aeka: Art by Adam Hughes (Huntress [Helena Wayne]:)
Diane Darcy ([personal profile] aeka) wrote in [community profile] scans_daily2011-12-03 07:40 pm

Guillem March Comments on Sex in Comics

Newsarama recently interviewed Catwoman penciller Guillem March, and of course, among the questions asked (especially given the still controversial BatCat sex scene at the end of #1) is where the artist himself stands on the topic of sex in comics.

Nrama: From kids to adults, there’s been along of tongues wagging over your new series Catwoman, both with acclaim and concern about how sexual it is. What do you think about sexuality in comics, especially with two well-known characters like Catwoman and Batman?

March: Catwoman is a book for mature readers. 16 year old people and over, as it is rated on the cover with a T+. I think that there should be a place for the books containing sexuality in the market share, even explicit sexuality, and with that I´m not saying Catwoman is explicit, because it isn´t. Real life is explicit, it doesn’t cast shadows everywhere. I’m not going to argue with anybody about if it’s right or wrong to display sexuality between two well-know characters, or the way it’s done in Catwoman. At the end those characters are a property of DC Comics, and nobody can say “this is not how Catwoman should be” because everybody has a different vision of how every character should be. The only right treatment is the current ongoing comic-book, the place where the character is “living”. I hope people like it and follow the series because there is a lot of work behind to make it a good book, funny and entertaining. Both Judd Winick and I are putting a lot of ourselves in it.

Here in Europe, I think we’re more open minded about displaying sexuality in the media, and maybe showing violence is less acceptable than in the US. All the controversy about the ending of issue #1 surprised me a bit.


Oh sigh. Newsarama truthfully asked the wrong question here.

I don't think most people disagree on sexuality deserving a place in comicbooks. In fact, I'd like to think most people are in favour of depicting sexuality and nudity in comics, even in the States despite cultural sensitivity to it. This wasn't the problem people had with the scene though. The problem most people had was that it was (a) exploitive of the characters, (b) was depicted in a way that felt horridly ooc for both characters, (c) served no real purpose in the story, and (d) contained some pretty strong rape overtones on the page where Selina admits that "he protests at first but later gives in."

It's one thing to depict a graphic sex scene between two consenting adults who are enjoying themselves, no matter how kinky or colourful the sex is, and another to depict it in a way that objectifies the characters to the extent of qualifying as wank material.

And hey, since the topic here is sex, how about more Dinah/Ollie for a legality scan?

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turtlefu: (Default)

[personal profile] turtlefu 2011-12-04 01:36 am (UTC)(link)
I love his "real life doesn't cast shadows".

I don't draw shadows to cover it up because of REALISM. But that REALISM obviously doesn't' extend to how I draw female body types, because I only know how to draw one!

[personal profile] theredhood 2011-12-04 02:03 am (UTC)(link)
I don't understand the hubbub, quite frankly. Batman was shown being just as kinky in the scans you folks posted here (am I missing something?), and it's not like we never knew that's what they were doing from time to time.

Were it like, Batman and Babs, then it'd be squicky as hell... but Bruce and Selena getting feisty isn't news. The contrast with Ollie and Dinah isn't exactly fair.

With GA/BC you're talking a well-bred rich boy who thinks he's robin hood and a sassy legacy heroine who operates out of a flower shop, both of whom are a long standing couple. Then Bat/Cat opposite them, a borderline sociopath with extreme emotional disconnect issues and a scrappy criminal used to exploiting her sexuality to lower people's guard... who also both spend their nights hiding in dark rooms in skintight leather, waiting to beat gangsters into hospital beds.

The respective personalities involved are very, very different - two of them being much more dark - and so it follows suit that the sex might be as well.

As for the body types thing, granted Cats has (the sadly standard) case of waif-waist and zero-G boobs, but c'mon. It's Batman and Catwoman. Batman sets an impossible muscular standard for the male readers too, you know. Building calves the size of his or arms as sculpted would pretty much require you to spend 6 hours a day, every day, in a gym - doing a high-intensity workout that would make a marine cry.

They leap across rooftops and trample on ten 'roided-out thugs at once in unarmed combat on a nightly basis. They both pretty much have to be incredibly cut.

If she were a big girl and he with my dad's physique, I'd laugh until I peed.

Being upset about this... it just really seems like looking for something to be upset about. If anything rally about her comic covers objectifying the hell out of her. that one is at least valid.
turtlefu: (Default)

[personal profile] turtlefu 2011-12-04 02:29 am (UTC)(link)
I just had this discussion yesterday and I'm not really in the mood for it.

First of all, Google "False Equivalence".

Second of all, go on YouTube and look up "Killing Us Softly 3". Jean Kilbourne explains these things much better than me.

