Today is International Women’s Day, aka Working Women’s Day, a holiday with socialist roots that was officially adopted in the Soviet Union following the October Revolution. So, internet. Let’s talk gender.
Once upon a time ComicsAlliance commissioned a mock-up of the Avengers movie poster line-up. All the dudevengers were replaced with a female counterpart— She-Hulk, Thor Girl, American Dream. Black Widow got, uh, Dead Husband.I wasn’t lying!
The comments section brags about its vast collection of Dead Husband™ merchandise and, in the grand tradition of comicfan pedantry, lists some possible alternatives. Like Red Guardian, Natasha’s real actual occasionally dead husband, or Winter Soldier, Ed Brubaker’s one-man world tour attempt at making Bucky Barnes relevant. But I’m gonna call it, the picture is right. There is no male counterpart. Here’s why.
Let me emphasize: the problem isn’t sexiness, or sexy costumes, it’s that artists casually revise her costume design to emphasize breasts to the degree that it overwhelms all sense of practicality and/or stealth. And they don’t, I suspect, consider why they do this, they simply frame their panels to accentuate her “assets” before conveying action, tone, or mood.
Cosplayers revise her costume to emphasize themselves too sometimes. Not all no but I have seen some that have chosen #4 just b/c they know they will get more attention and it sickens me.
I am not saying they are ‘fake geeks/nerds’ or ‘sluts’ just a little too proud of their bodies maybe. Showing themselves off in a venue with out thinking of the affect/effect on the children and families that attend who may not be adjusted to convention or comic culture =/
——- Opinionated Dick on the internet. I have voiced my opinion on the topic and have nothing else to say but if you want to be hateful or go off on a rant b/c of it do so on your own blog away from mine please and thank you. I say good day to you!
Hi just another man!! The thing that is different here about what you are talking about and what I am talking about is that comic book artists have a responsibility to the story, and women getting dressed have a responsibility to, uh, just themselves, actually.
Except more and more comics these days seem to be going with option #4, like— oh hey wow some examples, so maybe girls feel like they have to show a bunch of skin to emulate their favorite character. Lord knows the official adult costume comes replete with scoop neckline, and most other mass-produced superhero costumes for ladies are “sassy” versions, like so. (“Who needs superpowers when you have this super sexy costume?”)
Or maybe women feel like dressing sexy is the only way geek guys will let them feel like they belong. It won’t work of course, you’re on the case there, just-another-man, but the last time I went to a comic con another man came up to me and asked me what I was doing there, since I wasn’t wearing a costume and available for pictures. Or, yeah, maybe some women are like their bodies and like attention, but I’m not really worried about that because it doesn’t seem like an actual problem. (Just to review: women wanting to be sexy, not a problem. Women having no choice but sexy, problem.)
NECESSARY DISCLAIMER: this is just my opinion, deal with it, I’m invoking the first amendment, don’t take this the wrong way. Yeah, just-another-man, I feel you, it sure is annoying when people feel they gotta go into your posts and use them as their own misguided soapbox.
So, I have a few asks coming in about My Imaginary Black Widow Ongoing and what sort of book it would be, and I will answer those eventually, pinky-swear. But I wanted to tell you something important about My Imaginary Black Widow Ongoing: it doesn’t have the same cover.
What do I mean by this? Roll tape.
These are the three most recent Black Widow #1s, and they are all the same cover: Natasha stands in the foreground, quasi-dynamically but not interestingly posed, more boob is shown than necessary, and a foreign landmark is used as a backdrop. Other common options: a fast car, an explosion.
These books were quite different. One is a flashback mini focused on hammering out Natasha’s origin story, one is an ongoing set firmly in the current 616, one is a prequel mini to the Avengers movie where Natasha doesn’t wear clothes. One of these books is actually set in Russia, none of them involve cars or explosions, in two of these series the cheesecake is kept to a minimum and Natasha’s costume is drawn on all the way. You can’t tell which is which by the covers.
Two of these covers in no way match the look of their books’ interior. Now, me, I think for a comic to really work, it needs to have an aesthetic, a visual tone that matches the tone of the story. A really great example is the Waid relaunch of Daredevil— there have been a few pencillers on that book, but they’ve all been able to work with the manic swashbuckling and create an atmosphere distinct from the previous volume of Daredevil, which had its own aesthetic created by artists like Lark and Maleev.
