Goodbye, Gloriana Demeter – A Love Letter for Keatinge & Campbell’s Glory

Glory and Riley on the cover of Glory #34, the final issue
Glory and Riley on the cover of Glory #34, the final issue

I’ve been putting off reading the final issue of Glory; I just wasn’t ready for it to be over.  Joe Keatinge and Ross Campbell revived the 90’s Image character roughly a year ago, starting where Alan Moore left off back in 1999 with issue #23. And last week’s issue #34 sees the end of their bold revival.

I was sold on the Keatinge and Campbell relaunch instantly. No, seriously. The moment I saw the cover art with a seriously beastly, battle-scarred Gloriana Demeter standing triumphantly on a pile of monstrous corpses.  It was a far faaar (battle) cry from the shiny naked seductress of the 90’s.

But, though they made her (often literally) a beast, that didn’t mean the demon lady wasn’t still a sexy beast. And being the halfie spawn of an Amazonian princess and a demon lord of the underworld, how could she not be? A. Sexy. Beast.

By the time we meet Glory in Keatinge’s relaunch she’s lived a good long time. She’s fought tons of battles, and she’s got the scars to show it. She’s also lost a lot of people – lovers, friends, family – and it’s all taken its toll twice over.

Glory with her old (very old) friend (with benefits) Jim
Glory with her old (very old) friend (with benefits) Jim

She’s a jaded Glory, a resigned Glory, as she preps for the ultimate battle and worries more than she ever has about controlling the savagery of her demon side, because not controlling it might be the key to victory.

This struggle with her demon heritage has always been her personal battle, and it’s been the fragile human loves (platonic and very decidedly otherwise…) that have helped her fight it.

That’s what Keatinge and Campbell show us in the final issue.

They take us back, back to a sweeter Glory, shyly in love with a sweet young woman, wearing pink dresses and sipping wine with the Fitzgeralds (yes, the Fitzgeralds).

Glory with her girlfriend Emilie in the 1920's
Glory with her girlfriend Emilie in the 1920’s

And we see how she found home somewhere between Amazonia and The Underworld – here on Earth with us regular folk whom she could break with her pinkie (even the ones like her beloved Emilie who have a bit of meat on their bones).

And yet it was the scrawny Earthlings that both saved her and broke her.

She might have literally punched her arm off in a grisly battle with her little sister Nanaja (my favorite and one of the most epic uses of Ross Campbells pen in this series!), but a broken heart not a smashed-to-bloody-smitherines arm is what ultimately sent her to the dark side.

Glory and her sister Nanaja literally punch each other's arms off...
Glory and her sister Nanaja literally punch each other’s arms off…

Though her human friends and lovers might look pretty ridiculous next to Glory’s gargantuan stature, they were hardly there as filling or feel-good foils. Keatinge and Campbell gave each of these characters their fair share of ink and dimension too.

Glory and Riley meet for the first time
Glory and Riley meet for the first time

The young, in-over-her-head Riley, which was original to this run, was arguably the story’s staple, the story’s dimension-maker really. She’s what rounded out Glory’s character and drove the story forward.

To see a comic where a woman is not just a bad ass, but a huge beastly monstrous bad ass, punching off heads and wearing gruesome scars like jewelry, but still knows how to flirt seductively with her octogenarian lover, hobnob with Golden Era elites, and throw back a few dozen bottles of wine… it’s a rare pleasure.

It’s been good to get to know her and her motley crew and it’s been a thrill to follow this gem among comics stories.

If only it were true.
If only it were true.

Thanks, Joe Keatinge for an incredible character and incredible story. Thanks Ross Campbell for every single scar and every bloody detail. Looking forward to whatever you both do next. Keep being sexy beasts.

I’m gonna go have 15 bottles of wine now to mourn/toast properly the end of an amazing story.

glory wine

7 thoughts on “Goodbye, Gloriana Demeter – A Love Letter for Keatinge & Campbell’s Glory”

  1. I have to admit, Glory was a character I alayws hated. Aside from the boring, uninspired design, the character herself was merely there to fill in a niche in classic superhero mythology; that of the premiere Superheroine. She was basically an attempt to create the Wonder Woman of the 90 s and didn’t really bring anything new to the table in that respect.What Ross’ design and artwork does however change all of that. This is a Glory I WANT to read about! Equal parts Jack Kirby, Conan the Cimmerian, Heavy Metal Magazine, Ross revitalises the character, practically re-inventing her, in such a manner that she seems almost new again. This is a design that stands well above its predecessors and shows us just why Ross is respected so much.I wish him and Joe Keatinge luck and success. I’ll be sure to get myself a copy.

  2. I’d never read a Glory comic in my life before this run, for all of the reasons previously stated (cheesy WW riff, 90s Bad Girl art, etc.), but I met Joe Keatinge at a FCBD signing and then I saw the cover during solicits. I’m SO glad that I read this book. What an amazing take on the ” invincible alien superhero” trope… I especially love the way she and Supreme interact. Everything about this character is fresh, from looks to her sexuality to her fighting style. That last issue was heartbreaking and triumphant in-universe and IRL. I want more, but I couldn’t have been more satisfied with the “ending” (beginning?). Gloriana Demeter is now one of my favorite superheroines.

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