Thursday, May 16, 2013

Happy Birthday,Yvonne Craig!

Happy birthday to Yvonne Craig, perhaps best known for portraying Batgirl/Barbara Gordon on the Batman TV series from the 60s. Being a child of the 60s, I was most definitely a member of the original TV generation, and TV sure was a lot more fun and friendly back then! Batman was probably my favourite live-action show as a kid, and I suspect that Yvonne Craig's Batgirl was my first prepubescent crush. Though quite sexy in her batsuit, Yvonne also played her as very demure and feminine. I thought she was just adorable. 
In later years I would take notice of Yvonne in the various guest spots she made on a lot of other series as well, usually small but memorable roles. Now that I'm enjoying so many of these great shows on DVD, I've been able seek out a lot her guest spots on my favourite series like Mannix and Wild, Wild West.

Here's a montage above of shots of Yvonne alongside Robert Vaughn in One of Our Spies is Missing, one of the several Man From U.N.C.L.E movies that was created by cobbling together episodes of the TV series. I used video reference from this appearance as the basis for my caricature of Yvonne, although the yellow turtleneck I grabbed from some other pics I found of her. 

She was certainly best known for playing Batgirl, but I'm sure many Star Trek fans hold her in high esteem for her memorable role as the green, dancing, slave girl, Marta in the episode, Whom Gods Destroy:

Though primarily a TV actress in later years, Yvonne did do a few movies earlier in her career. Probably her best known movie is the 1964 Elvis Presley film, Kissin' Cousins, in which she and equally lovely Pamela Austin play a couple of cute backwoods sisters who fall for Air Force officer Elvis. Off screen, Yvonne and Elvis were dating at the time.

Yvonne still does a few personal appearances at fan events in tribute to her Batgirl role. I'm hoping that she'll make it to Toronto's Fan Expo someday so I can meet her! Happy Birthday, Yvonne!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Seeing Red

Frankly, I can't see what all the fuss is about regarding the new Merida makeover...

By the way, for those out of the loop, here's the silly controversy I'm referencing regarding a perceived makeover of Merida from Disney/Pixar's Brave. And here's my take on the subject that I had posted on Facebook that I think is worth reposting here:

I must admit I feel that everybody is getting their knickers in a knot unnecessarily about this supposed makeover of Merida. I suspect it is nothing more than a less than faithful final rendering done by an outside illustrator based on a much better and accurate drawing by the talented Jennifer Gwynne Oliver, not a deliberate, insidious attempt to sex her up at all. Part of the problem is that, in order to fit into "The Disney Princess" merchandising program, Merida (like Rapunzel before her) has to be translated from CG to drawing to be consistent with the others. In so doing, some of the subtleties of the design are lost, notably the complex frizzy hair, as well as the need to define her eyes more graphically with an outline.
I think it's fair to say that even the traditionally animated Disney girls have lost some of their likeness as they've been homogenized into a consistent art style for this merchandising program. Aurora in particular has been rounded out more from her original, more graphic design. To be honest, I've never much liked the mentality of "The Disney Princess" program to begin with, as it takes these characters out of context of their respective cartoon universes, as well as away from the unique variety of shapes and sizes of their respective co-stars. It then places them together alongside their similarly shaped sorority in what looks like a Vanity Fair photo shoot, not allowing any of them to acknowledge or interact with each other in any way. Artistically it's a pretty dumb concept, however little girls just love it and, since they're the target market for all the dolls and accessories, I say let it be. Personally I don't give a rat's ass about them being "role models" - that's just a lot of ultraliberal claptrap.