Voodoo – New 52

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?

Posted in DC Comics, female, male | 11 Comments


Although I enjoy doing these little fix-up projects, I’ve come to the realization that I need to focus on my own work for a while. I’m sure I’ll come back to this again, but for now, it’s all original work all the time.

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Bride’s Diary

This was posted over at the Comics Beat site, where a commenter said that the figure on the cover had “tiny little hands”. They’re a bit small, but the real problem is her honkin’ huge head.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Alex Ross’ Kirbyverse

Alex Ross is a modern master photorealist. By making heavy use of photo reference, his paintings of superheroes look like they could step off the page. It also results in his figures looking a bit stiff, because they’re photos of people posing, stiffly. So what happens when the grand master of posed figures tries to emulate Kirby, the godfather of explosive dynamism? Oy.

OK, it’s got energy. Too much energy. As in “seven picoseconds after the Big Bang” energy. As in “ow! my eyes!” energy. The color palette is burning like magnesium and other exotic minerals in intense crimson, orange, and yellow, and a little intense blue and violet(!) to provide “rest” for the eyes.

Yes, it has a focal point. Dozens of them, in fact. It’s impossible to know where to look. Furthermore, it’s nearly impossible to tell what you’re looking at when you pick a spot. It’s better when you look at it full-size, but even then it’s just overwhelming.

As a promotional piece for an upcoming project, it… does the job. It’s eye-catching. It (briefly) makes you want to look at it. But as a work of art, this is just… bad.

In my inadequate attempt to fix it, I started by erasing most of the clutter, clearing out the crowd. Yes, I know: it’s no longer a representation of every character Kirby created for the Kirbyverse. That’s a job for a catalog. This creates some welcome negative space, which I’m forced to guess how to fill, because the background was almost completely obscured. This is a hack job, to be sure. But at least it’s readable, with some variety of color, variety of “business”, and a few clear focal points.

Posted in crowd, independent | 2 Comments

Scott Pilgrim movie poster

One commentator commented sarcastically about the “coincidence” that all of the Evil Exes in the Scott Pilgrim movie poster had the same skin color… despite being European, Indian, and Japanese. In fact, the actors’ skin colors are all fairly close, and washing them out like this only makes them just a little more samey. (In the book, the Indian character is illustrated with darker skin, but the actor they cast actually looks… Caucasian.)

The real offense here is the length of Michael Cera’s neck. Granted, the kid does have a long neck, but not that long. The people in the poster department at Hollywood studios really have no compunctions about messing around with people’s anatomy, and someone apparently thought he’d look more heroic and/or geeky like that. He just looks absurd.

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