The Streisand effect is alive and well
August 4, 2014 11:28 PM   Subscribe

To date, Mr. Queen is the only artist who has taken this kind of action - other artists and publishers seem to understand Escher Girls & other similar sites are fair use and criticism, and that fan discussion, positive or negative, is important and helpful to their business. (In fact, the creators I’ve interacted with are either fans of EG, or expressed disagreement but know that it’s fan criticism.)
Escher Girls is a blog that exists to criticise and point out the more egregious examples of bad anatomy and sexy contortions to be found in American comics. It was subjected to DMCA takedown notices by cartoonist Randy Queen, perhaps best known for nineties Image Comics classic Darkchylde. Once the news spread, he doubled down by threatening legal action for defamation. As an attempt to stifle criticism, it failed miserably.
posted by MartinWisse (87 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

 
"This just in... Randy Queen's given middle name is Drama."
posted by hippybear at 11:47 PM on August 4, 2014 [30 favorites]


A Darkchylde movie has been in 'development hell' for 4 years, even with the semi-legendary John Carpenter committing to direct it. Considering the mindset of a lot of Hollywood, I'd say this kerfuffle has about a 50/50 chance of making that movie a reality. Crazy like a fox.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:17 AM on August 5, 2014


Oh good lord, if you don't want to be critiqued for drawing anatomically impossible women... stop drawing anatomically impossible women.
posted by Deoridhe at 12:18 AM on August 5, 2014 [14 favorites]


He seems a grumpy pants, and a bully. And has an inability to take criticism. Sounds like a wonderful chap.
posted by greenhornet at 12:55 AM on August 5, 2014


Not only is his art bizarre, but he can't even spell child correctly.
posted by JHarris at 12:57 AM on August 5, 2014 [17 favorites]


Wow. He sure does draw stuff that looks like porn.
posted by egypturnash at 1:04 AM on August 5, 2014


Queen wouldn't have much of a leg to stand on if Tumblr weren't pulling down posts and reblogs at his request, regardless of what things like "Fair Use" mean.

Currently, Tumblr does not release a transparency report or any statistics for DMCA notices it receives, nor do they share the DMCA notices they receive with us here at Chilling Effects, and it unclear how many notices result in how many withheld pages annually. However, they do provide instructions on filing a counter notice in their Terms of Service.

Which I don't get. Shouldn't the burden of proof be on the person filing the DMCA notice in the first place? Regardless, congratulations, Queen. Seems a lot of people never heard of you before, but you're sure making a hell of an impression now.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 1:12 AM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


From the linked google image search - I love it. It looks like she just farted out a raven - AND THE RAVEN IS PISSED!
posted by smoke at 1:25 AM on August 5, 2014 [11 favorites]


Oh, gosh. That name. That name and those google image search results. My my my.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 1:34 AM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


" and publicly challenges my right to protect the perception of my IP as it exists today. "

Oh wow. Part of me wants him to step up and put a lawsuit where his mouth is. That part of me hopes there are SLAAP laws where he's planning on filing his defamation suit.
posted by el io at 1:51 AM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Escher Girls is a blog that exists to criticise and point out the more egregious examples of bad anatomy and sexy contortions to be found in American comics.

A quick perusal of the blog indicates that a good number of submissions are, at least originally, from Japanese comics.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:10 AM on August 5, 2014


Oh jeez, Darkchylde was just the worst of the worst of the late 90's Bad Girl era.

Is Lady Death still being published? What about Tarot?
posted by PenDevil at 2:29 AM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


I feel like I should say something about this, from the "it failed miserably" link in the FPP:

The artist then pulls out the "instead of taking shots at art someone did 18 years ago while they were still learning" card—also known as the "stop bullying me" card. You know, the one where people complain about their art and how it's "no longer representative of their current art style or direction for their character." Once something is public, especially published in print form, you can't take anything back.

I'd like to respond to this small part of the largely-justified furor over Queen's actions, because I don't like this idea. People are allowed to improve in all ways. Just because someone drew badly 18 years ago doesn't mean they can't do better now, and you can't treat the person today as the person back then. The Internet makes it difficult, in any case, to escape amateur work, so it'd be good if people came to realize this now than when it gets even harder. People make mistakes, and you certainly can issue a mea culpa.

