Sunday, February 3, 2013

Class! Class! Let's compare the live action Isis characters to their comic book counterparts...

Okay, class.  Good morning, glad to see you're all here.  We're going to do something a little different today.  That's right, Cindy, this will be on the test.  So pay attention all of you and take notes.  Let's take a look at the DC comics versions of our favorite characters from the Filmation live action TV series Isis-- also known as The Secrets of Isis-- and see how alike or different they are from the real thing.  Yes, Cindy, it will be fun.  Everyone look at the screen...

Here's Andrea Thomas in her everyday guise as a teacher:

(Mike Vosburg/Vince Colletta, Isis #3, Feb.-March 1976-77)

She is smart and pretty, Cindy, and a model teacher.  I completely agree.  And here she is in her Isis identity:

(Dick Giordano, Shazam #25, Sep.-Oct. 1976)

What's that?  How many times has she saved you, Cindy?  Amazing!  Yes, if you'd like, you can write an extra-credit essay about Isis and what she means to today's young women.  Here's Andrea Thomas's colleague Rick Mason:

(Mike Vosburg/Vince Colletta, Isis #2, Dec.-Jan. 1976-77)

Thank you, Cindy.  You're so right.  He is a dedicated teacher and his mustache is quite snappy.  Here's Dr. Barnes:

(Mike Nasser/Frank Giacoia, Isis #2 Dec.-Jan. 1976-77; Mike Vosburg/Vince Colletta, Isis #3, Feb.-March 1977)

Good question, Cindy.  We'll talk about that in just a moment.  Anyone besides Cindy have a question?  Anyone?  No?  No one has a question?  Okay, I hear some talking but no questions.  Let's hold it down and look at the screen.  I think we'll all recognize...

(Dick Giordano, Shazam #25, Sep.-Oct. 1976)

Yes, Cindy, that's you!  And no, Rennie Carol never appeared in The Mighty Isis comic.  The closest anyone came was the depiction of a character named Rennie Roberts (although I could have sworn her first name is lettered as Pennie) in the final issue.  That's also the one where the writer labels you "class president" of Larkspur High, Cindy.

Now, as to your question about why Dr. Barnes looks so different.  Compared to the main cast, the character wasn't on the show that often and some of the artists probably never saw even a single publicity photo of actor Albert Reed.

Actually, as you've noticed, none of the likenesses are exact.  They're more general than perfect caricatures.  I think Dick Giordano's take on the cast Shazam! #25 comes closest, but I have a suspicion this has something to do with licensing.  If you've read Marvel's Planet of the Apes adaptations, you'll notice at no time does George Tuska make Taylor look like Charlton Heston, nor does Alfredo Alcala give his Beneath the Planet of the Apes astronaut more than a passing resemblance to James Franciscus.  To do so would have involved other legal and financial arrangements and it just wasn't considered worth the time, effort or money.

Another good point, Cindy!  As you say, Marvel did occasionally use exact likenesses of the Star Wars actors in that title, and DC made a point of at least trying for perfect likenesses in their Star Trek titles.  Yes, even now at Dark Horse, artists draw Buffy as close to Sarah Michelle Gellar as they can.  These things depend on legal departments and the artist's hand, but sometimes licensing means "make 'em look consistent with all appearance in every medium."  Luke Skywalker looks just like Mark Hamill on every book cover, Captain Kirk is always either William Shatner or Chris Pine these days and so on and so forth.

Anyway, back to Isis.  My guess is we're looking at a similar deal here between DC and Filmation and as long as Isis had long dark hair, Rick Mason his mustache and Cindy Lee her pigtails, no one probably gave a rip.  As for Dr. Barnes, he could be anything or anyone depending on who drew him.

You're right again, Cindy.  I am just a speculating fool.  Still, that was a lot of fun, wasn't it, class?  Comparing these?  We enjoyed it, didn't we?


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