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December 13 2007

(SPOILER) Four page preview for 'Angel: After The Fall' #2. This issue will be out on December 19th.

God i hope this'll be good because the art just leaves me cold.
I'm thinking these are out of order or something...

Looks interesting, though.
I'm really liking this. It really feels like the show. The colouring of the art has improved a lot, and the writing and dialogue is spot on.

I think the order is Page 1,3,2,4 (Edited - your right Saje, thanks;))

The relationship between Angel and Wes is really complicated. They are back to end of Season 3/start of Season 4 now, not trusting, but wanting to. Hope it can be repaired again.
I love how Angel still is looking out for Connor. The Hell line is great. And also I love how Nina is all pissed at him. Fair enough I suppose:) He really is on his own.


The page of Angel POV of driving is brilliant. Just love that.
Cant wait to get this!

[ edited by angeliclestat on 2007-12-13 14:27 ]
I make it 1,3,2,4. 1st page - Angel talks to Wes while prepping for journey to see Connor, 2nd (3rd) page - Angel leaving garage to travel to Connor's, 3rd (2nd) page - Angel arrives at Connor's where he has an "awkward" interaction with Latexia, Queen of the Fetish Women Nina, 4th page - Angel arrives in Westwood where hijinks are ensuing.

Hmm, Wesley can leave WR&H ? Does this mean he's tied to Angel rather than the building ? "Right then" ... "I'll stay here and haunt the fort". Vintage Wes ;).

It's hard to tell from 4 pages but the colours already look more vivid and distinct to me. Maybe i'm just seeing what I want to see though, have to wait until the issue arrives.

(and yay with the pre-Crimbo release date, happy Chanukinvictus ;)
I'm really looking forward to getting this comic, though with delays in the Christmas post, it could be next wekend before I see it.

I didn't have a problem with the colouring before, but the slightly brighter colours make the drawings clearer and I think that I prefer it, on the whole, to the colouring on #1.
Ya it's great it is coming out before Xmas. Cant believe its out next week!

Also Ryall has confirmed on the IDW forums that issue #3 will be out on January 16th:)
Looking good,I like the new coloring although I didn't have a problem with the coloring in issue 1 either.
I had a big problem with the earlier coloring and think this new coloring is fantastic. Yay new colorist! I can actually see what's going on and I like it - being able to see, as well as (hints of) what's going on.

Nina seems strange and sharply different from the person we knew before, but I shouldn't be surprised about that. She would be deeply affected by the hellish non-sun/non-moon situation. I guess. I hope we get more background on what's up with her and her slutty new outfit, plus why she's with Connor. I'm sure we will.

The whole thing is looking good. I'm really excited to pick up this issue next week, assuming my comic store doesn't have trouble again stocking it.
Hey, my boy gave me a shout out! Good on ya, Wes. ;)

Art overall is MUCH improved this issue. Not sure I'd realized that the new colorist was jumping on as soon as issue two, but that seems to be the case.

And as for Nina, I don't know how much of her attitude is directly tied to Angel and how much is just her new supercharged werewolf emotions... But still fun to read the awkwardness.
Well, Nina's got about 8lbs. of extra tatters that she has to haul around now. That would make any girl cranky.
Hmm. You know, I do seem to remember whatzhername, Veruca, from Buffy S4 have some disproportion there when she changed into lupine form... Maybe it's actually an artistic attempt to maintain some shred of continuity within the Buffyverse...?

Naah, I don't buy it either. :-)
Hmm. You know, I do seem to remember whatzhername, Veruca, from Buffy S4 have some disproportion there when she changed into lupine form... Maybe it's actually an artistic attempt to maintain some shred of continuity within the Buffyverse...?

Naah, I don't buy it either. :-)


Good try, though...

I don't know, I hate to be the lone dissenter here, but this really isn't doing much for me. I know it takes a while for anything to find its feet, so I'll stick with it for a while, but so far it just isn't connecting.
Maybe it's because I've been Angel marathoning for a few weeks now, but I like this sneak peak. I am holding off starting the comics till I've run through to season 5 end (poorly holding off obviously, with the looking at previews and all). The perspectives and feel of some of the panels were lovely. Mostly it's the dialogue though. I found myself giving wry grins to this all the way through.

Totally with everyone on the 'art' for the girls though. It's like having a guy who picks up the comic while you're reading and repeatedly bops you on the head with it while shouting "you're all fecking whores to meee" in a whiny accent. Or something.

Yeah - I hope they stop that.
I feel guilty even thinking it... I like the story ideas, but the art itself just does nothing for me. I have no interest in looking at it. I'd rather read the text. Somehow, I don't think that's the angle they were going for... Hope it gets better..... :( {ducks}
It's like having a guy who picks up the comic while you're reading and repeatedly bops you on the head with it while shouting "you're all fecking whores to meee" in a whiny accent.

Which is bad, right ? Course it is ... Note to self: adjust chat-up strategy.
Agreed, the art is clearer this time and the coloring is a big reason for it.

But Rowan Hawthorn, I'm with you on not so far being enthralled with the story. 'Course it's taken me a while to warm up to Buffy as a comic book, too. But, while I get the whole joy of doing post-apocalypse story setting, somehow it just seems wrong to me that Team Angel's last stand should have ended up bringing this about. That was a heroic act, dang it, plus they destroyed the Circle of the Thorns - the Senior Partners shouldn't have the power to pull all of L.A. into a hell dimension after that.

And, has anyone else in the world (ie. Buffyverse) noticed that L.A. is missing? Or are they just putting down the complete lack of any television programming (or movies, or buildings) to the writers' strike?
My biggest criticism of Buffy 8 is it's perverse determination to spend a great deal of time on elements I never really warmed to, as in potentials, initiative etc.(large or small Dawn) I'm feeling more tinglies with this though, and probably want too much too soon. I'm glad that Connor is there, but I hope that they don't spend too much time with him, and Nina is another problem entirely. Good with the Wesley though, but more about Gunn - and where's Spike? Any chance we'll get Cordelia back? Lila? Darla?
Back on another thread, Brian Lynch pointed out that breast reduction was hard to find in hell. It made sense. Obviously we can now add to that that the act of entering hell blows up breasts to a uniform triple D and crops all shirts on women above the midriff. I figure that that's good information to keep up with. ;-)

Actually, if I remember correctly, he also said that the way the women are drawn will calm down a bit. I'm assuming it may take a couple issues.

