Naughty and Nice: The Good Girl Art of Bruce Timm

A comic review article by: Karyn Pinter, Jason Sacks

Karyn Pinter: We're here today to talk about Naughty and Nice, Bruce Timm's good girl art book. I have been waiting, about a year I think, for this book. I have to say, I am not disappointed at all. Not that Bruce Timm could let anyone down, ever, but you know how you can get your hopes up on something so easily.

Jason Sacks: The book is absolutely impeccable. As usual, the production values in a Flesk book are pretty much perfect. Art is reproduced perfectly and we can enjoy every line and stroke of Timm's work perfectly. As usual, his books do exactly what they should do: they reproduce the art so perfectly that the book itself seems to fall away so the readers can just enjoy the art that is printed. And, as you say the art that is printed is well and totally worth the wait to view it.

Pinter: Absolutely. You would think an art book would take about 5 minutes to flip through, but I think on my first run through, I looked at it for about 45 minutes just taking it all in. And I know it's a book of nudes but it's tastefully done nudes and I really found myself appreciating the line work Bruce has done on all of the women. It's not sleazy porn, it's artwork. Some people don't seem to understand the difference and that's a shame because they miss out on the beauty of the female form.

Sacks: Well, they are incredibly sexy women too! Timm definitely has a type, doesn't he? Petite, small busted and tough, I guess are 3 words I would use to describe it.

Pinter: That's almost what Steranko said in his forward.

Sacks: (laughs) Why not steal a quote from another man who draws spectacular women? But you're right, sexy as some of these women are - and some of them are eye-poppingly sexy (what an unsexy image!) - This is much more a celebration of the female form in all its variations, as well as a celebration of Timm's incredible virtuosity. I know you wanted to talk about a few images that really show the diversity of Bruce's skills.

Pinter: Yeah. It's a 300 page book, filled cover to cover with fabulous women, but there are a few that really stood out. Well, page 292 was a favorite of us both, which means we have amazing taste in women. It's possibly my favorite piece in the whole book.

Page 292 is a beauty!

Sacks: There's something that's just perfect about the combination of colors and shapes that make up the image on page 292. The white/pink flesh of the woman and her raven colored hair on top of that sultry red rug is mouthwatering. That look of need in her eyes - she's craving something and her ruby red lips confirm that fact and her arms hugging the rug completes a perfectly seductive scene.

Pinter: Yes, a hundred times. The colors.

Sacks: Like the best pictures in the book, this image is a story all by itself.

Pinter: I think you said it all. I have nothing to add to that description. The blood red and her black hair, how it falls around her. It's a beautiful piece and I wish I could own it. It's a simple beauty.

Sacks: It's kind of deceptively simple, you know? There's a little more going on there than first meets the eye.

Pinter: It's what's going on in her head - if she were real. That look she's got, she's thinking something and you want to know what. I looked over the Catwoman pictures and page 292 is more Selina Kyle than any of the others. But you know who it really reminds me of? Jane Russell.

Sacks: Ooh, yeah, I see that. Nice, especially knowing how Timm loves art that is a bit retro. The piece on page 285 is just the opposite of the piece on page 292: 285 is shrouded in mystery.

Page 285 is mysterious!

Pinter: Yes, I adore that one too. It's sexy without seeing the details. It doesn't give anything away yet it gives you everything you need.

Sacks: She's more seductive because so much is hidden. Where the Jane Russell woman on page 292 is all out in the open, the mystery woman on page 285 is literally shrouded in mystery. Did she seem sexier or more frightening to you, being so secretive?

Pinter: She's shy. Speaking of mystery, look at page 178.

Does it get much more noir than this?

Sacks: Ah, a beauty fading into the shadows... the woman on page 178 is not shy. She's a classic femme fatale if I've ever seen one.

Pinter: Veronica Lake all the way. The first thing that popped into my head was Veronica Lake, and I wasn't the only one. My brother flipped it open and said the same thing. A classic retro beauty.

Sacks: This may be my favorite page in the book. Especially rendered in black and white, with tremendously black shadows, she really does look like she walked straight from a film noir and onto this book. She's absolutely Veronica Lake, with that hairdo that covers her left eye.

Pinter: Smoking gun, smoking cig, and smoking woman. She's a black widow.

Sacks: Well said, Pinter, well said.

Pinter: Looking at that makes we want Timm to do a film Noir type of comic. I'd buy that in a heartbeat if it looked like page 178.

Sacks: I imagine a just slightly softer version of Darwyn Cooke's Parker books.

Then there's the woman on page 211, an almost abstract piece in a way, of a woman who looks to me like a dancer. She seems to have that tremendous sense of her body and its place in space that a good dancer has.