This isn't a catch-all escape from criticism. You have to have visibly improved. And you definitely don't try to stifle people's memories by using the DMCA, or that bizarre EU court ruling for that matter, as a chute to send your old embarrassing work down the memory hole, not unless you want to bring down the righteous fury upon your head.
posted by JHarris at 2:37 AM on August 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


Darkchylde

How is this not the name of an X-Force villain created by Rob Liefeld?
posted by straight at 2:39 AM on August 5, 2014 [6 favorites]


Is Lady Death still being published? What about Tarot?

Oh God.

You have to get out of here! Your vagina is haunted!
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:05 AM on August 5, 2014 [39 favorites]


(That link, to Chris Sims' "The Existential Horror of Tarot #53", is probably NSFW. And not safe for people.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:06 AM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


I always thought that the dimensions of Hobbes in "Calvin and Hobbes" were quite a distortion of true tiger proportions. Deeply offensive. And don't get me started on "Cyanide and Happiness". Come on. Nobody has legs that thin.
posted by Decani at 3:20 AM on August 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


It's the strangely antigravitational balloon tits on Hobbes that are bigger than his head and the impossible swivel wasp waist that does it, isn't it?
posted by sukeban at 3:24 AM on August 5, 2014 [18 favorites]


Ah yes, there it is, the good old 'but comics are never realistic' argument.
Now if someone will do me the favour of posting that 'male superheros are sexualised, too', I'd appreciate it.

*holds bingo card at the ready*
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:44 AM on August 5, 2014 [37 favorites]


(Darkchylde image search if you want the page displayed in your local language and without MartinWisse's search preferences embedded)
posted by ardgedee at 3:58 AM on August 5, 2014


How is this not the name of an X-Force villain created by Rob Liefeld?

Everything created at Image in the '90s and half of the comics that weren't felt like a Liefeld creation.
posted by middleclasstool at 4:03 AM on August 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


(Darkchylde image search for Google-avoiders)
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:11 AM on August 5, 2014


"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt."
posted by Erasmouse at 4:15 AM on August 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oh wow, that's supposed to be "child"?! My brain gave up trying to parse the word with it sounding somewhere between "Clyde" and "chlamydia".
posted by Riki tiki at 4:32 AM on August 5, 2014 [9 favorites]


Good lord. Tumblr is removing *reblogs* to a post that simply describes Queen's filing of DMCA notices? But leaving the post itself up? How the fuck does that protect them, if they're worried the defamation will stick? What an incoherent, idiotic response. What kind of company does this?

Or the kneejerk removal after a DMCA claim, without warning and before contacting the threatened party? You tell the threatening party you're looking into it and will get back to them, then you look into it with the person being threatened and get back to them. Not hard.

That's more than enough protection for a company like Tumblr. There's no legal reason whatsoever for the "remove the post and sort out the questions about whether it's legit later." None. But yanking something at the mere mention of a legal threat? That's the move of an almost ridiculously cowardly and selfish company. And please, nobody give the excuse that it's oh-so-hard for a company like Tumblr to handle this kind of thing. You respect your users and you fucking handle it. A simple form letter sent to the accuser asking for a citation to the specific defamatory claims, or why the quoted work in question does not fall under one of the four prongs of "fair use," would be a great first step while you alert the accused to the accuser's claim.

Fuck Tumblr for folding immediately on this.
posted by mediareport at 4:52 AM on August 5, 2014 [8 favorites]


Maybe the nineties will be remembered as a period anatomic-expressionism. A hundred years from now, the 22nd c. equivalent of Sister Wendy will be brought to tears over the lack of attention paid to things like bones, joints, ligaments, etc. What Mucha was to women's hair and chiffon, so too will nineties comics be to people and their bodies.
posted by Think_Long at 5:40 AM on August 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's like people don't realize that Yahoo owns Tumblr. Of course they're taking the lazy, easy, legal-department-approved way out. It's better for the shareholders, screw the users.
posted by davros42 at 5:44 AM on August 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


All I know about that comic is from the one google image search, but she looks like a Barbie doll that has been put on the rack for extra leg stretching. (And from one of the images, it appears someone has a statue of her in production, so it can grace your living room forever.)
posted by Dip Flash at 5:48 AM on August 5, 2014


Now if someone will do me the favour of posting that 'male superheros are sexualised, too', I'd appreciate it.

