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Pantsless Bombshells and the Perfect Storm

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Ah, the promo art of Zuda Comics’ Black Cherry Bombshells. It’s notable for two things: one, it seems to have nothing to do with what Black Cherry Bombshells is about. Sheldon Verra, illustrator of the promo art, is not the one who does the comic. That would be Sacha Borisich, whose artwork can be found in small insets to the middle left. It’s sorta bait and switch.

The second, which got Comics Worth Reading‘s Johanna Draper Carlson and Fleen‘s Gary Tyrrell up in arms, is much more obvious: the gal in the middle is not wearing any pants. A cheeky move. (Wait. That’s probably not the right term.)

The real art, apparently.

The real art, apparently.

It’s sorta become a perfect storm of some events that have been happening in print comics. First, there was Josh Tyler’s inflammatory remarks over at Comics Blend that women, in general, don’t like superheroes and that movie studios are stupid for even doing films about them. Then came an even bigger controversy when writer Bill Willingham (The Elementals, Justice Society of America) mentioned, on the politically conservative Big Hollywood blog, that superheroes need to drop the grim-and-gritty schtick and embrace goodness and patriotism again. (I should point out, by the way, that while passionate message board denizens are predictably sniping back and forth, several levelheaded liberal-leaning commentators, like Kurt Busiek and Heidi MacDonald, have actually stood up for Willingham and insist that he does have a point.) Both articles have been heavily circulated and argued in online debate circles. Discourse over the political correctness of comic book characters are in style this month, perhaps a result of the simmering emotions building up on the way to the Presidential Inauguration.

And now it’s come to webcomics, albeit via a company strongly tied to the print industry.

So, is the promo art of Black Cherry Bombshells sexist? Exploitative? Or … is it something else?

Incidentally, I’m guessing that, based on the screwball interview at Robot 6, it’s an intentional Sin City-inspired parody subverting the comic’s true mission statement that the creators were ultimately OK with. I sent an e-mail to Tony Trovarello, but all I got was a short response about how no one mentioned the space pen.

Okay.

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About El Santo

Somehow ended up reading and reviewing almost 300 different webcomics. Life is funny, huh? Despite owning two masks, is not actually a luchador.

Posted on January 13, 2009, in The Webcomic Overlook, webcomics and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I just find myself mentally drawing a line on that girl, trying to follow what her spine is doing. Is she part snake or something?

  2. I thought the original image was bad enough, but it’s not even an example of the artwork?

  3. It’s like that standard comic book practice where every cover is something done by Michael Turner, then they give you Chris Bachalo on the inside instead. 🙂 I’ve only read the first three pages of the “Black Cherry Bombshells” thus far, and Borisich’s art looks like to be part Scott Pilgrim, part Scary Go Round. I’m still on the fence on whether or not I like it.

  4. So, I have two comments not about Black Cherry Bombs:

    1. Josh Tyler says: Women are interested in movies about relationships and romance and love. Women are interested in imagining themselves finding the right guy and dancing till dawn.

    And female superheroes can’t do this because…? It’s really not impossible to have a movie with a tough hardass and a good romance. Look at Casablanca. Or Road house.

    2 I have less and less tolerance for superhero stories, since they’re at heart a rejection of the maxim “absolute power corrupts absolutely” and I really think history, for the most part, bears that maxim out.

    Hmmm, that’s not true. Let me try again.

    I have less and less patience for people who talk about superhero stories, for the same reason. It’s pretty unsavory to watch your favorite superheroes turn into a bunch of amoral dickheads, and for the most part, when they DO turn into amoral dickheads they usually aren’t written well enough that you can fall back on realism as an excuse. At the same time, Superheros are an all powerful secret police, answerable to nobody. I really can’t accept that glorifying secretive vigilante justice is some kind of high moral calling that enriches our souls.

    Let unrealistic, escapist entertainment be unrealistic escapist entertainment. Not everything has to be Important Art.

  1. Pingback: The Webcomic Overlook #83: The Black Cherry Bombshells « The Webcomic Overlook

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