Thursday, October 04, 2007

Is This Gratuitous: Uncanny X-Men #491

Uncanny X-Men #491
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley
After much thought, I present to you my candidate for discussion in the gratuitous theme. I almost didn't use this cover but it struck me that the first place my eyes kept going was Storm's butt and that seems a bit unhealthy. Granted she does look quite toned and fit, but I can't help but wonder if they would pose Cyclops or Iceman like that?

Knowing that Storm wears a more revealing costume, the choice to focus on her curves is a bit unfortunate. The good news is that her boobs are not the focus. The bad news is that her hiney is in full display. Because of the focus here, I have to pose the question. This is a very tricky one for me because I appreciate Salvador Larroca's art.

Help me on this one.

Is this gratuitous?


LurkerWithout said...

Not show about the gratuitous-ness of it. But while its good to see Storm actually being in an X-book again, I'm dissapointed they're going back to the "buried alive"/claustraphobia plot point with her again...

Tamora Pierce said...

It's at the center of the page' her flesh and hair are the only bright items in the page--you're sure as all get-out meant to look at the parts of her that are bare, and her haunch is center stage.

What bothers me is that it looks like a Barbie doll joint, only without the line.

Gratuitous--just on the line. Creepy, definitely, since you can't see anything else.

Mike Haseloff said...

"The good news is that her boobs are not the focus. The bad news is that her hiney is in full display."

It's about damned time someone started talking about real solutions to feminist problems, like the complete removal of the posterior!

Accursed sexy anatomy all functiony with the leg movement and the sitting! Pish-posh!

bellatrys said...

it looks like a Barbie doll joint, only without the line.

Wow, Tammy, that *IS* badly drawn. You'd almost think the artist had never seen a real woman in his life before...

And mike, when you can find a recent cover with a half-bared depowered-superhero butt sticking up front-and-center all shiny and pretty like that, you can come back and make some relevant complaints.

Unknown said...

I don't think so. The first place my eyes went was Storm's hair. I actually had to take a second and LOOK to figure out what elements might possibly be construed as gratuitous, i.e. the half butt shot. Yeah, her haunches are in the center of the page, but I think the general arrow of dark to light, from the bottom to the top of the illustration, directs the viewer's eye down towards her head, with a butt detour along the way.

Lisa said...

I had the same experience when I put them on the shelf - eyes went right to the butt. Like Tamora says, that's obviously where they want to look.

But, there were worse covers this week. Like Bomb Queen - which always makes me cringe.

But this cover - hmmm... I'm going to say borderline. Her skirt hasn't been ripped off to show her butt exposed in a thong or anything, but it IS out there and they could have just not done that at all.

mordicai said...

I think the use of "haunch" is spot on- this is less about sexy flesh, & more about, well, raw & exposed. I myself was more interested in her back.

Unknown said...

Hyper-defined shoulder blades in comics always make me think of Chinese takeout hot wings. But whatever turns you on, man.

Rocketlex said...

It is borderline.

I think the positioning of the leg is the only part that looks truly gratuitous here. Yeah, her back's all exposed, too, and while I guess you could view that as sexy it isn't gratuitous. I mean, just given the costume no matter what position she's in you're going to have a fair amount of skin showing (which might be gratuitous on it's own).

It'd be less gratuitous, I think, if there were something other than just her in the picture which we could look at. It might also help (and look better) if she actually had...y'know...some cuts or scrapes or something instead of having perfect skin (considering it looks like a friggin' building collapsed on her. I dunno the story, here.)

Nick said...

Looking at this reminded me of Sir Mix-A-Lot...hmmm I wonder why.

You other brothers can't deny.... yeah....a little gratuitous.

Heidi Meeley said...

Wow. I didn't realize my choice this week would cause such divisiveness. It is pretty obvious from reading the comments that I am not going to get a solid decision on this.

My thought is this- the cover isn't the most gratuitous I have ever seen. What made me put the cover up here was the fact that Storm's outfit is more like a one piece bathing suit so when she is splayed out it can be a bit hazardous. I appreciate her cape and her "lock pick" tiara and am a fan of Ororo. I am also happy she is back in Uncanny X-Men as she adds a regalness and a wisdom to the book.

The point is this: would a comic book company put out a cover of a male character in this same position if the character had a similar outfit. Robin in his shorts? Aqualad? Would we get to see an expanse of flesh?

That is what made me wonder.

I am a big fan of Salvador's art. There have been books I haven't been sure about purchasing, but if I see he has drawn the book, it sometimes makes the decision for me. This cover isn't going to put me off Salvador by any means, but I am surprised by it.

I appreciate your opinions very much. I can see that we won't come to a majority decision on this one, so I will leave your thoughts to stand. I just appreciate the fact that you are all trying to keep it civil. That means a great deal to me.

Thank you!

Just Another Girl said...

The lines of her her body are draw to guide your eyes right to her "bottom". i think it is very rare that we ever see males characters in this type of vunerable position.

zhinxy said...

IT'S STORM. My beautiful, beautiful STORM... Lying there broken and defeated... WITH HER ASS IN THE AIR!



(No, I don't interpret every instance of a wounded superheroine as sexism, thankyou very damn much. I interpret it as sexism when it's *gasp* SEXUALIZED. And this is. This COVER BURNS! IT BUUUUURNS!)

Anonymous said...

Yes, it is gratuitous.

See how her cape lies so prettily furled beneath her? How it is still attached to her bracelet? How it does not appear to be shredded, torn or otherwise ripped away from her body by the building falling on her?

Explain to me how a cape/cloak, which normally hangs down the back, can end up in the front of the wearer like that.

The only explanation is that if her cape had covered her when she was knocked down onto her front, we would have been deprived of the view of her backside. That, plus the weird hip-tilting required to rotate her torso in the fashion depicted, makes it a deliberate choice by the artist and hence gratuitous.