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Why is there no emoticon for despair?



True, a lot of women's costumes are designed to be sexy. Few female costumes are intimidating. But few male costumes are truly intimidating as well. The much-cited examples of Wolverine and Batman both have underwear on the outside of their pants! Who's intimidated by that? And let's not forget Robin with his naked legs and Subby in his Speedos. I think a lot of people conveniently forget about or intentionally ignore characters that don't support their argument, both male and female. Catwoman has, at times, been clothed from head to toe and had fairly restrained proportions. The Invisible Woman wears the same costume as the rest of the team -- she wears more clothes than the Thing. The Silver Surfer is buck naked!

Robin hasn't worn sheer nylons in almost 20 years. The Thing is made of big orange rocks, which are traditionally not known for their erogenous qualities. The Silver Surfer is a talking hood ornament. J'onn Jonzz is a barely-humanoid alien.

So that leaves Namor as our one male more or less human naked representative. He had better be pretty fucking sexy to make up for the rest of his slackadaisical gender.

I mean, there have been a number of gruesome torture scenes involving ripe young females squirming and arching their bodies in poses designed to titillate. That's caused a few women to get bent out of shape and pissed off at the comic book industry as a whole, as if every person involved in the creative process, on every book from every publisher was guilty of perpetrating the very deed that was depicted.

And that's not entirely fair.

Which isn't to say that it's "right" to depict such things either, but people do get tortured on occasion so it's not entirely unrealistic (although they seldom look "sexy" in the process, I'll grant you). And I don't think anybody would argue that it's better to actually perpetrate such things than to read about such things. If your creepy cousin Chester can get his rocks off to a Matt Baker drawing of a supple female in bondage as opposed to snatching somebody's daughter and hauling her into a darkened alley, then it could be argued that maybe ol' Matt was performing a public service.


The head of Image Comics, ladies and gentlemen.

People clip their toenails in reality and go to the bathroom in reality and masturbate to porn in reality and those events are seldom depicted in superhero comic books. "Realists" object to women wearing high heels in comics, but there are hundreds of "unrealistic" things in comics and women do wear high heels in the real world from time to time.

Somebody get Chekhov and Aristotle on the line--we have to redefine the rules of drama to make room for this insight.

I'm not saying that we can't do better. I'm not saying we shouldn't try to do better. I'm not excusing anybody. But I also don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to make candy bars for people that would like to buy candy bars.

You are a candy bar maker in a low-carb age. The only people who want your candy are getting older, and fatter, and sadder, and your products are being removed from vending machines in schools. Instead of trying to reposition yourself with healthier candies, or maybe even energy bars, you are telling people to enjoy being fat.

Eventually, your customers will die, and you with them. And the future will have long since learned to love Pocky and 72% cocoa bars.

If somebody dresses in a way to provoke, is it wrong to be provoked? If you wear a dress with the neckline plunging down to your navel, somebody's going to give you a once over. If you walk down the street in your birthday suit, people will look. Is the person looking at fault? I've heard women get incensed about men checking them out when they're clearly dressing to get the attention that they've gotten.

And somebody's going to get on my case about that statement.

Sigh.


Sigh indeed.

We can do better. In animation, one of the things designers get drummed into their skulls is giving characters distinctive silhouettes and that should be true in comic books as well. Characters should have big butts and little butts and broad shoulders and narrow shoulders and flat stomachs and fat stomachs.

Why are we bothering with realism, though? Realism is boring, stupid, and ugly.

In any case, my point was -- and is -- that I think it would be a good thing if comic book characters could be distinguished by something other than simply their colorful leotards. It would be nice if people looked different from their features to their forms -- just like here in the real world.

If they do that, they'll be ugly! And nobody likes ugly people! They're unattractive, and candy is so tasty!

I give up. They're not worth the effort, and I'm sick of trying to find some that are.

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