Big Barda by Ming Doyle

Character: Big Barda
Publisher: DC Comics
Artist: Ming Doyle
Reviewers: P:R Staff
(Larger Version)

Dean: Like most characters granted fictional life by the mythical hand of Jack Kirby, Big Barda is a powerhouse not just in physical strength, but of depth of character. Raised by Granny Goodness as a pro-Darkseid warrior, Barda’s life and mission took a great big turn towards superherodom when she met Darkseid’s adopted son, Scott Free, AKA Mister Miracle. Together, they battled evil and protected innocents on Earth and elsewhere, often as members of the Justice League of America. Barda was recently killed, and in honor of her memory (and in anticipation of her resurrection), Ming Doyle sent in this excellent redesign of her costume. The primary-colored headgear, mail armor, and gold framework all give this Barda that magical otherworldly feel that best suits the New Gods.

Vito: I think the thing that stands out the most about this is that it’s as far from Kirby as you can get without being so unfamiliar that you forget she is a Kirby character. To backtrack just a second, you have to know that in terms of character/costume design, Kirby was unmatched. He was innovative, he was colorful and he was in a league of his own. Ming took her own artistic ability and combined it with Kirby’s design to make what might be a sleeker design than the original. If you look closely, it looks like her original costume is under Ming’s additions, which is one of the things I like so much about this. I love those chap-like pants! She looks ready to kick tail! I’d love to see what the back of the costume looks like but if it’s as good as the front, this is an awesome functional costume for an awesome warrior.

Chris: Ditto what Vito said. This is far and away from the Kirby style in so many ways, but not in a derisive way. In a way, Ming just took Kirby’s work and went a step further with her own sensibilities. The hexagons Kirby used have been replaced with the circular motif, and the boots are all kids of awesome. The headpiece is less helmet than the Kirby original, but I’d like to see more on how Ming’s design plays out.

Rachel: Honestly, much of what I have to say will be echoing previous comments. Ming does a great job of taking Kirby’s initial design and adapting it to her own style without compromising what made it such a great costume to begin with. This is a Barda who’s immediately recognizable as a powerful warrior – and whose costume is still distinctly otherworldly. The regal collar and headgear may be my favorite part of the design: they’re where Ming strays furthest from Kirby’s design, but they’re still Barda to a tee.

Joel: Ming has really tapped into what makes Barda iconic. Here she is, Queen of the Brawl: strong and beautiful, dignified and brutal, fierce and loving. People who remember Ming’s earlier designs will surely agree that DC should hire her to make-over everyone’s hair in the DCU. Although I have a little trouble telling where Barda’s hair begins and ends. There are black armor plates in there, right? Perhaps a slight shift in color is called for. Despite that confusion, the headgear is brilliant. As others have observed, it’s a beautiful blending of Kirby and Ming’s individual approaches to ornament. The forehead piece under her bangs emphasizes Barda’s level gaze, and makes her look intimidating as all get-out. It’s interesting that Vito sees the circular motif as a departure from Kirby. I thought they were a reference to The King’s most famous visual conceit, the Kirby Dot. If that’s the case, I think the three circular cut-aways are clever, but I’m not entirely sure they work. Although it may not be the cut-aways as much as the bodysuit they cut away from. It looks a little standard spandex superheroey. It would be nice to see more of the armored elements seen from around the neck and back carried through the rest of the outfit.

7 comments to “Big Barda by Ming Doyle”
  1. I absolutely love it. I mean, Kirby is Kirby, and trumps all, but I absolutely love what Ming has done here. It’s faithful to the spirit of Kirby and the New Gods while distinctly being its own thing. One look and you instantly know it’s Barda. Beautiful. Well done!

  2. Fantastic!

    I sure hope they bring Barda back. She’s awesome. The way DC killed her off was incredibly lame, too. “Oh, by the way, Barda’s dead.”

  3. I think the headpiece is a full-on helmet, where the only visible part of her hair are the bangs.

    I could be wrong, though.

    Anyway, Ming Doyle rocks, as always. :)

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