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June 13, 2012 11:37 PM   Subscribe

Dear Sir, Regarding Your Affection for A Compacted Catwoman - Andrew Wheeler responds to the response to the response to the cover for Catwoman #0.
posted by Artw (121 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
The sad thing is that for about 26 issues Catwoman was drawn well and not sexualised but it didn't sell well enough so they changed styles. The art became much worse (both objectively and subjectively) but there was boobs and butts so the sales numbers improved.
posted by Silentgoldfish at 11:49 PM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


And she still has that damned broken zipper.

I must say, the new Huntress and Power Girl outfits in World's Finest are an improvement based on what I have seen.

Huntress appears to have full body armour, and Power Girl has lost her boob window. She's fully clothed.... except when a convenient explosion blows her dress to tatters and by then it's too late and we have seen everything.

Also, Kate Beaton needs to be employed by DC as Vice President For Common Sense.
posted by Mezentian at 11:55 PM on June 13, 2012 [16 favorites]


from the first link...

Every time the culture serves someone who isn’t you, and every time someone who isn’t you comments on culture, you moan, you jostle, you threaten, you splutter with indignation. “What is this? People are mocking the ample bosoms that I so enjoy? Fetch my blunderbuss.” And because the culture is almost always about you - so much so that you’ve never even consciously acknowledged it - you see anything that isn’t about you as a threat.


well said.
posted by billyfleetwood at 11:57 PM on June 13, 2012 [49 favorites]


That is a very bad cover. The first link quite rightly compares it to this deformed picture of Captain America. It's as though the Catwoman artist traced a picture of a woman's head, a picture of a different woman's breasts and a picture of a third woman's bottom and pasted them together without caring at all about where the parts fell relative to each other.

That first link is laden with awe inspiring disdain.

Yes, the cover to Catwoman #0 reduces the character to her sexual assets. But in a diverse and perfect world you can do that in an artful way; you can be sexy, elegant, playful. This is none of those things. This Catwoman is a knuckle of tit. She could have been grown in a pleasure lab for lonely men. She could change her name to Fleshlight Armstrong. This cover is insulting to women, not because it’s sexual, but because it’s bad. It’s also insulting to heterosexual men, but heterosexual men have apparently never minded an insult they can wank to.

posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:59 PM on June 13, 2012 [10 favorites]


This cover is insulting to women, not because it’s sexual, but because it’s bad. It’s also insulting to heterosexual men, but heterosexual men have apparently never minded an insult they can wank to.

From link #1. Good read.
posted by monocultured at 12:00 AM on June 14, 2012


by then it's too late and we have seen everything

Nicely done.
posted by fatbird at 12:06 AM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I read an article the other day comparing the '90s Beverley Hills 90210 cast photos from the '90s and the remake (slightly off topic perhaps), so I went to check out the 1990s Catwoman and ... well times haven't changed that much.

Slightly more probable poses, largely improbable boobs.
posted by Mezentian at 12:09 AM on June 14, 2012


Who is Andrew Wheeler? From the context of the FPP, I thought he was the artist, but apparently the artist's name is Guillem March. I don't really understand why this blog post is relevant to anything. Did Wheeler used to work on the Catwoman book, or for DC?
posted by cribcage at 12:11 AM on June 14, 2012


She looks ultra vulnerable in that position.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:11 AM on June 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


I have a strong gut feeling that the knee-jerk reactions from the sexist knuckle draggers who defend even the most egregious examples of objectification and oversexualization in games, comics etc. are rooted in some sort of irrational fear. I find it both funny and depressing that they seem to view criticism of things like this as some sort of personal attack, or an attack against their freedoms, maybe?

It's as if they feel that if they concede any points to the critics, even when they are just criticizing the most mind-numbingly idiotic art like this and not sexual depictions of women in general, they are somehow endangering their future chances to be sexually aroused by pictures of imaginary women.

You can't win an argument against pure libido, and it's pretty frustrating.
posted by jklaiho at 12:11 AM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I wish that I could unsee that picture. Not because it's sexist but because, as the linked article says, it's so absolutely, mind-breakingly, fall of the Roman Empire awful.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 12:18 AM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ugh, you know what's even worse? Compacted Jesus.
posted by The Lamplighter at 12:25 AM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's obviously Ram-Man Jesus.
One day He will rise again, for Eternia.
posted by Mezentian at 12:27 AM on June 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Mr. Wheeler, I don't believe in reincarnation, and yet you are undoubtedly the reincarnation of Dorothy Parker. Please continue to write delightfully devastating dissections while I ponder this spiritual issue.
posted by nicebookrack at 12:33 AM on June 14, 2012


I would pay cold hard cash if someone actually made a bouncy ball like in that gif. That gif is just as awesome as gingerhaze's Psylocke leg gif.
posted by zennish at 12:47 AM on June 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


Uproxx delivers: Bouncing Cat Woman
posted by Mezentian at 12:58 AM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Damnit. I am going to bed now.
To sleep, perchance to dream of Catwoman.
posted by Mezentian at 1:01 AM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


That Capt. America Liefeld pic still gives me the stabbies. How did he ever get work again after that?
posted by PenDevil at 1:11 AM on June 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


...in games, comics etc. ...I find it both funny and depressing that they seem to view criticism of things like this as some sort of personal attack, or an attack against their freedoms, maybe?

You need to consider the context. Games and comics both have a very long history of being wrongly, baselessly, constantly criticised and scapegoated by people who don't care about the medium, don't understand it, don't like it, and who often pose a genuine threat to it, and who often succeed in passing laws that cripple the medium (without delivering any of the claimed benefits).

