This is an interesting issue for a few reasons. One, it is the story of Harper Row the female character that Scott Snyder created after being denied the use of Cass Cain. Two, it’s the first time a woman has drawn either Detective or Batman. The terrific Becky Cloonan now holds that title.
So let’s stop to look at this cover for a minute as it is DC Comics history:
This is not so much a critique post as it is a conformation of how absurd the standards of art in the comic book industry have become.
I traveled to San Diego Comic Con this year and participated in the portfolio reviews they where holding from Thursday to Sunday. Although I will admit I am not the best artist in the world, I really wanted to try and show them that comic book art could be done in a realistic manor while still keeping the superhuman aesthetics of the art form.
This Batwoman piece was the work that I gained the most flack for from all the companies because the anatomy was as they quoted ‘not industry standard.’ At one company (which I shall choose to not name) I was given a full critique on the anatomical incorrections as the following.
“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.”
Peak of human perfection? I don’t know about you, but I don’t see living on salad and dietary pills as perfection.
I would like to say this was just the opinion of one editor from one company, but I found similar opinions at almost every review I went to. By the end I was pretty upset, having been following this blog for very long and trying hard to make my anatomy believable and human. But this is not something the comic book industry seems to want, and it’s something that I thought everyone deserved to be informed on.
Again, this is not to bring attention to me and my own art, but rather inform the community of just what their artistic standards are, and why so many what we deem ‘bad artists’ are able to get full careers working for these companies.
Your Batwoman pic is awesome, and it’s not like you didn’t give her curves or anything and her breasts aren’t small. What do they think swimsuit models look like in a costume anyway? And honestly, your piece is a lot closer to that SI cover than a lot of the “industry standard” art, but it is interesting that they consider Sports Illustrated swimsuit models as what superheroines should look like (even though they don’t end up looking like SI swimsuit models either.)
It doesn’t surprise me though, but it’s sad that that is considered the “peak of human perfection” though. I think they’re confusing “what I find attractive in women” and “a woman at the peak of athletic perfection” much less “human perfection.”
(As a note, I don’t think we should assume that professional models necessarily exist on diet pills and salads, nor that thin people are necessarily unhealthily starving themselves. Also, SI images probably are quite touched up too.)
The bizarre thing about the critique is that Batwoman’s proportions in that rendering are depicted approximately the same as they are in J.H. Williams III’s version, which at this point is the iconic Batwoman.
Cool news for fans of both Chew and Batman.
Animal Man is taking over my life.
This came out today and Jeff Lemire just fucking nails it. Deepens the mythology while at the same time throwing in a Grant Morrison-esque moment with Buddy Baker (our current Animal Man) and Jacob Mullin (the Animal Man of 1894). I’m really digging this idea of “Into every generation an Avatar of the Red, the Green and of the Rot is born…” But it’s not just a one shot, it’s a primer for the throw down that’s to come and it also makes you go, “Hmmm. Bu-wha-wait a minute there!” Get it. Then go get issues 1-9 if you haven’t yet already.
But not only that, these two lovely gems came into my collection today. They are right up there next to my Sandman #1 (first edition, first printing thank you very much).
The first appearance of Buddy Baker and his origin story. September 1965.
And also his first appearance in costume in July of 1966.
In short: I win.
In shorts: I lose.