The coloring also looks better to me than the first issue did.

I agree that there is a concentration in both series on characters I was never all that interested in. I guess we shall see whether that continues.
I am loving the Buffy 8 comics. Maybe a little too much, even. And though I will continue to read Angel 6, I am not nearly as excited and spazzy about it. Frankly, I love the new slayer girls and all the potential (haha) they add to the story. I loved Gigi, love Satsu, and can't wait to see where things go.

As far as Angel's artwork, I also feel kinda strange about the way the women are drawn. I feel like I should be a 14 year old straight male to be enjoying it, and as a 24 year old gay man, it just sorta offends me. Sorta. Now, I wouldn't mind so much if they put Angel, Wes and Gunn in something a little skimpier... =)
All I can say to those that have issues with the boobs situation in this book is that you should all just be grateful that Frank Cho wasn't chosen to be the artist on this series. Then you really would be seeing some serious increase in the average breast size of the Angelverse. ;)

Maybe I'm a little less politically correct than others here or maybe it's because I've read comics all of my life but how big the ladies are in the chest department and how much (or how little) they are seen to be wearing really isn't something I'm noticing. If you look at how any given comic book female is drawn, from Susan Richards to Kitty Pryde, you will see their boob size change depending on the artist doing the artwork. Just the nature of the beast that is comic books.

And 5X5B, speaking as a 32 year old straight guy, trust me when I say that for many of us the appreciation of scantily clad women with large boobs stays with us for a hell of a long time beyond the age of 14. ;)
Maybe you're right RokkRage, but I haven't noticed the size of Angel's (or any other male character's) package changing dramatically now that they're in comic form.

It just strikes me as a cheap (if atypical) shot. The actress that played Nina was well proportioned and all, but her comic likeness has gone through some ridiculous changes.

But maybe there's a retcon coming up. Nina couldn't go to Hawaii because she didn't want to miss the appointment she had with her plastic surgeon.
Maybe you're right RokkRage, but I haven't noticed the size of Angel's (or any other male character's) package changing dramatically now that they're in comic form.


You haven't been looking closely enough!
Nor are you likely to, MadeToLoveJoss, for the simple reason that we aren't talking about something that has anything to do with equal treatment of the sexes. Every artist has his or her own style which is heavily influenced by his or her own personal tastes. Typically there are more male artists in the comic world, which has led to the decades old trend of many female characters ending up with bodies that match up to the typical male fantasy female form.

I'm not saying that this is right or wrong and I'm not suggesting that anyone should think it fair or proper. All I'm saying is that it isn't going to change any time soon and ultimately I'd have to suggest that you don't let it bother you. Read the story and don't pay too much attention to the artist's personal style because at the end of the day that is all that it speaks to. Franco Urru chooses to draw his female characters this way and that is his right, like it or not. Personally I'm more interested in the story than whether or not Urru chooses to accurately represent Nina's breast size.
Well I'm loving what I'm seeing so far of this series. Far more I have to say then season 8 which I found a bit of a disappointment for a whole host of reasons that I won't bother you with right now.

I'm also a long time comic reader, and I've also become used to 'top heavy' images of women in comics. Not saying it's god thing, but comics as a whole are mostly aimed at men, and I don't see ATF as being an exception, sadly.

Having said that I'd rather have Nina looking like a full grown women in ATF, then the rather weird way some of the women (such as Faith in the last issue) are depicted as looking like 12 year olds in season 8.
Huzzah, RokkRage! Very well said. I completely agree that this isn't an equal rights thing, or even a sexism thing. As you say, each artist working in comics has his (or her) own style. Many of those styles involve exaggerated physiques for both male and female characters. Now obviously this isn't the direction Urru's personal style leans, but it's just as disturbing for adolescent boys to grow up reading stories with grotesquely exaggerated musculature as it is for young women to see comics women with exaggerated breasts. It's not the end of he world, just the nature of the beast. Either ignore it or embrace it. *shrug*
I'm not saying that this is right or wrong and I'm not suggesting that anyone should think it fair or proper. All I'm saying is that it isn't going to change any time soon and ultimately I'd have to suggest that you don't let it bother you. Read the story and don't pay too much attention to the artist's personal style because at the end of the day that is all that it speaks to. Franco Urru chooses to draw his female characters this way and that is his right, like it or not. Personally I'm more interested in the story than whether or not Urru chooses to accurately represent Nina's breast size.
RokkRage | December 14, 00:07 CET


It's not the end of he world, just the nature of the beast. Either ignore it or embrace it. *shrug*
Haunt | December 14, 00:29 CET


Personally I find the assertion that acceptance or ignor-ance(?) are considered my only two choices far more disturbing than the images that we are discussing. (They actually don't bother me all that much, though for me they do pull me out of the story and take a certain sheen off the comic.) Comic enthusiasts have told me what an integral part of the comic medium the art is, but according to these comments if I don't like what the art is doing or saying, I am suppose to ignore it. (...and I would guess keep my mouth shut like a good little girl. See, that just popped right out of my fingers, unbidden. The comments here are bugging me much more than the art in the comic book.)

Unllike the artwork I actually find those statements rather shocking. I reserve my right to not like any element of any piece of art. Will my opinion of that piece overwhelm my opinion of the work to the point that I do not care for the entire work? Maybe, or maybe not. It depends a host of factors that would be way too boring to go into, but if I was interested enough in something about the work, I would want to consider all it's elements to decide how I felt about it overall.

