Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Male vs Female in Comics Art

This article She Has No Head - No, It's Not Equal by Kelly Thompson is awesome and the comments make wonderful points. There were, when I looked, 531 comments, so no, I didn't read all of them. The article was written back in February and I somehow missed it, but saw a link to it on Tumblr and was happy to find it.

I've never had a problem with sexy art. It's the fact that it isn't equal that bugs me. And I, too, hate the "brokeback" posing of the female characters (and that term gives me the giggles because whenever I see it, I think of the movie Brokeback Mountain). I also hate seeing the female supers in thongs with their asses hanging out because that just looks so uncomfortable. Thompson's right about the unzipped zipper phenomenon. Once or twice, it's kind of fun, a bit kinky, a bit playful. All over comics.... not so much. It's ridiculous.

I'm not overly fond of the males with torsos the sizes of mountains, either. Wanna know what my idealized male fantasy looks like? See Magic Mike. Every one of those guys is sexy in his own way and, aside from being in good shape, they don't all have the same body type.

But, as Thompson says, so much better than I can, even sexy isn't evenly drawn in comics, and more and more, I find things to dislike in the art. When the male form is drawn athletic and powerful and the female is drawn to titillate, then there's a real disconnect somewhere. Half the time I can't follow the action because the coloring is so dark and what I do see, if there are females in the panel, are butts and boobs. And it's doubly annoying when the art is otherwise nice. Surely, the artists can do better, and the editors, and the publishers, and we readers need to do better, too. But, do I not buy a comic I love for the story to protest the art? And what about all the comics I'm not reading because I hate the bulk of the new DC52? I can't boycott them twice. And there's the dilemma of wanting to support female-oriented books vs boycotting poorly done female-oriented books. How to make two nearly opposite points at once? That's a dilemma I shouldn't have, not in 2012.


  1. I regularly check in on a tumblr called Escher Girls for the bad art lulz... they recently had a guest post from an artist that shows just how bad the situation is for female comic book character design:


  2. Yeah, that's one of the tumblrs I follow. I probably should've linked to that post as it was a good one. Thanks for including it. :)

  3. Yup. And if you should complain about the gawdawful depictions of women, then so MANY guys have heart palpitations and scream that you want to TAKE AWAY THEIR ONE AND ONLY JOY IN LIFE! Which apparently is grossly deformed mostly naked drawings of a possible female form.


    1. Yeah. Makes you wonder about the guys who think art that bad is sexy and that they get off on it.