[Image: A row of drawn figures of the women of the X-Men teams. Storm, Jubilee, Shadowcat, Psylocke, Rogue, and White Queen in a row. They are all the same size and shape, with only costuming, hair and skin color changed between them to represent the characters.]
Minimalist X-Girls by one of my good friends Mike/Xayden
Honestly, the fact that they don’t have faces creeps me the fuck out. Because they’re NOT minimalist—they’re stylized but with a fair amount of detail, and I like the art style, but then they DON’T HAVE FACES. Gross.
And that’s not even getting into the generally problematic portrayal of women in mainstream superhero comics.
Their bodies are all the same. With no faces, the only thing that differentiates them from one another is their costuming and hair. And that’s…. yeah. They’re interchangeable and that’s creepy.
I wish I had art skills because I’d love to draw these characters with body diversity as well as size diversity. I don’t just mean making some of them heavier (maybe even fat), but making some of them flat chested or wide hipped or short or stocky or very curvy or more muscular than smooth/bikini-model esque.
I also long for a comic series that does this. Because part of the reason I don’t really read comics is that I really have no patience for another source of “entertainment” that regards me and people who’s bodies don’t look like white bikini models to be non existent or only fit for villains (notice that villains like Kingpin, the Blob, and others are LARGER people). TV shows and movies and books already do this enough, thanks. I just don’t have the mental strength to fill my brain with images that remind me that you’re only awesome if you’re a size 2 with IMPROBABLY FIRM AND GIGANTIC BOOBS (I have big breasts and I require one hell of a bra when I want to go do athletic things).
Which is why even though I love the X-Men series in theory and liked the movies well enough, I haven’t picked up a comic book since sometime in 2003. Because I don’t expect Marvel comics as an entity to grow a conscience and hire some artists who know how to draw a b-cup or a big booty or wide hips or even, heavens forfend, fat people and to write plotlines that reflect such people as being just as fantastic and heroic and interesting as everyone else.
And I suppose the above poster doesn’t watch films, either, because you know Hollywood blah blah MGM Universal blah blah. Or read books because Harlequin blah Diet/Self-help books blah blah blah. Or read magazines because after all, Maxium etc….
Marvel =/= “Comics”, Fuck, Marvel =/= Superheros, either.
Marvel started the “Minx” line [ Correction via relissoawesome: “Minx was a DC project, largely backed by Karen Berger and Shelly Bond.” ], which had a lot more female representation, variety of bodies and stories [though not ages as they were marketed towards tween-older teen age girls] yet…a lot of that line “failed”, because people like the above poster are more willing to give up on a whole medium for fairly superficial reasons. Yeah, I said it: superficial, “I don’t like this specific book/line of books” or even “this specific book/line of books has something I disagree with morally/politically/philosophically so I am disinclined to read any other books.” I use books with a purpose, because it sounds ridiculous when you think of all the different types of books that are out there. Comics is exactly the same; and by rejecting the medium you are perpetuating the problem, the kinds of representations you want to see aren’t reaching the sales quotas, because the target-audience-you is so fickle as to not maintain interest long enough to be in the right place to buy it. The retail sources don’t stock it as much because it doesn’t sell as well, and the company puts less time in funding and green-lighting projects like that because it doesn’t appeal to the audiences they’ve learned to rely on. Additionally, smaller presses have limited runs and distro, and the lack of a wider market makes it harder to break into wider distribution. Sorry for the momentary lapse into capitalism, but that’s how businesses work right now. Marvel and DC are more than willing to run their business into the ground marketing to the audience they’ve learned to rely on, chalking up lack of growth due to the death of the print industry and general lack of interest. In effect, the concept of staying out of the medium entirely totally destroys the desired objective. You can’t say the current state of female representation in mainstream superhero comics offends you and then refuse to support all comics entirely. Comics aren’t one single thing with a single purpose and single message, and the industry won’t change if you only see it as that.