Friday, April 18, 2008

The Real Power Of The DC Universe

DC promo poster spotted at the New York City Comic Con.



  1. Who is this ad aimed at?

  2. Oh, wow. I usually don't like superhero posters, but this one is different. I like how every one of them has a different cut of dresses, which sort of reflects their personality, even with the cleavage.

    I love PG's dress...

  3. I actually think that looks kinda classy.
    But I love Adam Hughes art since his JLI days, so take that with a grain of salt...

    Incidentally, who's the brunette sitting between Supergirl and Ivy, and where do I get this image without the folds?


  4. Very nice linework. If that's not Frank Cho, it's someone aping his style. Huge feet, though.

    Second, it's patronizing. It's not meant to push DC's female contingent - and let's be frank, Meltzer and Johns have done a great deal to elevate Black Canary and Power Girl to Big Gun status - to female readers. The image is meant to demonstrate the sex appeal of these characters. Emphasizing sex over accomplishment diminishes the role these characters play.

    Sweet FA, DC gets to be less appetizing everyday.

  5. Anonymous10:10 PM

    Nice poster, but I have to say, my first thought was, "Hey look, lip service!"

  6. "Incidentally, who's the brunette sitting between Supergirl and Ivy"

    I think it's Donna Troy.

    Design-wise, I like the poster. It reminds me of the promo images for The Sopranos that featured the entire cast. I think other shows did similar promo pieces.

    Overall, I don't see this as pandering nor do I see this display as showing off the character's sex appeal, at least not in a cheesecake, T&A sort of way. Like adalisa pointed out, their outfits are fitting with their personalities. And through their poses and dress, they convey a strength, and through that there is a sex appeal. Even Power Girl looks reasonably proportioned with a respectable, non-titilating amount of cleavage (unlike a Michael Turner cover, for example).

  7. I thought it was classy. I don't see anything wrong with it, myself. It doesn't feel patronizing. It looks all very high-society and glamorous. I'm not really sure how a poster can reflect several issues and several stories of development . . . but whatever. I guess it needed to show them all covered from head to toe in form-concealing garments so you can't actually tell who's who not to be shameless pornography these days.

    I want one, where can I buy it?

  8. The art is gorgeous. Each women represents some masculine ideal of what a woman is supposed to be. On that level I like the poster. But it's eye candy, so on a deeper level it fails.

    The problem with the poster is not that it appeals to buyers who like looking at women. Sex appeal is ingrained in comics and that's not going to change anytime soon. It's problem is that it's showing a line up of women who supposedly wear the pants in the DC Universe, but are all lounging around in evening gowns. To match the blurb the women should have been in their costumes, or the blurb should have read "The Softer Side of DC Universe".

    Or "The Woman's Real Place in the DC Universe".

    I find the efforts of the men to reach out to the women for the NYCCC very humorous. They don't quite get it, do they?

    That all being said, I know for a fact that my daughters would love this poster because most of the dresses are gorgeous. And Daddy would like to know where to get it for his daughters. No, really. I'm serious. Honest. My intentions are altruistic, I promise!

    The Splintered Mind - Overcoming Neurological Disabilities With Lots Of Humor And Attitude

  9. I wonder how many are recognized out of costume by a casual onlooker. I can only assume the woman in the chair is Donna Troy. Vixen is somewhat a guess, albeit an educated one. Neat how Catwoman is the only one wearing black.

  10. First thought: Finally, DC hired Annie Liebowitz to do a photoshoot!

  11. oh man, comics with all the excitement of a cover of vogue!

  12. On a second look, and after taking a look around the web (;^)), it's possible that the woman in the chair is Batwoman.

    The hair, from what can be seen in the picture, can be either brown or red-ish, she's the only one wearing pants (yeah, BIG stereotype there if it's really her), and from the picture posted on AH official website, it kinda-sorta-maybe looks like her neckpace has a bat shaped pendant.