BTW is the text also included in this prohibition, or is just the artwork sacrosanct? And if huge boobed babes are *not*, as has been stated and I had no reason to disbelieve, an across the board thing in comics, why is it something that is being presented here as so ingrained that we should not even bother to protest against it.

I was somewhere between amused and watchful before, but now I'm getting riled up and annoyed.
Err, "either ignore it or embrace it" ? Not to flog this poor equine bastard yet again but, huh ? WTF ? So because something is standard practice our options are to either grin and bear it or ignore it ? I'm sorry but no, those aren't our only options nor should they be. If it's bad to see exaggerated male physiques (and I agree it is, except in specific instances) then let's make an effort not to support that sort of mindless adherence to stereotypes.

Sure, don't get that worked up about it because it's SOP BUT, at the same time, we can't just sit back and say "OK, blatant sexism is a matter of course here, let's not worry about it". Bollocks more like ;). Worry about it folks, nibble at it, fret over it, generally be aware of it. That's how change is affected.

Imagine "Each writer has his or her own style. Some just have to describe black people as niggers, it's simply their preference". Is that OK ? Thinking not (but I bet 50 years ago you could find people that said so).
Guys, you are both missing the point we, and I think I can speak for Haunt here too, are making.

Artistic style is something that should never have to be explained or rationalised. I know many "real" artists don't always hold comic book art up to that same standard but I personally do. Urru should be free to create art in any way he chooses to do so and that includes exactly how he chooses to draw the female form. Now, that doesn't mean that you have to like it but it certainly should never come to the point where an artist is forced to change his style to suit the people he is creating that art for.

The editor of a comic can, of course, refuse to use the artwork or you, as an individual, can refuse to buy said comic book but the artist should always create as he or she sees fit. Boob size included.

Is that sexist? Ask the artist. Only he knows why he chooses to draw a person the way he does. Doesn't really matter to me because it's not a choice I'm making. In this particular case it is a decision made by Franco Urru and it's one that I will leave him to make because it certainly isn't stopping me from enjoying the story I buy the comics to read.

Saje, I would argue that if a writer chooses to use the word nigger in his work then that is his right also. I choose not to use it myself but if a writer is working on a story where the word is necessary then so be it. I'll judge the work based on the whole, rather than an individual aspect that I may not agree with. Same as I do in this case.
Wow this got serious really fast. I agree that the artist should be able to draw his art however he/she sees fit. I also agree that the viewer has a complete right to like or dislike, ignore or be offended by whatever that art contains. Such is art.

The women of Angel the Series were beautiful, slender women (Charisma, Amy, etc) but were not typically walking around with their enormous boobs hanging out. The change from the TV series to the comic is what brings me out of the story and kinda makes me cringe. I, personally, wish it were not so in the comic. But that is just me. I still love the story.

And I'm still voting for a scantily clad Angel. =P
Comics artists are commissioned. As such, they are subject to the desires of the patron -- or they don't get other commissions. This is not a case of an artist doing his own thing and then trying to find someone to buy it.

I happen to agree with newcj and saje here, but I would also like to reiterate the point I made last week -- that many of us were drawn to Joss's work because of his greater sensitivity to issues surrounding the representation of women. When the artists merely resort to the same old stereotypes seen in other comics, then the message that comes across is one that subverts Joss's intentions -- and thus turns off the very fans who came to his work because of its *difference* from the same old stereotypes.
Well again calmer heads (and more thoughtful writing) wins out over my rushed as-I'm-leaving-work iPhone post. I admit my "embrace it or ignore it" was oversimplistic and poorly worded. But as before I have to say huzzah to RokkRage for perfectly explaining what I was thinking.

I'm not saying that the rule (or ANY rule for that matter) applies across the medium. I think there's bound to be at least one person hereabouts that has witnessed my various rabid defense of comics as a medium. Not ALL comic artists exaggerate the women in their works. And I'm constantly annoyed by the willingness of many to paint all of comicdom with one broad brush like that. So clearly I'm not trying to say that big boobs just come with the territory.

Paradoxically, I AM saying that exaggerated physiques are fairly common in comics art. Common enough that after 30 years of reading I simply don't notice it that much anymore. I'm much more concerned with whether or not the art is GOOD, as in aesthetically pleasing to me. In the case of Franco Urru, so far I say 'meh'... but his fetish for big boobs just doesn't register with me one way or the other.

As for your suggestion that we not just sit back, that we nibble at it, fret over it, etc? Well 99 times out of 100 I completely and totally agree with me. It's funny because those that know me best would be all over that statement, loudly proclaiming me the loudest and most obnoxious of the "Heroes don't accept the world the way it is. They fight it!" crowd. But I guess I've been indoctrinated... drinking the Kool-Aid too long or something. *shrug*

Anyways, sometimes I just feel like fretting and fussing about things like this serve no other purpose that fretting and fussing. The big boobs here (and any overly muscled [or otherwise "endowed"] men we may see in future issues) are an artistic choice that this fellow from Italy has chosen to make. I'm not the biggest fan of his artwork, but as in real life it ain't the size of the breasts that make me like or dislike it. And so far I don't dislike it enough to quit reading it. If it's a deal breaker for you guys, well then what is there to be said?

And regarding newcj's comments about the art being an integral part of the comics medium, well you're absolutely right. The art is integral to the comics medium because it's the combination of art and text that MAKES it a comic. But the importance you as a reader place on either aspect may vary from what another reader feels. It can also vary from one comic to another, even within a single series. The single greatest example of the comics medium, in my not-so-humble opinion, is Neil Gaiman's Sandman. The writing alone in that series I happily hold up to the finest in "real" literature, and it proudly sits on my shelf next to Shakespeare and Tolkien. And being a comic book it naturally had artwork accompanying all those fancy words. Unfortunately the art in the first few arcs was more or less atrocious. Didn't lessen the overall work for me one bit. Likewise I love Mike Mignola's Hellboy, but I'm the first to admit that Mignola is no Gaiman when it comes to writing. He doesn't suck, mind you... I wouldn't go so far as to say his writing is the literary equivalent of big boobs for example. But in his case it's more his artwork that draws me in. Even in the case of a not-so-amazing story, there are times when great or even just interesting artwork is reason enough to read a comic.