If people who love these mediums have found out the hard way that it's pointless to engage their constant assault of bad-faith critics in honest discussion, and instead automatically assume criticisms to be just bullshit attacks de jour on the medium, not worth the time of day, deserving only of being aggressively shut down, (an assumption that seems to reward its holders by making them usually correct), I can't honestly hold it against them very much, even while it's painful to watch legitimate honest criticism from people who do care and love the medium get tarred and feathered with a shockingly ugly and aggressive brush.

It's like one of those tragedies. The injured animal attacks those that could help it, because it's injured.
posted by -harlequin- at 1:21 AM on June 14, 2012 [20 favorites]


(Most of the time, it quite literally is an attack against their freedoms.)
posted by -harlequin- at 1:26 AM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


The article by Andrew Wheeler is well written and well argued, but I can't help thinking that the drawings by Kate Beaton and friends are a much better response.
posted by milkb0at at 1:30 AM on June 14, 2012


Ugh, you know what's even worse? Compacted Jesus.

"How did he do such fantastic stunts...with such little feet?"
posted by Lazlo at 1:36 AM on June 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


"Every time the culture serves someone who isn’t you, and every time someone who isn’t you comments on culture, you moan, you jostle, you threaten, you splutter with indignation. “What is this? People are mocking the ample bosoms that I so enjoy? Fetch my blunderbuss.” And because the culture is almost always about you - so much so that you’ve never even consciously acknowledged it - you see anything that isn’t about you as a threat."


well said.
posted by billyfleetwood at 7:57 AM on June 14


Indeed. I only wish that people would remember that this particular two-edged sword cuts both ways.
posted by Decani at 1:44 AM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I know that “this sex symbol is too sexy” is a nice easy position to pick a fight with, but it’s not what people are saying, and it’s simply not sporting to invent other people’s positions. The right to invent unlikely positions is strictly reserved for comic book artists.
Oh my god so much giggling.

Haven't actually finished the linked article yet because it linked to the artist's blog and he has some really compelling pictures of catwoman as well. And someone called the Huntress, who is I guess left handed? I dunno, I'm a sidelines-spectator for all this comics stuff.

He also did this which... honestly seems to be criticizing himself..? Interesting.

That Captain America has muscles on his shield. What in the world.

All that said, it often feels like an infinite number of such essays and Kate Beaton cartoons - delightful though they are - will never effect much.
posted by kavasa at 1:44 AM on June 14, 2012


Er. Effect much change. Bzzt.
posted by kavasa at 1:49 AM on June 14, 2012


this one is sooo fanatstic
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 2:02 AM on June 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Wow, that cover is horrific. Not because of the inclusion of boobs and ass, but because the boobs and ass are frightenly disproportionate and the perspective is way off. It makes my inner artist weep. Looks like she and Captain America took the same hit off of a helium tank.

My absolute favorite rendition of Catwoman was one that was modeled after Audrey Hepburn. Unfortunately I don't remember the name of who drew that particular series (I think it may of been an artbook and a few covers though).
posted by littlesq at 2:03 AM on June 14, 2012


To me, Catwoman is forever her early v3 self. Competent, sexy and human-shaped.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:09 AM on June 14, 2012


The quote that made me laugh out loud the most:
“You did not tell me to breathe in again; clearly you want me to suffocate, which is so typical of you liberal elites, always pretending to be tolerant and then trying to suffocate people who disagree with you!”
posted by ShawnStruck at 2:13 AM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


A verison of that cover where it showswhat Captain America would look like without his outfit and shield.
posted by littlesq at 2:24 AM on June 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


A verison of that cover where it showswhat Captain America would look like without his outfit and shield.
posted by littlesq at 10:24 AM on June 14


Yeah, didn't we do this recently? It isn't just the female characters who are drawn ridiculously in comics, is it?

I still have no idea why so many seemingly grown adults are so fascinated with this comic-book-superhero nonsense anyway. It really is quite bizarre.
posted by Decani at 3:10 AM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I still have no idea why so many seemingly grown adults are so fascinated with this comic-book-superhero nonsense anyway. It really is quite bizarre.

From TFA:
And seventh; you’re right that we should all take some responsibility for how our culture shapes us. But if you grew up watching cartoons and never became a Thundercat, that doesn’t merit much applause. If you grew up watching cartoons with largely male ensembles and only limited roles for women, you may want to consider if that experience has contributed to your attitudes in any way.
posted by likeso at 3:17 AM on June 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Holy shit, Cameron Stewart's re-imagining of the cover is simultaneously hilarious, incisive, and terrifying.
posted by barnacles at 3:38 AM on June 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


That Capt. America Liefeld pic still gives me the stabbies. How did he ever get work again after that?

He HAS to have dirt on someone!
posted by mikelieman at 3:42 AM on June 14, 2012


My favorite deconstruction of Liefeld's Cap.

And, I gotta say, as bad as that Catwoman cover was, it ain't got nothing on Jim Balent's entire fucking run on Catwoman in the '90s. It should have been renamed "Anatomically Improbable Woman."
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:15 AM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


That Capt. America Liefeld pic still gives me the stabbies.

