Sunday, October 9, 2011

About that kick in Huntress #1

I've seen a few reviews of Huntress #1 take issue with some of Marcus To's art, and in particular with one panel that shows Helena's body twisting in ways not humanly possible to kick one of the bad guys in the face. This is the offending panel:

Marcus To takes the criticism seriously and has responded on his Tumblr by pointing to a scene in a Tony Jaa movie that inspired the move and a picture of a gymnast standing in a similar position, while also acknowledging that he did screw up some of the details, like the orientation of the foot.

All of which is cool, but the thing is, I don't really care. This was one of my favourite panels in the book. It made me laugh out loud, not because I thought it was ridiculous but because I thought it was delightfully absurd in the way that superhero comics inherently are (or should be). These are the kinds of panels that automatically put a smile on my face. Criticizing it for being unrealistic sucks all the joy out of it.

I appreciate some level of realism in my comics. Artists that play fast and loose with anatomy and perspective sometimes bother me (for example, Jim Lee's art in Justice League #1). But I also want comics to be fun and I want these heroes to pull off move that nobody else can pull off. And if that means a little bit of cheating from time to time, I'm perfectly fine with that.

It seems like a strange thing to pick on when readers and reviewers seem to fully accept anatomically impossible female bodies with tiny waistlines, twisted so that their boobs AND their ass are pointed at the reader, in high heels and an unzipped suit, supposedly being "empowered." At least To's art is respectful of the character. The above panel is meant to show how incredibly skilled Helena is. It doesn't emphasize her crotch or her boobs. There's nothing objectifying about it.

In my opinion Marcus To is one of the best artists working for DC right now. His layouts are simple and elegant. His lines are super-clean. He can make any costume look great. He never goes for cheesecake. He's always on time and never needs fill-in artists to finish his pages. Sure, there's room for improvement (I find he has a limited range in body types and faces, for example) but his strengths as an artist far outweigh his weaknesses.


spice October 9, 2011 at 4:35 PM  

Great commentary, I totally agree!

Yan Basque October 9, 2011 at 5:23 PM  


DeBT October 10, 2011 at 4:05 PM  

That kick looks like a half-executed Keisuke Itegaki kick. For the uninitiated, Grappler Baki has plenty of scenes of men doing split-level kicks that dislocates their legs across the groin.

Yan Basque October 10, 2011 at 4:49 PM  

Haha! Awesome.

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