Black Widow Strikes had no aesthetic: it was a book with five or six artists listed per issue drawn vaguely to invoke the Cinematic Universe. Deadly Origin had two aesthetics, one for the present, one for the past, neither of them remotely the plastic blow-up doll look of Greg Land. The Acuña run on Black Widow had a terrific aesthetic, one that matched Liu’s moody, poetic voice. That book was dark without being gritty, stylish and feminine without being frivolous. But you get none of this from the cover, because it’s the same damn cover every other Black Widow series has had.
This would maybe be less of a problem if other Black Widow books had been runaway successes, but much to my eternal sadface, they haven’t been. The cover of a #1 issue shouldn’t just show you what the book is about, it should show you what about it is different. Here are some recent #1 covers that have been way more successful than the above three.
You might think, “Hey, that Captain Marvel #1 issue is the same standing-around thing that the Black Widow covers have, except for some reason artists always remember Carol’s zipper goes all the way up.” Well, yes. But the new costume and codename were a big buzz-worthy controversy, and highlighting those two things showcases the fact that this new series is an important turning point for Carol. Obviously this strategy isn’t going to work with Natasha, who can’t get a drastic makeover because movie synergy.
Hawkeye immediately stands out because the white space sets cover book off-kilter. It stands out because hey, it’s not just the hero posing in the foreground. The logo-dressing is brand new for the current volume, emphasizing that this is an exciting new direction, and the cover also nicely sums up that direction. The image of an archer standing lone and lonely on an urban rooftop, splinters hanging over him, that’s a visual summary of the themes Hawkguy Now! is dealing with. David Aja’s design sense is huge part of the books appeal, and it’s on full display in all his covers.
When I say I wish they’d treat Natasha with the same care and thought they’ve given to Hawkeye, this is what I mean.
BACK IN THE U.S.S.R. So by now we know that U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps has broken the all-time Olympics record for most medals ever, with 19 (as of yesterday — Phelps has three more events to go at the summer games in London). But many members of the media failed to point out exactly whose record Phelps had broken: it belonged to Russian gymnast Larisa Latynina, who won 18 medals between 1956 and 1964. She was in attendance during Phelps’s record-smashing performance on Tuesday. ”Latynina joked in recent weeks that it was time for a man to be able to do what a woman had done long ago,” wrote the New York Times. ”And that it was too bad Phelps was not Russian.” (Photo: AP via the Times)
#h e h
I see what you did there, Alex.
Of course, BKV *would* write a perfect Spider-man.
He does do “snarky but thoughtful” very well.
SOME DAYS I’D REALLY LIKE TO IGNORE ALL THOSE, but the truth is event plotlines have a way of creating interesting status quo developments and fertile storytelling ground, sometimes in spite of themselves.
This is very true! But unfortunately — and this is almost my biggest objection to the way Marvel does event storylines these days — what tends to happen is that we get all this fertile storytelling ground, and then a great deal of it never gets sown or gets churned into the muck (I’m really stretching this metaphor) by the NEXT event storyline. Give us and your writers a little more room to breathe, damnit!
HEH HEH, not many. Though they probably whine about events like everyone else. But I don’t think they’d want to get rid of the symbiote because it’s tied to Secret Wars.
YES! Perfect counterexample. Or try and imagine what Marvel continuity would be like right now without House of M/Civil War/Secret Invasion/Dark Reign/Siege/Fear Itself, not to mention all the other events that fed into and out of each of those storylines.
shulkmeyer replied to your post: ffff loki, then. /STILL CHEATING /STILL NOT CARINGLMFAO I ASKED LOKI TOO GDIT
Yes as soon as I mentioned Loki apparently everyone wanted to know
I WAS GOING TO ASK BUCKY but you said loki so aflasdmalsfakl
People p much only rarely ask me about Bucky or Natasha h e h
Probably a SHUT UP, ALEX sign
Well for me it’s more of a, “Alex is probably soooo sick of talking about these characters, so I should think of someone else!” thing.
I think most of Natasha’s actions/motivations were IC, but her dialogue and voice was a bit off!! Still, awww, Angela.
Yeah, I think everybody’s voices were a tad off! I mean, I’m not a huge expert in how Luke, Danny, or Natasha normally speak, but Spidey’s dialogue was a bit weird and everyone sounded kinda stilted … I do like the series and own it, but it’s obvious it was Pierce and Liebe’s first comics writing.
Argh, can’t find it … on the plus side I did just discover a cover of Those Who Fight Further with accordions, so there’s that.
ETA: Also I already have this track. Well catalogued, self. OTOH the rest of the album seems to be missing…
It seems they took all the Final Fantasy OSTs down :|a I swear they used to be there, because that’s where most of mine came from!!
Yeah, I got several albums from there too, back in the day! I wonder what happened…