Award-winning artist Jim Silke’s version of Bettie Page has been lauded as one of the key players in her enduring popularity. Now Dynamite is bringing Silke’s work back to life after 20 years, with the trade paperback reprinting of Bettie Page: Queen of the Nile.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Bettie Page’s legacy saw a huge spike, and modern pinup artists like Olivia De Berardinis and Dave Stevens helped grow the allure. Silke joined the movement, providing his talents to the legend in his own way. The artist has also offered his style for Vampirella as well as his independent comic Rascals in Paradise and many art books.
Originally intended for an anthology curated by Stevens, Silke got so into his work and his first story starring Page that it expanded into the Spicy Adventure, published on its own and included in this new collection. The popularity then led to the ambitious Queen of the Nile miniseries. Rounding out the compilation fans can find covers by Stevens and an introduction by Frank Cho.
Check out a synopsis of the story:
“Within the story, Bettie enters a whole new web of trouble when a low-budget time machine accidentally transports her to ancient Egypt. There she battles the High Priest of Amon Ra and tangles with a lovesick mummy twice her size. She wiggles and squirms and bumps and grinds to avoid their evil clutches. But she cannot avoid the inevitable, as everyone falls in love with her. All culminating in landing right in the middle of a love triangle with Julius Caesar and Cleopatra. This can’t end well for the Queen of the Pinups.”
“When I first drew Bettie Page, I had no idea she would work her magic on me for the rest of my life. That was in 1951. And now, nearly seventy years later, with Dynamite’s republishing of Queen of the Nile, she’s part of my life again and I love it,” said Silke.
The artist continued, “I never met Bettie in person, but she called one day to thank me for my books about her. She did, however, have one reservation. She said, ‘You sometimes make me look very mean.’ I apologized and then politely told her that she had often charmed me into doing all kinds of things I had never dreamed of doing before. She laughed at that.”
Bettie Page: Queen of the Nile trade paperback will be available for preorder at your local comic shop in July. The book is slated to release in September. For digital, head to Comixology, Kindle, iBooks, Google Play, Dynamite Digital, ComicsPlus, and more.
Excellent to see an article like this to break up all the stories about the male predators who currently work in comics. Next you can do a story about why the comics industry attracts men who prey on women. To help explain, you can interview Heidi and Deanna on why they gave so much publicity to this comic about a scantily clad female sex object being tied up and groped by men holding knives. You can use these same images again to make sure guys click on the article too. #tonedeaf #readtheroom
The Beat hypes T&A trash like this, but fails to mention the passing of Joe Sinnott, one of the greatest inkers in comics history and the best inker Jack Kirby ever had.
Glad you’ve got your priorities straight, Heidi and Deanna.
Seriously, if the Beat is concerned about the comics industry’s harassment and exploitation of women, it should refuse to promote junk like this.
Most of Dynamite’s output is aimed at horny teenage boys who aren’t quite old enough to buy Playboy and Penthouse. You have better things to do than feed their fantasies.
You know, many women (and men too!) see Bettie Page as a figure of empowerment and as a trendsetter who owned her own sexuality and and strength. She has a huge following among women who appreciate not only her beauty and attitude, but the liberation she represented. My own wife feels that way about her, and I know many, many, other women do too. The version of Bettie portrayed in these comics is certainly presented that way. And Dynamite’s Red Sonja is a powerful force to be reckoned with, also beloved by many female fans. The same holds true for Vampirella. Your characterization of Dynamite’s output is simply incorrect and demeans characters who are actually considered by many to be outstanding examples of comics for and about amazing women.
“You know, many women (and men too!) see Bettie Page as a figure of empowerment and as a trendsetter who owned her own sexuality and and strength.”
That’s a fantasy created by men, and it has nothing to do with the real Bettie Page, who was the victim of an unpunished rape. Fanboys have loved Bettie ever since Dave Stevens used her in The Rocketeer in the early ’80s. (The real Page had fallen into almost total obscurity at that point.) But the recent versions lack Stevens’ wit or drawing ability. As the drawings above demonstrate.
Obviously, I disagree. Bettie’s fans are very much aware of her troubled life and that does not take away from what she has come to mean to them or what she wanted her legacy to be. At the end of her life, she was very proud of the fandom that had grown around her and what so many women told her she meant to them. Much of that renewed fame was inspired by Dave Stevens, but she quickly became the muse for many other artists, which also includes many women. Most famously, of course, Olivia.
Bettie certainly did not want anyone to think of her as any kind of victim, and no one’s abuse by any horrible human being should take away from who they are or what they have achieved.
I would also disagree that the recent creators do not have the “wit or ability” of Dave Stevens, however, that critique doesn’t really apply to Jim Silke’s work above as he is an artist who has been drawing Bettie since the ’50s and the excerpts in this article are from a 20 year old reprint. Having read the recent efforts, I think there is a great deal of wit and artistry in their work.
Dynamite has hired a pretty outstanding roster of talented men AND women (Gail Simone, Amy Chu, Nancy Collins, Kristina Deak-Linsner) to work on much-loved characters like Red Sonja, Bettie Page, and Vampirella. It isn’t fair to diminish the love, effort, and creativity they put into their work with such sweeping negativity.
I quite agree with the latter post.
What some of the white knights in this comment section fail to appreciate is that there may be gay or bi women who also appreciate the female form’s aesthetic qualities and also draw/paint pin ups and produce erotic art in a similar style. I am wondering how such women would be considered by them. Would they be seen as self objectifying or otherwise heretical to ‘progressive’ orthodoxy?
Or perhaps they would say “it’s only a problem when a man does it”.
I swear some people would rather see us go back to the time of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice in which arbiters of public morality would burn any book or painting that is even remotely suggestive or contrary to contemporary sensibilities.
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