This is not so much a critique post as it is a conformation of how absurd the standards of art in the comic book industry have become.
I traveled to San Diego Comic Con this year and participated in the portfolio reviews they where holding from Thursday to Sunday. Although I will admit I am not the best artist in the world, I really wanted to try and show them that comic book art could be done in a realistic manor while still keeping the superhuman aesthetics of the art form.
This Batwoman piece was the work that I gained the most flack for from all the companies because the anatomy was as they quoted ‘not industry standard.’ At one company (which I shall choose to not name) I was given a full critique on the anatomical incorrections as the following.
“Her breasts are much too small and do not have the lift that superhero women should have. Her jawline is fat and her neck much too long. The style of her hair is clunky and does not flow in a sense that a super human would. Her hips, waist and thighs are too big and she honestly looks fat. No one is going to want to read a comic with a fat female protagonist. I honestly recommend looking at issues of Sport’s Illustrated to get the right anatomy. Those women are the peak of human perfection, and that is what we want in this industry.”
I would like to say this was just the opinion of one editor from one company, but I found similar opinions at almost every review I went to. By the end I was pretty upset, having been following this blog for very long and trying hard to make my anatomy believable and human. But this is not something the comic book industry seems to want, and it’s something that I thought everyone deserved to be informed on.
Again, this is not to bring attention to me and my own art, but rather inform the community of just what their artistic standards are, and why so many what we deem ‘bad artists’ are able to get full careers working for these companies.
Your Batwoman pic is awesome, and it’s not like you didn’t give her curves or anything and her breasts aren’t small. What do they think swimsuit models look like in a costume anyway? And honestly, your piece is a lot closer to that SI cover than a lot of the “industry standard” art, but it is interesting that they consider Sports Illustrated swimsuit models as what superheroines should look like (even though they don’t end up looking like SI swimsuit models either.)
It doesn’t surprise me though, but it’s sad that that is considered the “peak of human perfection”. I think they’re confusing “what I find attractive in women” and “a woman at the peak of athletic perfection” much less “human perfection.”
(As a note SI images probably are quite touched up too.)
This is why self publishing + social media is so important. It is the only way to get through to these bigger shops that THERE IS A FAN BASE being unutilized and not served.
First off Sports Illustrated models are not actually the peak of human fitness, in fact like all magazine models they are photoshopped to hell and back. No body alive looks like that.
Second off anatomically speaking your Batwoman looks awesome! Not fat just healthy and even if she were fat you can still be fat and be in shape. Female and male athletic bodies come in more shapes and sizes that super model.
In fact if she were say built like a long distance runner or a gymnast she would have a relatively flat chest and huge muscular thighs and calves. Just saying. Also no one has any right to harsh on your artistic license because the actual artist of Batwoman Eulogy doesn’t know how to draw boobs. BOOBS DON’T WORK THAT WAY.
The first panel in profile doesn’t look like she’s wearing a bra, which one would be extraordinarily painful and two just what the fuck, what women in her right mind wouldn’t wear a sports bra to fight crime?
The second panel it still looks like no bra and you can see the outlines of her nipples which I’ve been told is because J.H. Williams the III works from nude figure models which makes the last panel kinda awkward as that is in fact a deep sex shot.
Also nipples again which if she had a bra on WOULD NOT SHOW THROUGH. I don’t understand why male comic book artists are under the impression that women have turbo nipples that can power through Kevlar suits to be oogled by bad guys who are getting their butts kicked but they do.
Also boobs sans bra do not remain that perky unless internally they are supported by silicone. Which hey if Batwoman or the figure model he’s using has breast implants that’s her own business but that would really suck to get punched in the boob and have that start leaking saline and God knows what else in to your bloodstream.
These are things that have bothered me about his art for awhile now but I am just getting them out because your post was so brilliant. Don’t be discouraged. You should check out The Ladydrawers. I may or may not be a part of that and that’s something you should follow very closely if you’re interested in women and marginalized groups getting jobs in the comics industry.