Dairy Ado

Cover to Birds of Prey #35 © 2001 DC Comics. 

I've loved Phil Noto's art since first seeing it on Birds of Prey shortly before my forced hiatus from comics. His clean lines, stunning color choices, and cool design sense are right up my alley.

By contrast, I've been unmoved if not flat-out turned off by Greg Horn's work since first seeing it wherever I first saw it — Elektra covers spring to mind. It has an antiseptic quality, d
espite his general technical accomplishment, and the porn/stripper vibe that permeates the posing women for which he's (in)famous makes me want to break out the actual antiseptic. 

Given all that, I probably shouldn't have been surprised to arrive at Comics Alliance's post of a Noto sketch done for writers Gail Simone and Marjorie Liu. Yet I was. I was pleasantly surprised by the Alex Toth echoes in Noto's illustration, from the expert blacks to the look of the inscription. And I was unpleasantly surprised by just how distasteful the Horn piece to which it responded turned out to be.

Art © 2011 Phil Noto (left) and Greg Horn (right). Batman, Catwoman, 

and Black Canary TM/® DC Comics; Black Widow TM Marvel Characters.

You can see in the small reproductions above, with apologies to both artists for disseminating their work without request — likewise to the owners of the originals and the trademark holders of the characters involved — that Horn's commission, which is what I assume it is*, depicts a curious version of Catwoman (on which more in a moment) lapping up milk in a typical "bad girl" pose for an approving Batman and skeeved-out viewer. Noto's effort, perhaps devised by one or both of the ladies for whom he drew it, is an amusing rejoinder, if a bit odd in how the gestures being made by Black Canary and Black Widow don't really seem to share a context with Catwoman's pose or word balloon. [*Update: I've since read that it's a print he was selling at Wondercon.]

I hate to drag her into this if I'm wrong, but while it's not a very good likeness (and my limited Googling didn't immediately turn up confirmation) the way the face 
replacing Selina Kyle's in the Horn piece emphasizes the glasses and brown hair suggests to me that it's meant to be Sarah Palin in a Catwoman costume. What's showing of Batman's face, in fact, is brown enough that I suspect Barack Obama is supposed to be beneath the cowl.

On a final note, I know that lots of artists try to avoid drawing feet, but usually they do so by hiding them behind something else or cropping them out of the shot entirely rather than just pretending they don't exist. Horn clearly has the street showing where Batman's left foot and Catwoman's left knee or foot or something should be visible touching the ground, leaving both characters without a leg to stand on.

Covers to Birds of Prey #38 & #50 © 2001, 2002 DC Comics.

Logo and characters TM DC Comics.

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