    I still say it looks classy - Sure, they are all drop-dead gorgeous, AHughesy-fied women, but they all look regal and imposing, and each costume reflects (or try to) the respective character. Even Diana's, arguably the more risqué of them, fits her greek origins, IMO. Supergirl looks youthful, Barbara looks smart and I, too, think it's neat that Selina's dressed in black.

  13. um WHAT woah AWESOME.

    i want one of these.

    also, PGs dress is EXACTLY why i like the window, & why i think the window shouldn't go, so much as be fixed.

  14. Anonymous12:00 AM

    I think it aims in the exact wrong direction, in the way that a guy writing protofeminist ad copy can only do. It emphasizes the "women are superior to men/more powerful" aspect of feminism over the "women are equals to men and should receive respect for the merits of who they are." feel that we really need. To feel the sexism emerge, imagine it reversed. A bunch of dudes in togas that reads, "The Real Power of the DC Universe." Sexist crap.

    Though it is a kick ass bunch of gals, and the intentions are obviously good.

  15. my first thought... it's a definite improvement over how zatanna normally dresses.

  16. It vaugely reminds me of the Annie Lebowitz covers of Vogue.

  17. I don't get it, really.

  18. How do they manage to keep their whites so white after long days of kicking ass?

    Oh Power Girl, so desperately trying to start a fashion trend with that window.

    And not a one without at least a C cup. Clearly, the DC universe is filled with beef fed with UBER growth hormone. Either that or the ladies are all wearing MIGHTY push-ups.

    It's kind of screwy to imagine that the male version of this poster would have them all dressed in suits and tuxes. Women's formal wear is like a ruffly cleavage fest while men's formal wear is like a Puritan Iron Maiden, no skin whatsoever.

    At least it's drawn well.

  19. Anonymous2:52 AM

    "oh man, comics with all the excitement of a cover of vogue!"

    Actually...Vanity Fair. Augie hit the nail on the head. :)

  20. Sweet Jesus you guys - is no-one, male or female, allowed to enjoy women in comics being sexy in any way? That's not what this blog is about, at least as far as I know. Now, to the internet to register my displeasure!

  21. Anonymous4:16 AM

    I think if it didn't have that caption then people wouldn't try to find this so patronizing. Its sexy in a fashion spread sort of way that can appeal to anyones aesthetic without pandering to any single notion people have comic fans.

    It does look like this was drawn straight off a VOGUE cover so maybe they're trying to appeal to a female or gay demographic? I doubt it, i'm just throwing it out there for the fuck of it.

    I'd like to see this type of image but with the male characters in suits and stuff.

  22. I like it. It seems to respect each character's personality in the outfit they're wearing, and IMHO some of the best writing in DC these days is going to the female characters in books like Supergirl, Catwoman, Wonder Woman, etc.

  23. Though I see good intentions by DC for creating this piece, I think it fails to deliver what it could have been; instead of displaying these heroic characters in action, it shows them to be looking like they were each living in wealth and don't care to fight evil. Yes, we here know that these characters can kick major ass, but many new to comics who see this poster at the con won't.

    ..oh by the by, great to see your post Neal!

  24. I really love it.

    It's getting framed and hung up in my apartment.

  25. I can only assume these are their red carpet outfits for the Eisners.

  26. I love it.
    I think they all look fantastic and just GORGEOUS.

    They are the best of comicdom and here here for Adam Hughes IMHO.

  27. Look cool. Adam Hughes? Nice. All the white catches the eye. that Huntress to the left of Supergirl? Hmm.

  28. I love it -- it shows the DC heroines as classy and powerful and sexy as all get out and, more than that, as individuals. Gorgeous art -- thanks for sharing!

  29. I love the poster, and I'd like to get a copy of it. It's not sexist at all; these characters are not posed as sex symbols. Instead, it looks so much like the sort of photo shoots Vanity Fair runs by artists like Annie Liebowitz. See, for instance, the recent issue about funny women with Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, and Sara Silverman on the cover.