Relevant Shortpacked!
posted by nicebookrack at 6:09 AM on August 5, 2014 [7 favorites]


It's worth noting that the DMCA allows damages for bad-faith takedown notices:
(f) Misrepresentations.— Any person who knowingly materially misrepresents under this section ... that material or activity is infringing ... shall be liable for any damages, including costs and attorneys’ fees, incurred by the alleged infringer ... who is injured by such misrepresentation, as the result of the service provider relying upon such misrepresentation in removing or disabling access to the material or activity claimed to be infringing ....
The original takedowns that included Queen's actual art might plausibly have been in good faith, but the takedown of the blog post about the takedowns wasn't -- it just doesn't include anything he created. This "knowing" violation thing comes up in tax evasion cases: we don't know what was in your head, and you can claim to be dumb, but not that dumb.

Then the plaintiff would have the two hurdles of establishing that (1) you can claim damages from Tumblr disabling reblogging of your work, instead of disabling access to the work itself, and (2) you suffered some sort of damages. Not a slam dunk, but seems like a colorable argument.

Obviously this kind of suit won't be worth the effort for most people, but given the attorneys' fees it's a viable option, and it would be nice to see it happen -- people should think twice before using the DMCA form to take down speech they don't like.
posted by jhc at 6:18 AM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Personally I would have just stayed quiet about how sexualized I find Hobbes.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:43 AM on August 5, 2014 [9 favorites]


What a great resource! I've already clicked through to the drawing resources which are super impressive!
posted by odinsdream at 7:05 AM on August 5, 2014


As much as I'd usually rouse to the twin lures of shitty sexist 90s comic art and abuse of DMCA takedown notices, this seems like much ado about nothing. According to a commenter in this thread, there just isn't that much to the franchise, if you even want to call it that; there are a couple of TPBs on Amazon and some test footage from Weta of a young actress sprouting bat wings and a gnarly hand. (And speaking of the movie in development hell, I'm dismayed that John Carpenter has pretty much fallen off the Hollywood map; I didn't even realize that he'd released a movie in 2010, and many of his recent credits on IMDB are for samples of the Halloween theme.) It occurs to me that this may be less about the Streisand effect and more of Queen simply trying to get a little free publicity for what seems to be very much a standard issue Image-wannabe sexploitation-horror comic property.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:16 AM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


How is this not the name of an X-Force villain created by Rob Liefeld?

Darkchylde? Surely a terrible late 80s metal band who try desperately for an image of death metal but everyone knows they're pure hair metal through and through.
posted by reynir at 8:09 AM on August 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


That i4u.com article is horribly written. Seriously, linking to a Psychology Today while ranting about how Queen is off his rocker isn't exactly a selling point of good journalism. (Ah, so she's a psychologist and expertly diagnosed Queen as a narcissist as well as a lawyer with a keen understanding of the law!) In that same paragraph she links to key words like there's going to be a big reveal, instead it's a link to the story tag (of which this is the only story that uses "interpretation.") Hannan also does this again with the word "law" you think you might get some insightful commentary on fair use and IP, but no, again you only get a link to a category tag of which this is again the only story. "In a letter to Ami, he openly believes her actions 'publicly challenges my right to protect the perception of my IP as it exists today.' Uh, no. There's no law for that. Ever. Sorry. Just, no." This whole article seems written by someone who just discovered hyperlinking. Add in the script crap that appends this to your copying: Read more at http://www.i4u.com/2014/08/80705/randy-queen-bullies-feminist-comic-blog-escher-girls-through-endless-dmcas#8GpYBy1lXvCxqvr6.99 and it's impossible to take this site seriously.

She doesn't really seem to have a decent grasp of how DMCA or fair use works either. I'm not a lawyer, but this probably wasn't a matter of "tublr folding quickly," but rather of how the law works. The blogger is welcome to file a counter notice. Then the ISP (or tumblr) in this case has to reinstate the content and then the parties get to fight it out in court. The blogger probably had a strong case for fair use, but there's no guarantee. Fair use is a nebulous concept and I've seen many a case I thought clearcut land the wrong direction.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:09 AM on August 5, 2014


The point, cjorgensen, is that Tumblr did not have to immediately remove the content. Tumblr could have said "We are looking into this, have alerted the accused, and will get back to you quickly."

