Monday, March 14, 2011

el gaucho

J. H. Williams III's El Gaucho

Morrison's run at DC has focussed on permuting the features of iconic characters through a sequence of confrontations with their doubles of various stripes. His All-Star Superman, for example, faces other strong men, bizarro Superman, a "Super" Louis Lane, Supermen from the future, from alternate universes, and even Lex Luthor as Superman. In his run on Batman, we saw Batman confront secret vigilante Batman replacements, Batman in the future, Batman junior, and, eventually, Batman 2: Robin. One of the most amusing sequences (667-9) features an international group of Batman variants, which Jog helpfully points out are distinguished by J. H. Williams III's imitation of various artistic styles. In particular, the Argentinian mirror of Batman, El Gaucho, is drawn in the style of Howard Chaykin.

Of course, he's not a direct copy of any particular Chaykin character, but his disguise does closely mirror that of the (very briefly mentioned in Midnight Men (1993)) El Sombra.

Howard Chaykin's El Sombra

More important than the costume, however, is the square jaw and Chaykin personality (i.e. kick ass and don't take shit from no one). Jog wonders if Yanick Paquette's art for Batman, Inc. could perform the same imitation. Although the style is not matched, the square jaw and epic attitude are certainly still there. Not the least of which reason being that El Gaucho (who's already saved Batman's life more than once) (i) immediately identifies Bruce Wayne as Batman (amusingly believing Batman to be impersonating Bruce Wayne) and (ii) turns down Batman's offer to join his international team (well, upon initial request, we'll see what happens next issue).

Yanick Paquette's El Gaucho—still badass

Of course, Chaykin's prone to strong Jewish heroes, frequently busting Nazi / fascist butt in one shape or another. But he's no stranger to the swarthy mustache / machismo of El Gaucho, that's for sure. For example, his recent run on Rawhide Kid: The Sensational Seven left ample opportunity for mustachioed macho, in both a variety of villains, and also "heroes" such as Wyatt and Morgan Earp:

Howard Chaykin's Earp brothers

[This frame appears after Morgan has violently induced Wyatt to vomit when told by their cellmate that Wyatt has been eating more than his fare share of the scorpions. In the previous frame, Morgan has counted the scorpion corpses in his brother's vomit, only to discover the accusations are true.]

J. H. Williams III's El Gaucho has a different attitude toward scorpions

Of course, badass as a Chaykin tribute in the pages of Batman is, we shouldn't forget that Chaykin is alive and well, even penciling his own occasional Batman outing (square jaw and attitude and all). Personal wet dream: Morrison scripted, Chaykin penciled, Batman / El Gaucho team up—now when will we get to see that?

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