearly a silly footnote in comics history, but the imposition of the Comic Code in the early 50s nearly killed him. Reduced to mischievous buffoonery due to the strict ban on violence, the Joker nearly disappeared from Batman comics  ~ he made very few appearances throughout the 50s and even fewer in the 60s; this from a character who was featured in nearly every other book of both Batman and Detective Comics for the whole of the 40s. You could argue that readers had enough of him and wanted to see new stuff or you could argue that without the wholesale slaughter, the Joker just wasn't any fun.

Enter Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers ~ and a little story in Detective Comics No. 475 called "The Laughing Fish" in 1978.

Rogers was the artist and Englehart wrote the story: a perfectly goofy crossover from the Silver Age in which the Joker wants a patent on fish that he's poisoned with his trademark Joker-gas induced grins.

It's all very silly except ~ the Joker's back to killing, Comics Code be damned, and he's doing it on a mass scale. By the late 70s, the Comics Code was losing its dictatorial power (though it wouldn't die completely for another 23 years), and this powerhouse creative team took advantage of the new trend in maturing comics to bring back this villain with a vengeance.  "The Laughing Fish" segue-ways into the grisly "Sign of the Joker" (Detective Comics No. 476), and the Joker's destiny was sealed: he returned to the DC pantheon more insane and terrifying than ever.

Oh, he would suffer some setbacks along the way (all characters do), but he earned back everything he had lost in the Silver Age and more. And I think it's safe to say he won't be going away again any time soon (even if he is currently MIA in the current DC comics continuity after last year's Death of the Family storyline).

So here he is in all his Marshall Rogers glory, just as I remember him when I was a kid: purple tails and overcoat with matching fedora.

Apologies for the long lesson. I keep thinking to myself to keep these posts short, but until we get the main costumes out of the way, I feel like a little historical context can't hurt.

Meanwhile, some notes on the paper doll costume: I got a little overly complicated about this one, but built it in a way that you can ignore my complication if you want.

It's a pet peeve of mine when a paper doll has a long coat, but has no "back" on it. I didn't see any point in drawing two clothing pieces that would be exactly the same save for the coat, so I built the coat to go over the suit.

In the end, probably not the best decision, but I could spend a lot of time rejigging it, or just go with the flow. This won't be the last purple suit set you'll see on here, after all.

There's instructions on the downloadable sheet, and in the end, if you want to print two and glue the second set of pieces together that would work fine too.   If you need a guide to color your laughing fish there are plenty of images online.

<![CDATA[Another Batman Paper Doll]]>Fri, 07 Mar 2014 01:24:27 GMThttp://comicbookchronicles.weebly.com/blog/another-batman-paper-doll
From the Science Fiction Museum in Seattle, WA, one of a series of costume dolls of characters from film and television.  Not sure what amuses me more here: the fact that it's supposed to George Clooney Batman (almost universally considered the worst caped crusader to grace the silver screen, or the fact that the costume presented actually looks nothing like the monstrosity that was Clooney's uniform (notoriously complete with batnipples). 

I originally felt that it was highly doubtful I would make my own renditions of these, the worst of the Batman franchise, but on second consideration, they may be hilarious (and no more ridiculous than the fashionable 70s duds I'll be presenting anyway).
<![CDATA[the Wonderful boy-wonder: Robin!]]>Fri, 21 Feb 2014 19:38:57 GMThttp://comicbookchronicles.weebly.com/blog/the-wonderful-boy-wonder-robinPictureDetective Comics No. 393 [November, 1969]
I originally had in mind to be very organized about how I was going to do this; working through the many Batman titles in a methodical manner and posting along the way (which is how I am working on the other series on this blog), but there are so many Batman-related titles and so much material to sort through that I've decided to just make it up as I go. Sorry about that.

Therefore maybe it's apropos that I start with just a completely random issue of Detective Comics (No. 393, November, 1969). 
This is technically a Silver-Age comic, but I think I mentioned I'll be hitting up all 75 years of Batman history, so even though the focus might be Bronze-Age, you can expect stuff from all over the map.

With specific regard to Robin, his costume did not change significantly for the whole of Dick Grayson's career as the Dark Knight's sidekick from his inception in 1940 until he moved on to the role of Nightwing in 1984 (we'll get to that). But first we have to do his weird green shorts and booties, bright red tunic, and yellow cape. Apparently there were no fashion police in 1940.

If you're wondering why I didn't include "tights", it's because technically, in the comic, he didn't wear any; you're thinking of the 1966 TV series where likely modesty dictated that young Burt Ward cover his bare legs.

Dick Grayson was the young son of murdered acrobats  (The Flying Graysons) who became the ward of Bruce Wayne. I'm not going to go into all the lurid details of the controversies of this relationship (the specifics of which have been the fodder of much analysis and study over the years), but I will say it was a running theme in the pages of the Batman books for the two to fight and "break up" an awful lot.

