Monday, May 26, 2008

A Question Not Of Prudery, But Taste

"It's an appealing picture of two very attractive people making out, which makes it sexy in a much more inclusive way than a lot of imagery in comics."
You know, I watched one of those soft core porn movies on cable the other day -- "Kinky Sex Club," I think it was. It did nothing to arouse me. NOTHING. Perfect bodies, 2-dimensional actors, lots of tongue as to distract us from the fact that because it's soft-core cable porn they can't show anything else. Tacky execution, no passion. After a while, I had to just scroll through it to get to the end. I think my exact quote 3/4ths into it, during the French maid threesome scene, was, "you know, if a vampire would burst through the window right now, it could almost save this movie."

That's what I think of when I see this cover.

It isn't a question of my "prudery." It's question of taste. This cover doesn't even rate as a "so bad it's good" example of fun campy/trashy erotic art. If other people think that this cover is "hot," that's fine. But, I don't.

And if this cover is presented as an example of what our industry can do in terms of erotic art -- well, that's just one more thing that makes people outside the industry roll their eyes at us. It isn't what I would use as an example. My God, I'd rather give them 4 of the better Adam Hughes covers, some Alex Toth Black Canary, and Milo Manara and call it a day.


  1. I'm with you on this one. The tongues freak me out.

  2. Ironically there is a soft core movie with vampires. The dude who was the vamp actually did a semi-decent job in that particular flick. Anyways...

    So the issue here is the tongue? At least that's what I'm gathering from these previous two posts. I guess that little brimming detail coulda been left out, but really, this is pretty tame. I've seen covers FAR, FAR worse than a little tongue action, like the tentacle-porn inspired Heroes for Hire cover.

  3. It's the same difference between the Hughes drawing of Mary Jane finding Peter's Spider-Man costume in the laundry and the inept statue based on it. Hughes has the talent and skill -- and subtlety -- to make the scene sexy and fun, while the statue just seems crass.

    Sexy takes skill. Otherwise you wind up looking foolish, like Fred Garvin: Male Prostitute.

  4. Not really moved by the visual on this one way or the other (no pun intended :-). What I object to is the Winnick-stated preference to make this title more about the relationships than the super-heroics. In other words: twenty-something beautiful people who just happen to be super-heroes, instead of a mainstream super-hero focus (i.e., put these heroes in the big leagues of superheroics, capitalize on their history to make them 3D characters).

    This just screams out "Hey, I'm doing 'Friends' with people in costumes. Check it out!" This ship sailed w/ Devin Grayson - on these exact same characters. Bleh - save this stuff for the indies where it will be a) done better and b) be better received.

    Val - to your point about the soft-core movie: I think, just like monkeys, the inclusion of vampires make almost ANYTHING better by default. I support the call on that one...

  5. Friends or Real World? Either way, count me out. There's enough of that on TV without infesting comic books with it. If I want to read about relationships, there are plenty of good comics out there already covering that angle, without the costumes.

    Love & Rockets, just to give one example. It's still practically the best thing on the market, light years ahead of this DC stuff in terms of maturity and involving you in the characters' lives. But not every creator can be Los Bros Hernandez... more's the pity.

    But the only thing I object to on this cover? Not the tongues. Not that they're kissing.

    Just that it's so poorly drawn as to be ineffectual on ANY level. The coloring, which is supposed to simulate nighttime pool underlighting, isn't doing it any favors. They look like two cardboard cutouts propped up in a hottub. I'm not a paperphile, so it doesn't do anything for me, and certainly doesn't do anything to make me want to buy the comic.

    Some artists need to stick to the face-punches and avoid the face-kisses. Alex Toth would've made something very subtly sexy... I'm sure he wouldn't have added tongues but he understood "come hither" like nobody's business. Adam Hughes' would've been more in your face... maybe he would've still included tongues. But the body proportions would've worked and the characters would've had dimension and mass.

    Milo Manara? That comic would have to come in a brown wrapper. Would be TONS sexier than this drecky picture.

    Hey, I'd actually rather see comics about kissing than punching. Kissing is awesome. It doesn't look anything like that, though.

