Thursday, April 12, 2007

Is This Gratuitous? Cover to Army @ Love #2

Army @ Love #2
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
Since Army @ Love is a Vertigo adult-type title, I was a bit hesitant to use it's cover. Then I couldn't stop looking at the damn dog.

Good Lord.

If nothing else on this cover is gratuitous, that dog is. Pink poodles have never really been my style. Plus that is one heck of a styling job on that poor dog. It is more groomed then most Hollywood starlets.

Oh yeah, then there's the chick with the major cleavage spilling out of her shirt. Hmmmm.... I didn't know the army made their shirts fit (or not fit) like that.

So my friends, I have to ask: Is This Gratuitous?


ShellyS said...

I don't know the comic, but definitely borderline. Probably gratuitous.

Steve Flanagan said...

The story is a heavy-handed satire about sexual excess in the armed forces. So no, it isn't gratuitous; it's entirely appropriate to the theme. The first issue had two post-coital soldiers on the cover, you may recall.

But a cover like that would be gratuitous if used on the front of a straightforward war story. It's all about context: "gratuitous" is not a synonym for "offensive" or "sexist", after all.

p'La said...

first thought...

Ho Yeah! no pun intended.

Second thought, lets compare Penthouse to Playboy, one similarity, nudity, however why would one be preferred over the other... ummm more 'gratuitous' shots.. heh heh!

"gratuitous": I think is more about what is over the top for what is needed to get your attention. It really doesn't matter if the book is so inclined to be of that nature also.

But I'm with you Heidi, that poodle definitely says something and its 'shocking pink' to boot!

James Meeley said...

The story is a heavy-handed satire about sexual excess in the armed forces. So no, it isn't gratuitous; it's entirely appropriate to the theme.

I don't think that is the hard and fast rule. You can do a story or theme, even sexual satire, and not be gratuitous in presenting it.

I have to agree with P'La, that no matter what the topic or context of the image, if it is presented in an "over the top" fashion, then it is gratuitous. And based on that, this cover certainly qualifies.

Carl said...

First thought on viewing the cover: Is this a send-up of Abu Ghraib prison photos with a poodle filling in? I don't know if it's gratuitous, but it sure looks pretty dopey...

Jeff Rients said...

Yeah. Gratuitous.

Lisa said...

I don't know what was more offensive, the soldier lady who's uniform zipper appears to be busted, or the pink poodle with the bad haircut exposing it's hind end. YIKES!

While Steve has a point, I always look at these covers as someone who would be putting the cover out on display in my store. If someone who isn't reading this story comes into my store, how would they see this cover? Would it offend them? How many people would find it offensive - one or two, or 20? I know we're only ordering it for special orders and not racking any copies at my store.

Also, because the story is of a sexual nature does that make the cover less offensive? Maybe less gratuitous, but not less offensive. Unless you ask yourself why we'd need this kind of subject matter made into a comic book to begin with. Is the comic book itself gratuitous?

Heidi Meeley said...

Thank you for your insightful replies! I am a bit torn on this one, as it is the cover to a Vertigo title. Since the book is adult themed, the cover is a bit naughty, but it is that damn dog that pushes it over the edge for me.

Is there ever a reason to have a dog groomed like that? And on the cover of a comic, for God's sake? And what is she planning to do with the dog?

Hmmmm... I might have to go pick up the issue just to see. Damn reverse marketing!

Matias Lobato said...

Well considering it's not supposed to be a glorious awe-inspiring super-heroine that's actually just being used as one step from being wank-fodder (the one step being perhaps self-consciousness) like Carol's "i want you" while bending her ass in swimsuit with visible bikini-wax, overtly suggestive bondage with Iron-Man's head and guys looking at her ass, it's probably not since the above poster said the story itself is about sexuality and the suggestiveness is pertinent perhaps even if it was more erotic.

But I can't tell without context, unlike most Superheroes covers and inside material. This doesn't seem to be a comic where goes "and the glorious heroes must save the world (HOT ASS!) against invasion of (BOUNCING TITS!) forces of doom". But just because it's not superheroes doesn't automatically makes it less gratuitous, just maybe more specific and complex (needs more context) to pin it.

Normally, yeah, it'd be pretty gratuitous a hot military ("hot military" itself is tricky ground when probably no military man inside is dripping with smex) woman with her tits bouncing out with a hot pink poodle in jail (it could be a nudie zine cover anytime), but having to consider the focus of the story complicates matters a bit... Otherwise you'd post a Milo Manara's cover next week.