And particularly i
n the early days there was even plenty of violence (so much hitting!). Even with the sexual innuendos aside, there is no doubt that Bruce Wayne was abusive to his ward and that no parent in their right mind could have approved of their crime-fighting lifestyle (Robin was almost constantly in peril for his life).

Of course those were different times and as the comic book matured, it gradually made attempts to reconcile these very problematic issues with Dick Grayson ~ and especially with the subsequent variations on the  boys (and girls) who filled the role of Robin.

That said, the role of Robin is currently vacant today, due the death of the most recent one, Damian Wayne.

But enough of that: this first plate above  captures the crime-fighting costume as well as something more mundane for young Dick Grayson to wear from our starting comic: beach clothes!

Part of the conflict between the Dynamic Duo was the fact of Robin being a kid and wanting to do things that kids his age should be doing ~ like hanging out on the beach with friends and getting drunk on six-packs of Kool Up.

But the cover above is actually misleading. Batman and Robin aren't breaking up over some disagreement about proper comportment and parental authority, they're breaking up because Dick is finally (after 29 years)
shipping off to Hudson University and this weekend beach party is the last case Batman and Robin will be working before he goes. It was the end of the Silver-Age, all right; for this reason and more, Batman would never be the same again.

<![CDATA[The Cape and the Cowl]]>Sun, 16 Feb 2014 00:01:39 GMThttp://comicbookchronicles.weebly.com/blog/the-cape-and-the-cowl
Let's start with something easy (and universal)!

Perhaps no other artists defined the look of Batman in the Bronze-Age as Jim Aparo. This is the blue and grey suit most people of my generation think about when they think about their childhood impressions/recollections of the Dark Knight (see his cover art drawing above). 

With the heavily shadowed face, the batwing-like cape, and big bright yellow utility belt, Aparo took the 1960s Batman (still mired in schtick), and made him more formidable ~ more of a creature of the night. Batman's appearances in daylight would become a thing of the past, his relationship with the Gotham police would grow more mysterious, and he would become more truly the ambiguous hunted vigilante our younger generation knows him to be. 

I'll be posting a lot of other variations on the Dark Knight's costume  in the months to come, and adding this plate to the Batman Gallery once I've got Robin's traditional Bronze-Age costume ready to go as well.
<![CDATA[You can't have Batman without...]]>Mon, 10 Feb 2014 13:27:12 GMThttp://comicbookchronicles.weebly.com/blog/you-cant-have-batman-withoutPictureHeath Ledger as the Joker in The Dark Knight, 2008
"Kill you?" says the Joker to Batman with incredulity. "What would I do without you?"

That sums up the relationship between the World's Greatest Detective and the most well-known villain in all of comic-book lore. Scott Snyder understood this best when he wrote The Black Mirror, a story in which Bruce Wayne is believed dead and Dick Grayson assumes the role of Batman. But the Joker instinctively knows he's a fake, and crawls into a sewer, incapacitated by his grief, posing no threat to anybody.

PictureBrian Bolland's Joker in The Killing Joke,1988
The Joker not only exists because of Batman, but absolutely cannot exist without him. So it's only natural I would include him here.

The challenge is the mercurial nature of the character himself: the Nolanverse Joker as portrayed by Heath Ledger is a very very different character from most Jokers that had come before (more deliberately calculating, less zany). Since Ledger's performance, the comic book version has definitely turned darker as well: he's always been murderous and there have been portrayals in which he's done very gruesome things (The Killing Joke, for example, in which he shoots, strips, tortures, and photographs Barbara Gordon as a means of getting at her father), but since 2008's The Dark Knight, he's become not only a symbol of violent anarchy, but a regular butcher as well. Very different from the prankster I grew up with, but interestingly, a return to his grim mob roots in the 40s.

All of which make it difficult to reconcile his wackier side.

So I still went with the Heath Ledger portrait for the doll, but I gave him a body style more typical of the comic book (tall and stringy). And for his underwear, I took a page out of the comics (the 1990s), in which he actually wears boxers with happy faces on them. I'm convinced no other villain in the whole of comic-bookdom has traipsed around in their underwear more than the Joker (both in the comics and in the cartoons). More on that later. 

And yes, I paired him with Harley Quinn (I couldn't not!). 
Harley never made it into the Nolanverse (and even if Ledger had not died, it's unlikely she ever would have), but I absolutely felt that if I'm going to do comic book characters, these two had to be together. And poor Harley's had a mess of a history since Paul Dini created her for the Batman Animated Series in the 90s, so she deserve a little love here.

