Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Where are the Panties?

Quite the haul today, thanks to the latest Modesty Blaise collection and the Heroes hardcover I've been eagerly lusting after and finally own. However, while there was much to enjoy in today's batch of regular comics (and reviews will appear soonish), including the latest Criminal which ends the second arc, there was uh, well, see for yourself.

Now, I basically liked the art on Supergirl this time. The skirt on her costume didn't look like a long belt. But, but, but... well, look at her. This was just one of several shots of her about to lift off, one leg raised, revealing... well, no sign of panties, that's for sure. And it is still a bit low at the top, barely staying on her hips.

I don't have a problem with sexy art. I like Ed Benes' work, after all. I do have problems when teen characters are sexed or tarted up and I do have a problem with anatomically incorrect characters, but sometimes, well, there really is no excuse, especially when the art is otherwise fine, to peek under the skirt of a teen girl who has been established to be under the age of consent. And while nothing anatomical was on display, other than upper thigh, more or less, there was certainly enough shown to indicate no underwear. So, either drape the skirt better or show panties. Neither can be all that difficult to draw.

I might have considered that the skirt was just long enough to make it unclear, in that the panties were a bit higher than shown, except for the way Kara's leg is curving and for the number of such shots designed to reveal what's under her skirt.

I'll get to the content later, because, really, I need to time to decide if it was me or the story, but it made no sense, even for an opening chapter.


  1. WOW! I can't believe that picture. There clearly aren't any undies on that girl's bottom. YIKES! I hope the story makes up for it because I was hoping to jump into the series here with the new creative team.

  2. Lisa, I was really looking forward to this, but I'm so confused by this first chapter that I don't know what to think. I'll give it some more time, but geez.

  3. Shelly wrote:
    I don't have a problem with sexy art. I like Ed Benes' work, after all.

    So, you're the one helping him get work.

    As for "skirt peeking," may I suggest that that, among other things, is an artifact of the desire of too many readers and too many creators to force reality, including the laws of physics, upon the inherently fantastic world of mainstream super heroes. What I mean is that in a Supergirl story created in 1962, for instance, even if a hurricane-force wind was blowing beneath a flying Supergirl, her skirt would have still fallen to properly cover her nether regions. Today, however, every little detail must make sense or some nimrod will "be thrown out of the story," so her skirt moves as if in reality.

    As for the lack of panties, I have a feeling the artist wasn't drawing from life for the pose. I'm not saying he went as far as Greg Land has with regard to using pornography for a swipe file, but he may not have even considered that a woman in a short skirt is going to wear something underneath. Of course, even if the editor actually looked at the art for any length of time and realized what was missing, he probably wouldn't ask for a correction from the artist or have had a correction made in-house. That would mean he was tampering with the artist's "vision," which is always certain set off a wave of whining.

  4. Greg, that's a whole lot of words in your comment, but they don't amount to much of an answer. I've been reading comics for 47 years and I really don't want to go back to the 1950s or '60s. Sure, the wind blows the skirt upward. Big f'in deal. But draw in panties if the skirt goes up that high. It really won't ruin any artistic "vision." And editorial vision counts, too, because, comics are a collaborative medium.

    One instance, no biggie. But it happened a lot in that issue and the whole depiction of the current Supergirl has been brought into question, so one would think that DC, so eager to bring in the female readers, would be a bit more sensitive to how a teen female character under the age of consent is depicted.

    So yeah, I get to gripe about it. And I'm no knee-jerk complainer, so when I notice and "whine," I figure I have a good reason.

  5. Anonymous3:58 PM EST

    Perhaps she's wearing a super-thong? Maybe its something the Amazons taught her...frankly, I don't get the whole bare midrift thing. Sure, she's invulnerable, but still...

  6. Super thong, huh? heh

    And I've pretty much given up complaining about the bare midriff. Some artists have drawn it with less showing, but this version reveals way too much skin for a teenager. But I'll probably be called an old prude for saying that.

  7. Anonymous9:43 AM EST

    I interpreted that line as the shorts that Renato Guedes drew on her, but that it was just miscoloured to look like a shadow on her leg.

    That said, I really miss Guedes' art, and the story didn't make a lick of sense to me. I don't think I'll be picking this one up again.

