Robot 6

Quotes of the Day | Would you attend a fundraiser with this woman?

CBLDF fundraiser poster by Frank Quitely

CBLDF fundraiser poster by Frank Quitely

“Something about this poster really rubs me the wrong way (and it ain’t just the daisy dukes wedgie). People can draw whatever they want and Frank Quietly is a great artist, but honestly this makes me want to avoid that event like the plague.”—Lisa Hanawalt

“I think if this flyer wasn’t representing a girl cartoonist I would not be annoyed like I am now. I’m just mildly annoyed. Also it made me laugh a lot because the women cartoonists I know are way sexier than that.”—Domatille Collardey

The cartoonists behind such books as I Want You and What Had Happened Was… respectively take issue on their Twitter accounts with the promotional art for a rare stateside appearance by Batman and Robin artist Frank Quitely tomorrow night, the proceeds from which will be donated to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Please note that neither person is saying it’s the worst thing in the world or that Quitely’s some kind of creep, just that it’s an odd and off-putting choice of image for the event. I was taken aback by it myself, and I say that as someone who admires Quitely’s art generally and his sexy-ish art specifically. Maybe it’s the visible underwear, giving me flashbacks to every superhero artist who’s drawn some poor woman’s thong sticking out of her jeans? Or maybe, as Collardey argues, it has something to do with the fact that the woman in question is, apparently, a cartoonist herself? This also makes me wonder how much our reaction to a given image has to do with who made it. If this had been done by, say, Greg Horn, would I be at all tempted to defend it? Does the quality of the artist’s overall body of work, or even of his depictions of women in particular aside from this one image, factor into the equation? Am I using rhetorical questions in order to avoid taking a coherent position?

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31 Comments

This really is the epitome of non-news.

“What’s wrong with being sexy?”

Oh look everyone, the perpetually offended are offended again.

Same image, young sexy *guy* cartoonist in too-short shorts, underwear visible, crop-top. Likely? Nope. Why not? Inappropriate? Not the point of the event? Kinda…yeah…

Well, those are the same reasons this shouldn’t have been a oung sexy *girl* cartoonist in too-short shorts, underwear visible, crop-top, too

Mark Kardwell wins the thread. (Google it, kids.)

It’s also deeply, deeply rich to refer to Lisa Hanawalt as “the perpetually offended” if you’ve ever read a single thing she’s done.

Not directed at Lisa Hanawalt specifically, just a general comment … it does fit some to a “T” though.

I always find Quitely’s art off-putting.

Who exactly was that comment aimed at if not the only two people questioning the image?

Let’s see…a fundraiser event with Frank Quitely as the main attraction with a flyer of a piece of his recent artwork…

How at all is this offensive or unrelated to the event?

Hmm, I see the basis for complaint now ( I should have read the article thoroguhly).

So that Frank Quitely artwork is referenced off an actual female artist? Did she pose for him?

I can see how it would be off-putting if Quitely just put this drawing of this artist onto an event flyer without her consent.

Yeah, when I saw this image the other day the first thing that sprang to mind was Trina Robbins’ reaction to the CBLDF t-shirt with Lisner’s art and the backlash she still gets for calling it out.

Zakuraba -you’ve really missed the point, I doubt he really uses people to pose for him, I’ve never seen him mention it in interviews. He probably drew it out of his head. the issue (if there is one) is the objectification of women, not exploiting someone else’s likeness.

I really don’t see the problem here, and sort of agree with Dunbar. Point is, there are a lot things in the world of male-female relations that offend, anger and disgust me: rape, human trafficking, spousal abuse, forced marriages, female genital mutilation, gender-segregated societies like Saudi-Arabia, attacks on abortion clinics, and so on. Our emancipated, liberal society’s very diverse spectrum of depicting females? Not so much. In the end, this type of finger-wagging isn’t that different from the so-called ‘moral’ crusaders who waste money, time and outrage on litigating against nudity and swearing on television.

