On The Subject Of…

On The Subject Of…

On the subject of long-legged female superheroes with perfectly shaped asses, small waists, and enormous, gravity defying breasts, I say; enough. That is not to say that I have anything against long-legged women with perfectly shaped asses, small waists, and enormous, gravity defying breasts. These are not mystical beasts which only exist in the imaginations of young men… though certainly, they are rare.

That said, they are not the only types of women in the world. I will go you one further and say, they are not the only types of attractive women in the world. As a point of interest, you may also notice that many, if not most of these heroines are also caucasian. There are attractive women of every race, yet we see so few in comic books.

I remember reading comic books as a kid. This would have been in the late 70s to mid 80s, and though they contained sensuality when it came to female characters, there was not the level of downright sluttiness that we see today.

Please don’t think me a prude. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’m not intimidated by sensuality. That said, I’ve grown tired of being treated like a pubescent teenager whose only interest is seeing a glimpse of Power Girl’s rack or Emma Frost’s lingerie.

Power Girl & Emma Frost

Power Girl & Emma Frost

I started reading comic books again when I picked up my iPad. The device was made for reading, both books and comic books. I hadn’t read any comic books in 25 years, and fully expected that it would be different. What I hadn’t counted on was the level of depravity which is now associated with most female characters, be they heroes or villains.

Gone are the conservative briefs which Linda Carter wore on the Wonder Woman TV show. Nowadays, Diana’s sporting high cut Brazilian panties or a thong.

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman

This isn’t just in the comic books either. I have been playing DC Universe Online, and was somewhat shocked by even just the opening cinematic depicting Wonder Woman’s backside.

DC Universe Online

DC Universe Online


The funny thing is, that’s actually tame for DCUO. Whether we’re chatting it up with Zatanna – the best mockery of her outfit having been done by The Gutters, or fighting against Starfire from the Teen Titans, the sleaziness is staggering. These aren’t heroines. They’re dressed like whores, for crying out loud.

I love how they were able to take an innocent character…


Young Starfire

… and turn her into a pole dancer.



Starfire in DCUO took the cake for me… at least thus far.

I was working on the Raven series of quests, which is very good. I was soloing the instance to fight the possessed Raven, thoroughly sucked into the game. I got to the part where she was possessing the Teen Titans, and when they spotlighted Starfire, the air escaped my lungs.

Now, I know that the transition occurred in comic books, and that the devs working on DCUO aren’t the ones who designed the costume, however you can be damn certain they giggled like school boys when they created this outfit for the game.

There is no such thing as a conservatively dressed woman in DCUO… at least none that I’ve seen so far. Even the NPC characters are wearing skirts that require “special” waxing.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking; “But Rog, look at the steroid-munching dudes in comic books. How is that any different?”

It’s different because we don’t get cock-shots of Batman or Superman, Wolverine or Cyclops.


Because Marvel, DC and every other comic book publisher knows that the majority of comic book readers are male. Toss in some rippling muscle shots for those who are not, but don’t demoralize the character based on their gender.

As I write this, it’s important to note that my purpose in saying all of this isn’t to stand up for women’s rights or to preach about how this does nothing for promoting a healthy respect for women.

There are women who can stand upon that soap box and do a far better job of it than I ever could as a men. That said, I’ve two girls, and have spent their entire lives teaching them to earn respect with their minds and strength, not their bodies.

No, my sole purpose in writing this is to speak out as an adult male who’s tired of being treated like a horny teenager. I started reading comic books again because I had read and been told that there were some fantastic story-arcs which I would probably thoroughly enjoy. I’m both an avid reader as well as a writer, and I appreciate good writing regardless of the format.

And true to what I’d been told, I have read some incredible stories. That said, I’ve also read some absolute crap. Throughout it all though, I’ve seen a metric fuckton of tits and asses… all pretty much the same shapes and sizes. All drawn to titillate an immature audience.

Here’s the thing though, guys (comic book and game developers)… many of us (you know, those who purchase your comic books and games) are adult men (and women). We were the ones who bought your comic books way back in the day, and still do now. We’re the original gamers, who’ve grown up, but never put the controller down. The target audience and demographics have changed.

Isn’t it about time the immaturity in designing strong female characters does the same?

P.S. For those who would argue that Wonder Woman recently got a new costume, I would reply with the following image and essentially rest my case.

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman's New Costume


  1. As a point of interest, one of my characters in DCUO is in fact a woman… a fully clothed woman.

    And she kicks ass.