  8. Super Starch. Yes, when Supergirl washes her little super skirt, she uses LOTS of starch. This may explain why when she's tied-up and hanging upside-down, her skirt STILL covers her naughty bits.

  9. Anon, that's as good a theory as any, and yeah, I miss Guedes' art, too.

    Sally, thanks for my morning chuckle. ;)

  10. Anonymous12:10 AM EST

    Yeah, my opinion also was that it is the shorts. If you look at the shadow on her right leg, there is no thick black like differentiating the shadowed and un-shadowed parts of the leg, but there is a thick line on the left leg. Also the color of the shadowed part of her right is not blue like that of her left. It's gotta be the shorts, or else it's...just no.

  11. Anonymous1:33 PM EST

    Couple of things.

    Drew Johnson did the artwork on Supergirl, and the portion you noticed, which I did not, is really just a technical error.

    What should have been done was the inker or colorist should have used simple black or a darker shade to indicate shadow.

    I doubt Drew Johnson was thinking to himself: panties or no panties. He has already established himself as a non exploitative artist on Wonder Woman.

    Johnson probably had pencilled the art and demarked that area with an x to indicate to the inker that it should be black.

    Instead, the colorist did the shading, but he didn't pick a dark enough shade to hide the raw pencils, which merely makes it appear Kara is going commando.

    Johnson probably didn't draw panties in the pencils because he knew that section would be black any way.

    Why waste time drawing a pair of panties and fret over how they would wrinkle in a particular pose if they won't be seen anyway?

    The reason why I'm commenting is that I liked the issue overall, and I think it's a step in a positive direction. I want to read Supergirl again, and if they can keep the quality to this level, I can. So, let's not tear it down on the grounds of a tiny mistake. Let's wait until the Hood smacks her in the jaw, and her clothing pops off :)


    I have a review of SG #23 posted at the site in case anybody's interested. The editor did post pages from the story, so though the review contains no spoilers, there are spoilers in the art posted.

  12. I wouldn't make a fuss if it was just the one panel, though I might've commented on it in my review.

    However, it was one of several -- I recall at least 3 panels like this, but as I didn't keep the issue, I can't scan them in -- and that's beyond sloppy IMO. That means someone should have noticed. The editor, for one.

    And it's just more of a trend on this comic, not counting Guedes' art, that is getting disturbing. Even the amount of her midriff showing is a lot. She's underage and that is problematic in a book that supposedly, if DiDio and others are to be believed, is intended to bring in female readers, especially girls.

  13. Anonymous11:08 PM EST

    Shelly, please understand, that I'm not trying to be a prat. I'm just passionate about Supergirl. The original that is, and her incarnations--i.e., the Helen Slater model, the Laura Vandervoort model, the Bruce Timm model and maybe this newest incarnation. I'm hoping this newest incarnation.

    Though passionate about Supergirl, let me tell you, I don't believe I have ever stared and studied her crotch as much as I did after your post :D.

    Anyhow, I found the other two panels to which you refer.

    The second one has Kara's skirt cutting right to about where her panty-line would be--assuming she's wearing a V-front panty. Once again, the shaded area should have been black. It's again a mistake or a poor choice on the colorist's part.

    The third panel is a different story. If you take a look at that third panel, the skirt covers a portion of her upper thigh, more than enough for the audience to imagine practically any kind of panty, or not if that's what floats your boat.

    Her other leg is stretched out, and that side of her panties could very well be riding up a little bit near her butt. Kara's drawn very lankily. She hasn't much of a butt to speak of, and Johnson is going out of his way to make her proportionate and keep that skirt down. In fact, he's kind of treating it like a lower set cape.

    Again, I don't want to start a flame war over this. I enjoy reading your blog. I'm just hoping that folks give this book a chance. They're really trying this time.


  14. Ray, I don't think we're anywhere close to a flame war. ;)

    I am very passionate about Kara. I grew up with her. I started reading about her in the early-'60s. We went to college together, sorta. ;) I was so devastated by her death, I stopped reading comics (except for a few more years of Titans) for a decade, not so much in protest but because the fun (except for Titans for a few more years) had been sucked out of comics for me. It was Nightwing's mini and Roy Harper/Arsenal's one-shot and mini that got me back to reading comics. And it still hurt to know Kara was still dead, and then to have that impostor running around.