Every year or so I re-read this hilarious take-down.
The most important thing you need to know before reading about all the terrible things Rob Liefeld has drawn is that he has never seen or talked to a woman in his life and has no idea what they look like or how their bodies operate. If you asked Rob Liefeld to draw a diagram of the uterus he'd put on a pair of gauntlets and punch the shit out of your chalkboard. This is how the man operates, and though I know it sounds like a lot, you have to believe me. I don't want you looking at the stuff he's drawing and think he's a conscious adult male with a creative job who can and has influenced the minds of young artists. The man is a pair of blue jeans with a face. He has on a backwards cap, and when he turns it around, it's still backwards.
posted by DU at 4:16 AM on June 14, 2012 [21 favorites]


Looking at the artist's previous work and in context of recent hoo-hah-hah RE: sexist ladies in comics I'm inclined to think this cover is a bit of a piss-take. A troll if you will.

also - I'm yet to understand the appeal of Kate Beaton. I've read many of her strips and I'm yet to find them funny - apart from Sexy Batman. They seem to try a bit too hard. My loss I guess?
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 4:51 AM on June 14, 2012


It’s also insulting to heterosexual men, but heterosexual men have apparently never minded an insult they can wank to.

He lost me right there.
posted by unSane at 4:58 AM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


The man is a pair of blue jeans with a face. He has on a backwards cap, and when he turns it around, it's still backwards.

I have cherished that quote since I first saw it here on Mefi. It just describes so many dudes in this world.
posted by item at 5:24 AM on June 14, 2012 [9 favorites]


I thought it was a very good article about a very bad cover.
posted by Legomancer at 5:26 AM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I agree with AzzaMcKazza. It's like March had yet another remit for a cover for 'loads of tits n ass' and came up with the weirdest interpretation he could that would still pass muster with the commissioner. That last NSFW post on his blog is a good indication this cover is meant as a joke, one DC failed to recognise.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 5:46 AM on June 14, 2012


Re: Kate Beaton, check out her drawing from the second link. Compare the facial expression to the actual expression from the cover. To my eye, Beaton's drawing captures everything that the original expression was supposed to convey in terms of confidence and purpose and attempted seductiveness, plus a comical over-seriousness that lampoons the whole thing even without the ridiculous pose. And she does it all in ... 4 or 5 pencil lines?

I happen to like Kate Beaton's writing too, but just as an artist, she's doing some pretty awesome stuff to support her humor.
posted by Honorable John at 5:57 AM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Comics are something I always want to like, but I'm pretty sure even the 13 year old me would have rolled his eyes at this one.
posted by Forktine at 6:00 AM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


This Catwoman is a knuckle of tit.
If this is not the best sentence I read all day, I will have found something REALLY good to read.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 6:02 AM on June 14, 2012 [12 favorites]


STRONG FEMALE CHARACTERS
posted by bicyclefish at 6:05 AM on June 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Never not worth linking.
posted by Artw at 6:10 AM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I didn't think it'd get better than Kate Beaton & the cameltoe commentary, but...

...the Rosalarian one ("So, you want to show both tits AND ass on a character with feline attributes? Here you go, DC Comics. You’re welcome.")...

OMFG PURE AWESOME, YES.
posted by flex at 6:14 AM on June 14, 2012 [11 favorites]


Yeah, didn't we do this recently? It isn't just the female characters who are drawn ridiculously in comics, is it?

I still have no idea why so many seemingly grown adults are so fascinated with this comic-book-superhero nonsense anyway. It really is quite bizarre.


Classic sexism thread derail, genre dismissal, and tying that dismissal into minimizing the issue. Bravo.
posted by kmz at 6:15 AM on June 14, 2012 [22 favorites]


That cover is every bit as offensive as the infamous Cap pic. Moreso. This is awful, and demeaning to both men and women.
posted by rahnefan at 6:17 AM on June 14, 2012


And she does it all in ... 4 or 5 pencil lines?

Yeah, I don't know how she does it. And they aren't even just sketchy "suggestive" lines like with Quentin Blake (who has a similarly loose style, but not as much subtlety). She puts down 5 bold pencil lines and somehow conveys all these emotions.
posted by DU at 6:18 AM on June 14, 2012


This sums up everything wrong about that cover and so much of comic book art nicely. (Though, maybe it's just the stuff I read and the circles I run in but I never saw anything other than scorn and derision for that particular bit of comic drawery.)

I still have no idea why so many seemingly grown adults are so fascinated with this comic-book-superhero nonsense anyway. It really is quite bizarre.


I have no idea why so many seemingly grown adults like to criticize the things that others find enjoyment and entertainment in.
posted by HostBryan at 6:19 AM on June 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


My absolute favorite rendition of Catwoman was one that was modeled after Audrey Hepburn. Unfortunately I don't remember the name of who drew that particular series (I think it may of been an artbook and a few covers though).

I think this might be Darwyn Cooke's Catwoman--one of the few artists who managed to make her sexy and also with an actual human body!
posted by leesh at 6:27 AM on June 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


...and the best use DC can find for him is drawing a pointless adaptation of the Under the Hood text peices from Watchmen.
posted by Artw at 6:31 AM on June 14, 2012


Every time I think about getting back into comics, something like this comes up and I'm reminded why I stopped. Sadly, I think about it every couple of months.

(Also I was reading Catwoman when Jim Balent was doing the art. His art always made my breasts have sympathy aches from the way I imagined they must bounce during the acrobatics she does. Ow.)
posted by immlass at 6:39 AM on June 14, 2012


Well, usually I'd accentuate the positive, say there's some great titles out there that really deserve your support, and do on, but shit like this, and there's been a lot of it from DC in particular lately, just gets grinding...
posted by Artw at 6:45 AM on June 14, 2012


(The worst part is people actually fucking buy it, creating a feedback of awful. This is what the market wants, if you don't want it then you're not part of the market...)
posted by Artw at 6:47 AM on June 14, 2012


I like all the links here illustrating how to do the sexism better.

