If anyone told me that DC couldn’t manage to squeeze in an unconscious teen-age girl, an upskirt and a porn-face in just one page of a comic book I would have laughed and told them they underestimate the creative teams of today’s funny books.
A few things to remember is that most of today’s artists and fans are children of the Bad 90s and they expect a risque type of imagery. The other is that companies are so desperate to make a sale, any sale, that inappropriate sexual imagery is almost always added to any scene in a comic book (and movie, novel, advertisement, etc.) because it just may motivate that tiny percentage of the population to hand over some cash that otherwise they would not. It may be that teasing a small portion of consumers by using saucy poses is worth it to the bottom line because most of the stable audience of die-hard fans will ignore it in favor of reading and collecting a book in spite of the continuing negative portrayal of the sexes. Think of it like chocolate sprinkles on a ice cream sundae. To many people it doesn’t hurt and may be seen as a value-added commodity.
As example, Mary Marvel in the recent issue of Countdown #22 (November 2007). After a battle, Mary is rendered unconscious or insensate and is drifting in space. For no reason at all the scene is sexily designed to show readers what is under her very short skirt. There were a lot of poses for Mary that the artists could have used but the “Am I a good girl, Daddy?” pose is the one they chose. Mary then begins to wake up. She is confused, disoriented and manages to shed a tear in the vacuum of space. Hey, it’s comic book magic, don’t sweat the how. Maybe she is mourning her lost innocence.
I don’t know what artistic point the creators were going for by having a single tear run down the face of an unconscious teen-age girl wearing an adhesive mini-skirt and kinky-boots, but the scene is kind of familiar.
Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but Mary is another strong and capable female character with a rich history that is is knocked unconscious and portrayed as helpless, who then and wakes up disoriented with something wet spilling down her face. I think there are movies that start out like that. When will we see Batman in a similar panel layout and situation?
Amazing Stories, June 1930
Science Wonder Stories, July 1929
Wonder Stories, December 1935
You can read about the 1935 pulp story and the famous Frank R. Paul cover of Dream’s End (and even read the entire story) via this archived Lady, That’s My Skull link.
The Boy King was an exile from the Nazi-threatened land of Swisslakia who came to America to gather support and aid America in the fight against Hitler. Boy King fought spies and saboteurs that threatened America’s security, using his wits, royal fortune and a skyscraper-sized Golem that only he could command. Strangely, the Boy King and American officials never considered using the Golem to step on and squish all the Nazis. Hitler and his cronies were not so innocent though and considered the Golem a potent obstacle in their goal of conquering the world. In order to defeat the Boy King and his statue the German High Command orders the construction of a similarly-sized weapon that would attack and defeat the Boy King before moving on to crush all American resistance. What they came up with was the obvious response: a Giant Nazi Dinosaur Robot.
In the Golden Age there was a whole lot of pulse-pounding content jam-packed in about 30 pages of art and story. In those days, decompression meant that was what the artist did in a bar after a long day of trying to get paid by a cheap publisher. There is plenty of non-stop action in this story. In Clue Comics #4 and #5, the heroic Boy King defends American shores from a giant robot, battles his arch-nemesis (a Nazi officer with extending prosthetics for hands who comes off kind of like one of the Robonic Stooges) not once but several times, fights an octopus, meets a cute girl and there is even a slow-moving death trap thrown in for good measure!
Jump into the fray by clicking the picture above.
Be prepared to freak out.
In the December 1939 issue of Keen Detective Funnies debuted one of the most enigmatic super-heroes of the Golden Age of Comics. The issue featured the omnipotent character of THE EYE. The feature, titled The Eye Sees, was created by Frank Taylor and ran for a few years until the title suspended publication.
The Eye was a god-like creature of brutal retaliation and terrible justice. The supreme being that metes out revenge was a concept which became a recurring theme of the type of hero that would later be commonplace in comic books of the Golden Age and could be found in the form of such characters as the Specter, Stardust the Super-Wizard, Green Lantern and others.
The Frank Taylor creation was unusual in several respects, one being that it was one of the few characters that went without elaboration and readers never received an origin or back story. Another aspect of The Eye was that it was different from many other “heroes” in that it was very Old Testament when dealing with mortals. The Eye did not simply perceive wrongs and act to correct them from on high through improbable means. The Eye demanded unquestioning obedience from the people it deigned to assist and ordered them to do some actual field work to attain justice.
You can download and observe for yourself the debut story of The Eye Sees by zapping the picture with your lightnings.
More bad, dated advice from romance comic books written by old men with Mommy issues.
The illustration for #1 seems kind of odd, showing what I take to be the Mom walking off with two men.
From Love Problems and Advice, Illustrated #2 (August 1949).