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As a minor Marvel U.K. fan, I was on board to preorder Death's Head II for both its solicitations based on my past experience with the cheesier original version of the character and the tiny but rad looking sketch of the new Chromium Age version used in the copy. I was blown away when the mini-series finally came out drawn by an exciting new find, Liam Sharp, who combined the flash of Jim Lee with the sinewy punk rock Frazetta feel of Simon Bisley. I kept up with Sharpe from then on, to Frontier, Verotik, and wherever. When I heard he was coming to town, I knew I had to get a piece, and it seemed obvious he should do the toughest of all the Colonial Marines!
I liked Vasquez straight away when I saw Aliens thirty years ago, and she's since become a cultural icon. Despite the actress being Jewish, my Mexican girlfriend bought her as one of her own, and dismissed the recent P.C. police murmurings about whitewashing. It would be an issue today, but in 1985 England? Not so much. I had some ideas about how Sharp's take might turn out, maybe emphasizing action and employing her smartgun. I was very happily surprised to see him offer a more pensive Vasquez, staring out from some sort of fence or barrier. The approach emphasized her humanity over being the smack-talking Valkyrie that usually comes to mind, recalling her deep affection for her comrades and her penchant for self-sacrifice in their defense (not to mention her her defiant resignation during the final assault on the marines' stronghold. I have major reservations about the current sword-slinging incarnation of Wonder Woman, whose book Sharp just took over as part of the DC Rebirth initiative. Sharp's thoughtful approach here (and his writing partner Greg Rucka) gives me heart that the Amazing Amazon I love is still being published, and what I've seen of Sharp's work on the book looks to be a career best for both the artist and Princess Diana.
I took the page up to the actress who played Vasquez, Jenette Goldstein, who expressed the most enjoyment and interest of any of the cast toward these commissions. She asked questions about who the artist was and what the image represented, as well as both admiring his technique. I kept the Sharp in hand for more of both Space City Con & Comicpalooza than most any other piece, and it generated the most comments from the other artists. Also, I brought my girlfriend to meet Goldstein, and she was wearing a souvenir t-shirt from our European vacation a few years ago. Goldstein noted, "You don't look like a Poland," to which the girlfriend swiftly replied "You don't look like a Vasquez," which we all got a chuckle out of (with assurances that no offense was intended, and that the actress' portrayal of a Latino had both of our seals of approval.) Goldstein tried to take a cell phone pick of the art, but I happened to have a xerox of it handy, so it was nice to offer her a souvenir of Houston in reciprocity for signing my stuff. I have to say, my best experience with the Aliens cast was with Jenette Goldstein, and she's still a favorite!
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