Friday, October 03, 2008

Naughty or Nice? Cover to Incredible Hercules #121

With the countdown to Christmas under official way, I decided to add a feature here at Comics Fairplay. Yes, it really is October, and right behind the Halloween shelf you can't escape at the grocery store, there is the spectre of Christmas lurking, just waiting to strike. With that in mind, I would like to present my new feature "Naughty or Nice?", which focuses on covers, books, people, or events related to comics.

What I am hoping for is to create a dialogue with you in which we discuss if something is naughty or nice. Rather then using my "Is this gratuitous" feature, which I am tabling until the new year, I thought this could be a way to have some fun. Without further ado, let's get this underway!

I have been purchasing and enjoying the book Incredible Hercules. I enjoy the interaction between Herc and Amadeus Cho, and apppreciate the sense of humor that permeates the action contained therein. It has also been a joyride of fantastic art, with runs by Rafa Sandoval and now Clayton Henry, making the experience an overall 8 out of 10.

Then I saw the cover to issue #121 by Arthur Suydam. It is a stunning work of art. Four beautiful but deadly women with huge guns stand over the battered body of Hercules. The look on their faces says "look at me the wrong way and you die". The stylistic tone is amazing.

Then I notice that the main lady is wearing a Victoria's Secret style bra with what appears to be her nipples showing through. At even closer glance, the gal that is crouching appears to be topless. Hmmm... it stopped me dead in my tracks.

I feel really torn now. I love the sheer grace of the work here. I also understand that Hercules doesn't exactly wear a ton of clothes, so it is a fairplay (heh!) deal here. He is beat to crap, and at the Amazon's complete mercy. The supermodel poses not withstanding, the women are the dominant ones.

Maybe it could be the fact that the Amazons I am used to seeing are the DC ones. They are armored up when they battle, otherwise it is toga city. The renegade Amazons in Amazons Attack wore fatigues and were actually pretty covered. Seeing a whole new take here by Marvel is a revelation. Part of the women inside the book are old school with the armored look, while another group are schoolgirl slutty and naughty. It is a whole new spin on a familiar tribe.

So I sit here tonight simply wondering this: is the cover naughty or nice? Is is groundbreaking and gorgeous, or is it simply a ruse to get guys to buy the book?

Let me know- I am very curious to hear your thoughts!


Nick said...

First Impression: Man those are some women I wouldn't wanna run into in a dark alley.

Vaklam said...

The cheesecake serves the story and the poses aren't pornographic. I think it's an effective cover in that it makes me want to read what's inside rather than just ogling it on the stand and moving on like I do with, say, Greg Land's work.

Also, it's nice to see a non-zombie Suydam piece.

Saranga said...

I like it. I like the matching toplessness between Hercules and the women, and the fact that Hercules is also beefed up. I think it helps that both are drawn in (gender specific) gratuitous ways. because of this, as much as I prefer the armoured up DC amazons I don't find the cover too offensive. It helps that they are tough as hell.

And it probably is a ruse to encourage men to buy the book, but because of what I mentioned above I don't mind so much. They could be bent over in fake sex poses with their hips cocked and their lips pouting. As it is, they look like incredibly tough fighters who just happen to not wear a lot of clothes, instead of sex ornaments who just happen to have guns. I believe that actually have kicked Hercules ass.

Saranga said...

ooops just look again -
Ok so there is a cocked hip, but that isn't the emphasis of the piece.

Craig said...

I say 'tis a ruse. Right now I'm kind of looking to come back to comics after several (busy) months away, and covers like this are kind of a blush-inducing bit of culture "re-shock". Though I'm not sure how much worse this is than any other given source of cheescake in the comics-verse.

Also, the central figure's pose reminds me of the cover of Planet Terror...