Especially since this is a reasonably anatomically correct, attractive piece of art with a very mild cheesecake factor. Drawn by an artist who used to get accused of drawing Jean Grey too unattractive, and made his big splash with a series starring a huge muscle-man wearing nothing but a tiny speedo (beefcake!).

I say, the more pictures of pretty girls the likes of Paul Pope, Frank Quitely and Cameron Stewart produce, the better. Means there’ll be less of audience for the utterly artless porn-tracing of Greg Land, Greg Horn, Jim Balent, etc.

Are we automatically assuming that someone who looks like that CAN’T be a great cartoonist? Or that to be a good artist you must look a certain way? Would the reaction be the same if she was wearing an American Apparel deep V and thick-rimmed glasses and Chucks, instead of being dressed sexy in a decidedly non-Anglo way?

I’m not saying this isn’t cheesecake, because it is. But let’s all take a look at how WE objectify and make assumptions about people/drawings who don’t match our own preconceived notions of who’s allowed to fit the definition of “artist.”

Sean I love you and am a fan of your writing, but this recurring feature you do is terrible. Someone complained online about people posting Twitter quotes elsewhere, and I instantly knew where to look.

Not only does it have the potential for attracting the comics-internet to opine once more on what’s appropriate for women to be offended about, but it strikes me as a poor way to engage with the issue of whether Quitely’s poster is appropriate or not. Instead the question, as posed, seems to be whether or not it’s appropriate for Domitille or Lisa to voice an opinion. I absolutely know that’s not what you mean, but just look at the responses–they fall neatly into the old patterns.

Again, I say this as a fan of yours and as someone who expects a lot out of your writing. This recurring “someone-said-something-on-Twitter” thing always strikes me as an easy way to build a story and generate some free hits, and I think that’s beneath you. It’s true that Twitter’s a public forum, but when people say things while eating their breakfast or stuck in traffic or taking a crap, they’re not always saying them with the intention of being picked up and repeated and examined for context or validity. If people want to know what Domitille or Lisa think about Frank Quitely’s half-cameltoe poster, let them follow them on Twitter, or at least ask before publishing these things in a forum they were not originally intended for.

Gee, I don’t know. If you sit down and write something, and put it out into the world, you can defend it or not defend it– you can say “I was way off when I wrote that, and I was wrong.” Or “I was having a rough morning.” But blaming the fact that people seem shallow because of how their thoughts were expressed through twitter?

I don’t know about that. They ARE shallow because they purposefully selected a shallow technology. It’s not like twitter has no alternatives– there are a million other ways for people to express themselves on the internet. If someone specifically chose the most shallow one– they can’t get mad when people say their thinking seems shallow. People sat there and said “the things that I think– I only need 140 characters to express them. That’ll do it.” Twitter didn’t make anyone shallow– people willingly volunteered to portray themselves as vapid. Blaming the fact people who read tweets think that people on twitter are idiots on the person republishing the tweets– I mean, isn’t that just people flattering themselves that they’re not as dull as what they’re putting into the world…? Maybe that’s too far. I don’t know. Plus– my experiences with twitter have been that it’s a grotesque white-noise and hype machine, so the idea of getting mad that anyone is picking out signal from the mounds of empty noise & hype & self-flattery that people put out into the world seems… I have a difficult time understanding that…

Anyways, in this particular case: I liked what both people had to say– I think conflicting viewpoints on how gender are portrayed in media is interesting, and the fact people get mad about that discussion is silly and/or just reflects how deep society’s programming is on those topics. And I like the drawing too– at least, I like how that guy draws denim. I think it’s fun to think about this stuff…

Yeah but a Twitter post is a little bit that usually exists within some sort of context. It might be white noise or hype or something of occasional value, but it exists within a larger whole. Someone making a comment as part of their Twitter feed is not the same as if they got up in front of a microphone to say Something Important And Meaningful. There’s a different idea of audience and context and meaning than there might be in a larger setting.