But that argument? Has been played out and done over and over with Feminist Thinkers and argued against much better than I ever could.
auggie18: (Default)

[personal profile] auggie18 2011-12-04 03:00 am (UTC)(link)
Did you read today's Shortpacked? It's super relevant and you just quoted it.

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[personal profile] theredhood 2011-12-04 11:04 am (UTC)(link)
You didn't address my point about the poor choice of comparison, at all. Moreover, not every woman wants a pouty bishi Batman, just as not every male wants an oversexed Catwoman. You can't honestly take an objective argument about whether or not the scene was overly exploitative and turn it into "Everything is! Because... MEN!"

Although assuming that pouty and lean with big expressive eyes is the way that they should go which "never gets catered to", 1989 movie Batman says hey. He seemed successful enough.

I'm not looking to argue with feminist thinkers about feminist thought. Feminist leanings aside, this is (was?) a slash community, not "Wymyn now." The portrayal of sex and relationships in comics is the primary focus here, and there's nothing especially filthy or wrong about what was shown in the comic in question.

Catwoman's physical proportions being fetishized is an aside, and an argument that is years and years old; IMO, not really relevant enough to be dredging up here. Assume in the scene in question, Bat/Cat were fat and wrinkly alike... would you still think that the [scene] was horrible sexualization?

If you would, you're more than entitled to your opinion (not that you'd need my permission,) but I'd also like the right to respectfully disagree (not that I'd need yours, in due courtesy.)

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Mod note

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Mod Note: First Warning

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kenn_el: Northstar_Hmm (Default)

[personal profile] kenn_el 2011-12-04 02:42 am (UTC)(link)
Exactly. I kind of hate constantly reading about the 'controversial' bat-Cat hook-up where the reasoning seems to be that it's 'prudish' to find the scenes off-putting, rather than that it's an awful depiction of the two characters as we have known them. Given that the 'new' DCU Selina is really first glimpsed in that same issue, I don't think it can be claimed that anything she does is 'out of character', since the series is presumably establishing that character in this 'new' 'verse, but it does offer us a character with questionable standards (and taste). Batman, OTOH, while also 'new' in this universe, has an established child from an ill-advised relationship, and it's HE whom I lost respect for in those first issues.

I don't actually think so

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I don't actually think so

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(frozen comment) Just FYI

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shadeedge: (Default)

[personal profile] shadeedge 2011-12-04 11:21 pm (UTC)(link)
True, both Batman and Catwoman have, body-wise, implausibly "perfect" figures.


Batman's costume does not open to the navel, so that those of us interested can see his sculpted abs. His costume is moulded to show of his muscles, but is padded out with obvious armour, not skintight so we may ogle every facet of his body. When Batman stands, he does not pose so as to thrust his package or firm buttocks in our faces, or other characters.

[personal profile] darkknightjrk 2011-12-04 02:03 am (UTC)(link)
"(a) exploitive of the characters,"

To be fair, I can't necessarily argue that--it seems like Winnick is going for a sort-of seedy, grindhouse vibe with this book.

"(b) was depicted in a way that felt horridly ooc for both characters,"

I guess it depends on what you mean by "depicted." In terms of how much they showed, that was definitely more, but in terms of action? Hell no. I felt that was perfectly in-panel. They've been having rough angry sex for decades--it's just always been off-panel.

"(c) served no real purpose in the story,"

Well, it was a character moment for her. She was starting to angst about not having her own home anymore, and Batman came in at just the right time for her to get her aggression out.

"(d) contained some pretty strong rape overtones on the page where Selina admits that 'he protests at first but later gives in.'"

I never read it that way. The way it's always been for Batman's side of the relationship is that he wants her, he wants her bad, but she's a criminal and he knows he should arrest her and not want her. In this case, part of him is trying to resist, but he gives into temptation. One should also remember that, when Selina's narrating, she mentions that they've been sleeping together for a long time. Honestly, describing this instance as having rape overtones almost seems like a slight to actual sexual assault.


[personal profile] pervymax 2011-12-04 04:23 am (UTC)(link)
brooms: (goddess)

[personal profile] brooms 2011-12-04 02:12 am (UTC)(link)
Omg. What is Dinah's position in that scan? I can't figure out and it's driving me nuts.
anothermoviegeek: (Default)

[personal profile] anothermoviegeek 2011-12-04 02:31 am (UTC)(link)
It looks to me that Dinah is on her stomach with her head turned to the right. She is more than likely completely flat. Ollie could be anywhere from full penetration to just laying on top of her being frisky.

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benicio127: (Default)

[personal profile] benicio127 2011-12-04 10:12 pm (UTC)(link)
I keep confusing her arms with Ollie's (and we actually can't see her arms), but it looks like missionary.