Why does Catwoman have to be sexy at all? Has anyone ever rated Superman, Batman or any other male superhero on sexiness? Can't she just be blandly presentable like all the others?
posted by DU at 6:52 AM on June 14, 2012


Who is Andrew Wheeler? From the context of the FPP, I thought he was the artist, but apparently the artist's name is Guillem March. I don't really understand why this blog post is relevant to anything. Did Wheeler used to work on the Catwoman book, or for DC?

Wheeler's never worked for DC. He has been writing commentary on comics for well over a decade. (Oh god, when did we all get so old?) Most recently he's been writing for Comics Alliance.

Also, he fights crime.
posted by rewil at 7:05 AM on June 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Mainly I know him as some guy of the old Warren Ellis forum, also the odd small press comic.
posted by Artw at 7:07 AM on June 14, 2012


This is a really superb piece of writing. Thanks for the post, ArtW. I didn't know of Andrew Wheeler, but I will definitely seek out his work again.
posted by emjaybee at 7:09 AM on June 14, 2012


First, let me pay homage to "You will live to masturbate another day." Beautiful.

-harlequin-: Games and comics both have a very long history of being wrongly, baselessly, constantly criticised and scapegoated by people who don't care about the medium, don't understand it, don't like it, and who often pose a genuine threat to it, and who often succeed in passing laws that cripple the medium (without delivering any of the claimed benefits).

Uh... no. Seduction of the Innocent was published almost sixty years ago, and the Kefauver hearings resulted in nothing more onerous than the Comics Code Authority; letting the comics business get away with self-regulation isn't much in the way of persecution. There have been isolated prosecutions of individual artists like Mike Diana and some comics shop owners, which the CBLDF does a good job of fighting against, but those are prosecutions under existing obscenity laws by ambitious politicians, for the most part.

The poor image that comics, and comic fans, have comes in part from the comics business' willingness to restrict themselves to non-adult themes for much of its history, but also because the industry has become (and, to its credit, chronically struggles against being) by, of, and for guys who are stuck at an early-adolescent stage of development, where they alternate between over-the-top power fantasies and their mixed feelings about women who are both endlessly fascinating and exciting and also infinitely scary. The better writers and artists, like Alan Moore and Darwyn Cooke, can actually play off of this (as well as doing many other more interesting things), but sometimes artists just give 'em what they want and save the metacommentary for other forums, which seems to be exactly what March is doing here. I'm not putting the onus on him, as I'm sure that the cover concept was purely the idea of DC Editorial, which routinely ignores this sort of criticism. (Marvel's not a lot better, but at least they decided to let Scarlett Johansen face front, true believer. )
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:20 AM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


At least we'll always have Carwoman.
posted by Theta States at 7:24 AM on June 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Someone recently pointed out that the commentary site that Wheeler and some of the other WEF guys used to run back in the day, Ninth Art, was bought out by some generic domain sitter. It's too bad; it'd be interesting to see what if anything had changed, some 11 years on.
posted by rewil at 7:24 AM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Every time the culture serves someone who isn’t you, and every time someone who isn’t you comments on culture, you moan, you jostle, you threaten, you splutter with indignation. “What is this? People are mocking the ample bosoms that I so enjoy? Fetch my blunderbuss.” And because the culture is almost always about you - so much so that you’ve never even consciously acknowledged it - you see anything that isn’t about you as a threat.

I'm really not sure that's it. I think people like being angry, in general, as long as they believe that anger to be just/righteous. The middle-class, white, straight males of the world really don't have much to complain about, and that's producing an emotional void, something left over from primitive times that's going unsated. They see minorities rally around a cause, and they actually feel a kind of jealousy- and that's where the odd, poorly argued response to any righteous backlash is coming from. See beaton's pt #6.

It's, if anything, a failure of empathy- "I have everything I want in this world, except a reason to be mad, and it's driving me insane." Of course there are plenty of reasons to be mad and rightly so, but those causes a SWM has to relate to by proxy; but a world so centered on SWMs gives them no reason to develop that necessary empathy. Ah, guess this loops back to that first quote after all.
posted by MangyCarface at 7:29 AM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, they edited the ComicsAlliance piece from when I saw it last night!

Okay, so the Kate Beaton "cameltoe commentary" I'm referring to above is from her Twitter, and the piece originally included these two Twitter comments from her (along with her Catwoman parody drawings):
"funny all the comments on the cameltoes i drew on those catwomen, like cameltoes cross a TMI line in Tit World"

"anyway: if you're gonna stick a leather suit that far up someone's asscrack you can't be too surprised to think what the front half is up to"
Kate Beaton why you gotta be so awesome, that is just too much awesome for one human to possess
posted by flex at 7:33 AM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Some of my favourite comics covers have have boobs on.
posted by Artw at 7:40 AM on June 14, 2012


With the exception of the painfully brief run of my beloved and short-lived obsession, Cap'n Quick & A Foozle, I never successfully managed to get a toehold into comic books. I ran in nerd circles, particularly with my homies in the computer room at school, or at my Explorer Post (#1275, based at Goddard Space Flight Center), and even penned and published (thank you, unlocked copy room door) an awkward serial of my own back at Atholton High in the early eighties, but man, I just never could get past the ridiculously bad dialogue that's everywhere in comic books, and the SHOUTING and the EXPLOSIONS and the ONAMATOPEIA! Don't people in these things ever just do something with subtlety?

I tried, though, and hung out with my comic book-loving friends and even spent over a hundred dollars for a particularly prized book about an aardvark that would be worth a fortune if I had a clue where I'd hidden it for safekeeping (for all I know, it's tucked away neatly into a dark, dry spot somewhere in the house where I grew up in Scaggsville. That place is now owned by a family of evangelical homeschooling teabagger assholes, though, so it's unlikely I'll ever be given permission to search.