And in instances like this it feels sensationalistic to go pull a quote, present it to a different audience, then say “what do you think of that?” With the exception of whatever Tom Brevoort has to say about a Marvel project or DC or whatever, it seems lately to mainly lead to a comment thread filled with gross comments about what women should or shouldn’t do. Or how no one would complain if men did these things, or whatever. I follow Sean online and know that he’s been occasionally bummed out by this reaction as well, or at least he’s complained about it. I’d suggest that’s evidence of there being a gulf in context between the original comments, both here and previously, and their presentation here on Robot6 to an altogether different audience.

I agree with you Abhay, in terms of conflicting viewpoints on gender, and conversation about difficult topics in general, being interesting. And valuable. And for my part I don’t care much about this drawing, although I guess it is gross and defintely might not be the best choice for a CBLDF function. But that’s just my opinion. I also think Quitely is the greatest superhero cartoonist of the last 20 years or more.

Dustin, what irks me about your comments is that you consistently portray women as a monolithic bloc defined solely by their gender. As if all women are opposed to this drawing, just because two spoke out, and hence all people that have a differing opinion are lecturing women in general on what they can and can’t approve of. Furthermore, you seem to imply that on this issue, women ‘own the discussion’: is my opinion on the depiction of women in popular culture inherently inferior because I am a man? If you have me and Michele Bachmann debate women’s reproductive rights, does she win automatically because she has ovaries and I don’t?

To me, this is a discussion about two (notable) individuals criticizing a drawing by a renowned artist for what is perhaps the most important non-profit organization in comics, and whether that criticism has any merit. Since all parties and elements to this discussion are related to comics (the core subject of this website/blog) , I’d argue it’s both worthy of reporting on and discussing here at Robot6. Also, I would think that if you yourself too get ‘bummed out’ by all the ‘gross comments’ and the predictable ‘pattern of comments’, you would either expound your own, apparently superior opinion on the matter with more vigor or just ignore the entire discussion entirely, rather than call for its abolishment, just because not everybody immediately agrees with you.

Because as it stands, all you do is complain about the free exchange of ideas here not living up to higher standards you fail to practice yourself.

(and yes, I am in love with the word ‘entirely’ and variations thereof)

That might be fair, who knows. I don’t care as much about the issue here, insofar as how appropriate that poster is. I don’t think it’s all that appropriate, but I don’t feel passionate enough about it to get upset or anything. I’m talking about the practice of tying together strings of quotes from Twitter feeds so that they look like coherent sentences and presenting them here for comment.

The question of whether the stated opinions have merit or not is secondary for me. I personally don’t care that much about some comics organization using cheesecake imagery to promote itself. Whatever, it’s apparently the thing to do in comics. Hell, Mark Millar publishes a magazine called CLiNT. And I agree with you that seeing more reporting on these types of gender issues, whether here or elsewhere, would be great. But I disagree that this is the way to do it.

funkygreenjerusalem

April 5, 2011 at 7:27 pm

The CBDLF (presumably) approached Quietly to draw a piece they could use on prints and postcards to sell as Wonder Con exclusives.

Frank Quietly does the bulk of his work in the superhero genre.

The Superhero audience is male dominated – not entirely male, but mostly.

So, the CBDLF got a superhero artist, to draw a bit of art they could sell to his fans to raise money – not having a popular character he owns, Quietly drew something he (presumably) thought would attract the most sales – a sexy looking girl.

The CBDLF then took that bit of art he drew for their fund raising art sales of prints and postcards, and put it on the poster of their event featuring him.
(Possibly the only art of his they have the rights to use).

Best I can see is that people should be taking issue with the CBDLF for using the art on a poster – otherwise you’re taking issue with Quitely for drawing a piece intended to sell as much as possible, to raise money for a non-profit, at a comic convention.

“Also it made me laugh a lot because the women cartoonists I know are way sexier than that.”

If the original comment has this much weight to it, it’s amazing more people aren’t taking this seriously!

Matt Jeske: Actually, if that is the gripe, then I got the point the first time.

This completely falls under the category of non-news: “Individuals take offense at something.”

As a group North Americans* just don’t like sex. We say we do. We tell ourselves we do. We surround ourselves with sexual images to prove that we do. But we don’t. Of course, someone complained about the image. Of course, someone thought that was newsworthy. Its not.

