Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Betty











My apologies for once again dipping into my 'back catalogue', but this is in fact a very important custom to me. First off, The Rocketeer is (as I have stated numerous times before) one of, if not my absolute, favorite comic. I've loved the character ever since I saw the movie in 1991 (I was nine going on ten, and it blew me away). I still love the movie...it has the feeling of an old serial without being sarcastic or self-conscious about it, and it totally captures the spirit of the comic. But the comic itself...is something to behold. The characters are frustrating, especially the relationship between Cliff Secord and the love of his life, Betty. He's a barn-storming pilot, a total goof with little direction, and he's too immature and hot-tempered to know how to handle the woman in his life. For her part, Betty places career over Cliff, and is driven nuts by his attempts to control her. But, her ambition and inexperience make her the target of a sleazy photographer. Will these two grow up enough to realize that they've got all they need in each other? Sadly, there are no more stories to read, and with the tragic passing of Dave Stevens last year, we'll never know.
Betty is famously based on Bettie Page, a controversial figure only because of what others have projected onto her brief career in the Fifties as a model. Page came to represent both positive and negative aspects of the depiction of women in the media, both lauded as a pioneer in sexual liberation and condemned as a proponent of negative and degrading roles for women in the porn industry. To Stevens, Page was an icon...a woman who seemed to embody some very basic, adolescent ideal. There is no doubt that his drawings of Betty are sexually charged, but it's also obvious that he has a deep love and reverence for what she represents to him personally. It's his strange mixture of pubescent longing, nostalgia, pacing, and an undeniably beautiful and refined artistic style that make The Rocketeer special.
This custom uses a Tekken figure for the body, and the head is from a Bettie Page figure that was released many years ago. The head was given to me by a guy on the Fwoosh who used the handle Timokay...a very nice and generous person who stopped posting regularly a long time ago...he was always very supportive of mine and other customizers' work. With this custom, the paint and the cleanliness of the finished piece were extremely important. It was not complex to make, but it's a sentimental favorite of mine.