Hold me closer, tiny dancer.

Pinter: Again, it was the colors that drew me in. That stark, black abstract background, which could be a skyline or it could be just a wall. Then there's the woman: colorful, open and free. She's definitely a dancer type, whimsical in a way. Now that you mentioned dancer, I can picture her moving that way, as if she were performing a show. Never mind the fact she’s naked. That makes it more alluring. It doesn't have to be a filthy strip show, it could be a ballet.

Or she's having the most proud walk of shame ever.

Sacks: Now THAT'S funny!

Pinter: Yup, had to go and ruin the whimsy for everyone with that.

Sacks: Damn, I'm so tempted to make some bad dirty jokes.

Pinter: We could.

Pinter: Like, at least when the nudes are drawn the carpet matches the drapes every time.

Sacks: Did you notice that all his women have carpets (so to speak)?

Pinter: Yes I did, and bravo to Bruce Timm for not giving them all the Playboy strip. He drew real women.

Sacks: They're all natural beauties, not enhanced or extra cleaned up. They are who they are, and that's also part of what makes them so sexy. Timm loves women who are individuals, strong women who know what they want and don't need to bow to society.

Pinter: They're curvy. Like the page opposite our last one, page 210. She has hips. Beautiful, curved hips. It's a body most women have.

Sacks: Right; her hips aren't absurdly small and her tits aren't absurdly large. She's happy and comfortable in her body. And that happiness and comfort are what make her sexy.

Sacks: Okay, how great is the Catwoman pic on page 239? Wow, Selina's face in that picture...

Pinter: Of course I love all things Catwoman, but she really wasn't the highlight for me this time around. I think the 1950's cone bra boobs threw me off a little.

Sacks: Now THAT is a high compliment, knowing how you love Catwoman!

Pinter: I'm more in love with his Poison Ivy work. Now she's sexy... for a green chick. Ivy has sort of always been the Gotham bombshell and you can really see where that's coming from in Good Girl.

And for being fully clothed, Timm's Batwoman is a standout piece for me as well

Sacks: I think my favorites may have been his pictures of Dejah Thoris, Princess of Mars. I loved her mix of toughness and exoticism. You can tell she can really handle a sword.

Pinter: Ah yes, Dejah as she's meant to be. I didn't see that John Carter movie but just the fact that Dejah was mostly covered shot it down for me. Of course it was a Disney film and they can't show a mostly naked Martian girl running around.

Sacks: It still was an outstanding movie. I really highly recommend it. But yeah, having her be naked in the pictures was just perfectly true to her character. You can see why John went crazy for her.

Pinter: Who wouldn't? She's a princess who can fight with the best of them, she's red, she's naked, not to mention her name is Dejah Thoris. Her name alone makes her the hottest piece on Mars.

Sacks: Greatest name ever.

Pinter: She sounds like she could kick your ass.

Sacks: Oh, it would be the most pathetic battle ever! She would kick my ass in about 2 seconds.

Pinter: I'd let her win.

Sacks: Yeah, I bet you would.

Pinter: (laughs)

Sacks: I'd be a YouTube sensation as the guy who got his ass kicked by Dejah Thoris.

Pinter: It could be the new meme - Dejah Thoris beating things up.

Sacks: She'd go viral!

Pinter: We just need a pic of her looking victorious and then Photoshop it over something defeated, like the Titanic.

Sacks: Genius!

So... no surprise, I think we both agree this book is spectacular, five stars and totally worth the fifty bucks cover price.

Pinter: Yes, and yes. Bruce Timm is a childhood hero of mine because I grew up on Batman: the Animated Series. So this is kind of a strange circle of life moment for me. I love his work on BtAS, and now that I've grown up I'm enjoying this whole new aspect of his work.

Sacks: That's pretty funny. It's like his work grew at the same time you did. Any final thoughts on this one?

Pinter: Hmmm. Well knowing about this book has really opened my eyes to other art books by cartoon and comic artists. I just recently bought Guillem March's book, Cover Girls. I of course love his art due to Gotham City Sirens and Catwoman, but there's so much more than just the DC stuff. Of course though, his Poison Ivy is dead sexy. So, I’d like to thank Bruce Timm's Good Girl art for showing me the path of art books.

Sacks: I highly recommend the Brian Bolland art book that DC put out. It's also gorgeous.

Pinter: Flesk Publishing does have an amazing group of art books that I'd love to get.

Sacks: Oh yeah, they're gorgeous. John has such an eye for detail on these books.

Pinter: I remember when I first found him, I think back in 2009 at WonderCon, and seeing the Steel Bashaw book. I was obsessed. That led to Mark Schultz's Blue Book, which I thought was breathtaking.

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