Comic Animation and Boobs: Taking Women Back 50 Years

Women in Comics

As a kid in the ’90s, there was one thing on my mind – action! I loved watching the ’90s Batman, X-Men, and Spider-Man cartoons. I gathered myself around the television daily to witness the sheer brilliance these cartoons possessed.

On this site, you may have read my views on how Body Images are seen in comics, or how poorly Women are Portrayed in comics. It wasn’t until I sat down and watched DC/Warner Bros. newest animated film, Superman/Batman Apocalypse, did my mind erupt with frustration.

I am well-aware the movie is based off of a comic book run by Jeph Loeb & Michael Turner. I am also quite aware that the animation in the film is very similar to that in the comic. What I am shocked over is how blatantly awful the film was for younger viewers. From the camera angles chosen, to how much physics breasts were given, it was completely over-the-top.

Taking the Cake

Now to be fair, looking back at the X-Men cartoon in the ’90s, Rogue wasn’t really a conservative girl, nor was Wolverine a regular looking guy – he was shirtless in plenty of episodes. However subtle those instances may have been in the X-Men cartoon, Superman/Batman Apocalypse take the cake.

I will also mention that Superman/Batman Apocalypse is rated PG-13. However, if you have a kid in a video store and you see a Superman cartoon movie for them to watch, the last thing you check for is the rating. It’s a cartoon movie based on a beloved world icon – what could go wrong?

Yet, if this is only for teenagers to watch, what kind of message is it giving them?

Supergirl Middrift
The first thing I’d do when I crash land on a different planet is show as much skin as possible.

The basis of the movie is that Supergirl, or Kara, came to Earth and is trying to fit in with society and find herself a home. For the uninitiated, Supergirl is Superman’s cousin. Without really going into the story, there’s a montage where Supergirl takes women back to the Stone Age.

“What is like to be a girl in the city?” Kara asks Superman.

Cue montage of Supergirl getting her nails done, shopping for clothes, and being the stereotypical “rich girl” while good ‘ol handsome-boy Clark Kent pays the bills. Ah, being a girl is sweet, isn’t it? That is, as long as you have a strong, rich man to pay for everything.

Supergirl Changing
“Don’t you like my new bathing suit, cousin?”

Ah, Kara Zor-El. Welcome to Earth. Learn our archaic ways.

Is Supergirl Dressed
Isn’t she like, 14?

For those familiar with the story, you will also know that Kara gets kidnapped by Darkseid to become the leader of his army. Superman and Batman get Wonder Woman and Big Barda to help out with the rescue. Of course, when they ask Barda to help, she just took a shower. How inconvenient for the viewers.

Bare Barda
“Thanks for stopping by. Don’t mind me. I won’t get changed.”

And once the team travels to Apocalypse to save Kara, Wonder Woman and Barda get caught up fighting the Furies. Thanks to some particular camera angles, we can see why the Furies want to fight them. They’re jealous of Diana’s “attributes.”

Diana Double Ds
Tons of thought goes into these camera angles.

Luckily, Superman knows where Darkseid has hid Kara, so he’s goes in to save the day – only to find out that Kara is now mind controlled by Darkseid. AND! She’s changed wardrobes too, ’cause, y’know. Less clothing makes you more evil.

A New Supergirl Costume
Is this legal to watch?

So you can probably see some of my conundrums with this film. Of course, there’s tons more to show. The movie is riddled hyper-sexualized women.

I am aware that this isn’t the first movie or comic book to do so. If you looked at my previous entries I linked at the beginning of this blog, you’ll notice that I’m ragging on Marvel very hard for what they’ve done before.

And while, sure, the movie art matches how the comic was drawn, by no means did it need to be done this way. By no means do the particular camera angles chosen NEED to be there.

Taking Women Back 50 Years

I’ve shown you the physical proof of what the movie provided. What stuck to me is the lasting effect it would leave upon others.

Arguably, comics are directed towards young boys. Obviously, showing women the way they are in this movie would definitely drive those sales. What is wrong is the movie takes one limp forward and multiple steps backwards.

For sure, Kara learns a lesson in this film about finding herself. But at what cost?

If I were a young boy watching this movie, I’d be excited for the action, and even more blown away by how attractive all of the women are. Kara is just being a young girl, barely old enough to be allowed to watch the movie she is starring in. Men on the other hand are the strong and mighty. Although women can fight, they’re not nearly as cool as Superman or Batman. All they like to do is shop or get kidnapped and wait for men to rescue them. Your typical hero story.

Wonder Woman may be considered an exception as she “owns” an Amazon Army. However, the army loses a battle and Superman is left to save the day.

