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She Has No Head! – This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

So a couple weeks ago I posted a round up of my favorite news from SDCC 2012. It’s now only fair that I talk about what I found to be the most disappointing news to come out of SDCC 2012.  And I’m only going to talk about one thing, because the continued weirdness when it comes to characters like Stephanie Brown and Cass Cain though depressing as all get out, is both expected, and perhaps in a way, tied to what I’m going to talk about anyway.

Batwoman by SelkieSiun

This image, which is not perfect, but which I happen to really adore on multiple levels (and independent of knowing ANYTHING about it), has been making the rounds (I first saw it at Escher Girls, and then at DC Women Kicking Ass, Brian also wrote about it when the news first came out) with the story that the artist was given these notes about it while at a portfolio review in SDCC:

“Her breasts are much too small and do not have the lift that superhero women should have. Her jawline is fat and her neck much too long. The style of her hair is clunky and does not flow in a sense that a super human would. Her hips, waist and thighs are too big and she honestly looks fat. No one is going to want to read a comic with a fat female protagonist. I honestly recommend looking at issues of Sport’s Illustrated to get the right anatomy. Those women are the peak of human perfection, and that is what we want in this industry.”

Now, let’s be very clear here about two things before we get into this:

#1. Technically, this quote says “look at issues of Sports Illustrated” which does not necessarily mean Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. However, I pulled cover images for the last two years from Sports Illustrated. Here are the four covers in 2010 and 2011 that feature women and that are NOT the Swimsuit Issue:

These women do not look to me unlike Selkiesiun’s Batwoman image, so I can only assume (without buying every issue of Sports Illustrated and poring over every image) that this portfolio review person is referring more to what we all think of when someone says “women” and “Sports Illustrated”, which are the notorious Swimsuit Issues. Here are the two Swimsuit Issue covers from 2010 and 2011:

And I think, it’s not a leap for us all to agree that the swimsuit covers look far more like most traditionally represented superheroines, than the first four covers.  So, while the comment wasn’t explicit in what it meant, it’s pretty obvious to even the casual observer what he or she meant.

#2.  The artist has come forward to say that it was NOT a comment made by DC or Marvel and though she admits that she heard similar frustrating comments by multiple portfolio reviewers, the above remark was the most harsh and did not come from DC or Marvel.

But does it really matter?  In fact, I think it’s perhaps MORE alarming that this came from a smaller publisher.  At this point, we expect the smaller publishers to be a place where you can do something a little different than “traditional” mainstream superheroes.  So, while I would have almost expected a comment like this from the big two (and would have been disappointed in them) I am quite frankly stunned to hear a comment like this coming from a smaller publisher.

Before we even get into what’s so disturbing about this, let’s just look more closely at this illustration. Check out these two images side by side…notice my red lines, which I copied and pasted (and then slightly resized to fit the new drawing, while keeping the dimensions exactly the same).

So this woman’s drawing, which is apparently of a “fat female protagonist which nobody wants to read about” has almost the exact body dimensions of Marilyn Monroe. Monroe, who is still considered one of the most beautiful (and sexy) women of all time, and someone that when you search her name brings up over 75 million results on Google.  Yeah, clearly NOBODY is interested in someone that looks like her.

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This small-minded attitude is not uncommon, many people share it, but it’s alarming to see it in someone that is set up to give a professional critique of work at an international event as big as SDCC.  And it’s indicative of an ancient and flawed mind-set in comics that women can only be and look one way in order to be appealing.  I’m not going to get into the whole “well men are objectified in comics too!” thing, mostly because I’ve already done that and I’ve said all I need to say on the issue.  But independent of that whole other issue it’s just depressing that we’re living in (and have allowed to be created) a comics universe in which Amanda Waller is now a younger super thin version of what she used to be…and so many other variations on that same theme. We have yanked all of the variety of out comics, all of the variety that actually makes things interesting. Comics seem to have made giant leaps in logic about their audiences, because I don’t believe for an instant that people will only read stories about “typical supermodels” – if so how do you explain the brilliant Terry Moore’s entire career?

