Great redraw, and good points. I definitely agree that “total full metal armor” is the only way to go, but I don’t think that’s the only way people think is the way to go. Some redraws have done total armor, I think in response to how unarmored the original is, but many redraws have merely added clothing that makes a little more sense than a metal bikini, as you did. :)Red Sonja Not Blue-From-Hypothermia Sonja
1) I’m noticing a pattern on these images whereby if you reverse the lower half of the body the pose suddenly becomes believable but no less dynamic (often still over-the-top or borderline impossible, but far more believable).
2) In the context of a comic book I’m usually willing to suspend my disbelief when it comes to somewhat outrageous poses because they often are fun and interesting (at least when they are only a little bit past physically possible). So, having corrected her pose (and closed the orgasm-mouth), I wanted more to address the outfit in this one.
The original one is definitely just there to get away with a cover where you can’t allow the character to be nude. I think designing female characters’ outfits this way is problematic for several reasons
- the character is only allowed one immediately obvious trait: sexiness. This then conflicts with or totally eclipses her other strengths and weaknesses because drawing the character in this type of outfit constantly smacks the reader about the head with her near-nudity, even if the character is doing something notable which has no reliance upon sexiness (being bad-ass, intelligent, courageous, witty…).
- the often-discussed you’re-going-to-get-stabbed aspect of the clothing.
- it’s boring. When every female character ever puts on a bikini it gets horribly boring - they’re just clones stamped out of the stereotype factory.
- it’s weak character design. I’ve often heard that a good superhero character design should make the character easy to identify by silhouette alone - if you outlined that character, then black-filled the outline, could you tell who it is? Hellboy - definitely; Batman - yep; the Hulk - no problem; Captain America - sure. Red Sonya - ummm; Jean Grey - well…; Rogue - ehhh… I don’t think a superhero is an intrinsic failure if s/he doesn’t meet this rule, but there’s a definite trend where male characters are far more unique and imaginative, and female characters are relegated to bikinis or skin-tight spandex (and yes, male superheroes wear this a lot, but they usually get an identifiable feature like a helmet, shield, cape, etc, where the women just get big hair). [This of course also doesn’t discuss the many non-superhero or indie comic characters that don’t need this mould, but since this blog is often dealing with problematic superheroine pictures, I think it’s worth mentioning.]
That all being said:
- I don’t think we always need to react by demanding that female characters cover every inch of skin and claim it’s required for protection. Forcing all female characters to hide their body neck to toe is every bit as sexist as never having them cover up.
- if you look at historic eras and the armour worn during them, it’s really only medieval knights who were zealously covered head-to-toe in metal (which made them absolutely tits-useless the minute they were off a horse, btw). If you look at Vikings, the Greeks and Romans, Gladiators, Medieval fighters/guards who weren’t knights you’ll notice they often have exposed arms or legs, and that protection relied more heavily on leather gear or on maille than on plate armour. Plate armour was heavy, expensive, hard to maintain… Very few men could afford it, and you sacrifice a lot of speed and maneuverability when you wear it. So you more often see fighting gear that just protects the vitals of the torso and head - maybe the thighs. Arms, legs, and neck are often bare, and even vital-protection didn’t always offer good coverage (let alone proof against all weapons). Now look at periods after the medieval knight, and you still see soldiers going to war with no protective gear whatsoever from the 18th C onward until about WWI - and even then they only had a helmet. You don’t see regular soldiers in any protective gear past a helmet until the last maybe thirty years? So in giving female characters an equal opportunity to kick ass, we don’t always have to cover them in plate armour; we can and should look for other inspirations for fighting gear, because knight’s armour is just as unrealistic in most situations as bikinis.
Some ideas for improvements?
*strong character design is the same regardless of character gender, so while I’ll refer specifically to female characters for the context of this blog, you should be able to see how this is applicable to problematic male characters as well
- the type of comic is going to dictate how unbelievable the fighting and characters can be. If a superheroine can shoot lasers from her eyes I’m willing to allow that she can also kink into some poses I can’t do. In the context of a comic book I’m also willing to allow for some artistic license on whether the character’s weight is exactly properly rested, or if her leg could kick quite that high, etc. That being said, I know we can all agree that when every pose a female character does is physically impossible we have a problem. Doubly so when every one of those poses is just to make her look sexy and serves no other purpose.