  6. It makes Starfire look like the moon face on the Procter & Gamble logo.

    In fact, far from hinting at sex or sexiness, it makes me think of soap products and detergents. And toilet paper. Starfire & Gamble.

  7. I really don't think that adding monkeys to soft-core would be an improvement. Unless you're into that kind of thing, of course. :)
    And I agree about the image- making such an uninteresting image of Starfire takes real effort, imo.

  8. The tongue didn't bother me. In fact, I didn't even notice it until Val pointed it out (Besides, the last time I checked, grown-ups actually used their tongues when they kissed each other.).

    Nope ... what got my eyes a-rolling was, "OH Lord, they got Dick and Kori back together again?"

    We know how this one's gonna end ...

  9. The worst thing about the art is that it just plain stinks. The tongues are a temporary distraction.

  10. Anonymous2:41 AM

    I like it. I think it works. Do we need tongueage? No. Like GROOVYDADDY, I didn't notice until it was pointed out.

    I also think that Dick & Kory is an eventuality. Comics are written by 30-something fanboys FOR 30-something fanboys and these are the people that wanted...

    a) A new Titans book with the classic lineup
    b) Dick & Babs breaking up (because Oracle < Starfire)
    c) Nightstar--and by extension, Kingdom Come--to mean something

    Hell, *I* want Nightwing and Starfire together. I want Dick to have a happily ever after. He *is* one of those heroes that could still be cool and be a family guy too. I *want* Starfire to finally have a happily ever after too, after being a slave, tortured, TWO unwanted marriages, her entire race and planet blowing up, and unrequited Animal Man love...doesn't she deserve that much?

  11. That cover is ... wow ... it's some hard-core emotional smut. As you point out with the soft-core porn comparison, being grossed out by this cover is NOT erotophobic, Valerie.

    Anyway, I find it pretty hilarious that there are people out there who are defending this as a paragon of anti-cheesecake heterosexual coupling as if anyone really needs to learn to talk about sex via Nightwing and Starfire.

  12. Yeah, I'm going to agree that the problem with this is it's very badly drawn. My biggest problem with most covers on comics and most art in comics lately is that it's not very well composed. Even with someone like, say Ross Andru, the characters were clearly drawn and you could tell what was going on in a panel. Can't always do that now.

    The cover reminds me a bit of some of the old Vertigo artists, where everything was sort of squiggly and characters weren't well defined.

    And, nope, not sexy. Not even "romantic."

  13. If I may jump in and actually say something positive about this cover, I very much approve of the body type the artist chose for Starfire. She LOOKS like she's built to kick ass, and at the same time she's got "healthy" curves. I mean, holy cow, superstrength or no, she looks like she could benchpress Nightwing! Leagues ahead of the likes of scarecrow Supergirl, I must say.

  14. Hm. I didn't even notice the tongue action till half way through reading the post.

    Image doesn't bother me. It's not "sexy" or particularly erotic. But I know those two characters have a history and I can accept it.

    What does bother me is how awful a comic the new Titans book is-- and to a lesser degree of suck, Teen Titans has become.

    Ugh. You would think DC would put good writers and artists on the brands they want to shove down our throats.

    The art in the Titans books is an atrocity. Seriously, low cut jeans with the thongs straps on the hips?

    What is this 1995 and am I reading a Top Cow book?

    Reading the actual words..well, I wish I hadn't bothered.

    Much more offensive than the tongue action is downright bad writing and art on the Teen Titans/Titans books.

  15. The other posters have gotten to the core of what now (upon further review) bothers me about this picture.

    The artist's intent, I think, was for a romantic, passionate cover. But the idea seems half-realized and we're left with kind of a bodice-ripper from a dimestore romance novel. The "tongue" doesn't do it any favors. But it's not the *fundamental* flaw.

    It goes much deeper than that.

  16. Ok, what? This is a real cover? This isn't fanart? Seriously?

    And those are tongues? It looks WAY more like Nightwing and Starfire are playing out that scene from Lady and the Tramp, only with an earthworm instead of spagetti.

  17. One other reason this is a bad cover: It's not nearly skanky enough to represent the interiors.

  18. Hmm. Nobody seems to question what they're doing in full costume in a hot tub. That's pretty kinky in itself.