It’s also particularly vexing to read about someone’s personal idea of “physical perfection” when we are currently under absolute siege with thousands of examples of “physical perfection” via the 2012 Olympics. And what does watching the Olympics, the supposed the height of perfection and skill help us see? We see wonderful variation. EVERYWHERE.  The physical perfection of the female swimmer is different than the gymnast, and the tennis pro and all three are different than the runner, fencer, archer, weightlifter, etc.  It’s a fantastic reminder that skill, talent, and even “perfection” come in so many different sizes, types, and shapes.

In an effort to turn a negative into a positive (and forgo a full on rant for something more productive) I’ve decided to start up a new project (because I don’t already have enough to do apparently).

I’m calling this new project “THERE’S THE DOOR, SPACEMAN” in homage to one of the best moments for a woman in comics, courtesy of Darwyn Cooke’s excellent The New Frontier.  The goal of this new tumblr is simply to bring to light what an antiquated and alien thought process it is to say that female comics characters can only look like perfect Sports Illustrated specimens. We are simply beyond that. As intelligent beings with a variety of tastes and interests I refuse to believe that all we want are supermodels. Some of the most interesting, fun, and gorgeous art being done out there right now, whether fan art or otherwise, thinks well outside the box of a “traditional supermodel style.”

So the point of the Tumblr will be to celebrate and draw attention to great art done by great artists, that is outside the mainstream “supermodel type.”  It doesn’t mean artists who also draw in a more typical supermodel style are wrong – you all KNOW I love a lot of traditional art, this is not about judgment or tearing down – in fact the entire point is to have variety, and as a result I hope THERE’S THE DOOR, SPACEMAN” will be a safe space to celebrate that which does NOT look like traditional supermodel comic art, cause heaven knows there are plenty of spaces already available to celebrate that.

I’ve put some images up to get us started, but I encourage (and in fact NEED) you all to begin submitting too.

You can submit art directly to TheresTheDoorSpaceman[at]gmail[dot]com

There are some guidelines on the Tumblr about how to submit (in the initial post). But the short of it is, unless it’s a recognizable piece (say, the cover or images from a published comic) please always include a link to where you found the image – preferably a link to the original artist.  You should also include a short once sentence descriptor which identifies the the image and the artist. You are also welcome to include a short comment about why this image moves you. Images submitted without a link will not be posted. And I reserve the right to reject images based on whether or not I feel they fit the criteria (etc).

As a warning, this is my first time running a Tumblr (somewhere Sue is celebrating) so forgive any rookie mistakes.

Go forth and conquer, my lambs! Prove that we’re interested in way more than just the usual and expected portrayals of supermodels in our comics.

Wonder Woman by Darwyn Cooke via The New Frontier


For all we know the disparaging remarks came from Zenescope.

On the serious side, the smaller publishers seem more “in your face” about risque heroines (look at anything from Dynamite Publishing and IDW. Red Sonja, Lady Death, Kato’s daughter, Danger Girl, and Witchblade are first and foremost super-babes). I infer the small press does that to survive–risque covers first then hastily plotted stories as after thoughts (Witchblade and Magdalene strike me as the most ironic / creepy contradictions considering that they allude to so many religious concepts in the story line).

my first thought was also Zenescope.

Great post. This is largely the reason I avoid super hero comics and the big two altogether. Can’t support it, won’t support it.

It’s good that you can compare the picture to Marilyn Monroe, but let’s be honest here. In the modern world, Marilyn would have never got anywhere in Hollywood and advertising. By today’s modeling standards she’s fat. Now, we all know that’s stupendously stupid, but it’s not comics that started this unhealthy body image thing. They’ve just ran with it.

I hope Zephyr from Harbinger makes it to “There’s The Door, Spaceman” soon. If ever a venue was made to celebrate her, that would surely be it.

I actually love the picture, even if it’s far from perfect.

I like the idea of the project, but why “THERE’S THE DOOR, SPACEMAN”?
Why don’t you call it something more neutral?
Like “Greatest Super-Heroines of All Time”
or “Super-Heroines we want to read”?
Why always it have to be like “I’ll prove that I can be better than you, and that I don’t need you”
instead of “I respect you, and I’m as good as you, let’s work together”?
You have good intentions, though.
And I wish you well.

The link below to my blog is not about comic books per se, but as Nick A also points out, Marilyn Monroe would, sadly, be considered “fat” by today’s insane standards of beauty & fashion. Same with Bettie Page.


One of my favorite comic book females is Maggie from Love & Rockets. There’s this one drawing of her by Jaime Hernandez that I find especially beautiful. I’ll be e-mailing a scan to Kelly tonight.

Of course today’s Hollywood would think Marilyn Monroe is fat. They think all women are fat unless we can see their rib cages poking out.

A superheroine would have to be built like an athlete (also, water is wet), not like a supermodel or an actress. Those chicks in the swimsuit issue look like they’d get exhausted while wandering the mall so they certainly shouldn’t be jumping from rooftop to rooftop.

I have to disagree with you about the Batwoman picture resembling the women on the Sport’s Illustrated covers. Those women are more physically fit and, to be honest, curvier. I have always felt that any woman who is a superhero should be more muscular than anything else. I will say that the normal comic book aesthetic is nearing the heights of parody but the Batwoman picture isn’t really a solution. It’s a nice drawing but it does have it’s flaws. As has been said before her neck appears to be too long, her breasts are small in comparison to her hips, and her waist is too small which adds to making her hips look large. The thing is that a real woman with that body would look beautiful but the picture just falls short. You have proven this with your Marilyn Monroe comparison. Batwoman ends up looking frumpy. Although I find it funny that you compared the picture to a woman who had multiple cosmetic surgeries. I agree that there needs to be a change in how women are drawn in comics. I say they need to look like athletes. Look at women’s MMA, track and field, and Soccer. Those should be the models.

@Ultron: I think you’re missing the point of the name of the site – the point is to say: this is an antiquated and alien idea, and we’re showing that idea the door.”

I’m sorry you find it offensive. That’s not the goal, but everyone will interpret it in their own way I suppose.

As for Hollywood’s “idea of fat/not fat,” I agree that Hollywood as an entity thinks that way, but I’d say that 78 million search results proves that they they are not (and shouldn’t be) the ones that determine that for us.

The guy who thinks Marlyn would never make in Hollywood today obviously has never seen a Monroe film. She exuded sexuality, and a charisma that just can’t be duplicated.

Besides, the redhead on Mad Men would disagree with you

“Besides, the redhead on Mad Men would disagree with you”

That would be Christina Hendricks.

Great article! I’m so glad you included a hint at the Olympics because there really are sooooo many
sports people who clearly do not look like one “perfect” athlete-type. As someone who is interested in sports that comment about “getting the right anatomy by looking at Sport’s Illustrated covers” really confused me at first.
Looking forward to the tumblr!

Sounds like a great idea for a Tumblr! Can’t wait to make something to submit.

Travis Pelkie

July 30, 2012 at 4:42 pm

I had my issues with how that Batwoman image made the rounds, as I ended up commenting on the post Brian did. I think it does matter in a way that it was a smaller publisher, because a smaller publisher (who, I got the impression, the artist didn’t even know what company this person was from) DOESN’T have any “real” pull in the industry. As much as we find many female images distasteful from the big 2, I don’t think any editor would tell any artist to look at anatomy from a magazine.

And other blah blah blah. I now forget many of the points I would have made regarding this.

HOWEVER, if it leads to good, productive projects from the people who find this distasteful, something good came from it all.

So yay!

re: “her neck is too long”. is it really that hard to see that her cape is draped over her right shoulder? accentuating the neck (black/white contrast)? but that it really isn’t particularly long.

oops: also – it’s a FANTASTIC drawing. would love it on my wall!

