Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I'm fine with this rubber spine o' mine

Really? Because it looks like that...hurts.
As a follow-up to this post, I feel compelled to share these:

R.K. Milholland's Super Stupor! comic mocking such costumes and poses

Comics are almost certainly the most sexist medium in geekdom. By that I do not mean that a) all comics are sexist, b) all consumers of comics are sexist, c) all creators of comics are sexist, or d) there's something inherent about comics that means they must be sexist. I'm saying that if you're looking for a realm of geekery in which the value of women can be most clearly summed up in terms of T&A, comics-- let's be more specific; superhero comics-- are it. Devoting a column to the most ridiculously sexist superhero costumes must have been hard identifying the five most annoying contestants on Big Brother or the most painful Jackass experiments. 

Why would this be the case? My best guess is that it's because comics are about the most "fantasy" that you can get. Sure, other geeky things are fictional-- you can give any amount of hit points to a monster that players must battle. You can dress a character on Star Trek however you want. You can make a character in a video game have breasts like beach balls. But in a comic, the character depicted is both a) visible and b) static. You can see her, but need not be concerned with how her body would move without violating the laws of physics in many directions. I've seen some grossly out of proportion characters in video games, but never one (for example) whose breasts faced the same direction as her backside. But that's so common an occurrence in comic books that it has become cliche (ow ow ow, on that last one especially).  

So having the ability to build a fantastic creation from the ground up plus the means to depict it clearly visually plus not being constrained in any way by physics is what makes it possible to dive head first into not only supernormal stimulus, but also fictitious and highly dubious psychology. Comic book women not only lack spines; they lack any concern about not having spines. They are quite happy to fight crime while clad in (sometimes only in) butt floss. Fiction's handy that way-- you can impose any condition on the characters and make them like it, because after're the story-teller.

In comparison, actual pornography seems comforting. At least those are real people (more or less), engaging in real activities that people can do in real life. But cross comics with porn and you get....animated pornography! No, I'm not going to link you to examples of such-- you've got Google, and I don't want to be responsible for introducing such a thing into anyone's life.

(Hat tip to Pharyngula, where the following exchange took place:
P.Z.: I guess there’s a reason I haven’t read any mainstream comics in 30 years, too.
Antiochus Epiphanes: I can think of a better reason. Because you are a grown-up with access to actual books.
We Are Ing: Don’t hold your nose too much higher or you’ll fall over.
Ms. Daisy Cutter, Feral Fembeast:  Maus? Barefoot Gen? Fun Home? My Cancer Year? Fuck ‘em, they can’t be “actual books” because they have pictures an’ all. Antiochus said so.
Antiochus Epiphanes: To be fair, these are “actual” books, being bound printed matter. And one of them was awarded a Pulitzer prize. So there’s that. And you can read one in less than an hour which is pretty awesome if you don’t like to read.
stringer:  To be fair these are actual Scotsmen.
Fair cop. I'd recommend Maus, parts 1 and 2, to anybody.)


  1. Maus seems awfully depressing...

  2. These ridiculous female characters in comics are one of the main reasons I stopped collecting them in the mid-late 90's. I was tired of so many covers drawn the same way and new series where the main part of the content was sexy poses through out the book.

  3. Odd how they do this, since women are a demographic the comic industry could use to scrape out of bankruptcy.

    Whenever the other bastion of boy-fantasy, video games is developed specifically for girls, it tends to do very well financially, like Pacman, Wii, etc.


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