That's perfectly legal under "how the law works."
posted by mediareport at 8:12 AM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


So yes, this *is* a matter of Tumblr folding quickly and unnecessarily. We've seen it again and again - bogus DMCA claims are honored right out of the gate and content is summarily removed before the accused is notified of the (often clearly bogus) claim. There's nothing in the law that requires that.
posted by mediareport at 8:14 AM on August 5, 2014


Whatever. Seems like he has a right to do what he's doing. I'm getting tired of this argument specifically with regard to dumb comic art. I don't find ANY of it sexualized; just over exaggerated. Chicks with balloon tits, guys with forty-six cut ab muscles, whatever. It's fantasy crap. If I were someone who made a living studying, perfecting a craft (however lame that craft be) I would probably have a good time going after little bloggers for breaking my balls about it. Then again, I might just say fuck it and create a special drawing just for them. If there was ever a problem with his art that actually mattered, then he wouldn't have had a career. Seems like people were into his art. He wins?
posted by ReeMonster at 8:15 AM on August 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


His most recent email adheres almost too closely to the "anger the internet with incoherent defensive reaction" template. Is Richard Dawkins teaching a class on this?
posted by almostmanda at 8:22 AM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


I am making the assumption tumblr notified the blogger. If they did that, then yes, they do have to remove the content if they want to keep their "safe harbor" status and not be liable for the infringing content. On top of this, there's no requirement for tumblr to leave up any posts. They could just have a policy that they would rather not get involved.

We do see this again and again because people use free services rather than rolling their own or paying someone. You don't like how tumblr runs their company don't use their service and hire your own lawyers when you get hit with a take down.

This is coming from someone that has fought several takedown requests (and won them all).
posted by cjorgensen at 8:22 AM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Darkchylde

How is this not the name of an X-Force villain created by Rob Liefeld?


Probably because Chris Claremont got there first with the '80s New Mutants Darkchilde plotline.

No, seriously, that's the only explanation that makes any sense. I refuse to believe he wouldn't have named a villain that, left to his own diabolical naming devices.
posted by cjelli at 8:23 AM on August 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Seems like he has a right to do what he's doing.

Yes, a) no one is stopping him from continuing, and b) people also have a right to criticize that work.

I don't find ANY of it sexualized; just over exaggerated.

Yes, I can definitely understand how drawing women contorting in anatomically impossible poses so that you can clearly see their giant spherical tits and their ass at the same time is not at all sexualized.

If there was ever a problem with his art that actually mattered, then he wouldn't have had a career.

Because it's literally impossible for anything in your work to be problematic if you make money off it.
posted by Librarypt at 8:25 AM on August 5, 2014 [27 favorites]


If I were someone who made a living studying, perfecting a craft (however lame that craft be) I would probably have a good time going after little bloggers for breaking my balls about it.

I'm curious about how you would "go after" some Tumblr person you don't like. Do you mean you would literally issue DMCA take-down notices to their webhosts because you disagree with their criticisms, or do you mean you would leave a withering and devastating reply? Or would you depict the blogger in comic format getting eaten by a shark or something?
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 8:27 AM on August 5, 2014


I wish I could go back and erase every instance in which I handed money to Image Comics for their terrible, terrible products. Sorry, everyone. In my defense, I was a very dumb teenager.
posted by Existential Dread at 8:34 AM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Very dumb teenagers have interests as well. They are often dumb, but you have nothing to apologize for.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:37 AM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


If I were someone who made a living studying, perfecting a craft (however lame that craft be) I would probably have a good time going after little bloggers for breaking my balls about it.

He doesn't seem to be having a good time.
posted by running order squabble fest at 8:37 AM on August 5, 2014


Look, we've all made comic purchasing decisions that we've come to regret; I voluntarily bought a Chuck Austen porn comic. (In my defense, that was post-Miracleman--yes, he had a very short run on that book, between Alan Davis and Rick Veitch--and pre-X-Men.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:38 AM on August 5, 2014


How is this not the name of an X-Force villain created by Rob Liefeld?

Everything created at Image in the '90s and half of the comics that weren't felt like a Liefeld creation.