So six of one, half a dozen of another.
The women of Angel the Series were beautiful, slender women

Which brings up yet another issue entirely.....

I'm not real fond of the depictions of women in either BS8 or ATF (in Buffy they look like bobble-headed 12 year olds, and in ATF they're center-of-gravity-challenged hourglasses). Urru is free to draw his female characters anyway he likes, and I'm free to complain. I'm also free to ask him why he draws the way he does, and while he certainly wouldn't have to respond, that's a big difference from "artistic style is something that should never have to be explained".
The story? Still dark, still great. The art? Still messy, still iffy.

As far as the whole exaggerated endowments issue goes...I'm not saying anything even remotely in the vicinity of "take it or leave it," but I'm like Haunt: I've been reading comics so long that it just fails to register with me anymore. Maybe the only reason I've picked up on it in Angel is because Joss is taking a good deal of care making sure the same doesn't happen over on Buffy.

At least Franco isn't Rob Liefeld.
And thank god for that, UPC. More than one Rob Liefeld is, I believe, one of the signs of the apocalypse. Not 'A' apocalypse... THE apocalypse.
The Scoobies or the Fang Gang would be nothing against that.

The thing is, I know I have quite a few comics where he's the penciller. I don't read 'em much; they're not very good. But I didn't realize until recently how much he is reviled and how awful he truly is.
And yet he still works. Go figure...
That's well put palehorse, pretty much what i'm trying to say.

I agree Rokkrage that Urru (or any other artist) is free to draw as he wishes, and thank FSM for it, may his noodly appendages forever support freedom of expression ;). Freedom and responsibility go hand-in-hand though and if we're to assume that art affects attitudes and can effect real change in the world (which I think and hope it can) then the way women (and men) are depicted is worth considering, in exactly the same way as the representation of black people is now considered beforehand and the way the representation of gay people is beginning to be.

To be honest, as another long time comics reader, I too am more or less unconscious of the 'boob-factor' (except in cases extreme even for 'underwear perverts' e.g. Power Girl, whose boobs are so exaggerated it's almost become a running joke. Or rather not running, cos, y'know, black-eye alert ;).

I'm noticing it more in these comics though because it's this 'verse. It's entirely predicated on the genderal (it's a word ... no, don't check the dictionary, just trust me ... hey, come back here, what did I say about trust ? ;) status quo not being all that fab, being something that needs changing. Stuff like the way the female body is portrayed in (some) comics is a (minor. Ish) symptom/cause of that IMO.

(i'm also maybe slightly hyper-aware of it after the discussion about the bath scene in Buffy, or 'bum-gate' as i'm trying to make it become known - in that instance I didn't think it was gratuitous but it did make me start thinking about possible friction between a fictional universe almost designed to subvert gender clichés and a medium that doesn't have the best track record in that respect, at least as far as common perception goes)

And Haunt, dude, that iPhone is gonna get you in trouble one of these days. Is Steve Jobs trying to get you into fights or what ? ;)
But even in the case of Rob Liefeld (and believe me when I say that I'm not much of a fan either) his style is his style and he is entitled to stick to it for as long as he wishes, anatomy be damned! ;)

The thing is that he continues to get work and his books continue to sell, regardless of the fact many people don't like his work. Another example of good art being a subjective matter.

Comics artists are commissioned. As such, they are subject to the desires of the patron -- or they don't get other commissions. This is not a case of an artist doing his own thing and then trying to find someone to buy it.


Actually it's exactly a case of that. Urro is doing his own thing and he is hoping that people will buy it. So far I'd say that he is getting his wish.

As I said further up, an editor can choose not to use an artist or a fan can choose not to purchase a book they they have drawn but that is as far as their control over the artwork should go. Beyond that the artist should be left to create as they wish.

We all have our likes and dislikes. I personally hate manga style art and I remember very clearly how unhappy I was when Marvel started using the style more and more in their books. You think it's an issue seeing women with overly large boobs? Try seeing all your favourite comic book heroes suddenly walking around with feet three times as large as their heads! ;)

A good example of this was the original X-Factor run. I loved that book and was a massive fan of the likes of Whilce Portacio, Larry Stroman and other artists from the books run but then Jeff Matsuda was hired for the book and I really was not happy to see Forge, Havok, Mystique and the rest of the team running around like big cartoons. Don't get me wrong, Matsuda is excellent at what he does but what he does happens to be a style I don't really enjoy. When that happened I could easily have made the choice to walk away from the book but I chose to stick with it because of a love of the characters and the story. I simply made the choice to ignore the style of artwork and accept the artist for how he wanted to work.

That is all I am suggesting to anyone here who has an issue with how Urru chooses to draw hiw female characters. Accept that as an artist who has been given this job to do he is free to work exactly how he wants to work and it's up to you to choose to either go with his personal style and enjoy the story or walk away from the book altogether. You don't have to be happy with the boob sizes any more than I was happy to see Wildchild turn into a Looney Tunes cat but you do have to accept that Urru has the right to work exactly how he desires.

Saje, in nearly every possible way I agree with what you are saying above but one thing I don't ever want to see happen is comic book art having to limit itself to reality. In a genre that is 90% superheroes I think if we start demanding a "reality check" on the human physique, both male and female, then we are going to lose something of the unique nature of comic art. The guys should always be drawn with massive muscles and square jaws and the girls should have the big boobs and the flowing hair that would totally get in the way in any real world battle. Not because it's a good representation of the real world but in fact because of the exact opposite. These characters are supposed to be fantasy heroes and they should depict that in every possible way, in what they do, in the lives they live and in how they look. Start losing any of that because it doesn't match reality and you begin to erode the very essence of comic book fantasy and superheroes.