  2. For the purpose of comics, I’ll keep this argument to Marvel and DC, as they dominate the marketplace.

    Starting with DC, it all comes down to Jim Lee. Back in the 90s, Lee, along with Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld and others took art and character designs to the extreme, most notably in their work at Image. Now, Lee is one of the leaders of DC, and his influence is seen heavily. Many of the artists seem to be trying their hardest to impress the man who likely inspired them to draw comics in the first place, so they all seem to be trying to fit in Lee’s “style.” Of course, with Lee being one of the lead design artists for DCUO, his work is seen everywhere in that game. Personally, while Lee’s art is fantastic, I’ve never liked his character designs, his male or female characters.

    As for Marvel, they’ve done much better in recent years. First of all, I give Emma Frost a pass; the way she dresses fits her established character, for me. Many of their other characters have been toned down over the years. Look at Rogue, her proportions are nowhere near as outrageous as they were 10 or 15 years ago. While Storm may wear revealing outfits, her attitude and the way she carries herself makes it sexy, not slutty. Their younger characters like Spider-Girl, Nomad and Hope are much more realistic than Supergirl or Wonder Girl over at DC. Sure, they still have their pin-up characters like Ms Marvel and Psylocke, but I’d say, as a whole, Marvel is moving in the right direction with their female characters.

    Gaming…. well I thought gaming was getting better. I thought characters like Jade from Beyond Good & Evil, Trip from Enslaved, Elena from Uncharted and Whats-Her-Name from Dead Space 2 were moving the industry away from the Lara Croft days. Hell, I love Bayonetta. By design, she may be hyper-sexualized, but the character herself comes off as confident and in control, a woman who’s in charge of her sexuality not defined by it. The fact that the game is overly stylized to the point of parody just makes it good fun to me.

    Then, Ed Boon had to fuck it all up. Seriously, I was JUST thinking this last night when I saw some video of the new Mortal Kombat. I’d previously seen the new design for Mileena, but I let that pass. Most fighting games have one sex-symbol character, and MK is known for it’s over-the-top style. Then, I saw what he did to Sonya Blade. Sonya was always the tough-as-nails badass chick. Sure, she had a Barbie doll body type, but she was always portrayed well; more Chun-Li than Kasumi. Her new design, however… it needs to be seen to be believed: http://images.wikia.com/mk/images/4/49/200px-Sonya_mk9_inv.png Trust me, it looks even worse in motion….

    • I’m sure there’s a point in there, somewhere.

  3. Regardless of whether new artists are trying to impress the ol’ timers, the fact remains that they should all be told to grow the fuck up. Let’s be honest.

    Also, I don’t buy the “she’s dressed like a whore, but she’s in control and in charge of her sexuality.”

    If you dress like a cop, don’t get offended when someone comes running up to you telling you they’ve been robbed.

    If you dress like a whore, don’t get offended when someone offers you a twenty for a blowjob.

    The clothes do make a difference.

    And this concept that they’re strong women and it doesn’t define them is a horny writer/artist’s cop-out.

    “We want to dress her like a skank, but we don’t want people thinking she’s a skank.”

    “Hmm, that’s a tough one, Bob. How about we just make her a very self-assured woman who doesn’t take crap from anyone.”

    “Why not? That hasn’t been used before.”

    Lazy fucking writing combined with immature artwork.

    The result?

    An easy 75% of comic books out there… and far too many games.

    • I’m not defending DC here, just explaining. I agree it’s gone too far. From what I’ve heard, Power Girl is a very well-written character and it’s a shame her chest is her defining characteristic.

      And while I would be completely behind a cultural shift in this regard, I’m also okay with the occasional guilty pleasure, like watching a summer blockbuster instead of an Oscar winner. As long as it’s hanled well and not the central focus of the game (again using Bayonetta as the example), and not there for cheap exploitation (Dante’s Inferno).

      • I will agree with you that Marvel is not nearly as bad. That said, you mentioned Rogue, but if you check some of the issues that we talked about on the podcast, they still used her sexuality quite a bit… and it wasn’t necessary.

        As for Bayonetta… any game that has an ability that is light spilling out of the female lead’s crotch, that is blatant exploitation. I mean… there’s absolutely no subtlety there.

        • Well, I think Rogue is a good example of how Marvel has gotten better, but isn’t there quite yet. Her body proportions are more realistic now than the Jim Lee art from the 90s and her costume, while still form-fitting isn’t painted-on. Admittedly, her outfit on the trip to India was revealing, though I’d say no different than anything many women would wear in a temperate environment. The main issue there was certain poses and “camera angles” that drove it over the top.

          So, better, but there’s still room for improvement.



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