I will say this for Liefeld- most of his work is genuinely terrible, but without him, we wouldn't now have Brandon Graham's version of Prophet, which is absolutely fucking incredible.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:40 AM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also, Image is now producing some of the best comics you can buy. Saga alone is enough to excuse quite a lot of the 90s.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:45 AM on August 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oh wow, that's supposed to be "child"?! My brain gave up trying to parse the word with it sounding somewhere between "Clyde" and "chlamydia".

Darkclyde: this sexy reboot will change the way you think about the Pac-Man universe forever.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:08 AM on August 5, 2014 [11 favorites]


I would probably have a good time going after little bloggers for breaking my balls about it.

Yeah, harassing people for correctly pointing out that the thing you're doing is of low quality is a really fun and worthwhile pastime. Definitely better than just improving your work.

I don't find ANY of it sexualized; just over exaggerated.

Okay, this is just a bald-faced lie.
posted by IAmUnaware at 9:14 AM on August 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


Oh wow, that's supposed to be "child"?! My brain gave up trying to parse the word with it sounding somewhere between "Clyde" and "chlamydia".

It really wouldn't be much of a reveal that Darkclamydia's vagina was haunted.
posted by yoink at 9:24 AM on August 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


I wish I could go back and erase every instance in which I handed money to Image Comics for their terrible, terrible products. Sorry, everyone. In my defense, I was a very dumb teenager...

Don't worry about it - you grew up and moved beyond it, didn't you? As long as you're not thinking 'Man, I wish there were more comics like Image put out in the 90's -- Savage Dragon was a massive contributor to my aesthetic development and I just feel like I've stagnated since then' You're fine.

This does not excuse the monies you dumped on Magic: The Gathering cards, nor will anything.

Ever.
posted by eclectist at 9:43 AM on August 5, 2014


This does not excuse the monies you dumped on Magic: The Gathering cards, nor will anything.

Ever.


My "Avatar of Woe" still holds a hallowed place on my desk. Thank you very much.
posted by pan at 9:50 AM on August 5, 2014


Also, Image is now producing some of the best comics you can buy. Saga alone is enough to excuse quite a lot of the 90s.

Image is putting out a ton of high-quality female-friendly books right now! Yes, Saga, and also Rat Queens, Velvet, Sex Criminals, Shutter, The Wicked and the Divine...
posted by almostmanda at 10:08 AM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think you mean Cyaga, Ratt Cuewyns, Velvytte, Sex Cryminals, Chiuter, The Wyckd and the Dyvyne.
posted by Think_Long at 10:42 AM on August 5, 2014 [6 favorites]


Probably because Chris Claremont got there first with the '80s New Mutants Darkchilde plotline.

Thank you! I thought that name seemed familiar (the New Mutants comic was re-named "X-Force" when Liefeld started drawing and it needed extreme 90's re-branding, not to be confused with X-Treme X-Men or Adam X aka X-Treme, so basically there really is an X-Force character named Darkchilde (which even Marvel's own website sometimes writes with the more-extreme 'chylde' spelling), not to be confused with the X-Force fanfic writer Darkchilde).
posted by straight at 10:53 AM on August 5, 2014


Don't worry about it - you grew up and moved beyond it, didn't you? As long as you're not thinking 'Man, I wish there were more comics like Image put out in the 90's -- Savage Dragon was a massive contributor to my aesthetic development and I just feel like I've stagnated since then' You're fine.

This does not excuse the monies you dumped on Magic: The Gathering cards, nor will anything.

Ever.


Well, now that I think about it early Spawn was completely worthwhile. The Savage Dragon, on the other hand, was hot garbage. The art, the story, the over-sexualization of everything, bleah.

I'll never apologize for my Magic cards, though. Just because of the art.
posted by Existential Dread at 11:21 AM on August 5, 2014


Also, Image is now producing some of the best comics you can buy. Saga alone is enough to excuse quite a lot of the 90s.

Bah.

Even in the nineties Image had a lot of good comics: the James Robinson and Alan Moore WildC.A.T.S., Larsen's Savage Dragon, even MacFarlane's Spawn were not bad comics. Then there was 1963, Leave it to Chance, Stormwatch, Astro City, Vanguard, Superpatriot, the Maxx, Freak Force, Star, Deadly Duo, Prophet Babewatch special, etc.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:27 AM on August 5, 2014


Oh yeah, the MAXX! I didn't get it at the time, but coming back to it later, what a great comic. Also the one-off Legs, which I can't find a link for at this time. And was WildCATS really Alan Moore at some point? Hard to believe.
posted by Existential Dread at 11:47 AM on August 5, 2014


Speaking of Liefeld...