*And a lot of others.

Women just love when you guys all discuss whether women “should” be offended by an image.

Dustin, I just pretty thoroughly disagree with you about whether Twitter is fair game for reposting. Prominent industry figures saying something in writing in public is pretty much the definition of fair game. It’s no more taking things out of context to quote from it, and I no more need to ask permission to quote from it, than would be the case for someone’s public blog or public letters column or public webcomic or public anything. I say all of this with the utmost respect for you, Hanawalt, Collardey, and Quitely alike.

With regards to your specific complaint that it gives comics’ He-Man Woman Haters’ Club another chance to opine, yes, that’s true, and yes, that’s bummed me out in the past, but in the end I decided it’s more important to make those people uncomfortable by bringing valid objections to the depiction or treatment of women to their attention than to allow THEM to make ME so uncomfortable that I no longer do so.

I know you like most of my writing, so please do trust me when I say that I give much, much less than a shit about how many hits anything I do generates. Over here I have no way of tracking it anyway, and at my own blog I don’t check. I write about what I write about because I think it’s interesting, and over here I consider whether I think the Robot 6 audience will get anything out of it/”needs to hear/know” something. That’s it.

I agree with you that it’s “fair game,” I just think it’s a crass way to do it. And by composing it as a series of sentences, it presents things as being much more thought out and purposefully presented than they’re intended. Or rather, than I’m GUESSing they’re intended. Does that make sense? Like, the Erik Larsen thing yesterday makes him look like a moron. But it’s not like he wrote “an open letter about what I think of webcomics.” And a lot of these things are in reply to other people, and thus are part of that conversation or a continuing relationship with that person. For instance, if I was talking to you on Twitter about Wizard, I would phrase things differently because we’ve talked about that before, and/or have our own relationships with Wizard, etc.

To be clear, I am your fan; I just disagree with this practice. It seems like putting the cart in front of the horse, in terms of creating a story or topic for discussion. But I do apologize for implying that you were trying to just jack up your hits or whatever. It just reminds me of some worst practices by other comics bloggers that I find repugnant. Unfair to lump you in with them out of hand.

Sean T. Collins

April 8, 2011 at 11:07 am

There’s not even any reason to apologize, man, I know where you’re coming from and I’m not taking offense. And you know, in retrospect I should have said “…on Twitter” at the end of the attribution, besides just linking to it. I don’t think putting two consecutive tweets next to each other is funking with anything in undue fashion, for whatever that’s worth–they ARE “a series of sentences,” as you put it. Granted, I’m not putting them line by line like Twitter would, but this isn’t Twitter, it’s a blog, and I don’t think rejiggering the format is inappropriate any more than, say, excerpting a passage from a longer article is inappropriate. But I could have done more to note that it was written on Twitter–saying that gives people some additional context as to how the statements were initially presented. I usually do do that (I did with Larsen); dunno why I didn’t here.

I guess maybe, the more I think about it, the real heart of my objection is the reformatting out of context. Definitely Twitter is public. AND someone like me, who uses Twitter not only as a mindless distraction but as a tool to enlarge my audience, is being disingenuous to act offended that these sorts of things happen. But I do think in our current media world, something said on Twitter exists in a Twitterish context. Reformatting into paragraphs changes the tone of a statement. Same as when you list song lyrics, you add in the line breaks because the line breaks MEAN something, they’re a part of the statement. Mick Jagger didn’t say, “I was born in a crossfire hurricane. And I howled at my ma in the driving rain, but it’s all right now, in fact, it’s a gas.” It exists in a particular context that is important to the statement’s meaning.

It’s totally public though. But it invites sensationalism to pull them out of context, format them as paragraphs, and present them for comment in a different context.

I do agree on the “let’s have this talk again” thing, in regards to rehashing old, unsettled ugliness, in terms of how awful any conversation involving the idea of WOMEN seems to get lately (or ever, on the comics internet). I think they’re important conversations to have, even if we (and me) usually fail at them.

You guys are totally getting my hard-on going for MoCCA panels tomorrow.

I like the last comment, alot.

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