James Robinson's "Squadron Supreme" Takes Lethal, Pre-Emptive Action
As we get deeper into the new millennium, it becomes more apparent that the traditional concept of manliness is a bit of a joke. Consider, if you please, the mustache: The great status symbol of distinguished manhood can now be found as an adorable print on Band-Aids stocked in the same aisle as the Hello Kittys. Consider, too, that PBS once aired a special that unironically asked, “Are bronies changing the definition of masculinity?” We’ve come to the point where once-popular portrayals of manly men like Paul Bunyan and John Wayne come off as buffoonish and comical.
Manly Men Doing Many Things is fill with many manly things. There are pecs, chest hairs, bulging biceps, bold jawlines, strong brows, slicked-back hairstyles, six-pack abs, disdaining sneers, bugged-out eyes, and a general air of brute force. There’s plenty of flexing, grunting and lumberjacking, too. Their faces are scarred and severe, as if they were chainsaw sculptures brought to life by black magic (the manliest of magic). You expect them to be chewing tobacco … or a toothpick, at least.
You don’t have to be a man to do manly things, and not all men have what it takes to do manly things. In the webcomic Manly Guys Doing Manly Things, however, Kelly Turnbull shows what “ludicrously macho guys” do when being manly doesn’t pay the bills. Described as The Expendables meets The Office, this strip follows a temp agency for macho men trying to find something to do after their careers in action movies and other roles dry up. To hilarious results. See this recent one-off strip:
Cartoonist Kelly Turnbull, creator of the webcomic Manly Guys Doing Manly Things, turns to illustration to make a hilarious and biting point about the depiction of women in superhero comics, selecting David Finch’s variant cover for Justice League #1 (below) as her target.
In response to a comment that “we’re reaching a point of just complaining about any and every little thing,” Turnbull replied: “The point of contention still is, as it always was, that people are getting tired of seeing all of the female leads drawn with body language and uniforms that make them appear less heroic, powerful, legitimate, and all-around able to be taken seriously than their male counterparts.” To underscore her point, she offered a look at Wonder Woman’s male teammates might look like in similar costumes, striking a similar pose. Aquaman’s flaccid trident may be particularly cruel commentary about a lack of power …
Visit Turnbull’s blog to see the full illustration, with Green Lantern, Batman and Superman.