I’m just chiming it to say that I also like the picture. The neck IS too long. But other than that it reminds me of a lot of Stewart Immonen’s stuff. Particularly the hair and the large flat shapes.

I was trying to find some Larry Stroman images. He draws some very interesting female figures. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much in the way of his stuff online. Anyone have any copies of X-Factor or Tribe to make scans from?

To be fair, the quote said “I honestly recommend looking at issues of Sport’s Illustrated to get the right anatomy.” Kelly went with Sports Illustrated covers specifically. I’ve looked at Sport’s Illustrated in the past for anatomy references, because it was a passable source for athletic as well as muscular women in both standing and action poses. SI covers can actually be pretty poor references, as the ones Kelly posted show.

The interior SI shots may be fairly useless these days. I don’t know. I haven’t flipped through an issue in years. SI can post some good images on their website, but that doesn’t mean those images make it into the magazine. And you can get better images elsewhere online anyway. I’d say the odds are good that the artist who suggested looking at SI for anatomy hasn’t looked at an issue himself for years, and is either going from memory or just going with the name brand example.

Kelly is right that the Swimsuit issues are what a significant portion of the comics industry would prefer to use as a reference, though.

Ugh. You know what??? If people are STILL going to find new ways to complain about modern-day superhero comics–or any facet of the comic book industry, small or large–and no one is actually making any effort to change the industry itself, then why not just shoot the comic book industry dead at point-blank range and let it die a quick and painless death.

@Kelly Thompson: then thanks for explaining. It’s just that I saw it a bit as an attack on men.
The project is a good idea, and I do hope that it will be successful.

Good article. Well, good in that it was insightful and well written, bad that it had to be written at all. I personally don’t have a problem with displaying feminine beauty in an idealized form in comics. My problem is when it goes beyond idealized and in to impossible, as if to say Brooklyn Decker isn’t attractive unless her hips are smaller, shoulders wider and her spine is contorted in to a 180 degree pose.

To BenHerman, I gotta say, you’ve made a blog criticizing women based on their appearance, and appealing for conformity to your personal standards of beauty. No one needs that coming from you or I. As appalling as the portfolio reviewer’s suggestion that the Batwoman in that drawing is too fat, to suggest that skinny women are unattractive is just trading one untenable standard of beauty for another.

Ah…I hark back to Steve Ditko’s spidey and Betty Brant and Gwen Stacy as drawn by him. Mind you, there weren’t so may Ditko superheroines.

But if there had been, I don’t think they would all look like Jim Lee’s ones.

To Dave, I think you misunderstood what I wrote I my blog. I was definitely not criticizing women for their appearance. What I was attempting to say (and perhaps I could have phrased it better) was that as I perceived it, many woman nowadays feel the need to try to achieve some sort of impossible physical ideal that puts them at very real risk of health problems, and that I wished these women realized that these images are unrealistic fantasties, and the majority of men actually find a wide variety of different body types & shapes to be attractive. If a woman wants to be ultra-skinny because it genuinely makes her happy, then of course she should go ahead and do what she pleases. But if she’s doing it to make someone else happy, or (as I said) conform to some random ideal established by Hollywood, then there’s something wrong with that, because she’s trying to change herself to make others accept her.

A comic and tennis fan

July 31, 2012 at 8:11 am

I am a fan of both comics and tennis, and I’m afraid you’re incorrect in believing there’s an “ideal” physique for female tennis players. To take some of the great players of the past few years (Kim Clijsters, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Justine Henin), you’d see that they all have different body types (Clijsters and Serena come the closest to having a similar one).

Just wanted to comment on an incorrect belief that is similar to the one you’re acting against.

Personally, I’m tired of looking at these skinny-ass chicks on Sports Illustrated and modelling clothes. Dudes on the internet lookin’ thirsty about Kate Upton all the time, or a dozen other skinny little white girls. Eat a sandwich, please! That drawing, while a bit exaggerated, shows a woman with a real shape, some real womanly hips.

Maybe that’s just the way I was raised, but I’ll take Beyonce over any of these Sports Illustrated/models any day of the week, and twice on Sunday.


