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July 30 2011

'Buffy vs Vampirella' as drawn by Jill Thompson. You'll recognise the artist if you're a fan of Sandman or The Invisibles (via Bleeding Cool). Bruce Timm and Wizard Magazine have also captured the Slayer and the Vampire in action.

Oh dear lord...:o Not my cup of tea at all.
Huh. I remember hearing about Vampirella way way back and it amounted to not much more than "this series sucks". Well, now I can see what kept it selling anyway.

Great artists here, though. I knew I'd heard the name Jill Thompson before. And in the last one they had the decency to confirm in writing that Buffy was going to win. :)
It could've been an interesting crossover but for the forced translation that reduced Buffy to "bootylicious." That might be what Vampirella's about (I really wouldn't know but gratuitious T&A seems to be a large part of whatever point), but that's not what BtVS and Buffy are about.

Essentially, this is Vampirella art with a Buffy-decoy stand-in (i.e. lacking the substance of the character). Not a true crossover -- and well, I find it kinda insulting to what I love most about BtVS and Buffy herself. No, thanks.

The Bruce Timm one isn't much better, but the Wizard Magazine one hits the mark. That's Buffy right there (even though she's never worn a midriff baring shirt except for when she was Kirsty Swanson in the early 90's right around the time 90210 was all about that look and then thankfully it died and we shall speak of it no more *spits*).
Yeah I agree, the last one at least says 'aggressive determined Buffy' unlike the others which come across to me more as some generic bimbo with a stake.

[ edited by sueworld2003 on 2011-07-30 14:52 ]
ugh... Or, Grrr arrgh
Male gaze, much? If I hadn't been told it was Buffy, I probably wouldn't have guessed. This is not what our girl is about.
Why can't Buffy be sexy? It's an insult now to portray a character as physically attractive?

I thought the point of casting hot young blondes was to show that women are aren't "bimbos", but sounds like you all want to erase the hot young part of it as well.
I agree with you Awkward Saw, but I wont testify to that in front of fandom's jury.

Also, speaking of Buffy vs. Vampirella, I like this piece by Tim Seeley, even though Buffy isn't the focus.
Buffy can be sexy of course, but these drawings on the whole just come across to me as a wee bit skanky, especially in the first one. Not helped by the fact she's depicted half undressed and with larger breasts then SMG ever had in the series.
It's an insult now to portray a character as physically attractive?

No, but this goes beyond that, the style is very cheesecake. Vampirella's got that impossible posture where her ass and breasts point in the same direction, and Buffy's experiencing a wardrobe malfunction with her skirt. It's for a commission, I'm not saying it's terrible or anything, but is is an excellent example of what Joss has asked the artists drawing the Buffy comic not to do.
I couldn't recognize either of them. (To me, Vampirella just emans a balck-and-white comic I enjoyed in the very early 70s.) I think it's equally false to both sources. ("sourcen"?)
These are just harmless fun. Vampirella is a doofy character that clearly panders to a certain audience, but it makes no excuses for it. The images are worth a chuckle.

Vampirella is about cheesecake and Buffy isn't, yes. But I will also gently remind folks that the jumprope scene in a certain Season Three episode had more boob floppage than I have ever seen on any show that wasn't HBO... and the skirt in the first image is modest compared to Buffy's skirts (which must be considered belts in some countries) in the first season. I prefer my Buffy as *not* a sex object, but I don't think these images are really doing anything new or startling. Again, harmless commissiony fun.

Kaan... I will add that the Tim Seeley image is the best of the lot. That being said, Tim Seeley's HACK/SLASH is probably the only comic in the horror/fantasy genre that soars to the same incredible heights as Buffy does.
Buffy wore short skirts only in the first season, and then rapidly moved on to other more suitable attire.

I do get fed up when folks seem to view Buffy as If all the other seasons had never existed especially in the male dominated comics field where the above images are sadly prevalent.
Yeah patxshand, I've read a little bit of HACK/SLASH and enjoyed what I saw. Thought it was a great concept for a comic. I want to go back and start reading from the beginning but, you know, a disposable cash flow is something that I currently lack in.
@sue - Maybe it's to balance out how every photo manip in the world ever has Spike in various stages of undress in assorted naughty situations?