Sorry to harp on about all of this, guys, but I genuinely hate to see issues like sexism brought into comic book discussion when it's not about sexism at all. In comic books, both the male and the female characters are depicted as the ultimate physical types of their genders so sexism doesn't apply here. It's about fantasy, pure and simple.
Why has Nina gone from wearing skin tight trousers in the first panel to skin tight shorts in the third?
I think that if you compare the amount of Nina's leg covered by her shorts in the third panel it would just about match the amount of her leg you can see in the first couple of panels. In fact if you look at the back of her left leg in the second panel she is in you can see a line where I'd imagine the shorts were meant to stop and her skin supposed to begin. In that case I'd say it was simply a colouring issue.
Yeah, judging by the tightness I assumed from issue one that Nina was wearing cycling shorts or similar.

In comic books, both the male and the female characters are depicted as the ultimate physical types of their genders so sexism doesn't apply here.
(my emphasis)

Y'see that's part of my problem with it right there RokkRage. The "ultimate physical type" for men is a well-muscled, square-jawed ubermensch i.e. a body type ideally suited to the task at hand (as well as, presumably, being aesthetically pleasing). The "ultimate physical type" for women is every adolescent boy's wet dream. Doesn't it seem like there's a disparity there ?

Also (obviously within reason) a well muscled physique is both realistically attainable and healthy for boys/men to aspire to/be influenced towards. A large breasted, wasp waisted, impossibly long-legged figure on the other hand isn't particularly healthy (or attainable) for women.

And who decided the "ultimate physical type" for female characters ? Not female readers or creators i'd wager because they're pretty thin on the ground, at least as far as superhero books are concerned. The reason sexism does apply here is that the choice of depiction is sexist to begin with - it's not about the aspirations of girls/women, it's about those of boys/men. And heroes are all about aspirations surely ?

(I really like Urru's art BTW, i've defended it many times on here, my issue is more with superhero comics in general so in that sense the "style" question - on which I largely agree with you - is irrelevant. Unless we're talking about the "style" of an entire medium, or large part of it anyway)
Saje, speaking as somebody who works out on a regular basis and puts a good amount of hours of the week into taking care of myself I'd say that the physique of the likes of Captain America, Wolverine or any of the other numerous male heroes is just as hard to reach for a guy as the typical female superhero stereotype would be for a woman. Can't imagine the amount of time I'd have to be in the gym before I ended up even close to how Scott "Slim" Summers is now regularly depicted. Also I would imagine that there is many a teen girl out there that dreams of the perfect guy with all the muscles in all the right places to replace their joe-average boyfriend. It's obviously true that comics are aimed more at guys and no doubt there are more guys than girls involved in creating them but the desire to have the perfect specimen of the opposite sex (or same sex, whatever floats y'boat ;)) on your arm is not something that is limited to just the male population of the world.

But again, all gender issues aside, this isn't about sexual equality. It's about a comic book artists right to draw a character in a comic book style or, more widely, any artist's right to create any artwork in the style they choose. I honestly believe that there are far too many real issues of sexism going on in the world today that need to be dealt with long before we need worry about the fantasy world of comics where reality has little or nothing to do with what you are seeing in the first place. Comic books are the ultimate fantasy medium in every respect and, as I said before, I believe they should remain as such.
Yes but our ideas about what a "perfect specimen" even is are shaped by things like comics, adverts, billboards, films etc. The thing that always puzzles me about the "pay attention to real sexism instead" argument is, its advocates seem to think the two are entirely unrelated, as if the way we see women portrayed doesn't affect the way we think about women and therefore the way we treat women. It's not a huge "thing" (despite the time we're apparently devoting to it ;) but it is a "thing" IMO.

50 years ago one of the sexiest women in the Western world was Marilyn Monroe - who was a size 12. Nowadays some young women aspire to a size zero. Unrealistic expectations placed on them in part by things like the depiction of women in the media (obviously including comics) are IMO at least partly responsible.

And it's not about an artist's rights IMO for the reasons mentioned i.e. a) no-one is trying to curb that right and nor should they and b) it's not just an isolated "style", it's endemic to the medium (or at least the superhero subset of it). Rather than proscription I guess i'm "preaching" awareness and a bit of consideration of the issue (in this instance it doesn't bother me enough to stop reading or to spoil my enjoyment, it just sticks out a bit. So to speak ;).

... I'd say that the physique of the likes of Captain America, Wolverine or any of the other numerous male heroes is just as hard to reach for a guy as the typical female superhero stereotype would be for a woman.

That's just quitter talk ;-).

(more seriously, it might be as hard but is it as unhealthy ?)
Been a long time since I posted here.

I might be desensitised to comic art, but when I first read these four pages I didn't even notice Urru's take on the female form. In the first issue I did.. with the buxom slave-girls. But the over-the-topness of that seemed intentional.

What strikes me about Urro is that he has a very distinctive and imo kind of interesting style. Characterisation is not neccesairly his strongest suit, but his world and demons look terrific.

As for how the women are portrayed, frankly it seems to be his style of art. His men tend to also have a comic-book look which oddly enough works for Angel, who kind of had that build to begin with. If Brian has in fact commented on it then it seems like he realises it is a problem as well.

But Nina's protrayal doesn't bother me that much. The frequent werewolf nudiy on the series always seemed to high-light her breast size on the show as is. The stretchy fabric is more bothersome to me.

Getting out of the art discussion, I just want to comment that Brian Lynch has.. I think.. just perfectaly captured the voices of these characters and of this world. That first page with Angel and Weasley is simple, but very effective.

[ edited by rabid on 2007-12-14 15:04 ]
I feel that the art is aimed at what they think the demographic is. But in reality, due to the nature and widespread appeal of the show, the demographic aren't just the stereotype. They are men and women who want to read a comic about the characters they have come to love. They would like those characters to look as much as possible like their tv counterparts. They are somewhat dismayed at the casual, and imo immature, boosting of certain characters attributes.

When I can't even recognise the character at all without dialogue naming them they are doing something wrong. In the first issue I thought Nina was Harmony. How is that good art? It does a disservice to the show, the writer of the comic and ultimately to the reader who is pulled out of the narrative because of it.

If Illyria shows up with massive breasts..........
I think that good art is not necessarily photorealistic. The important thing is that the characters look consistent so that once you establish who is who you can track them. Ideally for a product with ample photo reference at hand, you can get a fair likeness, but the artists style can certainly bend things one way or another that may lead to a character looking less like you expect. And specific stylistic attributes may solely be due to the artists likes/dislikes and less to do with what demographic they think that they are aiming at. Demographics are more the domain of people who aren't directly involved in producing art, such as folks in corporate (though sometimes in editorial).

And while what people find attractive can be influenced by what they see, its not the be all end all and its not a one way street. What people find attractive influences the prevailing view as much as the opposite is true. If I were completely in thrall to the prevailing view of whats attractive, I wouldn't find emaciated women to be creepy and unappealing and extremely disproportionate anatomy to be the same. Keep in mind, however, that these are by and large, artists used to drawing superheroic figures, where you will find certain anatomical exaggeration to be the norm.
What people find attractive influences the prevailing view as much as the opposite is true.

I think it influences it one less, maybe two ;).

I've seen a lot of evolutionary "just so" stories about female attractiveness (waist to hip ratios, some interesting stuff about how supposedly attractive facial qualities in women can sometimes be similar to those of infants or even "cute" animals e.g. disproportionately large eyes, small chin etc.) and not always been convinced but it seems self-evident that since different cultures prize different physical types (in parts of Polynesia for instance, fatter women are apparently seen to be more attractive because it indicates good health) culture does indeed play a part in what is seen to be attractive. On average of course, not everyone's the same by any stretch. How big a part is obviously open to debate (but it's one more, maybe two ;).

And I think it's fair to say that most Western males' preference has tended towards slimmer women in the last 50 years (though NOT, from my experience, catwalk model or "size zero" slim), which is obviously much too short a time for our genes to change appreciably. Therefore, it's down to culture.
culture does indeed play a part in what is seen to be attractive


You mean the culture thats made up of lots of individuals? ;) Which came first the individual or the culture? You know I couldn't resist. We generally agree, though.
No, the other one, where everyone is smack dab in the middle of the normal distribution ;).

(hey, what's a discussion without a few gross generalisations ?)

The point remains though, people's preferences are from genes and/or culture and, if you accept that they actually have (on average ;) changed in the last 50 years, I think you have to give culture the "credit" (though there's no doubt that long-term, it's a big ol' twisty tangly feedback loop between the two).
High-fives Saje, chuckles, and gets on with the day - I'm with you, I was just having too much fun.
And while what people find attractive can be influenced by what they see, its not the be all end all and its not a one way street. What people find attractive influences the prevailing view as much as the opposite is true.


Absolutely agreed. And also, just because a female comic book hero is drawn in the standard female comic book way, it doesn't mean that a guy is going to look at her and think she is perfection on paper. I've read comics all my life and yet my idea of the perfect woman ranges from Avril Lavigne to Amy Lee through to Eliza Dushku. All very different physical types and none of which really match up to what we see in comic books.

When I say "perfect specimen" in comic book terms I'm talking about the fantasy ideal, rather than the real, flesh and blood truth. Superheroes represent a modern day mythology that at one time was represented by various pantheons of gods and legendary heroes and heroines, all of which are usually depicted as the ultimate in physical perfection of their gender. Even in centuries past the heroes were totally beyond the norm of the regular guy in the street (or muddy lane, depending on how far back we are going). That is what fantasy heroes should be. Fantastic.

I have no doubt that there are a small minority of very sad individuals who may sit and read comics and believe that the girls they see in them are what they expect to see in real life. We call those guys "sad and lonely" around these parts. The vast majority of people who reads comics understand that the artwork is in no way meant to represent real people. It represents fantasy superhero types that we are never meant to aspire to match because if we could then we would all feel okay walking around in tight spandex. ;)

If we were discussing a television show, or a movie, or the latest top model, or anything involving actual people then I'd be totally ready to agree that the girls involved in whatever the project might be should be a healthy and "normal" size and shape. However, as I've said further up, comics are the ultimate fantasy medium and the characters are represented as such. Anyone who uses comics as a guide to how real life people should look probably hasn't got the intelligence to know we can't actually fly or walk through solid walls either. ;)
I'm sorry but all this just sounds like so much justification to ogle big boobs and objectify women. I've tried not to say the artwork is sexist, as I don't think the artwork in itself is.

The opinions expressed here however are so dismissive of the arguement against the stereotyping of women as little more than sex objects that I can't help but be disturbed by the ingrained sexism.

YMMV. This is my opinion. You can go on and on about art etc, but in the end they are drawing women disproportionately and sexualising them.

It's extremely dated and quite frankly juvenile.
Superheroes represent a modern day mythology that at one time was represented by various pantheons of gods and legendary heroes and heroines ...

Completely agree.

... all of which are usually depicted as the ultimate in physical perfection of their gender.

Up to here ;). They were depicted in various ways - some of them were disabled, some were indeed 'most beautiful', some of the male gods were effeminate, some were very "manly", big, small, old, young. The key thing being, not all the women were stunningly beautiful super-models with big boobs and unrealistically slim waists. In superhero comics, that's the way it's going (even, note, for non-superhero characters). If they're a fantasy ideal, then someone has to hold that ideal as "perfect" (do you really think those someones are women BTW ?). So the message is still, the perfect female form (albeit unattainable in reality) looks like this.

I do take your point though RokkRage that real women's shapes in e.g. Hollywood are much more important. If those representations were all suitably realistic and healthy and only comics remained as a fantastical display of almost - but not quite ;) - grotesque extremes then i'd have no problems. As it is, I guess I see them as a (very) thin stream contributing to a big, potentially dangerous flood.