Mind you, I liked the men. Big, bluff, pissed-off men inked in with sketchy dot-separation and big hammers and lots of body contact. The women in comics just made me laugh, because hey, how stupid are heterosexuals, anyway? Even as a little sexist, conflicted, and not-particularly-modern-or-sophisticated greasy teen, I just had to snicker about those fucked-up crazy bodies they stuffed the women into, always bent into weird shapes and heaving. What's wrong with these people?

Of course, a modicum of perspective came when I found that the old farmer across the street regularly bought monstrous quantity of porn by mail, from "marriage manuals" to gross-out Hustler to the kind of comic books I finally did come to love. I'd wait in the yard, hiding behind a tree until the mailman arrived, then dart out and steal a brown paper package here and there. Tom of Finland was a freaking revelation to my teen self, and yeah, those were some messed-up physiques that never failed to make me feel fat, stumpy, sexually incompetent, and misshapen, but oh my, how well they worked for their intended purpose.

Maybe mainstream comics just need that, because they sure always did for me, as I'd page listlessly through borrowed books where the main characters died and were resurrected more often than characters on Star Trek and where this particular crisis WILL DETERMINE THE ENTIRE FATE OF THE UNIVERSE ITSELF more often than Doctor Who season finales, getting more and more bored unless, say, a shirt came off. The publishers knew their audience and kept the sexy to the long-legged gymnastic superheroines, but I could usually find a scrap or two to feed my voracious male gaze.

In 2012, though, it's just....sad. There's porn everywhere. It's astonishingly easy to find good writing, too, even within the realm of EXPLOSIONS and ONAMATOPEIA and hypercharged teenage ANGST, so you'd think we'd have moved on.

Sigh.
posted by sonascope at 8:00 AM on June 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


my Explorer Post (#1275, based at Goddard Space Flight Center)

Man, how awesome is/was that?

Also, WRT feeding your voracious male gaze with superheroes, the fine folks at scans_daily may be able to help; see, for example, this (scroll down).
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:29 AM on June 14, 2012


you know what's even worse? Compacted Jesus.

Very bitter. Lots of nail holes.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:32 AM on June 14, 2012


Very bitter. Lots of nail holes.

Can't walk on water any more because his feet leak--zing!
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:45 AM on June 14, 2012


I tried, though, and hung out with my comic book-loving friends and even spent over a hundred dollars for a particularly prized book about an aardvark that would be worth a fortune if I had a clue where I'd hidden it for safekeeping (for all I know, it's tucked away neatly into a dark, dry spot somewhere in the house where I grew up in Scaggsville. That place is now owned by a family of evangelical homeschooling teabagger assholes, though, so it's unlikely I'll ever be given permission to search.

It sounds like you lost an early signed Cerebus...you must be officially insane. Where are these teabaggers that you speak of?
posted by Edgewise at 8:51 AM on June 14, 2012


As a kid I loved comics, by the time Liefeld et al arrived I was over the medium. I've bounced in and out ever since.

For the last few years I have generally preferred DC over Marvel (I borrow trades and... eh...) but New DC is largely awful and makes no sense.

That said, the absolute worst in comics (and I have no way to organically insert this in the thread otherwise, other than mentioning that DC seems to flirt with this too often lately) is: "We have to get out of here, my vagina is haunted".
In. Never. Gets. Old. Or less creepy.
(NSFW, if you need help).
posted by Mezentian at 8:55 AM on June 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


In defense of Jim Balent (and there's a phrase I never thought I'd say), the comic he released a couple of weeks ago did reveal that every President of the United States in that world has piloted an Iron-Man style robot suit which they use to fight crime, Confederate rebels and, in the case of George Washington, woodpeckers. So he's not all bad.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:01 AM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Machine-Gun Bra Is The Third Craziest Thing About The New Issue of 'Tarot'
posted by Artw at 9:03 AM on June 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


Has anyone ever rated Superman, Batman or any other male superhero on sexiness?

Have you ever seen comics? Are you sure you know what they are?
posted by bongo_x at 9:07 AM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


See, I actually live in Salem, MA and the thing nobody ever mentions about Tarot is how true to life it is. I mean, yeah, it does get a little bit chilly when the wind comes in off the water and sure, the high caliber weaponry can chafe, but there's nowhere else I'd rather live. That's not to say that Balent doesn't exaggerate a little bit - we haven't had a vagina haunting (pussygeists are the worst!) in months and we only average a D cup across all genders, not the EEEs he suggests.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:25 AM on June 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


That's it, I'm moving to Salem.
(As long as the Strangler is out of the picture)
posted by Mezentian at 9:28 AM on June 14, 2012


I learned in the last bra thread that a D cup isn't all that big (although I've always been pleased with them). So do succubi have detachable vaginas or is this a whole new thing?
posted by Jestocost at 9:35 AM on June 14, 2012


Mezentian - You won't regret it. It takes awhile to get used to the cat ears and stilettos, but once you do that, it's a pretty fun little community.

Jestocost - It was just a fad, like Ugg boots.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:40 AM on June 14, 2012


Why does Catwoman have to be sexy at all? Has anyone ever rated Superman, Batman or any other male superhero on sexiness? Can't she just be blandly presentable like all the others?

"Blandly presentable"? You mean in the same way that George Clooney or Christopher Reeve or Henry Cavill or Christian Bale would be described as "blandly presentable"? Man, you must walk down the average street reeling with horror the sheer plug ugliness of the average punter.
posted by yoink at 9:44 AM on June 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


*gasps* oh my god. i have to draw you
posted by Evilspork at 10:55 AM on June 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Uh... no. Seduction of the Innocent was published almost sixty years ago, and the Kefauver hearings resulted in nothing more onerous than the Comics Code Authority; letting the comics business get away with self-regulation isn't much in the way of persecution. There have been isolated prosecutions of individual artists like Mike Diana and some comics shop owners, which the CBLDF does a good job of fighting against, but those are prosecutions under existing obscenity laws by ambitious politicians, for the most part.

I don't think you're looking at the full picture. The reason for there being few prosections is that the industries have been fighting their attackers aggressively and getting injunctions against the constant new bad laws, and (in the USA at least) have generally been successful in getting them struck down as unconstitutional. One example among many.

That people constantly succeed in passing these unconstitutional laws against the freedoms of these people/mediums, is the point. The fact that the people/mediums are managing to expend the resources to hold their own and prevail in their constant struggle against these laws is also the point, your suggestion implies that their success (mostly) in the struggle so far invalidates their need to struggle, but from their perspective it reinforces it. You also need to consider games and comics as more than just the USA. Freedom of speech has unusually strong protection there, so the picture looks different, but the fangroups are international.
posted by -harlequin- at 11:04 AM on June 14, 2012


the Kefauver hearings resulted in nothing more onerous than the Comics Code Authority

...unless you worked for EC Comics.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:37 AM on June 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


You need to consider the context. Games and comics both have a very long history of being wrongly, baselessly, constantly criticised and scapegoated


Yeah, well, what, forever? What's this year's top grossing move? And, it seems to me that it was the latest of a parade of huge movies based on comics. The notion of comics fans as a beleaguered minority who are therefore entitled to be a bit prickly is stretching it a bit. These fans weren't even alive for Wertham and Kefauver. The occasional dings that the CBLDF has to take on are injustices, but are no more an existential threat to the art form than criticism of Janet Jackson's wardrobe slips is an existential threat to the NFL.

That said, however, the criticism often isn't just of the art. It's not just framed as "Guillem March can't draw for shit. Somebody buy that boy an anatomy book." It's often personalized as something that boils down to "this is evil, and you are a misogynist pig for liking it." Anyone's going to prickle at that. You can claim that I'm making a tired and discredited tone argument, but if you want to raise people's consciousness you can't start like that, and if you want to just mock them, you can't complain when they don't like you.
posted by tyllwin at 12:21 PM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Not that the framing isn't often confrontational, but in my experience, even in places where the criticism was framed just as "this art is bad, let us laugh at how bad it is," it got the same bullshit defensive "why do you hate pictures of attractive women" response.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:30 PM on June 14, 2012


-harlequin-: you're conflating the comics and video games industries. They have very different histories and issues, not to mention markets (the video game industry is much, much larger). To paraphrase a comparison that Scott McCloud made between the Comics Code Authority and movie ratings, if you took the lowest rating (age-wise) for video games, and doubled the restrictions on content, you'd have the only allowable category under the CCA.

And that's all largely irrelevant to the discussion at hand, which is about why comics fans push back so hard when someone criticizes a popular title, character or (in this case) image in their favorite medium or genre. Your claim that comics "have a very long history of being wrongly, baselessly, constantly criticised and scapegoated" [emphasis mine] simply doesn't hold water.

robocop is bleeding: It's a bit more complex than that. (Of particular interest is the bit where William Gaines is actually responsible for founding the organization that created the Comics Code Authority; also, of course, there's Gaines' dealings with Harvey Kurtzman.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:36 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


To all those popping i to see the cover and then say 'This is why I don't read comics! Whehwhehwheh!' I feel sorry for you because you are missing out.

Still think its a pisstake. Are people taking the time to look at the artist's other work? The dude knows how to draw properly proportioned women and men is good poses.
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 12:47 PM on June 14, 2012


The dude knows how to draw properly proportioned women

Well, when he can stop himself from adding the disproportionately huge boobs, and the exaggerated thigh and spinal curvature, and the butts like two soccer balls glued together, yes, he does. He just usually can't seem to stop himself from any of those.

even in places where the criticism was framed just as "this art is bad, let us laugh at how bad it is," it got the same bullshit defensive "why do you hate pictures of attractive women" response.


Both true and regrettable. However, it's also both true and regrettable that after an opening salvo against the bad art, detractors frequently do then shift to a more general attack on the concept. Both discussions, I think, are worth having, but are both ill-served by being conflated.
posted by tyllwin at 1:27 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Halloween jack - I really believe you're just not seeing it all. In addition to constant organized efforts, many kids grew up with their love of games and comics constantly being criticized, their games and comics often taken from them by parents or teachers, or that being a constant underlying threat, and all the time the message that it wasn't good.
If you were lucky enough to not be under siege for those things, good for you, but if you absolutely believe that no significant amount of people faced constant criticism (and criticism from people with the power to overrule them), I don't know what to say other than that you're provincial.
posted by -harlequin- at 1:33 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, well, what, forever? What's this year's top grossing move? And, it seems to me that it was the latest of a parade of huge movies based on comics. The notion of comics fans as a beleaguered minority who are therefore entitled to be a bit prickly is stretching it a bit.

We have a black man in the Whitehouse, so racism is over. Move on.
This kind of glossing-over-other-people's-problems would get called out in other topics, so let's call it out here. Do you have friends who love comics or manga or whatever? Have you never noticed - and been taken aback - at how careful and selective many of them are in where and to whom they admit their passion? Careful in a way that I just do not see in my friends with passions that are more widely socially sanctioned (food or exercise for example).
Careful in a way that looks to me to have come from scorn and/or pain.

I don't want to defend truly disgusting comments. I'm interested in the social mechanisms that produce or enable these behaviors. I'm pretty sure that part of it (not all of it, part of it) is a bright casual line between having a reflex siege mentality, and having been under siege.
posted by -harlequin- at 2:23 PM on June 14, 2012


many kids grew up with their love of games and comics constantly being criticized, their games and comics often taken from them by parents or teachers, or that being a constant underlying threat, and all the time the message that it wasn't good.

At some point, you need to get over things. The point where you cannot hear any criticism of comics because your parents once took them from you or your teachers told you they weren't real literature is that time. Movies costing many, many millions of dollars are being made based on these comic books. Piles of them are being published every month. You are not being oppressed just because someone calls comic books out on their misogyny and asks for superheroines who aren't just eye candy or who aren't fridged or who aren't smurfettes etc.
posted by jeather at 2:24 PM on June 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Being a kid sucks. Nobody takes anything you do seriously.

Then you grow up, and get over it.
posted by cdward at 2:26 PM on June 14, 2012


At some point, you need to get over things.

The reality on the ground is that many people won't, or don't, or can't. You recognize that, right? Grievances, real and imagined, persist well beyond the event. Or to put it another way, formative experiences are called formative experiences because they're experiences that are formative :-)

The most productive solutions and means of progress work with (or despite) the conditions on the ground, and don't require utopia first.

Telling people to Just Get Over It is rarely a useful approach, and is very often belittling and counter-productive, and is often quite offensive. (See: Racism - Get Over It)
posted by -harlequin- at 2:47 PM on June 14, 2012


-harlequin-: "At some point, you need to get over things.

The reality on the ground is that many people won't, or don't, or can't. You recognize that, right? Grievances, real and imagined, persist well beyond the event. Or to put it another way, formative experiences are called formative experiences because they're experiences that are formative :-)

The most productive solutions and means of progress work with (or despite) the conditions on the ground, and don't require utopia first.

Telling people to Just Get Over It is rarely a useful approach, and is very often belittling and counter-productive, and is often quite offensive. (See: Racism - Get Over It)
"

Yes, because people who read comic books getting defensive against criticisms of misogyny and other from marginalized groups themselves is totally comparable to the systemic oppression that is racism.
posted by ShawnStruck at 2:49 PM on June 14, 2012


Really, I don't care why you want to censor something. I just want to make sure you can't do it.
posted by Jestocost at 2:51 PM on June 14, 2012


Yes, because people who read comic books getting defensive against criticisms of misogyny and other from marginalized groups themselves is totally comparable to the systemic oppression that is racism.

Your straw man is annoying.
posted by -harlequin- at 2:52 PM on June 14, 2012


We have a black man in the Whitehouse, so racism is over. Move on.

I think that analogy is over-passionate, but to your point, no, I don't think that comics are now universally loved and accepted.

I think comics are now on a par with geeky fantasy, nerdy sci-fi, vapid soap operas, trashy romances, weird Gaga videos and many, many elements of pop culture. Some people will look down on any of these things, some high-brow types on all of them. All I claim is that comics are not now in some uniquely despised position that justifies comics fans in reacting with any more sensitivity than anime fans, Game of Thrones fans, or True Blood fans.

Do you have friends who love comics or manga or whatever?

Do you think I own no comics and no manga, and have to think about the second hand experiences of others? I'm not reading a lot of comics right now, but I'm following Locke and Key and Alabaster Wolves, and I think Hit Girl ought to be more kick-ass than Kick-Ass was when it starts up (later this year, I think?). No, I don't talk about that at work. But I'm not trying to talk to coworkers about lost of non-comics pop culture stuff either, cause they're just not that into it. I don't want to be that guy who won't shut up about X, when nobody else cares at all, for really any value of X. I'd sure as hell rather talk about Batman comics than some stuff I follow, I promise, because it's more mainstream. But mostly, I'll talk about the very top 10% of the very most popular stuff, because that's what I can count on them knowing.
posted by tyllwin at 2:52 PM on June 14, 2012


Jestocost: "Really, I don't care why you want to censor something. I just want to make sure you can't do it."

Free speech means you get to say something. It does not mean your expression is free from criticism.
posted by ShawnStruck at 2:55 PM on June 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why are you favoriting that response when it's orthogonal to my point?
posted by Jestocost at 3:04 PM on June 14, 2012


You're equating criticism and censorship. How is pointing out that they're different missing the point?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:13 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Straw man much?

The kind of criticism that says, e.g., "your art is inept and pointless" is fine.

The kind of "criticism" that consists of a series of speech acts aimed at creating some sort of societal leverage to shut me up is pernicious.
posted by Jestocost at 3:16 PM on June 14, 2012


-harlequin-, I'm sorry, but you're beaming in from some parallel universe where comparing Mom taking your comics away to racism against African-Americans isn't simply laughable. Yeah, I've had comics and Star Trek books taken away from me by my folks, or people saying snotty things about my comics in college; I even was married, for a time, to someone who harshly criticized any purchases of computer games that I made (and I only had a Mac at the time, so you know that it was a pretty modest amount). Been there, done that, and yet somehow I keep it all in perspective.

I don't think that comics are universally loved, either, but neither are TV shows about ad executives in the sixties or high school chemistry teachers who become meth cookers, or even that one about swords and sorcery that's much heavier on the former. But they're really, really popular. The possibility that somewhere in America there's some kid whose mom might toss out his comics (even if they don't feature some fantastically-contorted semi-villainess) doesn't mitigate the fact that a movie starring some of the same characters is now poised to be one of the most successful films of all time. I personally detest the phrase "get over it", as it's often used in cases where there's no real getting over it because it's profoundly life-altering, but there's a difference between a wound that won't heal because it's too deep and one that won't heal because you keep picking the scab off.

We won. We can talk about Selina Kyle's twisted spine now, it's OK.
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:19 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


The kind of criticism that says, e.g., "your art is inept and pointless" is fine.

But "your art is sexist" is not, regardless of whether it is in fact sexist?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:25 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


What happens when scorn and ungrounded hate is directed at a powerless group? Brutal systematic oppression.

What happens when scorn and ungrounded hate is directed at a people who are not powerless, and who are growing in power, and who do not face serious risk for lashing out?

This is what happens. Stunted entrenched warped entitled dismissal and reflexive counter-attacks and worse.

I think the outcome is because of power and privilege and entitlement. But the prevailing wisdom here seems to be that having power precludes or invalidates being stunted or feeling under siege. I think that is a misunderstanding of the human condition. But I also don't think I'm making that case here. So, nevermind.
posted by -harlequin- at 3:41 PM on June 14, 2012


I personally detest the phrase "get over it", as it's often used in cases where there's no real getting over it because it's profoundly life-altering, but there's a difference between a wound that won't heal because it's too deep and one that won't heal because you keep picking the scab off.

Completely agree.
posted by -harlequin- at 3:43 PM on June 14, 2012


The reality on the ground is that many people won't, or don't, or can't. You recognize that, right? Grievances, real and imagined, persist well beyond the event.

Yes. And in some cases, this is reasonable. And in some cases this isn't. I'm arguing that "Don't you dare criticize my comic books because so did my mom" is in the latter category.

The most productive solutions and means of progress work with (or despite) the conditions on the ground, and don't require utopia first.

But equally, there is a productive solution to the problem of misogyny in comics and it doesn't first require the utopia of all people agreeing comics are awesome.

Really, I don't care why you want to censor something. I just want to make sure you can't do it.

So, no censoring of people commenting on the misogyny in comics, either, right?
posted by jeather at 3:46 PM on June 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


(I should add that I don't think the scorn is on the same scale as what other people have faced, but I'm not entirely sure how much of a difference that actually makes to the effect on people. To many people, their own struggle is the one they're most aware of, and it's not unusual to see trite struggles appearing epic to people who have never faced anything worse, or epic struggles to appear trite to others.)
posted by -harlequin- at 3:51 PM on June 14, 2012


But "your art is sexist" is not, regardless of whether it is in fact sexist?

Why do you insist on reading stuff into what I wrote that isn't there?

But even though your question is sort of beside the point, I'll respond in this way. Keep in mind the distinction I drew between criticism and "criticism".

Once upon a time, and not so long ago, if you said to me in public "your art is blasphemous" and you were able to make it stick, then you had pretty effectively shut me up (probably permanently).

Now blasphemy has been around for thousands of years and acquired a certain gravitas due to longevity. Sexism was made up in the last half-century or so, so thankfully we're not at that point with it yet. In terms of my distinction, then, it matters more what your intention is than anything else, at this point. What is your intention?
posted by Jestocost at 3:55 PM on June 14, 2012


Jestocost: "Sexism was made up in the last half-century or so"

wat
posted by ShawnStruck at 4:07 PM on June 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


The kind of "criticism" that consists of a series of speech acts aimed at creating some sort of societal leverage to shut me up is pernicious.

I think you're pretty free to say that you really like badly drawn big titties and the rest of us are free to scoff at your taste in art. Let your freak flag fly, bro!

Anyway, you're writing here, so you haven't been shut up.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:03 PM on June 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sigh. Would some kind English major (who got his or her degree fifty years ago or more, when you actually had to know something) remind me of the technical term for what I was doing when I wrote "shut me up" instead of "shut an artist up"? Thanks.
posted by Jestocost at 5:22 PM on June 14, 2012


If you don't know what you're talking about, I don't know how you expect the rest of us to.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:37 PM on June 14, 2012


I generally don't expect full fluent literacy from the average MeFite. But sometimes I forget. My apologies.
posted by Jestocost at 5:57 PM on June 14, 2012


You asked for advice. Oh well.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:08 PM on June 14, 2012


Let me know when comics stop being drawn offensively.

Really, I don't care why you want to censor something. I just want to make sure you can't do it.

Who's asking for censorship here?
posted by kmz at 9:21 PM on June 14, 2012


Huh. I think it looks cool.
posted by bardic at 9:46 PM on June 14, 2012


kmz-I'll let you know- right now. There are a jiggity fucktonne of amazing comics that are not drawn offensively. There are even some amazing ones drawn by women- I know! crazy huh?

If you're willing to throw out the entire format because it contains some offensively drawn stuff... Well then, you may as well not watch tv or movies because there is some seriously offensive shit there.

I'll say it again- if you refuse to get into comics because of some sexist and badly drawn stuff drawn by idiots then you are missing out and I pity you.
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 12:27 AM on June 15, 2012


I know, I still read comics too. My point wasn't that all comics are bad, but some still are, and they still deserve to be called out, especially when they're big mainstream releases.

Which, ah, the comment I was responding to has been deleted, so it looks extra confusing.
posted by kmz at 5:16 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Guillem March Parodies His Own 'Catwoman' Cover in the Style of R. Crumb
posted by Artw at 2:55 PM on June 23, 2012


And then there's page 1 of Saga #4, which is ??????.
posted by Artw at 2:57 PM on June 23, 2012


AzzaMcKazza: "Looking at the artist's previous work and in context of recent hoo-hah-hah RE: sexist ladies in comics I'm inclined to think this cover is a bit of a piss-take. A troll if you will."

I'd like to believe that, but if it's just trolling and he's in on the joke, why would he get het up over critcism of it?
posted by Gordafarin at 11:26 AM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


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