Which I also consider harmless fun. If someone wants Spike to be naked on a leash, I say to them, "Yes, you walk that Spike and you walk him good." But if someone wants to draw Buffy in a skirt fighting a vampire who is known for her boobs, I think it's the same kind of situation.

Staking Vampirella would be so awkward.
"@sue - Maybe it's to balance out how every photo manip in the world ever has Spike in various stages of undress in assorted naughty situations?"

Thing is unlike men women have had to suffer the 'half naked bimbo look' for far, far longer and far more extreme then men have they not?

Also I have to say helping back up some highly sexist views and prejudices against women for centuries now, plus this sort of treatment still being seen as the norm in the comic book industry which from what I see and hear.

In contrast men have only now started to get 'the female gaze' treatment and so imo I don't think it's quite the same.

[ edited by sueworld2003 on 2011-07-31 13:07 ]
Sexual fetish objectification is either okay or its not. Unless you can actually give me a printed receipt, like a ledger with the amounts of difference owing in where Party of the 2nd part (WOMEN) are entitled to more fetish fuel than Party of the 1st part (MEN) at a 3:2 ratio for X number of years until all is settled... honestly, just save it. Don't care. If the goal-state is equality, you don't start with an indeterminate stage of getting even.

I'm with Pat on this; it's no more or less harmful than whatever I don't even wanna know photo manipulation or original art is out there with Giles in a diaper or whatever.

EDIT: It's also not my business. It's a commissioned piece of art between two parties, and a third interested party would be whoever holds the copyright or trademark interest in the characters. I mean, if it's all too scandalous, it doesn't even have to be linked here. I don't really care for any of them. The Wizard one isn't a style I like, even though I like the substance of it more -- a real fight! Left to pick between the two fetish fuel ones, I prefer the Bruce Timm; it's more honest and the physics are slightly more credible.

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2011-07-31 13:20 ]
Thing is manip work is carried out mainly by fans for fans and certainly not published or sold or part of main stream culture, unlike the above examples.

Also erotica for females in the past has been very thin on the ground compared to what men have been able to access and who seem to have bucket loads of the stuff to wade through in the main stream media.

[ edited by sueworld2003 on 2011-07-31 13:25 ]
The thing you like is different than the thing you object to, then? Of course it is; it's the thing you like :)
No imo It's about the history of what women have endured being constantly under the male gaze in the media, unlike like men who only up till the last few years haven't.

It's never been a very level playing field as far as I'm concerned and I think you have to take that into consideration.
And yet :)

Like I said, show me the invoice for the "correct" proportion of "gaze" and for how long and it won't bother me. Barring that, the mind quails at any conclusion other than that sauce is good for goose and gander both going forward.
Dare I say it won't bother you as you're a bloke? *g*
There is nothing wrong with erotic/titillating art as such. The problem is that women/female characters have traditionally *only* been portrayed in a titillating/objectifying manner, especially in comics - why does Batman get body armor and catwoman a sexy catsuit (or lingerie, in worst case)?

Yes, of course there are exceptions, but the fact is that when women complain about too much sexiness in the way that female characters are drawn, it's because we're tired of seeing only half-naked sexy women in our comics.

And I say this as someone leans to the lesbian end of the Kinsey scale and doesn't much care about naked men.

(here's a good example of what comics would look like if male characters were really objectified as much as female characters)
Because everything is about gender, after all, right?

I'm asserting a serious existential premise -- that equal treatment has a causative relationship with... equality. Your approach, on the assumption that equality is your goal state, appears to be that there is a retributive stage where "female gaze" is good and "male gaze" is bad. I would like to know at what proportion and for how long does that go on before we arrive at "EQUAL"?
Oh ruuger what a fantastic post/link which points out what I was trying and (apparently) failing to say quite beautifully.

Thank you. :)

[ edited by sueworld2003 on 2011-07-31 13:47 ]
My biggest problem is that she looks nothing like Buffy in any of them, let alone like SMG. My secondary problem is that it's a tired trope - the titillation of girl-on-girl fighting with heaving, bouncing boobs. And, beyond that, it's the sort of "harmless fun" that continues and reinforces the stereotype. Golliwogs are "harmless fun" to some people too. It seems to me to be pretty much the sort of stuff the TV series was working against, in the main, even if there was plenty of male gaze too.