@A comic and tennis fan: I didn’t mean to imply that all tennis players bodies were the same – does anyone even think that with high profile stars like Venus and Serena and then Kornikova out there? They couldn’t have more different body types if they tried! Anyway, the point was just to say that there are thousands upon thousands of acceptable body types, shapes, sizes, and levels of fitness out there, particularly when it comes to sports and nobody is the same.

To everyone using this “Real Women Have Curves” thing both here and in their submissions to There’s The Door Spaceman:

We gotta not do that.

I understand where it comes from and that it’s largely an attempt to “take the power back” or whatever, and in the scope of comics women with “curves” are severely under-represented, but that statement flat out says that if you DON’T have curves that you are not a “real woman”…and that is just nuts.

Women come in a millions variations, curved and not, and they’re all women. Separating women that have curves into some “higher class” in an attempt to raise them up is definitely not the point here. The point is that variety is GOOD, variety is NATURAL, and variety is desperately what we need. To say that only women “with curves” are “real” is really just the same exact problem but in reverse, so let’s try to get away from that.

The point is wonderful variety.

A comic and tennis fan

July 31, 2012 at 9:27 am

You’re not saying that all of them are the same, but you’re saying there’s an “ideal” one, and I don’t agree with that (for tennis, at least, I leave it to those more familiar with other sports to decide for them). Maybe you left the quotes around “physical perfection” out accidentally for that sentence.

I’m sorry I think you’re just taking that sentence WAY too literally. Look at the sentence that immediately follows it. It would be a pretty big leap I think to say that I’m saying ANY physical perfection looks exactly the same as any another from sport to sport, or within the same sport – the entire point of the whole column is that variety is natural and good.

But you know, if you want to pull apart this one little line in a 1500 word piece that has nothing to do with the larger scope because you happen to like tennis, then y’know, have at it. I can’t stop you.

I don’t have a tumblr and never want one, but I’d love to submit someone like Mohawk Storm from the ’80s UXM run.


I always respected Claremont for taking risks, even when he was on top of the sales charts with his X-men run. Turning Storm from “perfect” regal goddess to punk street tough with no powers was a ballsy move. But taking away those superficial elements, she was still Storm; powerful, beautiful, intelligent, and the undisputed leader of the X-men. Even everyone favorite badass Wolverine followed her orders. It’s the most unconventional look Storm has ever had, and she’s never been more interesting.

Gotta say, while the idiotic editor’s comments are obviously appalling, I don’t quite think your Monroe comparison works. The two shots are from different perspectives, with arms and hence shoulders/torsos, in very different positions. Plus they seem to have very different amounts of torsos above the line.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a decent drawing, and what the media does to body-image is appalling. I really don’t think that that Kate Kane drawing has the same dimensions as Marilyn Monroe.

Great piece, otherwise.

I wish my daughter could read comics. As it is, I’m just not comfortable letting her.

And no one better recommend “Tiny Titans”! Screw that. The mainstream heroes were created for children, and the man-babies need to give them back.

“that statement flat out says that if you DON’T have curves that you are not a “real woman”…and that is just nuts.”


Firstly, I want to honestly (if somewhat tackily) congratulate you on bringing up one of the true goddesses this world has seen to make your point about the Batwoman drawing. Made me think of recent discussions that started when an anorexic website decried the recent public obsession with Kate Upton because “she’s way too fat.”

Secondly, you are 100% right. This is why we can’t have nice things. We are better than this people.

Are there many male heroes that don’t have supermodel physiques? I can only think of the (comical) Volstagg. This isn’t meant to be a witty riposte, I’m on Kelly’s side (just followed the tumblr), I’m genuinely surious how long that list is.

Also, you should enable the submit function on the tumblr, it’s way easier to submit that way than emailing from a tumblrite’s POV.