For her portrait I didn't use any particular actress, but I wanted to include one head with the harlequin hat and one without (which is her modern look these days). She's the only character in this paper doll series who didn't exist in my childhood, so she's a little out of place and won't have any Bronze-Age groovy outfits, but we'll find interesting things to do with her nevertheless.

Harley Quinn and The Joker, 2014
<![CDATA[A NOTE ABOUT THE COMIC BOOK PAPER DOLL STYLE]]>Mon, 27 Jan 2014 19:32:36 GMThttp://comicbookchronicles.weebly.com/blog/a-note-about-the-comic-book-paper-doll-stylePicture
For those of you who might know me from my other paper doll blog, 19th Century Paper Dolls, you're most likely accustomed to my dolls being painted. For this blog I decided to go with a simple line ink art for a host of good reasons:

  • Comic book art is traditionally flat (and certainly was in the early days). I felt like simple lines would help evoke that.
  • Also, even though I am using the Nolan Batman Trilogy actors for the dolls, I'm going to be pulling their costumes from all 75 years of Batman history. Simple line art will bring consistency across the eras.
  • Simple line art also means you get to color things your own way! I'll be posting guides of course, but if putting Batman in pink tights with lavender briefs makes you happy, don't be shy!
  • Line art is 10x less time consuming than painting, so ostensibly  this style will help me produce more quickly and post more regularly.

As the quick snapshot picture above hopefully indicates: I print out my own original black & white artwork and use bright markers to color my own dolls. I had considered offering digitally colored versions (or rescanning my colored ones), but that's incredibly time-consuming and again, if you color your own, you can customize at will!

As a little preview, I hope the image above also reassures you that you'll be seeing numerous other characters from the Batman universe including female characters (if my previous dis of the girl Robins had you at all worried). I currently have four female characters and three male characters, so actually the women outnumber the men!
<![CDATA[Batman Begins]]>Wed, 08 Jan 2014 19:14:21 GMThttp://comicbookchronicles.weebly.com/blog/batman-beginsPicturePoster for Batman Begins, 2004
It was the title of the 2004 hit film from Christopher Nolan, so why not use it for this inaugural post for my resurrected comic book-themed paper doll blog? So welcome to the New Year (belatedly). I had certainly meant to start posting before now but sadly paper dolling (yes, it's a verb) has been kind of low on my priority list due to the mercurial shift of sands elsewhere in my life.

But I'm back and hopefully to stay! And as a show of good faith I am going to try to faithfully update this blog every two weeks (way to set the bar low, right? But it means I've got a better chance of actually updating and not feeling guilty, so work with me here.

Batman Begins was a game changer for me. Always a comic book geek, I was deeply put off by Burton's 1989 effort (and its subsequent disastrous sequels) ~ so much so that I initially refused to go watch the reboot. But I couldn't resist the extraordinary cast (Gary Oldman, Liam Neeson, and Michael Caine were ultimately too much to resist).  I've been an unapologetic  Nolan Batfreak ever since.

Which is not to say I don't love other incarnations of Batman ~ in comic books, cartoons, and even the video games. All of which contribute years  of grist for making paper dolls!  And if you think Batman can't be interesting as a paper doll (hasn't he pretty much been the same for the last 75 years?), think again! 75 years and probably twice as many interpretations has given the Dark Knight a long and storied wardrobe.

But I'm getting ahead of myself, aren't I?

Let's start with some base dolls to get the collection going!  Today I give you Bruce Wayne and, er, a doll to play the Robin of your choosing, I guess. Since I am using likenesses from the Nolan Batman films, Bruce Wayne is represented with Christian Bale's likeness and Robin is represented with Joseph Gordon-Levitt's likeness.

Which leads me to say I'm going to assume the known world has seen these films already if they had any interest in doing so ~ so expect spoilers.  In the Nolan films, Gordon-Levitt plays a character named John Blake who is revealed to be Robin (in a manner of speaking) at the end of the trilogy.

Without going into the whole history (which I'll probably do later), there have been six Robins in Batman's 75-year career (two of them girls!). I probably won't be making paper dolls of the girl versions or Batman's son Damian who also was Robin (more on that later also), but in the meantime, Joseph Gordon-Levitt can stand in for at least Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, and Tim Drake , who were the first three (now Nightwing, Red Hood, and Red Robin in the comic books).

Download the .pdf, print on cardstock, color, and cut out ~ their costumes will be coming soon!

<![CDATA[We need comic book paper dolls!]]>Fri, 01 Nov 2013 22:14:20 GMThttp://comicbookchronicles.weebly.com/blog/we-need-comic-book-paper-dollsPicture
Well okay, nobody really needs comic book paper dolls, but they are an awful lot of fun to make! A quick browse of one small corner of the internet revealed lots of examples over the years (aside from the handful of commercially printed ones).  As I am building this site, here's a quick list of some dolls I found to keep you entertained: