Thursday, July 12, 2018

Maybe it should've been a symbiote, those were trendy then...and maybe now.


This issue is probably best remembered, if at all, as the prime offender of the Ron Frenz Rule of Costume Design, but how is it? Let's see! From 1995, War Machine #19, "Here Be Dragons" Written by Dan Abnett, pencils by Fred Haynes, inks by Johnny Greene. Cover by Jim Calafiore, which actually makes it look more ornate than it does inside!

Jim Rhodes tests out his new, alien armor against the "dragon" mentioned, an alien called a Lictor. (I wonder if maybe they shouldn't have gone with a recognized Marvel alien race, like the Sidri or something; just for a point of reference.) A mysterious, probably alien girl gave him the suit, and apologizes for the Lictor; she thought they'd send something easier. She offers to tell him about it on their drive, after they part ways with Hawkeye, who was on his way to New York for "the Crossing," a not-particularly well remembered Avengers event. Meanwhile, Jim's friend Sheva Joseph goes back in time 25 years unexpectedly; an after-effect of their time-travel trip where Jim lost the old War Machine suit.

The Ron Frenz rule was to the effect that if a costume was over-designed to the point it didn't look right when Frenz drew it, it probably wasn't a great costume. You could probably say the same for any outfit that doesn't translate well to an animated style, too. I don't even know if the "Eidolon Warwear" was the problem, but I don't remember if it was seeded earlier or just out of the blue. I suspect someone, probably in editorial, maybe thought War Machine in that armor was diluting the Iron Man brand or something, but didn't want to just cancel Jim's book outright. This armor would only last six issues, then if I recall Jim would sacrifice it in a nonsense bit in Tales of the Marvel Universe #1, a book best known for an early Thunderbolts appearance.

4 comments:

Dale Bagwell said...

Ha, yeah I remember this little abortion of a costume. Even by 90's standards it was fugly. Poor Jim. Glad they had him ditch it though.

More artists, especially today's artists really should heed Frenz's rules on design.
Especially since this is one of those costumes that look ok as drawn by the original artist/designer, but look horrible as hell when another artist gives his interpretation of it.

Classic examples would be Scott McDaniel's Dark DD outfit and Philip Tan's Phew52 Hawkman look.

As for "The Crossing", I liked it myself back then. Of course I was also a young, dumb 15 year-old as well who didn't know any better.
Has it aged well? Not at all. Not at all.....

googum said...

That green piece on the front, reminds me of the cockpit section on Starscream; like Jim's gonna transform into a jet...

Dale Bagwell said...

Ha ha, you're right, it really, really does. Too bad he couldn't have transformed into a better looking alien IM knockoff.

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