If there was an element of "top totty" in the show, it was at least evenly balanced totty - pretty people of all genders and sexualities. This stuff feels retrograde to me in comparison.
With the exception of Jean-Paul Valley's literal "armor" version of the Batman costume, every iteration of the comic character's costume is every bit as form-fitting as Catwoman's, right down to this 6-, 8-, 10-, or 12-pack and Bat Bulge. That this is a serious argument is astounding -- two characters, both in form-fitting outfits that in their most common versions don't actually show much skin other than around the mouth, but his is okay and hers is not. What's more, hers is offensive and his is not.

In the films, Batman's molded body armor is as form-fitting as they can make it within the conceit of it's purpose as protective gear. Since we haven't seen Anne Hathaway's costume for "The Dark Knight Rises" (or at least, I haven't), it's pre-mature to speculate. I'd be surprised, though, if whatever she wears -- which will undoubtedly be as form-fitting as most full-body athletic apparel is -- doesn't also have padding and utility to it related to the purpose of her wearing it (theft).
"And, beyond that, it's the sort of "harmless fun" that continues and reinforces the stereotype. Golliwogs are "harmless fun" to some people too."

Yes, exactly. But then I suppose some will never get that whatever is said.

[ edited by sueworld2003 on 2011-07-31 14:00 ]
KingofCretins, I could argue about how the emphasis on Batman's muscles in his costume is for the sake of intimidation (makes sense in-story) and the emphasis on Catwoman's curves is for the sake of titillation (makes sense in-story only if you're Frank Miller), but since you don't like the example, let me give you another one:

Why does Powergirl gets a boob window in her costume but Superboy doesn't get assless chaps?

Better?
Almost all male heroes in comic books are drawn with impossible to obtain muscle mass and definition. Its not just women being put under a gaze. Every time theres a thread on a geek board about who should play "x or y man" more than likely a wrestler will be mentioned.
"Why does Powergirl gets a boob window in her costume but Superboy doesn't get assless chaps? "

Whaaah! Wonderful. :D
I want to see a overweight superhero. In a form fitting costume. With nipples on it.

Someone posted this in that same lj that ruuger linked to. How is that not cheesecake?

[ edited by eddy on 2011-07-31 14:25 ]
eddy, the difference is that the huge muscles on male characters aren't result of a female gaze like boob-a-liscious women are the result of the male gaze. In fact, in my experience female writers/artists tend to make comic heroes more realistic and less muscular (but like I said, this is just anecdata so don't quote me on this).

Also, fat superheroes :)
Yeah but the art which is being derided here was drawn by a woman. So its not just the men drawing them in a unrealistic manner. Jo Chen also sometimes draws characters to be more busty than they should be.

Edited to fix the second link.

[ edited by eddy on 2011-07-31 14:36 ]
I imagine they both draw to fit an ideal that men (who make up the largest part of comics readership) want I suppose.
There's always some excuse, isn't there?

The PowerGirl thing... congrats, you've proven a point I never disputed. There is titillation for men in fandom. There's also titillation for women. And I flatly ignore any argument that that which would clearly serve to titillate women (who like men anyway) doesn't "count" just because it's something idealized by men as well.

I mean... it's idealized by men (who like women!) because it would clearly serve to titillate women (who like men!)! That encompasses the Batman intimidation cop-out, too -- there's a reason why the cliche expression includes both being feared by men and adored by women.

Still waiting on the invoice, in the mean time. How much is the appropriate ratio of female gaze to male gaze and for how long until the tab is settled?

Eddy, the answer you won't get but that I suspect many might hold is that female artists who would draw it are either traitors or collaborators of some sort.
I suspect that this has more to do with personality clashes that occur elsewhere in the fandom than anything else. So as much I'd like to see Whedonesque used as a boxing ring, I'll let this thread cool down for a while.
Just to throw out another idea, they all seem to be action scenes with skimpy outfits, but to me the difference is, when I see the Jill Thompson one, my reaction is 'Geez, skimpy outfits... oh and there's some fighting going on', whereas for the Wizard one and the (extremely awesome) Tim Seely one, my reaction seems to be 'Fight scene! Oh, and there's some skimpy outfits'. With the Bruce Timm one, I just can't get past the sort of cartoonish-look of it.

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