    I got confused about Zatanna and Catwoman, solely based on their being next to Oracle and Black Canary the appearances (and Catwoman's earrings) led me to think that they were Gypsy and the Huntress, despite wanting the other two. Also, I had at first though the woman in the chair was Donna Troy, then I was dead certain it was Lois Lane - the rings on the fingers, which I can't really make out all that well look like a wedding ring and a Superman ring to me. Plus, pants? Seriously, that's Lois Lane.

    And if it's Batwoman...why? I though DC was shoving her back into the closet after trotting her out like a show dog and putting on a show about being modern and open-minded. At least get Renee Montoya in there, then.

  30. Oops, that's not an earring; it's a cat's tail. The picture on AH!'s site is a little better to make out the details.

    Myu friend's first thought was the sitting one is Hawkgirl, but it still looks like Lois Lane to me, what with those rings. Does Kate Kane have a ring on her finger? Pants don't scream "lesbian" to me so much as they do "nosy reporter."

    Also, enjoying beautiful images of beautiful women is not restricted only to straight men.

  31. my financial and menu adviser commented that while the concept, poses, and colors are cool - she especially liked that selina is wearing black - the fashions depicted are generally 80s high-end trash (think: playboy mansion party) and not really appropriate for these women.

    me, i can't tell silk from burlap.

  32. You know, I really want one of the guys now. (It better have Kyle Rayner.)

  33. Thought: DC comics, as of this weekend, have more books with solo female leads than any other publisher. By a fair margin. More if that Batwoman thing comes out, when there are no more PR embarassments to mess with Dark Knight..

  34. Well, it's a beautiful piece. I'd love a copy to hang on my wall.

    That said:

    1. It emphasizes how few women of color have any kind of profile whatsoever in the DCU.

    2. Is the woman in the pantsuit meant to be Kate Kane? Renee Montoya? Those are the two possibilities I thought of first off, and if so -- on either count -- how insulting. Drawn in a drab pantsuit, sitting in a chair with her legs spread in a mannish position, just in case we didn't figure out she was a lesbian. And if it's Donna Troy...well, I suppose the pantsuit makes a little sense, at least, but I still don't know what they're saying with the spread legs. Donna Troy's a slut? What?

    3. Where's Cassie Sandsmark?

    4. Nice to see Supergirl's still considered a slutty nymphet (I really don't get to use that word enough) by anyone with any say in the DCU's direction. Since it was emphasized quite clearly by Brave and the Bold, I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

    5. Is this a hollow effort to appease female fans, or a promise for DC Comics to live up to? I know how I'll be choosing to see it, after the last couple of years, but I wonder what they think they're saying.

    This feels like it's meant to be patronizing and appeasing more than anything, and as such, it does more harm than good. Please, DC. Prove me wrong.

  35. It's boring. I suppose if this were advertising a TV show, it'd be great. But it's not. These are women of action and they're just standing there like a boring photoshoot.

    With the ad copy they should be at least doing something aggro. Throwing gang signs or devil horns or something. Anything but just sitting and/or standing there like a glamor shot.

    A beautifully rendered glamor shot, but a deathly dull one nevertheless.

  36. It's very beautiful, but I think DC's been reading too much Vanity Fair.

    I vote with odios. The caption smells patronizing. If it were left out entirely, I think I'd like this a lot as a fashion piece.

    I'd like this a hell of a lot more if they did a matching illustration with the male heroes.

  37. The more I look at it, the more I like it. While I think I'm missing Amanda Waller, I don't know how important she's right now on the DC universe to be included so... *shrugs*

    Makes me want to be able to go to NYCC just to get a copy!

  38. I've got a real life one, which is labeled, so just to clear up confusion, left to right it's Catwoman, Oracle, Zatanna, Black Canary, Power Girl, Wonder Woman, Super Girl, Vixen, Batwoman (sitting), Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn. Batwoman's rings are on her middle and pinkie finger, not her ring finger, and they appear to be *squints* a heart on the pinkie and...okay, the one on the middle finger just looks like Wolverine, hilariously. But her necklace is a bat.

