WARNING: SOME PHOTOS MAY REQUIRE BLEACHING OF THE EYES. WHAT YOU SEE CAN NEVER BE UNSEEN.
There are some great artists out there that can really bring out the beauty in the characters we love, whether male or female. Whether it is Alex Ross, Adam Hughes, the late Michael Turner, or Joseph Michael Linser, the art is what draws us to a book and the story is what keeps us there. I will say, there are times that art has turned me off to a good story as well. We have to agree that comic books are a very visual media. Getting the audio book version of any comic is just like getting half the story.
What does all this have to do with my column this week? Well, I just wanted to preface my question with the idea that we are drawn to comics by the art. We are also drawn by what we know. If out favorite character is making a guest appearance in a book, we may pick it up just to see what is going on. Costume changes, haircuts or style changes, and anything else that changes our favorite characters can draw or repel us.
My question this week is one that may make your mind reel with the implications. What if all comic book characters were gender swapped? All men are now women, all boys are now girls.
Now we can take this one step further and look at what would male superhero costumes look like if they were designed the same way as female superhero costumes… It would be sad. Allow me to demonstrate:
Now that you have finished screaming and clawing at your eyes… The terms I think of are “impractical”, “inappropriate”, “sexist”, “hilarious”. However, most fanboys are more than happy to drool over anything with breasts stuffed into this and placed in a combat situation.
I am not really trying to make a statement here, just give you something to think about. What if Batman, Superman, Captain America, Mr. Fantastic, were really Batwoman, Superwoman, Captain Mammerica, and Mrs. Fantastic? Would you like them as much? Or more? What if there were only female superheroes and all the villains were male? How would that impact your view of the comics industry? It would be interesting to see Mrs. Fantastic stretching to fit any dress size.
The truth is that comics as they are now were created by men for boys. Looking back at the history of comics, they created role models for kids that may not have had a solid role model after the war. Superman, Captain America, these were men that set a moral guidewire for kids. We have definitely moved away from that now.
I feel like we have oversexualized much of the comic book industry. It is only our faults, as the readers and the consumers, since we just buy it all up. Not that it is wrong, but it has become a reflection of our media society. Well, maybe it is wrong. Nothing is wholesome anymore, even Saturday morning cartoons.
That is enough for this week. Please comment your thoughts. I would love for someone to persuade me that comics are all they used to be and more. I feel a rant coming on and I will just leave you with this: