The 1990’s brought us grunge music, “Friends,” the Macarena, CGI effects, the internet, and the end of Saturday morning cartoons. But as a comic book fan, I will always look back at the mid 1990’s as the Bad Girl era.
It’s hard tp pin point where this all began, but think it all started in 1994-1995 with Image comics. During this period, most of their comic books featured lots of violence and at least one half-naked woman per issue. One particular comic that sticks out in my mind is
Cyblade Shi The Battle for Independents #1. This 1995 one-shot was written by Marc Silvestri; William Tucci; Brian Haberlin; and David Wohl. The art was provided by Marc Silvestri and Anthony Winn.
Cyblade was of course one of the founding members of Cyberforce, and had been around since 1992. Billy Tucci’s Shi had only been around for a little over year I believe, but sales on Shi’s book were red hot and she was a constant presence in Wizard magazine’s top 10 comics of the month. To team up Shi with arguably Image’s top lady seemed like a no brainer, and to be honest, the comic is not half bad.
In Cyblade Shi The Battle for Independents #1, Dominique Thiebaut (Cyblade), takes a trip to Soho seeking a day of relaxation. But when she visits the art gallery of her friend, Ana Ishikawa, the gallery is attacked by armored men from S.H.O.C. and Cyblade is knocked unconscious while Ana is missing and presumed dead.
The issue opens with an impressive battle sequence featuring Ana “Shi” Ishikawa vs. a bunch of ninjas. Of course what really makes this scene pop is the incredible work by Marc Silvestri. This guy has been a mainstay in comics for three decades, and I don’t think he ever gets the credit he deserves.
I know some will say the art focuses too much on the women’s butts, and those people do have a point. Even when we see Cyblade for the first time, it is hard to imagine a woman the wearing those heels and a skirt that tight. But this was the Bad Girl era, and such things were common place. That however, does not diminish the talents of the artists involved here.
Aside from Cyblade and Shi, Cyblade Shi The Battle for Independents #1 featured another character that would go on to become one of the decades biggest icons: the Witchblade. I had no idea who she was at the time, and i don’t believe her solo book was out yet.
Most people forget that Witchblade’s first appearance was not in her own book, but in the pages of Battle for Independents. Her outfit wasn’t as skimpy here, but how anyone could hold such a pose is beyond me.
I remember buying Battle for Independents at New England Comics the day it came out. What I didn’t know at the time was that the issue had several variant cover, at least three of them I think. This was back before every comic had a zillion variant, and I don’t remember them advertising this. So for the next year or so, every time I saw a different cover I kept buying it. By 1997 I had six copies of this comic. Ahh well, that’s how you learn I suppose.
Although Cyblade/Shi: The Battle For Independents #1 isn’t a modern-day classic, it does stand out for being one of the better Bad Girl comics of the era. Over twenty years later, the story sill holds up better than I expected, and the art by Silvestri and Winn is still top-notch stuff.