Tuesday, May 15, 2012

As close to "brokeback" as humanly possible...?

The above image is of someone cosplay-ing X-23, photographed by Kassandra Leigh, and I found it in the latest installment of Bethany Fong's regular feature on ComicsAlliance, "Best Cosplay Ever (This Week)."

There may be a lot noteworthy about the image (nice nail polish, for example), but what immediately struck me was how close the pose being struck is to the bad comic book cover ideal of the "brokeback" pose...only here it is being struck by a a real, live human being in what is presumably real life.

I assume you're all familiar with the term "brokeback," right? I'm not sure who first coned the term (I think Heidi MacDonald is the first writer-about-comics I've heard use it; here's a post from her blog The Beat discussing it, a post that also links to her Tumblr of examples of it).

If not, here's a brief explanation. On comic book covers (and splash pages, pin-ups and panels) and on movie posters, you'll often find female characters posing looking over their shoulder, so you can see part of their ass and part of one of their breasts, thus emphasizing their curves, and all the parts men like the best (this also gets the usually long hair and face in their too).

Some artists (the bad ones, or, in rare cases, good ones making fun of the bad ones), will take the pose a little too far, like, beyond anatomically possible too far, so that you can see the woman's entire ass and both of her breasts, a pose that is usually only possible if the spine were broken. Hence the term.

The above image doesn't go that far. While the model's entire chest is visible, and most of her ass is, you can't see her entire ass, so it's not really a pure "brokeback" pose; at least, it's not a "wrong" (and, I assume, usually anatomically impossible) "brokeback" pose. If she were a drawing, this would still be on the "Right" side of the brokeback line, but it would be about as close as you could come, wouldn't it? Like, on a scale of 1 to 100, this is, like, an 91.5 in getting both the entire ass and entire chest visible in the image.

That she's able to do this while striking a dancer-like pose, and do it while only standing on one leg amazes the hell out of me. Before writing this, I went into the bathroom to see how much of my ass and chest I could see at the same time in the full-length-ish mirror. I had just finished working out, and was about as stretched and limber as I ever get, and I couldn't do it. At best, I could get either my whole ass in the mirror and one pec, or both pecks and only the side of my ass (I would have taken pictures, because the only thing I like doing with my blog better than crying about superheroes and making dick jokes is posting embarrassing photos of myself, but my arms weren't long enough. I briefly thought of knocking on my neighbor's door and asking whoever answered if they'd like to come over to my apartment to try and take some pictures of my butt to post on the Internet, but I decided against it).

I should also note that it was awfully unnatural feeling, and I really had to strain to get even that much of a twist going on. I don't think I'd be able to, say, fight The Hulk or 15 ninjas while in that pose.

Given the nature of comics—you know, the whole using multiple images on the same page to tell a story thing—I don't know why we see so many over-the-shoulder and/or "brokeback" poses on comics covers. If an artist wants to draw a woman's breasts and ass and can't figure out a realistic, anatomically possible way to pose them in order to get that result, why don't they just draw cut-away panels, showing the woman from different angles?
Why not chop up covers of, say, Bleez fighting Atrocitus, so there are two or more panels on the surface, one showing her from behind and one showing her from the front? Or draws something similar to the image above, and just have insets showing close-ups of her thong disappearing into her ass and another focusing on her breasts straining against her space swimsuit?

Or would that be too honest, and the whole point of covers like that one is to present a picture that objectifies the female form (except her feet, of course, because feet are hard to draw) while trying to disguise the fact? "No no no, this isn't supposed to be titillating. It's just a couple of Red Lanterns duking it out."

Maybe that's a terrible example though, because Bleez is an alien and, for all I know about her alien physiology, her spine is divided into two parts that can rotate independently from one another in opposite directions. And also because maybe pale, blood-puking dominatrixes with bone wings is too specific a fetish to use as an example of artists trying to get both T and A into a single image, the limits of the human skeletal structure be damned...

1 comment:

SallyP said...

Boy howdy, does Benes have an ass fetish!

Although I am in no position to be casting stones. My ass fetish just happens to be for Green Lantern asses. And they don't have to be twisting their torsos. Or have thongs.