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Thursday word: "Brokeback"

Most people think of this movie when they hear the word “brokeback”:

aka ‘gay cowboys eating pudding’

But among the online comic book fan community, its taken on a new meaning. Its used to describe the ridiculous poses that female characters are often contorted into. More specifically, its used to describe the poses that break the rules of basic human anatomy just to show off a woman’s boobs and buttocks at the same time. For example:

…and more humorous examples from actual comics can be found at the Escher Girls blog.

FYI, if you ever see a comic with a brokeback pose on the cover, chances are it’s a crappy piece of softcore porn and you’re better off not buying it.


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 21st, 2014 12:30 pm (UTC)
FYI, if you ever see a comic with a brokeback pose on the cover, chances are it’s a crappy piece of softcore porn and you’re better off not buying it.

You're talking about any mainstream comic book with a woman on the cover.
Aug. 22nd, 2014 07:35 am (UTC)
Ha, ha! Hey, I recognize that elf!!
Yeah, while I sympathize with matsyendra's retort and am guilty of loving some pretty cheesy stuff -- I can also admit to be oblivious to some of it and having a sense of humor about the exploitation aspects.
Aug. 22nd, 2014 08:50 am (UTC)
Re: Ha, ha! Hey, I recognize that elf!!
I'm not against cheesy exploitation (I even enjoy some in a so-bad-its-good kinda way). It's just frustrating that the big two major publishers keep hiring artists that suck at art (it's entirely possible to draw sexy cheesecake without pulling a brokeback).

But maybe being both female and an artist is the reason this gets under my skin so much. LOL
Aug. 22nd, 2014 05:29 pm (UTC)
Good point!
Aug. 21st, 2014 04:47 pm (UTC)
I love it!!

Great word!
Aug. 21st, 2014 10:15 pm (UTC)
While it's hardly limited to females, comic book characters are often super-human, and comic books are not intended to be realistic. For example, the heavily T & A Heavy Metal was clearly fantasy, and published work by Guido Crepax, H.R. Giger, and Milo Manara. So I would hesitate to call it "crappy". Nevermind, unrealistic and idealized portrayals of human figures is as old as art itself.
Aug. 22nd, 2014 08:58 am (UTC)
The problem is that female characters are ALWAYS idealized to be sex objects (regardless of whether or not it fits their character) while the males are ALWAYS idealized to be powerful and strong. So many comics end up with entire casts of women who look like clones (in order to fit a very narrow definition of "sexy") while males are allowed to look different from one another (ie some are handsome, ugly, fat, skinny, etc depending on what fits the story/character).

Also, I have no problem with sexy cheesecake art (I've drawn some of it myself). But artists who can't make a woman look "sexy" without twisting her body like a pretzel are lazy. And comic companies shouldn't be surprised if women are turned off when they see covers on the shelf that look like they were drawn by people who have never seen a real life female before.
Aug. 22nd, 2014 06:24 pm (UTC)
Throughout my studies as a yoga teacher, I've seen some extremely flexible people in real life. Regardless, comic book action is often over-dramatized with bodies bent in exaggerated ways.

While making people look sexy is hardly unique to comic books. Both male and female characters are generally presented as powerful looking and unrealistic physical objects. Look at the X-Men. Almost all the mutants are mesomorphs, regardless of whether or not their abilities have anything to do physical strength. Notice how Doctor Xavier fills out his suit, sitting in his wheelchair. Magneto, an extreme intellectual that moves metal with his mind, was often drawn as if he were a super-athlete. There are exceptions. The Blob is fat. Shadowcat is skinny. But mostly, the main characters in comic book are drawn in skin-tight clothes with overly defined muscles. Which is not conventionally feminine (or the way women are typically drawn in sexy cheesecake art). So the major boobage was a way to make female characters -- who were otherwise built like cornerbacks -- look obviously female. Although I can see how it might look silly. It's merely a motif of the genre.
Aug. 25th, 2014 11:16 pm (UTC)
You could argue that their superior appearance as humans is a result of their mutated genetic code, they are referred to as Homo sapiens superior after all, and while a dominant genetic trait it's not an exclusive one either (which is also a common deviation within the mutant universe). Nightcrawler and Longshot are freakishly flexible as part of their SUPERHERO POWERS, although neither is on covers to put them into sexual or brokeback positions or for the sake of titillation.

Arguing that skin-tight clothing or idealized bodies is the same as sexually exploiting female characters to the point of laugh-ability seems an analogous argument though. We openly mock bad muscle structures too, which Liefeld is famous for among his "brokeback" work, although this does not put the male character into a servile position, that society itself already foolishly endorses around the globe; naturally those suffering under this stigma are more sensitive to such images. Really, the only valid argument one could make is, "It sells, it turns me on, and I don't really care."

Edited at 2014-08-25 11:16 pm (UTC)
Aug. 26th, 2014 05:01 am (UTC)
Thank you for phrasing that argument WAY better than I did! ^_^
Aug. 21st, 2014 10:48 pm (UTC)
Author Jim Hines has done a fabulous series of photos where he recreates ridiculous book covers.

Aug. 22nd, 2014 09:00 am (UTC)
Thanks for the link. That was hilarious!

Also, love the nostalgic icon!
Aug. 22nd, 2014 07:29 am (UTC)
I'll just leave this here:
Aug. 22nd, 2014 09:00 am (UTC)
Re: I'll just leave this here:
I LOVE the Hawkeye Initiative! I thought about including it in my write up. But I opted for Escher Girls because that blog is more focused on the brokeback than the Hawkeye Initiative.
Aug. 22nd, 2014 06:25 pm (UTC)
That totally makes sense.
I realize that The Hawkeye Initiative is well known at this point, but I couldn't resist mentioning it again just in case. I'm impressed that a few males have recently taken photos of themselves as Hawkeye posed oddly. ha, ha, ha!
Aug. 26th, 2014 02:45 am (UTC)
Interesting meaning the word has acquired...and your illustrations are very well done.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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