Marcio Takara is an artist the Idol-Head has been fond of since its 2009 spotlight on his piece "The League: Past & Present", not to mention his 100+ Tiny Characters series back when there were still only 50. I would love to get a couple dozen such teensy icons for the sidebar, but I'm not sure how easy that would be to arrange, and at what cost. Besides, Takara has a delicate, graceful line that demands a more fully realized commission. I had a fairly long list of characters that I felt he could do for me at Comicpalooza, but it didn't take long to zero in on just one.
Patrolwoman Diane Meade made a few sporadic appearances in the John Jones, the Manhunter from Mars strip in Detective Comics before graduating to regular supporting character. She was sort of like a less antagonistic Lois Lane, or a cooler Jimmy Olsen. Meade started out as a nuisance who hindered John Jones' ability to use his secret Martian powers, but that evolved into her having adventures of her own without being aware that a Manhunter was quietly assisting her. Eventually, Meade became more self-sufficient, and a genuine aide to the Alien Atlas in his own cases. The arrival of a more capable sidekick in Zook actually motivated Meade to step up in the strip to more screen time. However, when the Detective Jones identity was abandoned by J'onn a year later, Meade and the rest of Middletown were forgotten as the pursuit of the Diabolu Idol-Head demanded all of the Manhunter's time. Meade wouldn't appear again until the late '90s, revised by Mark Waid and Barry Kitson for JLA: Year One and later the Ostrander/Mandrake Martian Manhunter series.
I started a Diane Meade bio for this blog so many years ago, there's an illustration in my Photobucket account taken from a JPEG of an old comic because the second volume of Showcase Presents Martian Manhunter hadn't come out yet. I'm very fond of Meade, but I got away from Silver Age coverage some time back, so she's been neglected. A new Manhunter series without her involvement would be a real shame, since she's one of the only true supporting characters to come out of J'onn J'onzz's longest, original run. Co-creator Joe Certa was mostly a journeyman artist, but you could tell he enjoyed drawing Meade by the care and beauty on display in her rendering. I've wanted a commission of her since I started doing the Comicpalooza rounds, but I have a very specific conception of the character in my mind, and waited for the right artist to execute it. Marcio Takara fit the bill.
I didn't wait long on the con's first day to approach Takara, and there wasn't a lot of drawn out conversation. Takara's a nice guy, but English isn't his first language, so our dialogue was pretty basic. If I recall correctly, he said it's pronounced Mark-e-oh. I tried to see if I could pay him to digitally color a scan after the piece was done, but I think he took it to mean I wanted it done right there with markers, and explained that he didn't color his work. As you can see from his deviantART gallery, Takara is a fantastic colorist, which is ideally suited for Meade's softer tones and piercing blue eyes. I did up one of my usual crumby MS Paint jobs for this post, but I hold out hope to see it done proper by Takara someday. Anyway, the $80 9" x 12" piece was done within a few hours, and turned out crisp like I'd hoped. Takara's star deservedly remains on the rise, but hopefully someday I'll talk him into working on those sidebar figures...
- Wonder Woman @ Diana Prince
- The Huntress @ DC Bloodlines
- Captain Atom @ Power of the Atom
- Zatanna @ Justice League Detroit