Gotham City Sirens: Poison Ivy Inspiration


I am so excited right now, because things are coming together for a certain collection of mine. My GOTHAM CITY SIRENS.

First up POISON IVY!

The first doll I'm working on is Poison Ivy aka Pamela Isley of DC Comcs. She is mainly a Batman villain, but in recent years has become kind of an anti-hero. She's a character that orgininated in the 1960s. So her comic roots are deep, man.

She has the power of controlling plants, immunity to diseases, super strength, poison serums - one of which gives her the ability to control men.

She's been adapted in every medium that Batman has exsisted in. That's a big deal! There are lot of cool things about her but, good or bad, she is mostly iconic for being a sexy character. Its sympomatic of a larger problem of how female characters are treated in comics. Six decades in comics and I can't think of any iconc Poison Ivy stories... that's a problem.

Still, she's an important character that I love, and I want to make a doll of her.

Now, she's had a doll before based on her appearaces in Batman: The Animated Series.

But... she doesn't really have the feeling of the Poison Ivy I want to create, which pulls from some... unconventional sources. Plus, this is not a sexy Barbie (which it kinda shouldn't be becasue it was marketed to towards young girls), and I can't have a Poison Ivy doll that's not some version sexy. C'mon! That just doesn't work.

Now, what does the Poison Ivy I want to create look like?

Basically, she looks like Surf's Up Midge:

I have a weird love for the Diva sculpt. Not sure where that started but it has this unexpected beauty to it. Its not one of those 'perfectly attractive' Barbie sculpts, but it still maintains that ability to be really beautiful. It can go from girl next door to high fashion; I love that versatility!

For this doll, I needed to her to embody both of those qualities. 

My interpretation of Pamela Isley a.k.a. Poison Ivy, was that she was awkwardly attractive prior to her transformation. In fact, I picture her as awkward period. Mostly work focused and not on looking good. Or maybe... maybe she tried to look good, but didn't have a sense of style. And men? Forget about it! They ignored for some reason.

So, when she got her powers  - especially the power to control men - she went all out in using it!

I wanted the doll to reflect both of those parts of herself. Its a psychology that a lot of writers just forget about her or don't care to deal with. She's often treated as just this sexy foil. I wanted my Pamela to have a complexity to her, with clear contrasting elements. That's how I landed on the Diva sculpt.

Plus, Pamela is a redhead & Midge looks good as a redhead!

Now, all this is mainly my interpretation. My major influence being what I remember about her origin from Batman: The Animated Series. I haven't seen that in years... I think it might be time to revisit it...

Still, the images are burned into my memory. The Bruce Timm designs are that good.

This is how I picture her. Clinging to Harley with a sneaky smile on her face. Prefect. 

Timm draws really good pin-ups. Which work well with a character like Poison Ivy. 

What I really like about Timm's Poison Ivy is that the "sexy" he pulls from is kind of an old fashioned sexy. 

Old Hollywood. 

Specifically Marilyn Monroe, but a lot of women had it. 

The relationship between the eyes and the shoulders... 

Now, historically, the shoulders are a very sexy part of the body, but in that time - Pre-sexual revolution, I guess - the shoulders were really important in conveying "sexy" because, as a woman, you didn't want to come off lewd. By working the relationship between the hair, eyes and shoulders, you could give off the "come hither" vibes simultaneous with "I'm so innocencent" vibes. Its a special combination that Marilyn perfected. 

I see that kind of influence in Bruce Timm's drawings of Poison Ivy, with a little bit of that modern, overt sexuality. That makes sense to me. The "sexy icons" of the Pamela in my head are from that era.

The old Hollywood era... Marilyn. Ava Gardner. Marie McDonald. Jayne Mansfield. 

And Mae West, of course... ;)

Yeah... Pamela would have really liked Mae west...

Mae's "sexy" comes from her confidence - not her face or her figure. I think Pamela - pre-Poison ;) - would have like that about her most of all.

These are the images that Pamela conjures up when she transforms into Poison Ivy. The women she always wanted to be and now has a chance to be! Now, she doesn't look like any of them - perhaps she even wishes she did - but they are her inspiration.

I'm making her costume myself. I'm familar with her most iconic outfits. Some I like, some I don't. I intend to do more research though.

Right now, I think I'm going to base my Poison Ivy outfit on the Animated Series one. Perhaps with an old Hollywood "sexy" influence somewhere... I have a couple ideas for that. :)

When I decide, I'll be sure to write about it! ;)

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The night is still young (And watch the world pass us by)
The night is still young (How dare we sit quietly)
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