I want to make one thing very clear, right off the bat: This item is not an artistic critique or an attempt to correct anyone’s illustrative anatomy. The artist on this piece, Sami Basri, did excellent work, and I am not finding fault with it.
This past month, DC published 52 new series featuring overhauled characters. The changes were bound to upset some people, and they did, but the biggest furor has been over the handling of several female characters. Suicide Squad administrator Amanda Waller lost a couple hundred pounds and 20 years. Barbara Gordon regained the use of her legs and left her role as the tech savvy woman Oracle for her old role as spandex-wearing Batgirl. Catwoman was shown for pages from the neck down focusing on her cleavage, then having sex with Batman, on panel. Starfire was written as apathetically hypersexual, and drawn as little more than a sex object. Then there’s Voodoo.
Voodoo isn’t nearly as well known as these other characters. And her presentation here isn’t actually much different from her original introduction, in which she was an exotic dancer. But there’s no question that it is overtly sexual from page 1.
I don’t pass judgment on that. Sex work is a legitimate way of making a living, and I am the last person who would object to it being presented in comics… flatteringly or not. And although I don’t like the sexual objectification of women, I support the right of publishers and readers to make their own choices.
But I saw an opportunity here to present the question from a different angle. To pose a question to both sides of the debate. How would you feel about it if the character being presented were not a woman, but a man? So I put my modest illustration and Photoshop skills to the task of giving Voodoo a sex change. Does this make it any better? Does this make it any worse?
First, here are pages 1, 2, and 15 of the original comic, written by Ron Marz and illustrated by Sami Basri:
Now here are altered versions of those pages, with apologies to Basri for the tampering:
So what do you think? How do you feel?