Also, Ken White over at Popehat is offering to find pro bono representation to fight any legal action by Queen, so that's nice.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:48 AM on August 5, 2014


All the legal back-and-forth is hot air. Complete nonsense. He has the right to draw, they have the right not to like it, he has the right not to like that they don't like it, etc., but none of it is legally actionable.

As much as I think the hyper-exaggerated drawings are sort of absurd, I, too, think of them as just that—exaggerated—and not "sexualized." Maybe I just don't get turned on by comics. But I can understand the sensibility of why they're drawn that way, because in my mind it's the same way the men are drawn. Hyper-perfect, body parts all beyond any normal proportion, etc. When I was a kid I bought a copy of "How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way," and spent the summer trying to draw the huge chests, mammoth calves, freakishly impossible stances and pre-attack crouches, etc. (Spiderman was particularly inhuman in his contortions.) On one page, they even drew a side-by side comparison of what a "normal man" looked like, compared to a male Marvel hero: at least a foot taller, impossibly broad shoulders, legs much longer and thicker than human legs, aggressive torso-forward stance essentially defying any true center of gravity, etc. It all boiled down to an over-emphasis of the body parts and proportions that conveyed the artist's idea of male-ness. I see the way the females are drawn to be along the same theme: an over-emphasis of the body parts and proportions that convey the artist's idea of female-ness.

I once visited the Louvre and the Rodin Museum in Paris with a girl I was dating. A day or so later, she told me she was suddenly having a hard time finding me sexually attractive compared to all the (literally) chiseled abs and chests of the male statues we'd just seen. Guess what? That was her problem, not mine. Those are idealized representations of gods, for crying out loud. If she expected me to have an eight-pack like a statue, she was nuts. We went our separate ways. But my point is, I didn't complain to the Louvre about it. Similarly, I think anyone who complains that an artist's representations of this or that are out of line with reality is pretty much wasting their time. Anyone who takes those representations too seriously is the one with the problem. Most people know better.
posted by azaner at 11:50 AM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


As much as I think the hyper-exaggerated drawings are sort of absurd, I, too, think of them as just that—exaggerated—and not "sexualized."

The fact that people can say this in a universe where Greg Land literally got paid money to trace porn images and draw a Sue Storm costume on them is flabbergasting.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:55 AM on August 5, 2014 [15 favorites]


azaner, you really need to read the comic linked above.

Exaggeration is a common tool for comic artists. No one disagrees with that. No real person has feet like the people in Don Martin's Mad comics. Or giant heads like the characters in Peanuts.

The difference between those and the comic-hero exaggeration styles being called out here is that while men's exaggerations create an image of power, women's create an image of porny availability. If you look through the Escher Girl blog you will notice, time and again, how women are not really in "action" poses, but something closer to a cheesecake pose. Often, long hair or clothing whips around to create a feeling of movement when all the woman is really doing is sticking out her ass and boobs, usually while wearing far fewer clothes than comparable male characters. It's something you can't un-see once you see it. The end result is that male characters read as characters, while female characters read as decoration. You notice this especially in the Hawkeye Initiative, when putting men in typical "female" poses highlights just how grossly porny those poses tend to be, and how little they have to do with actual action/fighting. The fact that women comic book characters are also usually less-powered than male ones, or de-powered/raped/brutalized in their character arcs (and thus needing rescue from stronger males) only adds to the problem.

If women were being drawn with the same exaggerated features but actually doing as much action as male characters/allowed to be as powerful/wear as many clothes as the male characters, it might cause eye-rolls for lack of anatomical realism, but would be less objectionable. But despite your assertion, that is not what happened here. It is not the same.
posted by emjaybee at 12:20 PM on August 5, 2014 [17 favorites]


Darkchylde? Surely a terrible late 80s metal band

\m/! Their first album is really under appreciated.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:37 PM on August 5, 2014


And was WildCATS really Alan Moore at some point?

Moore was writing Liefeld comics not long after, so...
posted by MartinWisse at 12:43 PM on August 5, 2014


The fact that people can say this in a universe where Greg Land literally got paid money to trace porn images and draw a Sue Storm costume on them is flabbergasting.