I can also see just saying "OK, superhero comics have men and women - even normal characters - shaped like no men or women that ever lived, it's part of the genre, accept it if you want to read superhero comics" - kind of like accepting "naked people" is part of watching porn. Of course, they'll continue to largely exclude women both as readers and creators but so it goes.

Anyway, I feel like i'm droning on slightly about this. If anyone else wants to take up the mantle of self-righteous, over-earnest wanker, please go for it (hmm, maybe I could've sold that a bit better ;-).
do you really think those someones are women BTW


I guess you'd have to ask Rachel Dodson, Amanda Conner, or another female comic artist. Plus if you go outside of superhero art and remain within comics you see a lot less of this. Go read Kabuki, Strangers in Paradise, Sandman, Blankets, A Distant Soil, Y, or a hundred other books and you won't find the grossly exaggerated anatomy.

YMMV. This is my opinion. You can go on and on about art etc, but in the end they are drawing women disproportionately and sexualising them.


Of course, this is absolutely true in some (not all) cases. And I would might argue that sexualizing and objectifying are not the same thing. And I don't think its necessarily juvenile for people to sexualize other people, though your mileage may vary. If you do nothing else all day then that would be certainly be juvenile :)
Well now that the cries of "juvenile sexualization" have actually started flying, I just can't keep quiet anymore. What the hell is up with that giant fish?!? Why am I the only one offended by the gross objectification of that poor creature? In the real world fish don't look anything like that, and no I don't buy the dismissive justification that this is just an "artistic choice". Dammit if someone doesn't stand up and complain about the obvious sexualization floating telepathic fish in the entire spectrum of comics as a whole how will anything ever change? In superhero comics I can almost understand, since giant floating telepathic SUPERHERO fish are meant to be exaggerated, and have been for so long that those of us who have been reading fish comics for 30-plus years don't even really notice it anymore. But this is a Joss Whedon comic, and the Whedonverse is all about femism-- err, I mean fishism... and to me that means gratuity and stereotypes of other species and genders is fine, but the fish must always be represented realistically. Period.

So I'm hereby putting Urru (and Lynch, and Ryall, and everyone in the comics industry) on notice: Respect the fish! No more oversized fins and eyes. Realistically proportioned giant floating telepathic fish or nothing!
Finally, someone else that fancies telepathic fish, I thought I was alone ;).

Plus if you go outside of superhero art and remain within comics you see a lot less of this.

Never claimed otherwise zeit (i've been pretty careful to qualify "comics" with "some" or "superhero" or "mainstream" - which basically means superhero I guess).

From what I gather BTW Rachel Dodson inks and colours (usually) her husband's pencils and Amanda Connor's art (sample here) seems to me to strike a pretty decent balance between superhero and realistic and isn't just full of the stereotypical "fantasy ideal".
Well, Rachel and Terry's Black Cat is pretty skewed towards fantasy ideal, but, yeah, the stressing of outside superhero comics wasn't really aimed at you. Plus I just like to debate so... :)
Plus I just like to debate so... :)

Ah, that's where we differ.

*cough* ;)
"I eat raw bloody meat now . . . so if you want to, I don't know, do that sometime . . . "

I love this dialogue! Nina's trying to re-connect with Angel, but can't quite pull off being entirely subtle, or entirely human, and so it comes out hilariously wrong, but poignant. Makes the character more well developed. I mean, more three-dimensional. Ach, I don't even know what I'm typing! But I have my suspicions. In conclusion, bigger breasts = more animalistic = not so great metaphor.
No way, Saje, I totally differed first.
JuliaL, if my argument seems dismissive to you then I apologise but that may be because I truly believe that when a style of art portrays both men and women in unrealistic and unattainable physical forms then the idea of sexism and stereotyping towards one gender becomes neither here nor there.

When all male superheroes are drawn with perfectly normal, average bodies whilst all female heroes are still being drawn in ways that defy both reality and gravity, then I'll be happy to join in with the sexism accusations. As long as both the men and the women continue to be drawn as over the top fantasy versions of humanity, the likes of which no real man or woman can ever hope to live up to without cosmetic surgery or twelve hours a day in the gym, then I'm afraid I just can't agree that sexism applies.

And I should add, to agree with what Saje and zeitgeist were pointing out above, I'm also talking just superhero books here. There are many comic artists working on titles outside of the super-genre where the character artwork is much more realistically proportioned. My opinions above are strictly related to the art of superhero comic books.
I'm going to take a slightly more objective stance and say that I don't like art that distracts/detracts from the story. In the case of Nina, her new look threw me in the first issue because I didn't know who she was until she was identified by name. And her outfit (spandex, Nina? WHY?) pulled me me away in these panels. When anything in the art (or the writing for that matter) makes you put on the brakes and wonder/rationalize the reasoning unrelated to what's on the page, it simply isn't serving the story and thus the final product.
Just some examples of fantastic comic/graphic novel art that is just as representative of the medium as the more widely recognized "tights and flights" genre...

The Sandman
Blankets
Y: The Last Man
Pirates of Coney Island
Ghost World
Persepolis
Finder



And some artists that don't quite fit the stereotype...

Pia Guerra
Becky Cloonan
Amanda Conner
Mike & Laura Allred
Wendy Pini
Jill Thompson
Craig Thompson
Colleen Doran
Tara McPherson
Trina Robbins
Carla Speed McNeil
Marjane Satrapi
Nicola Scott
Melinda Gebbie
Regarding the clothes (or lack of same) that some of the female characters have been wearing, I suspect that is a lot to do with where they now are and the effects that the new surroundings may be having on the people stuck in Hell A. It's very possible that everyone there is gradually being seduced by their darker impulses, bringing out their more extreme tendencies. Just because Nina never wore clothes such as that before doesn't mean that she never wanted to. Clearly her wolf side is starting to take on more of a role in her personality so it makes sense that other new aspects of her personality will arise.