[personal profile] kksimone 2011-12-04 04:51 am (UTC)(link)
At the end those characters are a property of DC Comics, and nobody can say “this is not how Catwoman should be” because everybody has a different vision of how every character should be. The only right treatment is the current ongoing comic-book, the place where the character is “living”.

Ugh. I think, after 70 years, all of us have a right to say how Catwoman should be or what Batman would do because--culturally--these are our characters. We don't own them, but we know them. These characters and their place in our culture is wonderful because we do say, "That's not how Catwoman should be" or "Batman would never do that." With most of our fiction we can only say, "I don't like that [character] did that," but with our superheroes we know when the writers get them wrong.

Maybe my vision of Catwoman doesn't match everybody's, but I think my vision is going to have a lot of similarities to everybody else's vision. Depending on your age and what you watched when, my vision's probably cobbled together out of a lot of the same things as everyone else's, and I think it's a lot more flexible than March gives any of us credit for. I can have my vision of Catwoman as a relatively sane, unpowered thief and still love Batman Returns (and despite all the changes that Tim Burton makes, I think the Catwoman in Batman Returns still has the essence of Catwoman).
batman: Stephanie Brown from the Robin/Spoiler special (cunning plans)

[personal profile] batman 2011-12-04 07:25 am (UTC)(link)
Oh my gosh, did he really pull the whole "Americans are puritans and here in Europe we are sexually enlightened" thing? That's hilarious! I guess non-American readers like me who were kind of "...what is this..." at the scene don't exist.

Sweet, I am never paying back my HECS debt.
lieut_kettch: (Default)

[personal profile] lieut_kettch 2011-12-04 07:36 am (UTC)(link)
Ugh. Tighty-whities. Really, Ollie?
anothermoviegeek: (Default)

[personal profile] anothermoviegeek 2011-12-04 06:21 pm (UTC)(link)
I figured those were Dinah's and the frilly purple ones were Ollie's.
filthysize: (Default)

[personal profile] filthysize 2011-12-04 06:21 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm unable to get down with the idea that there is no middle-ground between enjoyable sex and rape. I think, certainly, the sex scene between Catwoman and Batman in that issue was questionable, but isn't that the point? It wasn't supposed to be a sex scene between two people in a healthy relationship, like Ollie and Dinah or other couples. At this point, they're two strangers who prowl the night, and Batman knows that Catwoman's fetishizing him and using him to take out her aggression, and he doesn't like it, but he can't help himself around her. The fact that Selina doesn't care about his hesitation certainly casts an uncomfortable light on her, which I thought was a reflection of her state of mind.

A lot of people have complicated sex lives and/or relationships, and a lot of them take some seriously messed up turns before they get to a place that's comfortable enough to be called healthy. I think at this point it's well established that despite their measures of heroism, both Selina and Bruce are somewhat dysfunctional people, and I think it's perfectly fair to try to show a relationship between them that's as such. I never saw the Bat/Cat relationship as a perfect one, anyway, with all the their chasing each other around, both literally and romantically.

I guess it seems odd to me that they've done questionable things to each other emotionally that shows their dysfunction with relatively no uproar, but once it crosses over to physical affection, it's too squick. I guess I just don't view sexuality in that way. I saw it as an extension of the games they've always played with each other.

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eyz: (Default)

[personal profile] eyz 2011-12-05 08:53 am (UTC)(link)
"Here in Europe, I think we’re more open minded about displaying sexuality in the media"
I dunno what kinda comics you've been reading or if you're just improvising that line/invoking randomly that without any ref' cause I've been reading European comics for years, and be it the mainstream long-running series (Spirou, Tintin, Lucky Luke..), the big successes (XIII, Largo Winch,..) or the indie market (Loisel, ...) sex is pretty much absent from "our" comics as well. Or even more so.

Besides some rare exceptions ("Les Innommables",..) or erotic comics. Obviously.

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mynondw: (Default)

[personal profile] mynondw 2011-12-05 01:13 pm (UTC)(link)
It might be a little late for me to chime in but...

This post is interesting because I thought the precise problem with the scene was the penciling. I could see some other artist handling it, drawing it in a different style, or choosing to use less graphic detail, and it would have come across as pretty darn sexy and romantic. Instead, the penciler created this contorted grotesquerie that passes for sex appeal in the comics world.
greenmask: (Default)

[personal profile] greenmask 2011-12-05 04:40 pm (UTC)(link)
I may agree, actually. I do think there were some fairly definite problems with the writing or turs of phrase used, but.. I think that March has skill and a good command of comic art creation, but that (maybe with the inker/s he's had at DC so far? The colourists? Something else?) his style can appear very emotionally/atmospherically cold and somehow unnerving.