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"Filled with unease...": The Geeks at the Gates Podcast - Episode 35

A discussion in the shop about the negative reaction to some of Clay Mann's art depicting women in DC's Heroes in Crisis series led to this discussion back at the old shop. Click on the image below to go to the download page, or subscribe to The Geeks at the Gates wherever you get your podcasts. Full shownotes (and there are a lot this week, including all of the images we talk about) can be found below the image.

A parody avengers poster with male characters posed like Black Widow

The two images from Heroes in Crisis which sparked the controversy that led to the discussion which became this edition of the podcast were this image of a dead Poison Ivy, intended as the cover for Heroes in Crisis #7:

Controversial "dead Ivy" image from Heroes in Crisis

And this page featuring Batgirl from Heroes in Crisis #6.

We then considered the Bab's Tarr version of the character, which is very different in style, an example of which is provided here for comparison:

Batgirl by Babs Tarr

Hat went on to talk about a sex scene in "No.1 with a bullet". We don't have a copy of the comic in question to scan, and couldn't find an example on the internet to share. Do please let us know if you can point us to an appropriate image...

We then touched on the controversy surrounding J. Scott Campbell's initial porytayal of the 15 year old Riri Williams, seen to the left, and Regie opined that, while problematic, it wasn't as overtly sexualised as the only visible example of Campbell's work, a Red Sonja cover still displayed on the wall of the old shop.

This cover, to be precise:

JSC's Red Sonja

And while we had some fun picking this apart, we also agreed that this isn't a particularly problematic image, given the nature and tradition of the character.

The geeks were happy to give propa to Campbell for his response to the criticism, which was to consider what people were saying, and more importantly, why they were saying it, and replying not with defensive self justification, but with this:

JSC's second Riri attempt

Which we reckon is just a better cover all around, really. Not only is it more appropriate for the character (in terms of her age, but also in terms of her personality) but it's good to see Campbell ditching his signature poses and doing something different.

So then Natasha Alterici's excellent Heathen comic came up, and Regie said he'd put Campbell's Red Sonja image next to the Heathen cover which featured Freya, Norse goddess of love, so, here you go:

JSC's Red Sonja

Just because we love the art, here's another image of the goddess from the pages of the comic:

Freya again

And a look at the main character's fur bikini in action:

Fur bikini done right!

It is difficult to imagine that in a discussion such as this Frank Cho wouldn't come up. Regie was firmly of the view that his work is not as sexist as its reputation would suggest, arguing that his depictions of both Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn were not sexualised in the way we'd been discussing. Of course, he's an idiot and didn't have any examples of what he meant on the night, but we're happy to offer these for your consideration now:

Frank Cho's Wonder Woman

Frank Cho's Wonder Woman

Frank Cho's Harley Quinn

Frank Cho's Harley Quinn

Of course, the more controversial side of his work also came up, in particular an anecdote which Regie (remember when he said at the top of the show he was going to try and take a back seat on this one? That clearly went well...) reckoned summed up what he thought was wrong with Cho's attitude. (The full story can be found at Bleeding Cool, so we won't re-hash it here...)

It made mention of this notorious Spider-Woman variant cover by artist Milo Manara:

Manara's controversial Spider-Woman

There was some controversy about this at the time - but we'd just point out that Manara is an artist who has made his career in "erotica" (some would call it "porn", but the label isn't all that important here...) and he just did what he does. If we have an issue with this cover it's not with Manara the artist, it's with whichever editor at Marvel Comics called a porno artist to comission them to do a cover for Marvel.One wonders what they expected?

Manara's porno Spider-Woman as presented to Frank Cho

The anecdote also makes mention of an image of Spider-Woman that Manara presented to Cho at an event to congratulate him for "fighting censorship". Regie tried to describe it on the show, but we don't think he did it justice. So. It's probably NSFW, so we've kept is small, but for what it's worth, here it is.

We get the joke, obviously, but we're not thrilled by the attitude behind it.

Alice mentioned the Hawkeye Initiative, a Tumblr that takes what Regie would describe as "anatomically unlikely" images of female characters and draws Hawkeye in the same pose. You can check it out here.

Hat brought up the comic Sunstone by Stjepan Šejić and his wife and fellow artist Linda Lukšić Šejić as an example of sexiness in comics being done in a good way:

Hat also mentioned that Šejić has drawn cartoons of Wonder Woman and Lara Croft, and frankly they're too adorable not share a few here:

Wonder Woman with Lara Croft

Wonder Woman with Lara Croft

Wonder Woman with Lara Croft

See what we mean?

More next time!

The Geeks at the Gates is a copyright feature of Venus Rising Media and features music by Steven G. Saunders. All rights are reserved.

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