bryanhowie's picture
bryanhowie from FW, ID is reading East of Eden. Steinbeck is FUCKING AMAZING. October 13, 2011 - 9:48am

Here's a really interesting series of responses by comic writer's about female characters in comic books that revolves around the hypersexualization of female characters and what can be done to do it better.  The responses make some really good points to writing of any kind.

http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/10/13/female-characters-superhero-comics/

 

It's also hilarious when it gets to this link about an artist who did classic pin-ups with males:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/clickandclash/sets/72157626584908000/detail/

Kirk's picture
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Kirk from Pingree Grove, IL is reading The Book Of The New Sun October 13, 2011 - 10:52am

What I've always found interesting about this conversation is that if you really break it down, the portrayal of males in comics isn't really much better. It's easy to say that women are objectified and hyper-sexualized in comics, but then, look at any of the male characters. It's equally embarrassing, I'd say.

When you're writing books about people shooting laser-beams out of their faces, it's kind of tough to not just use the easy stereotypes. You don't have a chance to convince people that the looks aren't important, because it's not really what your readers are looking for. It's the same reason that Kathey Bates isn't cast in Michael Bay movies. She might be a perfectly fine actress, but you're not watching Transformers for the performances - you want to see robots blow stuff up and sweaty girls running in slow-motion.

I'm of the opinion that there is little reason to change anything. People who want more depth, probably aren't going to start reading X-men in the first place, they'll wander over to Vertigo titles and vice-versa. 

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Typewriter Demigod from London is reading "White Noise" by DeLilo, "Moby-Dick" by Hermann Mellivile and "Uylsses" by Joyce October 13, 2011 - 11:02am

I'm not exactly sure how to discuss this...but a good example of a semi-sexualized character who just so happens also to be very well written and REALLY easy to piss off. Like here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kt1_K3UpB1g

The thing is, is that she wears kinda revealing clothes, but she is by no means a sex object, since she'd probably shoot your dick off or punch your face in if you tried to touch her. ^^ She is totally awesome. Characters like that, who are provocative, but also psychopathically violent when needed, are something that balances. But all in moderation. You can't have a prostitute protagonist who slaps people. (Well you can, but for the sake of argument...) It has to be a prostitute who breaks bones.

bryanhowie's picture
bryanhowie from FW, ID is reading East of Eden. Steinbeck is FUCKING AMAZING. October 13, 2011 - 11:40am

@Kirk - They definitly explore that idea in some of the responses.  But X-Men was a pretty good comic for diversity.  They had Jubilee and Kitty Pryde, neither of which were sexualized (at least, not at first).  They had a variety of characters and not all of them were in skimpy outfits.  

Quote:

Kurt Busiek (Kirby: Genesis, Astro City): My argument, over and over, is that "sexy" isn't the problem. Sameness is the problem.

Danielle Marie Tobias's picture
Danielle Marie ... from New York is reading House Infernal by Edward Lee October 13, 2011 - 12:55pm

I'm of the opinion that there is little reason to change anything. People who want more depth, probably aren't going to start reading X-men in the first place, they'll wander over to Vertigo titles and vice-versa.

 

I pretty much came in here to say this exactly. The Michael Bay analogy is spot on. There are plenty of titles that don't exemplify this at all. A large selection of comic titles and even entire companies are geared toward an older, intellectual and varied demographic. They rely on complex and compelling plot lines rather than sexuality and well... being "cool." However, the majority of "popular" comic books aren't, they're aiming for the most gigantic market demographic possible: the general public. What appeals to pretty much everyone? Sex. Before comic books were mainstream, their demographic was considered to be mostly male, and mostly pubescent, so many already started out aiming to appeal to uh... that, and over the years have had to up their own ante. Also, I feel like the longer a title has been in publication, the less they can really rely on keeping a plotline interesting, fresh, or compelling. X-Men, Batman... titles like these have been relying on the same formula for decades now. They almost have to rely more and more on the artwork to attract their readers, and by artwork I really just mean reinventing costumes again and again and making everyone's junk bigger and exciting to look at. I still read a few mainstream publications, but for the most part, I too only really read them for the artwork. I buy most of my mainstream comic titles digitally and actually crop and keep a collection of panels for arts sake.... The titles I'm actually interested in I usually take the time to go out and buy hard copies to read again later on. It's a shame that most of the public will only ever be familiar with the more popular and uh, titulating comic titles and will consider this an issue, but cest la vie, make that money.

bryanhowie's picture
bryanhowie from FW, ID is reading East of Eden. Steinbeck is FUCKING AMAZING. October 13, 2011 - 3:59pm

I was thinking of how these caricatures of body shape apply to the writing of fiction.  While often utilizing hyperbole to make a statement, sometimes a character becomes one dimensional by being too three-dimensional (as it boobtastic).

I think the different artists/writers who are asked about the issue do a great job of showing how the writing of the characters is what is important.  If there is a character driven reason for a hot superhero to bend over, then it should happen.  If there's no reason, it's like the wrong punctuation at the end of a sentence - it just confuses the reader and muddles the point of the sentence.