And before anyone suggests I'm making an excuse for more sexualization of female characters in the comics, just remember what Willow started wearing when she became a vampire on the show. Evil influences bring out the tight leather and spandex in people, apparently. ;)
I'm not sure if this is changing the subject or not but it wasn't Nina's inflated bazoomas that bothered me as such. Big-breasted women, even big breasted Italian women, can be powerful and completely in charge of their sexuality as Ilona made clear in The Girl in Question. My problem with Nina had as much to do with how she was written as how she was drawn. Dumbed down as much as T&A'd up, her whole response to Angel seemed reduced to "Look at the corpuscles on that." I understand that she's supposed to be showing an animalistic side but by her third panel the way she was bent over like a bitch in heat, not to mention the array of phallic weaponery coming at her from behind, went way beyond any call of the wild. Actual wolves have one estrus cycle a year and it isn't in the fall.
What about actual werewolves hayes62 ? ;-)

No way, Saje, I totally differed first.

I'm sorry, did you book the five minute differing or the full half-hour ?

Either way, no you didn't.

(and that's a decent list Haunt, I remember Carla Speed McNeil from 'Queen and Country' - might take a look at her own stuff)
Is there a discount for multiple differings? :)
Good point, hayes62. I too thought the "weapons" poking (...protruding? ...penetrating?) into frame behind Estrus Action Nina was a bit over the top myself.
As a formerly non-comics person who has just started reading them (Buffy, obviously, Y, Ex Machina, Sandman...), I also find Nina's portrayal kind of off-putting. It may be typical of the superhero genre, but I don't read those comics and I don't associate Angel with those comics, super though he may be. Coming across images like Nina's gives me a moment of genre dissonance that, as Lady Brick said, pulls me out of the story.
And here I just disliked the overall style of art and wasn't thrilled with the story.

I feel so shallow...
Sheesh, I go to sleep, spend the day at work, and you've gone and had the whole debate without me.

So, as a woman who spent a lot of years reading comic books, I am well aware of the overboobitization phenomenon of superheroes, and frankly I found it offensive as a teenager too. I read Red Sonja because I was drawn to a female sword-fighting hero, but the fact that they drew her like a pornographic cartoon bothered me.

Now as an adult, I have come back not to "superhero comics" but to Buffy, Angel and a few others, that is to storytellers I value in part because they are particularly respectful of women. (Uh, tell us again Joss, why you write these strong female characters?) To pick up an Angel comic and find it filled with female characters who look like refugees from "Little Annie Fannie" is offputting and disrespectful. For one thing, it simply ignores the fact that women are individuals, even in L.A., and have a range of bodies and body types. To put it in context, when we finally see Illyria, is she going to be having boobs the size of soccer balls, hanging over a little strip of fabric, even though the woman who played her is lean, slender and athletic. If there is a cross-over and we see Buffy or Willow, will they get the same treatment?

And for those who argue that the overmuscled superhero male ideal is exactly equivalent, I didn't notice any oversize pecs or lats on either Wesley or Gunn.
Well I'm not sure that I at least ever claimed that the two things were EXACTLY equivalent... but then again, "equivalent" doesn't really mean "exact", does it? If I were to argue the point I might make the claim that young men can become just as self conscious about their physiques compared to the bulging biceps of the average superhero just as young women can become body conscious from looking at stereotypical booby chicks in comics. The two are equivalent, not exact one-for-one comparisons.

But since I think your point was that Nina got T&A'd but Wes didn't, I'll grant you that. For some reason Nina seems to have been singled out for the "enhancement". And while there are a lot of you that are ready to jump on me for ignoring all the hundreds of other boobylicious women in Hell-A I still maintain that you're looking at an extremely body image obsessive city that has now been transported to and itself "exaggerated" by a hell dimension. I think it's absolutely within "character" for the demons of Hell-A to surround themselves with sexually exploited women, human or otherwise. It may be unpleasant, but for crying out loud it's Los Angeles in HELL! It's supposed to be unpleasant.

Oh, and I think someone should point out that we've already gotten a glimpse of Urru's take on Illyria and her body didn't appear to have been tampered with.
If I were to argue the point I might make the claim that young men can become just as self conscious about their physiques compared to the bulging biceps of the average superhero just as young women can become body conscious from looking at stereotypical booby chicks in comics.

Yep, agreed. I'm far from an expert but it strikes me as no coincidence that male body dysmorphic disorders (bulimia etc.) seem to be on the increase at the same time as male representations in the media become more chiselled and less attainable (still way behind the incidence in women but increasing nonetheless).

It could be we're not giving Brian/Franco enough credit though. Your comments about LA make me think there could be a deliberate point about the homogenisation and commodification (don't check that one either ;) of the human body.

(or maybe Franco Urru just fancies Jenny Mollen and so drew her more curvy ;)
Yep, agreed. I'm far from an expert but it strikes me as no coincidence that male body dysmorphic disorders (bulimia etc.) seem to be on the increase at the same time as male representations in the media become more chiselled and less attainable (still way behind the incidence in women but increasing nonetheless).

Which is further support for the argument for realistic portrayals of both men and women in comic books.

What I'm finding most disturbing about this discussion is the lengths some of the male readers of comics are going to - to support the comic book status quo. I'm not arguing that an artist shouldn't draw the way they want, but I would certainly argue that drawing unrealistic representations is harmful.
I'm not arguing that an artist shouldn't draw the way they want, but I would certainly argue that drawing unrealistic representations is harmful.

Unrealistic representations of real people are harmful. Anyone reading superhero comics and looking at the characters as an example of reality needs a little help in the first place.

Comic books (and especially superhero comic books) are not about reality and aren't supposed to be. The characters are not supposed to be realistic in what they do or how they look. They aren't meant to be your guide to a better body, they are meant to be your escape to a fantasy world where people fly, have super strength and have ridiculously out of proportion bodies that would suit only people in comic books, because that's what they are.

Rabbits don't look like Bugs Bunny either. ;)
Way to be dismissive. Next I'll start on the skimpy clothing comic book women wear, as opposed to the men whose uniforms are practical.

But, according to you, comic book artists like to draw that way, so they should be allowed to - without criticism.

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