I’ve discovered a little more about the artist. Her name is Kelly Turnbull. The internet knows her as coelasquid. She’s a professional animator. This fascinates me because as far as I know, there are few women in animation.
Her hilarious and brilliant site/ comic is called Manly Guys Doing Manly Things.
On Turnbull’s site she writes:
I like drawing comics about unapologetically macho things because I’m not on board with this modern trend of telling men that they should act less like men. I dream of a world where the beer is cheap and plentiful, violence can still be an acceptable solution to life’s problems, and no one ever has to talk about their feelings.
Sometime this is a comic about macho action heroes. Sometimes this is a slice of life comic about a time traveling Navy SEAL single dad from the nonspecific spacefuture. Really, it just depends on how things were going that day.
Apparently, a frequently asked question is whether or not she’s really female. Her coy reply is: Does it matter?
I suppose her rendition of males posing like Wonder Woman could be interpreted as affirming culturally accepted masculinity rather than making fun of enforced femininity. Can you exaggerate one end of the polarized gender spectrum without revealing the ridiculousness of the other? Whether Turnbull is male or female, for real or tongue in cheek with her words and images, however your choose to interpret her art, its undeniably creative and provocative. She makes you think about gender and culture in a new way, whomever you are and whatever your beliefs may be about men and women. That’s just what great art should do.
Hey, checked out your site, thanks for the article! It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!
If you’vee got any specific questions I’d be glad to answer them, as far as the Wonder Woman thing, though… well, pants or no pants first, I really don’t think pants necessarily matter, I wish she looked more Mediterranean first and foremost (artists who draw every character like they came from a base stock of White Anglo Saxon Protestants are a big pet peeve of mine) I think one of my favourite reimaginings of her is from Jill Thompson (Granted, when people say lady heroes in pants don’t make sense because pants limit movement, all I can think is “Wow, imagine how much better the military and police-force would be able to do their jobs if we just had an all-out pants ban!”)
I think the pose is the big thing that needs to be examined on the DC cover. Diana is royalty and she’s a warrior. She’s a feminist of the “don’t hold the door for me” variety judging by the solo animated movie she got. It seems out of character for someone like Diana to hear “POSE AS A TEAM!” and default to a Victoria Secret kind of stance. Now if we were talking about Poison Ivy, Catwoman, someone like that whose who schtick is being seductive, it would make perfect sense. Hey, they’d probably even take it further! But Diana is not Catwoman and Diana is not Poison Ivy and Diana is not any number of other DC ladies.
Any time any person brings up “hey, maybe every single woman in this piece shouldn’t look and act like an underwear model” so many people listening automatically assume that person wants NO MORE SEXY WOMEN. No, folks, I don’t want to take away your sexy things. Saying it’s out of character for Diana to pose like she’s selling underwear doesn’t mean I want Selina Kyle to show up next time in full military body armour or that I want artists to start drawing Powergirl with a b-cup or Black Canary with stretch marks or anything like that. It just means I don’t want every woman in the comic to be there for the sole purpose of being sexy and I want the artists to draw characters in a way that reflects their personality. If it makes people feel any better, I also wish they would give Flash a sprinter’s build, Aquaman a swimmer’s build, Batman an MMA build, and Superman a weightlifter figure compared to that unilateral “this is that one body every superhero artist knows how to draw” look they all have now.
Another common point of contention that comes with debates like this is people who assume women who speak out against this kind of thing are jealous or shaming other women for showing off their bodies or what have you. Again, I just don’t think “being sexy” is something anyone should feel bad about, I just think it’s kind of a time-and-a-place matter. Imagine a board of military leaders gathered around to discuss a new strategy. One person out of ten wanders into the room in their underwear. Then that person, say, sits on the table and strikes a provocative pose. Now imagine they want you to take this character exactly as seriously as the other nine. That’s how I feel every time they show Emma Frost in her corset and panties trying to be passed off as some sort of authority figure. That is not the sort of outfit a cool-headed serious person wears while they negotiate important business transactions.
I suppose what it comes down to is, I would appreciate if more mainstream comics presented alternative ways of looking at female characters. I’m not saying they need to be unattractive, just that if they aren’t a cheesecake-pinup kinda character don’t present them as one unless it’s in the context of something silly like those old marvel swimsuit pinups.
Think of it like this, Lobo’s the kind of guy who hams it up enough that you could picture him in goofy beefcake pinups. Lobo got a two-page spread in one issue where he’s sprawled out poolside in a spikey chainlink codpiece. Imagine they did the same with Superman or Batman. Like, out of the blue All-Star Batman #3 has a two-page playgirl-esque spread of Bruce in a speedo, grinning at the camera. That would seem weird. I’m sure a number of fans would love it, but others would hate it for being out of character so they probably wouldn’t do it. I’m just saying either give the girls the same kind of consideration or draw more Playgirl Batman.