Wednesday, April 11, 2007

"Anything bigger than a handful, you're risking a sprained thumb"

My last post and the recent Draw Power Girl thing got me thinking. There's been some talk, both over that awful Michael Turner JLA cover and over at Project Rooftop about the plausibility of Power Girl's outfits and their ability to support her large breasts.

Now, I like that PG is well-endowed. I think we ought to have women of all shapes and sizes, including large-breasted ones, in comics. I just wish there were more women of other shapes and sizes, y'know? But I like that PG is large, and I think she ought to be generally large: large-breasted, muscular without being masculine, tall (but not necessarily Big Barda tall), etc. And I think there should be a bit more thought put into costuming in general. Sure, we can suspend our disbelief when it comes to where Clark Kent keeps his boots and that sort of thing, and we can all accept that comic book fabrics don't quite behave like real world ones, but there's a limit. Costumes like the new Star Sapphire's? Yeah, they can't even see the limit anymore. Some thought should be given to basic things like "would this costume support the character's various outcroppings?" and "is this effective in battle?" and "should we really be able to tell whether she's an innie or an outie?" and "gosh, wouldn't that be horrendously uncomfortable?"

Horrendous discomfort is somewhat subjective; after all, someone with bulletproof skin might not mind a permanent wedgie. And I'll totally accept the "lack of support" complaints with regard to characters like Knockout and Vampirella and Catwoman and many, many others.

But Power Girl? Power Girl can fly. She can, quite literally, defy gravity. If her powers work anything like what's described in Wolverton's The Science of Superman (graviton manipulation/production) or even in Byrne's Man of Steel (telekinetic aura), then there's no real reason she'd need a bra. Now, this may cause some unintended consequences if she's knocked unconscious or somehow loses her powers, in which case extra support may be warranted, but in general she just has to expend a little bit of energy and she can go a step farther than the Invisibra.

So, just keep in mind when you're thinking about gravity and the realities of superhero costuming that there are some lucky characters for whom gravity isn't a concern.


Anonymous said...


Sorry, couldn't help it. Great work, as always.

David C said...

I strongly agree with your ideas on heroic physiques. I sometimes kinda wish DC could use an approach similar to the Justice League animated shows, where model sheets keep things consistent, and the characters have interestingly different physiques. For example, Green Lantern is fairly short, shorter than Wonder Woman, but taller than the relatively petite Hawkgirl.

But with odd exceptions (really, it's hard to find many *other* than Power Girl), superheroes seem to have the same generic physique most of the time. The only other major exception is, interestingly, fellow Earth-2 refugee the Huntress, who when reintroduced post-Crisis, was purposely drawn to be relatively plain and flat-chested. (In more recent years, well, apparently being an ex-Mafia princess enables you to have a lot of "work done.")

On the other hand, it'd probably be tough, and possibly undesirable, to enforce real standards when the characters are drawn by so many artists of varying styles and skill level.