Now if I were a young girl watching this movie, I would notice that shopping is a lot of fun. I would love to look as good as Kara in those clothes and it would be even better if I didn’t have to pay! Wonder Woman has her own place, but cannot defend it unless Superman is there. Then the Furies fight Barda and Wonder Woman, I would be bombarded by breasts, hips and lack of clothing. By the end of the film, I would be happy that Supergirl found her way, but still be left to feel empty. There would be no reason for me to re-watch that movie and the images shown would be imprinted in my psyche forever.

In fact, the movie insults the strength of the already-strong female characters as men save the day.

Wait. What did she just say?

I know that comics can never really change. They will mostly be marketed towards boys, and that’s just how it is. But what can change is a mindset on how women should be portrayed.

Comic panels do not need to have massive breasts on every female character, nor does a movie need to shift camera angles to show particular features to its characters.

If you’re looking to impress boys, you do not have to do it by taking women back years of progress. But by doing so, you’re preventing a female audience from even caring, while still being damaging in the process.

It’s not a double-edged sword unless you make it to be one.

Keep on Space Truckin’.

Women in Comics

I love comic books (in case you hadn’t already figured that out). But to get right to the point: I hate how women are depicted in comics. I mean, not all women in comics are bad – and I’ll define “bad” shortly. All I mean is that there are discussions about women’s depictions within films and music which is excellent. Violence against women or over-sexualized women for no reason should be put to an end. However, arguably because they are considered juvenile to the masses, comic books get ignored, and thus women can be depicted however they want to be.

Now by “bad,” and what I want this topic to be primarily about, is that women are more and more drawn ridiculously sexual in comics. It’s over-the-top sexual. And it has to stop.

In my own opinion, I find movies less credible if they have unnecessary nudity in it – whether it be a random topless woman or a woman wearing white while it’s raining outside, etc. And as such, I feel angst against comic books which place women into those situations. The same goes with men too – but that will all be going in another blog down the road.

While I don’t mean to pick upon Marvel, I do read their comics primarily. But other comic companies such as DC with Wonder Woman, Super Girl, or Power Girl are just as guilty.

Case and point with these pictures (click on pictures for larger view):

Emma Frost:
X-Men #131 (March. 1980) to Emma Frost #1 (Aug. 2003).
xmen131     emmafrost1

Marvel Chillers #3 (Feb. 1976) to The Mighty Avengers #3 (July. 2007).
tigra3 tigramightyavengers

“But I thought Ultron was a male robot?” you ask. “No. He’s now a naked woman,” I reply.
Avengers #202 (Dec. 1980) to The Mighty Avengers #2 (June. 2007).
ultron202      ultronmightyavengers

I will mention that the Emma Frost comic is rated PSR+ (Parental Supervision Recommended), while both The Mighty Avengers comics were Rated A (All Ages). Odd, eh?

However, you can clearly see how the women in these comics, within a timespan of about twenty years, are unnecessarily over-sexualized.

Despite my love for X-Men, Emma Frost’s clothes are completely unpractical at all-times.

As for Ultron, I’m sure you’re as shocked as I was upon noticing it. Ultron first appeared in 1968, and up until 2007 was a robot and arguably a male.

Then Moonstone as Ms. Marvel during the Dark Reign series – all she seemed to do was try to sleep with and manipulate every one on her team.

And don’t get me started on Loki either.

Let me breathe for a second.

Firstly, I do not condemn the characters. I love Emma Frost’s character. Her and Cyclops are great together in comics.
Tigra has been on the back burner for popularity as of late, but she has always been an Avenger who has held her own.
Moonstone was still bad-ass in the comics and an essential part of the Dark Avengers.
Loki’s a shape-shifter, so he does what he pleases and it screws with everyone.
Ultron is considered one of the best villains in the Marvel Universe. (And yes, I know recently he has been shown as a “male” robot again.)
These women (and men as women), by all rights, are strong, important characters.

But! They all are entirely inappropriate for their audience. “Their” audience being comic book readers of all ages, as they are accessible to everyone. Male or female. As a male, I am shocked on how far comics will go for the unpractical. Sure, comics are already imaginary worlds where the impossible happens – but they also reflect our society and to some extent – our values. But how women are depicted in some comics are blatantly degrading.

It just seems unfair for these women to be forced in and subjected to male scrutiny. Ultimately, it is manipulating what societies values are – both within and outside the comic realm.

Emma Frost is always talking about her plastic surgery which has been done – and how she is “beautiful” because of it. Tigra has rarely put on any clothes, while Ultron did not wear any at all! These individuals are strong characters and are vital to their stories – but they do not value themselves.

And that’s not their fault, either. They are being written and drawn by someone who does not stop to think.

With the increase of fake people and abuse from ads, to the children they are affecting, we cannot let this go on any further.

Although my message may get muddled in the sea of many voices, I feel like I should address this issue. Albeit, I’m not the first one, it just needs to be changed.

Our world is not a comic book, so stop trying to make it one.

‘Nuff said.