Brenda Starr meets Batgirl: Artist gives MAUREEN DOWD her own bio-comic book [UPDATED]
(courtesy of Traditional Comics)
If you are (a) a professional comic-book creator and (b) fairly a moon-eyed fan of New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, then your artistic mission becomes clear: You must pay tribute to her in cartoon form. And in the case of a new comic, that form has the sultry overtones of Brenda Starr meets Jessica Rabbit -- with the lethality of a gun-toting Sarah Connor.
Benjamin Marra, a 33-year-old Brooklyn-based artist, has wedded twin passions with a comic book that will have its official debut this Saturday at the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Fest.
Marra's comic about the Pulitzer-winning pundit is titled, "The Incredibly Fantastic Adventures of Maureen Dowd (A Work of Satire and Fiction)." And apparently Clark Kent and Peter Parker -- or even "Transmetropolitan's" cyber-gonzo reporter Spider Jerusalem -- have nothing on Dowd's journalistic superpowers.
"My inspiration for the comic was Maureen Dowd herself," Marra tells Comic Riffs. "Like most learned men, I have a deep affection for Ms. Dowd and her writing. She's a thinking man's sex symbol. The comic, while satiric in nature, is intended to be a tribute to her."
Marra takes obvious delight in rendering Dowd as a lithe, cunning wonder woman who, if need be, could leap both pay-walls and embassy walls in a single bound.
"I was excited by the idea of portraying her as a sexy, gun-slinging, political-columnist action heroine," Marra tells 'Riffs, "out to right the wrongs committed at the highest levels of political power, using her pen and 9mm to deliver the truth to the people, all the while maintaining her style, grace, femininity and love life."
(No word from Dowd on how she feels about such heated comic-book adulation.)
According to Marra on his Traditional Comics website, the comic's flame-haired heroine is "about to write her most powerful and influential column ever!! She's come in possession of information that could topple the American government, destroy the White House and bring the Free World to its knees."
And here the world's powers thought Julian Assange was the one to fear -- but WikiLeaks apparently is small potatoes compared with this high-powered Dowd, who seems destined to pen, "Are Madmen Necessary?"
Tongue firmly in cheek, the website says of Dowd: "Joined by the shadowy black-ops rogue agent, Shadow Wolf, can she fend off the assaults of fanatical White House officials and Hezzbollah commandos in time to write and deliver her column before deadline and still be on time for her third date with George Clooney? What's a girl to do?"
(Not only the 24-page comic's text is cheeky -- so are some of the images. Suggested for "mature readers," the book depicts Dowd scantily clad in her "D.C. townhouse," lounging in her kitchen with her hot morning cuppa, her Times and her hose-holstered sidearm.)
Besides Clooney, such Dowd-world figures as Valerie Plame and "Tom" Friedman are referenced.
Marra -- who studied illustration at Syracuse University and received an M.F.A. from the School of Visual Arts -- notes that he's never met Dowd and that he has no idea whether she's seen his comic.
So will "Issue No. 1" ever receive a follow-up? "I'd love to continue the story," Marra says. "The first issue ends with a cliffhanger, so it would be natural to keep going."
The comic (which can be previewed here) retails for three bucks -- or less than your Sunday Times.
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| December 2, 2010; 5:00 PM ET
Categories: Interviews With Cartoonists, The Comic Book | Tags: Benjamin Marra, Maureen Dowd, Traditional Comics
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