Oh, and I think a lot of people will take the title the way @Ultron did, it seems needlessly confrontational out of context. Remedied by putting “showing that idea the door” in the subtitle perhaps? But it’s still a line directed towards Supes, not an abstract concept or anything…

@Jeremy, all that “skinny chicks – eat a sandwich! i likes my wimmen REAL!” crap hacks me off like you wouldn’t believe. Can’t we all just play nice?

@Ted, my reaction is similar.

@dnwilliams: I don’t think it’s NEEDLESSLY confrontational, I think it’s necessarily confrontational.

But it’s arrogant to assume (I think) that “spaceman” translates to MEN. And a ton of people – men and women alike are not taking it that way…so I don’t think it’s missing its mark.

I’ll see about changing the submitting options. I don’t really like the Tumblr direct submit. Via email gives me a bit more control to formatting/content/etc.

You can be very specific about the formatting of submissions, example here just for reference: http://moviesinframes.tumblr.com/submit

I wouldn’t say arrogant to assume, more natural to assume. “Spaceman” isn’t the same as “guys” or whatever, I’ve never seen a female character referred to as a spaceman, ever. To use your Google logic, that search is going to exclusively result in dudes. A gender-neutral term would be “alien” or “extra-terrestrial” or “Kryptonian” or whatever. And I don’t personally feel it is needlessly confrontational, only that can seem that way without context and I imagine there’ll be a few more people to contact you having interpreted it the same way Ultron did in future. Just saying. It’s great in context – reminds me of “into the garbage chute, flyboy” – and with your explanation as to why you chose it.

When have you ever seen anyone (other than a “spaceman”) referred to as a spaceman? I’m not sure I’m getting it. Sure the term “alien” would be even less gendered by societal standards…but then it’s no longer in context and not inspired by anything (and also sounds stupid). It’s from a very specific thing, most people that know about comics know about this thing (whether they like it or not)…I don’t find myself remotely moved to changing it.

I’m also not a fan of needlessly assigning gender to things that don’t HAVE to have gender assigned to them, and delighted to in fact subvert that trend whenever I can…it’s why my book is called The Girl Who Would Be King.

If people want to misinterpret that, they can. I’m not here to mollycoddle and try to be polite. It’s a good phrase, it’s used in context on the “what this blog is about” post, it links back to this article, and if people want to misinterpret it with all of those things at their disposal, then they were probably trying a bit too hard anyway.

There are female space-faring characters that would never be referred to as spacemen is all I was saying. I wasn’t suggesting the blog name be changed, not at all. Just recognizing that when Cooke wrote those words, they were intended to be flippant towards Supes and unable to be misinterpreted in the context of the story, but that Ultron’s response to the name of the blog is probably going to happen a lot, even if it is sometimes arrogant tryhards in need of mollycoddling responding that way, because words directed towards Superman are now words directed towards an antiquated and alien idea.

I was going to mention this on Brian’s post about this, but never got around to it, so I’ll post it here: I ran into a similar problem when I was working on finding artists for a comic project I’ve been trying to start for the last two years. I specifically said to the people I was hoping to work with (notably artistically inclined friends, not professionals, and I guess also notably, all male artists) that I had two female superheroes I needed designs for: one a 19-year-old Japanese-Caucasian mixed-race girl who I wanted to be “petite”, and the other a Caucasian woman in her mid-twenties for whom I wanted a “swimmer’s build”. Without fail, every sketch I received back was a stereotypical comic heroine with big hips, a tiny waist, and big boobs.

Needless to say, I still have not filled those positions.

I still say her proportions make her look short rather than “fat”, and I like the drawing, a lot of potential there.
I made a submission to your Tumblr. (I bet Sue laughed like crazy when you told her.) :)

I think the bigger issue is that this image was stolen from the cover to Batwoman #1.


It looks like the artist couldn’t properly draw the neck because it was hidden by Batwoman’s arm in the original. Ironic that people are upset over this image, considering it was essentially from a very popular and mainstream book.


Hahaha. Wait…you’re kidding right? Please tell me you’re kidding.

The body is nearly exactly the same, right down to the wisps of smoke on her breasts in the cover being turned into weird reflections in the copied drawing.

Franklin’s right, that’s a swipe for sure.

There are definitely strong similarities in the hip area, shadowing in the breast area and shadows on the mask. But you’d have to be fucking nuts to call it a straight swipe of Batwoman #1. Seriously, wisps of smoke on her breast? A belt has been added, full face has been added, right arm is completely new.

Now, if you can find a reference for the belt, face and right arm, I would have no problem calling it a swipe from multiple sources. What I see is an “on model” drawing of the character with some weaknesses in the neck. Seriously, to fuck up the neck the way the artist did, you can’t swipe the cover to Batwoman #1.

Looking at the 2 images side by side in 2 windows on my computer, I think I’d have to say there are a lot of similarities. To joshschr’s point about the belt, the belt IS there in the cover image, it’s just a little hard to see with the skull coloring in front of it.

I would say that the #1 cover image was the reference, certainly, although I don’t know that’d I’d go further than that. There are enough different elements (the hair, the background, the positioning of the arms), but it seems like it’s the point of reference.

If anything, it looks like JHW3 made Kate a bit bigger in the hips than this artist.

I like it, and not just because I like females who aren’t sticks. the image looks ‘real’ to me, not idealized. A style I’d love to see in comics, especially with ‘new heroes’ who haven’t been doing the ‘batman thing’ for 10 years in a row.

My apologies for offending anyone with the title of my blog post. And I’m very glad Kate liked the Jaime Hernandez pieces I submitted to There’s The Door Spaceman. I see there’s some very interesting artwork up on the site now.

Gonna have to agree that it looks like a swipe. It’s been changed enough, but if you take certain elements that are the same as the cover image – the torso, right down to the shine and the clothing folds on the hip, the left hand, the fold in the cape coming off the hand, the shine on the cowl – all these things are exactly the same.

Which means you’re left with the neck (already mentioned), the mouth (look at the perspective difference between the nose and the mouth/chin line, the bottom of that cowl should be virtually straight), the hair (what’s with the horizontal lines? If you have that much hair you don’t need a combover), the cape, and the right arm, are all added by the artist, and all the weakest parts of the image.

Caanan – a swipe…? Really?

You know how I value your opinion as both awesome dude and phenomenal artist, but that to me is a masasive leap. I absolutely agree that it’s inspired by that image and she used it for reference (and why not, it’s a beautiful cover by one of the best artists in the business of the character she’s representing?! And that fact by the way lends even more hilarity to the idea that the figure is wrong – considering it’s similar to the way one of the best of the bests in comics opted to render her)…but a swipe?!

Referenced and inspired by I can go for absolutely, but a swipe? Not even close.

Glad an artist chimed in – using another artist as reference instead of using reference as reference to the extent that this person did *is* swiping. It’s not as though the picture was looked at to stay on-model, it’s a direct copy with three or so (poorly executed) changes, which is all good if you’re 12 years old, practicing, and doing so privately, but she’s passing it off as original art when it’s clearly not.

Swiping isn’t a bad thing. Not in artistic terms. We all swipe tricks from artists all over the place we admire and add it to our own personal armory of pencil powered style. It’s how we develop our own style. We appropriate. And we try to do it in such minimal, incremental, ways that we don’t end up being accused of swiping. :)

I’d say whoever this artist is copied the JHW pic in question. Not traced, just copied, because they like it. They’re most likely in a state of growth more than a state of mischievous intent.

Related thoughts exploring issues, and quoting another article of yours (thanks).

[…] This is why we can’t have nice things Women-in-comics, still an […]

[…] I haven’t even mentioned the unfeasible proportions used in most cartoons. Apparently, this is required for […]

I love the work! I prefer a style that showcase the artist’s talent and not an artist trying to look like the ‘standard’ comic book super hero fare! I’ve done some illustration work myself and always try to keep my own in voice in what I do. Thought I would share one of my pieces: http://browse.deviantart.com/art/New-Generation-Miss-America-165655425. Look forward to seeing more of your She Has No Head articles!

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Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

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