    It's a beautiful piece of art, even if it doesn't quite understand how women's clothing works, but yeah, I don't understand the point of it. The only quality they're showing here is beauty. How does that make them powerful?

  39. I like the image, they all look beautiful and happy. (In my mind this a perfect picture taken in a "Thanks for saving the world or charity event"... well except without the villanesses as I doubt they could get invited XD)
    Is not an action scene, but I also think that our favorite characters also deserve happy and relaxed moments too. :)

  40. Anonymous8:50 AM

    This poster was posted over on a Superhero costuming forum I'm on and I really love it! Though the image I saw didn't have the caption on it.

    As a huge fan of Wonder Woman (and female superheroes in general) I really really LOVE the poster! As well as making costumes (most recently I finally finished my Terry Dodson Wonder Woman costume) my other passion is fashion design, which I guess is what really drew me to the image.

    I think the women are all quite tastefully dressed in outfits that really suit their characters! My favourite is definitely Zatanna; her dress is just amazing! To me it's more along the lines of classy evening wear than anything else.

    Honestly who cares if it seems sexy; why can't our Superheroes be sexy and feminine and beautiful! And if it encourages more people to read comics, then great! I really hope this becomes available as a poster, as I would love to hang it on my wall!

  41. I couldn't tell if it was formal wear, or wedding dresses.

    In the wedding dress case, the ad copy really goes a different direction.

  42. You know, I'm aware of the connotations of Kathy Kane's dress and her sexuality, but honestly I wouldn't want her any other way in this picture. I still see plenty of femininity and class in Kathy, and her clothes add variety to the scene. Plus, the clothes reflect being a rich powerful socialite as well.

    This may seem a bit silly, but the first thing that grabbed my eye was Barbara Gordon, because I kept thinking she would get her dress caught in the wheels :0

    The whole picture is classy, and I'll leave it at that.

  43. I kinda feel like Lois Lane belongs in there.

  44. Why does "sexy" equal "femme"? If that's Kate Kane, why the blazing hell does the lesbian have to be in heels and pyjamas instead of, say, in a goddamn tux?

    The insistence on femme is one reason I hate so-called "lesbian" depictions in comics: because they still pander to what the boys think is sexy.

  45. Except for being black, that doesn't look like Vixen at all. And I don't really like WW or Oracle's dresses. But other than that, I like it. Seems to capture the spirit of the characters (except who's the redhead sitting down?)

  46. Pandering? Patronizing? Alright admittedly I'm "A man from the fifties". But I think a lot of this outrage is misplaced. These are beautiful women rendered in beautiful fashion. When did that become a crime? As for their being used solely as sex objects how is it that with only one exception each of these women is recognizable without her costume. I think Mr. Hughes has managed to convey both personality and power in his depictions. I also think that most of the critics either lack his talent or couldn't pose for him. In any event people need to realize that one CAN appreciate the beauty of women without said appreciation being evil.

  47. anyone notice how most, if not all, of the people who don't like it are GUYS?? and personally I think the brunette may be Talia. here's an explanation:

    and personally I love it and plan to buy a copy for my dorm room. partly because for once its not all about sex appeal- i mean yeah, if its part of a characters personality, they put some in, but otherwise, that's not the purpose of this.

  48. Well, speaking as someone who has a copy of this poster, I can say two things with assurance:

    1) it is most definitely Batwoman.

    2) it's a great piece of art, especially when framed and hung properly.

    I can't say for sure that it's the superheroines of the DCU that are the 'real power', but I can tell you that DC itself has the most books with female lead characters, as well as the staff with the most female writers/artists/pencillers/inkers/etc.

    Trivia note: Catwoman wasn't originally supposed to be a part of this: AH wanted her in and snuck her in on the left.

  49. Oh!!!!!!! wow.I donot like any celebrity picture but this is something different and good attractive dress...

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