Pantsless Bombshells and the Perfect Storm
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.)
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.