Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ellen Baker

So anyone following me on twitter may have noticed that I read a lot of Animal Man recently.  Not sure if I've mentioned it here or not.  Anyway, upon reading the run I discovered that Ellen Baker is pretty damn cool.  Check some of these scans out:

Upon discovering Mirror Master in her house (issue #8):

Don't mess with her.  She's tough.

She gets annoyed with her husband (issue 51):
Those panels are drawn by the very talented Steve Pugh and coloured by the equally talented Tatjana Wood.  The body language is excellent.  The above scene takes place in the excellent Flesh and Blood storyline (issues 51 to 56) dealing largely with Cliff, Buddy and Ellen's son, being taken away by a crazy uncle.

Then later on in the run, Ellen left her family to join a radical feminist lesbian commune.  This sounds terrible.  It isn't.  It happened naturally and believably and the members of the commune were not caricatures.  Here's a few pages where Ellen's preferences get discussed (from issue 77):

She's an illustrator mostly doing bit part work or hack jobs for other people but she did once get a book deal:

Her son also draws and when she gets a job with a comic writer she notices some similarities between his and her son's work (can't remember the exact issue number, but it's after Flesh and Blood):
Ellen has been blessed with good artists throughout the Animal Run run.  Check out her facial expression in that last panel.

This is a woman who has had her husband die and turn into a humanoid animal thing several times.  Life with Buddy Baker is chaotic.  Yet she retains her sense of humour.  She's sardonic and sarcastic.  She's straightforward and clear.
Those pages are from issues 66 and 79, respectively.  The last one is where Ellen has lost Buddy again.  That's her mum and travelling friend of the Bakers with her, not anyone from the commune.

Ellen's brilliant.   One of the great things about the Animal Man run was the central role that family played, the interactions that were shown within the pages.  Rarely have I seen hoem life relationships depicted with such passion and accuracy.

Coming soon - Ellen's mother, equally kick ass.


SallyP said...

I've always liked Buddy's whole family, but Ellen is a wonderful character. The writers actually took the time to make her a PERSON instead of a cipher.

Eyz said...

Yeah, Animal Man, Ellen and their son have mostly been fun to follow and pretty well developed~

That is...if you don't look at Countdown stuff that had Starfire live with them and Ellen getting stereotypical.

Anonymous said...

Y'know...I just found out about Ellen Baker by Saranga on Twitter...Never heard of her... Sounds like an interesting character...

might do Stephanie Brown for this topic, though.. The topic:

I guess how some female characters are shown in a-ahem- not so positive light. A la "Girls In Refridgerators"..And what they're/the comic book people doing to combat it.


Jomo Powell said...

I wasn't too happy about what was done to her in #58 of animal man. Thank Flashpoint for the reboot!