    I can't be more eager for this book to succeed. All I said was that I didn't like the way Kara's costume was drawn. I prefer the way Guedes draws it. I want less skin showing on her midriff and less thigh creeping into her crotch shots. That really isn't a lot to ask, especially for a book that should appeal to teen and pre-teen girls the way Supergirl was once the closest I got to having a comic book role model.

    The art, which is overall nice, won't be what could stop me reading. The writing would do it, if it continues to be as incomprehensible as the first installment of this story was. I'm giving it a chance, but it needs to be a whole lot better next issue. I'm tired of the reboots that don't seem to work. The fill-in team we just had was the best, so it figures they were just filling in.

    And like I said, the issue has been tossed so I can't check the other panels again, but my first impression was a strong one. For whatever reason. And someone needs to exercise better quality control on the book if the pantyless impression was an artistic error.

    We are viewing the shots differently. I would never expect everyone to agree with me on everything. The world would be kinda boring that way.

  15. You have every right to gripe, in fact my first response is one big
    gripe about things that get on my nerves about mainstream comics. For instance, why even bother drawing Supergirl in such a way that a discussion of her underwear wearing habits is even necessary? What I was trying to get across, albeit poorly, is that the artist chose to draw her that way and if he had put just a little more thought into it, there would not even be a discussion concerning this topic. From the other side, with the criticism DC has received of late regarding its treatment of women, you'd think that an editor would have been a little more sensitive about the depiction of Supergirl, especially since she is
    a minor and there supposedly is an effort to de-tart her.

    Additionally, and this is totally my opinion--with which many, many
    disagree--but I believe that if DC wants to license Supergirl for
    childrens' Halloween costumes and a line of pink "S" clothing in the
    girls' department, they kind of have an obligation to assure that any a concurrent appearance of Supergirl should not include anything that the parent of a six-year-old might not want that child to see.

    While I haven't been around comics as long as you (my best guess is that I've been around them for around 42-43 years), and while I appreciate some of the advances of story presentation in the mainstream comics (don't get be going on the elimination of thought balloons), I just think that it doesn't hurt anyone if Gold/Silver/Bronze Age physics are applied to things like Supergirl's skirt. Better a few obsessive fans whine that the skirt isn't moving properly then create controversy, intentional or unintentional.

    It isn't as if the laws of physical science aren't still being bent with regard to male super-heroes and their costumes. I think it was in the second volume of Steranko's History of Comics that relates the story of the Fawcett bullpen artists, in the 1940s, merrily singing a song about the fact that Captain Marvel has no balls because there was no evidence of such despite his tight costume. Recent appearances of Cap do not seem to have corrected that violation of physical law though I can't speak of Junior's appearance in Trials of Shazam, maybe they show up there, but I doubt it.

  16. That's how I feel pretty much exactly, Greg. It would've been so easy to fix the skirt/panties problem. And as Guedes showed, you can show just a tad less midriff on that costume without compromising the look.

    It's interesting that you mention Halloween costumes. I was reading, perhaps in Newsweek, that costumes this year, especially for girls, were no longer about being scary or being princesses, but about being sexy, and that's for pre-teen girls! Apparently, it's getting difficult for parents of girls to find age-appropriate costumes.

    I don't mind sexy. But when people get bent out of shape because a certain character on a certain, recent JSA cover actually seems to have his male equipment under his tight costume, and then complain aout "crazed feminazis" whining about Supergirl "showing some thigh," I can't help but think things are out of whack.

    There's a difference, IMO, between showing Power Girl's cleavage (just get it anatomically correct, her breasts growing naturally from her body and not looking pasted on) and the implication that Supergirl isn't wearing underwear.

    So, bring on the sexy art, male and female characters, but keep in mind the age of those characters and the intended audience and what's appropriate. And be more sensitive to what matters to readers, especially when the fix is so damn simple.

    I'm going to have to look at the art more closely in the Trials of Shazam now. ;)

  17. I finally read the issue yesterday and was completely confused about the story. What is going on? What happened? Many pages without words and at the end I had no idea what happened. And that's disregarding the fact that she's pantie-less.

  18. The next issue will need to be twice as good as I usually require just to make up for the confusion of this one.