In previous years, I’ve presented my favorite comic art acquisitions of the foregoing 12 months on the last two Fridays before year’s end. Last year, I mustered sufficient ambition to make an entire week out of it.
2010 was a sparse collecting year for me, for reasons you can probably deduce if you follow this blog with even a modicum of regularity. Despite the small number of pieces I added this year, the quality overall was exceptional, as you’ve observed if you’ve been stopping in on Comic Art Fridays like you know you ought to. I’m delighted with every single commission that was done for me in 2010.
But when it comes to my Best of 2010, one artwork stands alone. And you haven’t seen it before now.
If you were a kid in the 1970s, the costumes will be familiar even if the faces of the women wearing them are not: Electra Woman and Dyna Girl, whose adventures elevated The Krofft Supershow on Saturday mornings in 1976.
Electra Woman (played by actress Deidre Hall, better known as Dr. Marlena Evans on the long-running NBC soap opera Days of Our Lives) was in everyday life a magazine journalist named Lori, while her youthful sidekick Dyna Girl was really her assistant Judy (played by Judy Strangis, better known as one of the students on the seminal high school drama Room 222). In a thinly disguised distaff knockoff of Batman and Robin, the duo battled crime using an amazing array of high-tech gadgets, the names of which invariably began with the prefix “Electra-” (at least it wasn’t “Bat-”). Most notable among their toys were their ElectraComs, clunkier versions of Dick Tracy’s famous wrist radio.
EW and DG’s 15-minute exploits lasted a single season — they shared their hour of airtime with segments featuring Dr. Shrinker (a mad scientist who invented a miniaturizing ray), Wonderbug (a flying dune buggy manned by three hip postadolescents), and Kaptain Kool and the Kongs (a faux rock band in the mode of the Monkees). Wonderbug and the Kaptain soldiered on for another year of Supershow after the Day-Glo superheroines and the incredible shrinking doctor got their walking papers.
But now you’re wondering… who’s that masquerading as Electra Woman and Dyna Girl?
On the left is my late wife KJ, a natural brunette who’s sporting a blonde wig here in imitation of Deidre Hall’s flowing locks. On the right is The Daughter, also referred to in this space as KM.
My original plan for this commission started long before KJ passed away due to breast cancer in July of this year. In fact, artist Geof Isherwood and I first discussed a KJ/KM tribute several years ago, but the project went onto the back burner — my fault, not Geof’s — for quite some time. In the aftermath of KJ’s passing, though, I knew it was time to complete the job.
When Geof and I brainstormed the idea initially, my concept was to dress KJ as Wonder Woman — the superheroine she most identified with — and The Daughter as Supergirl, which has been one of my pet names for her since she was young. The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that wouldn’t work. KJ, who underwent a radical mastectomy in 2000 and was always a modest dresser even before that, would never have donned Wonder Woman’s signature bustier. She was, on the other hand, a dedicated Days of Our Lives fanatic — as is The Daughter even now — so portraying her in the guise of Deidre Hall’s Electra Woman struck me as the perfect compromise.
Although I commissioned this drawing in ink, Geof insisted on painting over his inks in watercolor, to create a stunning showpiece. This project became a labor of love for the artist, whose beloved wife Sonja also lost her battle with cancer in 2009. The final result is both a sterling example of Geof’s always brilliant work, and a fitting tribute to the two strong young women who have shared my life.
Geof Isherwood’s masterpiece reflects all of the reasons why I collect original comic art. I couldn’t have asked for more.
May you and yours enjoy a joyous, healthy, and fulfilling 2011, friend reader. Your Uncle Swan thanks you for all of your support and encouragement during his darkest, most challenging year, and promises to blog more often during the coming 12 months.
And that’s your final Comic Art Friday of 2010. Happy New Year, everyone!