Or when Marvel can hire noted hardcore pornographic artist Milo Manara to make a comic about several female members of the X-Men teams in what can only be described as "naked women that some editor erased the vulvas and nipples off of before asking that they be 'clothed'" (NSFW). Nope, no sexualization here, just "exaggeration" that chicks are getting their panties in a bunch over.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:06 PM on August 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


I've read actual porn less sleazy than that X-Women comic. Sheesh.
posted by nicebookrack at 1:22 PM on August 5, 2014


was WildCATS really Alan Moore at some point? Hard to believe.

Moore went through a pretty difficult point in his life and career when he started doing work-for-hire for Image. He'd planned a major project, Big Numbers, that was supposed to be to Watchmen as Watchmen was to regular comics, that imploded, and also had a major falling-out with his former Swamp Thing collaborator, Stephen Bissette. From Hell and Lost Girls were still going concerns, but I think that he just needed something to pay the rent. Not that the work was second-rate, at least by Image standards; his WildCATS work created characters (like Tao) and plot developments that would be used by future authors, and his version of Supreme (Liefeld's thuggish Superman knockoff) was a full-bore tribute to, and metacommentary on, virtually every Silver Age Superman trope.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:33 PM on August 5, 2014


(I should also note that not all of his Image work-for-hire was that good; scans_daily has occasionally posted other things that he's done for them that haven't been collected in TPB form, for a pretty good reason.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:38 PM on August 5, 2014


Spawn/WildCATS was...er, less than it could have been, let's say.

(Also, holy crap, I vaguely remembered that "X-Women" was announced at some point, now I'm glad it dropped off my radar because what the everloving hell, Marvel)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:42 PM on August 5, 2014


"All the legal back-and-forth is hot air."

Until you issue a bad-faith DMCA notice. A DMCA notice is not like any old letter on attorney letterhead. It has certain legal consequences, and it's not just bluster.

DMCA takedown notices trigger certain actions by ISPs and other content platforms. Accepting them as standard legal posturing is corrosive to free speech and counter to the plain language of the law.
posted by mercredi at 2:09 PM on August 5, 2014 [6 favorites]


In theory, issuing a DMCA notice that you know to be meritless is perjury. In practice, nobody cares if you (a) write one based on lies; or (b) send them out using a fully automated system that everyone involved knows will create a bunch of false positives.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:14 PM on August 5, 2014


Nobody really cares if you send a justified DMCA notice, only to have the offender repost the content under a different name, either.
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:35 PM on August 5, 2014


What Queen is engaging in is known as a SLAPP lawsuit. It's fairly meritless, but can still be effective. I've had it leveled at me before, but I am lucky enough to have a lawyer that is great at telling people to go fuck themselves. Most bloggers don't have this luxury and these suits can get expensive quick and often the threat of losing is enough to make one take content down.

I don't like a lot of the writing in the last link (the only one I read). The author strikes me as not knowing what she is talking about, but I didn't want to dig through the whole story to decide who was in the right and which side I felt was the wronged party. This is normally the sort of stuff I read for fun, it's the sort of stuff I financially support (I kick into legal defense funds and engage in activism surrounding speech issues), and I am friends with some of the lawyers making the best law in this arena. (Name drop: I am pimped on the Popehat site Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish links to above, and my lawyer was key in passing legislation that punishes people engaging in Queen's behavior.)

Like mercredi mentions above, a DMCA has consequences and steps that are followed. They also have to be issued properly. Again, I am not a lawyer, but I am certain tumblr has them, but why people would think tumblr's interests would coincide with a blogger on their platform eludes me (but so does tumblr and the appeal of using them). This case is interesting to me insofar as even if Queen had a case (from what I see he doesn't) I wouldn't have advised him to bring it, but then there are people who thrive on the Streisand effect. Hell, if not for this post I'd not known who Queen even was.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:55 PM on August 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


TheWhiteSkull, that new Prophet series looks amazing. When it first started, Prophet was bog-standard Liefeld crap; boring protagonist, terrible art, no story. Then Stephen Platt got ahold of it and stuffed it full of amazing art and horrible violence. It was kind for awesome, but a little stomach turning. This new revisioning of it looks totally nutty and awesome and way out in left field.
posted by Existential Dread at 6:23 PM on August 5, 2014


This is also good news for Yahoo after months of being told that Tumblr is "a wretched hive of SocialJustice sum and villainy", they can use this to reassure the "SocialJusticeVictims" that they're making Tumblr safe for them (not to mention all the artists whose work really is reproduced in violation of copyright, which are a lot). Meanwhile, Randy "Drama" Queen has become the most talked-about comic book artist this week... and in that field of endeavor there is no such thing as bad publicity. Legal fees well spent.