- the type of fighting the heroine does should determine her outfits. There’s nothing wrong with establishing a world where everyone wears full plate armour (in fact it does allow for some really memorable and beautiful armour designs), but we also shouldn’t forget that even in actual human history fighters went in to battle without being covered head-to-toe. Demanding female characters to be completely covered is just as sexist and unrealistic (and potentially boring) as the bikini. Just like we want a spectrum of body types, skin colours, personalities, and powers, lets allow a spectrum of clothing as well.
All the above thoughts were part of what informed my redraw.
- turned her lower body around in favour of a physically possible pose, but left it a bit over-the-top because it is an imaginary comic book character.
- closed her mouth to get rid of the orgasm look in favour of having her look more determined.
- changed her hair style to be a bit more realistic, specifically so that it keeps her hair out of her eyes when she needs to see who is coming at her. Not sure if technically the braid would swing that way, but visually it balances her pose, and I’m fine with a few details being unrealistic in favour of working visually (and really I think in this instance the direction of her hair has no bearing on her as a character - it’s purely a design element).
- -took inspiration from viking armour to give her gear a more cohesive look. The bikini was both too scanty and also a horrible stylistic mishmash when it came to all the tiny bits (the shoulder guard looks sort of LOTR while the scale maille bikini is 80s pulpish, and the boots and gloves look historical).
- left the cape in but made it possible to tell it’s a cape. While a cape is a huge liability in a fight, I think the image is meant to look like she’s being ambushed during travel, and characters won’t always be caught in a fight at their most ready.
- covered her legs in leggings, but kept them form-fitting because viking pants weren’t usually very loose, and closer-fitting clothes mean less to get tangled in/grabbed on to. To me there is a difference between form-fitting and revealing, where the former can be sexy while serving other purposes, and the latter is usually only sexy and nothing else.
- left her arms bare because there is historical precedent for it, and because the original artist actually made a sort of passing attempt at giving her a bit of muscle to heft her blades with. Added a little more muscle and like that bare arms leave it showing.
- swapped the bare mid-riff in favour of chain maille, which gives her protection without becoming ridiculously bulky. I didn’t want to totally lose her feminine shape under a ton of gear.
- left her breasts at the larger size they are as per recent posts on not excluding women with large chests, but dialed down the only-there-to-be-sexy aspect by having the maille disguise some of the specific shape.
- gave her a belt to carry her blades on (where were they going before-?) and because I think women’s hips are shown off in a classy way by the way belts can rest on them.
Web developer and comic book writer
- paskemmin reblogged this from eschergirls
- 4thstar likes this
- kerzv reblogged this from ladyyatexel and added:
- tartancrusader likes this
- theonlyoneilune reblogged this from eschergirls
- absinthiumartemisia reblogged this from eschergirls
- kerzv likes this
- appleye likes this
- avid-amelioration likes this
- diceman reblogged this from bechahns and added:
- theonlyoneilune likes this
- skystrider13 likes this
- weaponsofabsolutelystupidshit reblogged this from ladyyatexel
- xarciel likes this
- opiumseeds likes this
- sadness-is-a-blessing23 reblogged this from anotheralexandros
- anotheralexandros reblogged this from vrabia
- hey-mayonegg reblogged this from eschergirls
- alemonlemoned likes this
- vrabia reblogged this from eschergirls
- aceaegis likes this
- matereya likes this
- dapperbasketcase likes this
- defectivebarbies likes this
- saunteredvaguelydownward likes this
- wizardofsilence reblogged this from redofthewolves
- redofthewolves reblogged this from hobbiteers
- deactivated300313 reblogged this from kingisstillamused
- findmeherenow reblogged this from hobbiteers
- hobbiteers reblogged this from kingisstillamused
- kingisstillamused reblogged this from bechahns
- bechahns reblogged this from thisintermezzo and added:
- bechahns likes this
- drwlee likes this
- crashandburning reblogged this from thisintermezzo
- thisintermezzo reblogged this from eschergirls
- steelneko likes this
- bene-dick reblogged this from eschergirls
- lazer22 reblogged this from eschergirls
- shiftyshrike reblogged this from eschergirls
- inanetomfoolery likes this
- curlicuetruth likes this
- jacksterqueen reblogged this from eschergirls and added:
- thaddeusgrey reblogged this from eschergirls and added:
- thaddeusgrey likes this
- sleepyblacksheep reblogged this from eschergirls
- sleepyblacksheep likes this
- fenaili likes this
- persephinae likes this
- askmaridee reblogged this from eschergirls