And let me repeat what I said near the start of this thread; I'd set the odds at 50/50 that this will get "The Darkchylde Movie" out of development hell and into production... because no bad deed goes unrewarded.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:10 PM on August 5, 2014


This is also good news for Yahoo after months of being told that Tumblr is "a wretched hive of SocialJustice sum and villainy", they can use this to reassure the "SocialJusticeVictims" that they're making Tumblr safe for them (not to mention all the artists whose work really is reproduced in violation of copyright, which are a lot).

I don't think Tumblr cares at all about whether or not Tumblr has social justice blogs - why would they? They are somewhat concerned about porn, because it's not great for the brand, but AFAICT outside Reddit (and The Nation, I guess) nobody really cares that black feminists hang out on Tumblr, any more than they do that sci-fi writers hang out on LiveJournal.

Conversely, it has a lot to lose if people start thinking that their transformative works and critique are going to be deleted, because most of what gets Twitter attention in the media (and the only point of owning Tumblr is as a halo brand to show that you are still relevant) is the transformative works - like the screencap macros of Chris Pratt agreeing with the sexy fanficcers about the charms of Hemsworth and Downey Jr - and the critique - like EscherGirls, the Hawkeye Project, and Project Rooftop (just in the comics space).
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:33 AM on August 6, 2014


On io9, Katharine Trendacosta has posted a nice overview article The DMCA: How It Works and How It's Abused. One may as well try to make some flavor of lemonade out of Randy "Drama" Queen's particularly sour lemons.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:35 AM on August 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


Update on the situation.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:17 AM on August 6, 2014


That update HJ posted includes the fact that Popehat is on this, which is just delicious.
posted by emjaybee at 10:40 AM on August 6, 2014


Looks like Queen apologized. From the "update" link H. Jack posted:
Hey everyone,
Just wanted to clear up a few things that happened this past week. I have been having a very hard time in my personal life with the loss of my mother and my marriage having fallen apart and found myself in a very vulnerable and fragile state of mind. There were posts on the web criticizing my artwork that were brought to my attention and added to my stress. I reacted without thinking it through, but have now stopped, realizing my response was the wrong one to take. I am doing my best, each day, to get myself back on my feet and getting my life in a better place and realize now that I have just try to move on and get back to my art, the thing I find the most joy in these days. I want to thank those professionals, friends and family who have been giving me their support, understanding and love.
Thanks for listening.
~ R
I'm claiming fair use on reposting this apology! Also, one presumes he's dropped his DMCAs, but would be nice to see this explicitly stated.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:43 PM on August 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm claiming fair use on reposting this apology!

Is it an apology if he doesn't say he's sorry for anything or to anyone? Merely using that word in the subject line to the copy e-mailed to EscherGirls creator doesn't magically change it from an exercise in self-exculpation (and passive admission of defeat) to a resounding expression of contrition.
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:29 PM on August 6, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yeah, that's not an apology.

"I'm really sorry for causing you so much distress, Escher Girls person" would be an apology.
posted by mediareport at 3:48 PM on August 6, 2014




From her final update:

According to the email, Tumblr processed the DMCA takedown against that post and removed it by accident. They restored the post shortly after, but I assume in the process, all the reblogs were lost.

The part where Tumblr removed her post "by accident" would be a lot more believable if Tumblr didn't have a history of immediate removal of posts attacked by bogus legal threats.

Thank goodness Tumblr is using this incident to retrain its employees to avoid kneejerk "accidents" like this in the future.

Right?
posted by mediareport at 8:24 PM on August 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


Technically they didn't say the post was removed "by accident." They say it was done "in error." "We didn't bother to make sure the request was remotely reasonable" is, in fact, an error.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:17 AM on August 9, 2014 [2 favorites]


« Older The study of human thought & behavior without...   |   Poland, 2011: DVD, title: "Best of the Witcher 2" Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments