This is not okay.
|February 28, 2012||Posted by Jess under Comics|
The comic itself is fine, if a bit dull and repetitive, but that’s just kind of how Dan Jurgens rolls. Aaron Lopresti’s pencils are generally lovely, and fill-in artist Marco Castiello did a perfectly fine job on this issue, but this cover by David Finch and Richard Friend is…yeesh. There’s obviously a mess of anatomy issues: all the women have breasts growing out of their armpits and the same face, Booster’s head is too small and his butt seems to be sliding down the back of his leg, and if anyone can explain to me what’s going on in Godiva’s hip/leg region I will give them five dollars.
But I really want to talk about Vixen here. Or more specifically, why the African American woman on the team – the only immediately visible minority, since Fire and August General’s powers hide their race – is crouched like an animal at the feet of the rest of the team.
And yes, I know Vixen’s power. She can call on animal abilities (which is in and of itself problematic, but that’s a separate issue). But you can draw her using animal powers without making her look feral or submissive, like in this cover from her miniseries. You don’t need to pose her for maximum animalistic sexiness. You don’t need to dehumanize her.
Moreover, why on Earth is she using her powers? No one else on this cover is except the three flying in the background1. Booster isn’t engaging his forcefield, Guy isn’t using his ring, Batman isn’t even skulking. Why can’t Vixen stand like everyone else?
Look, I don’t think Finch/Friend intended this cover to play into longstanding stereotypes about African American women. I’m guessing they were just trying to fit everyone into the composition2. It’s kind of like when you take a picture with a group of friends and someone always wants to do the Molly Ringwald in the front.3 But this is exactly why DC needs to hire someone capable of pointing out when their products are super problematic in terms or race and/or gender, like last year’s “white power rings” debacle. Or in this case, when the cover lives at the intersection of Racism Street and Sexism Boulevard.
Because one or two artists not thinking things through, or an editor slacking off, is really not an excuse. If DC wants to be perceived as a modern, inclusive company, they need to stop alienating large swathes of the population through lazy, thoughtless racism.
- Protip, everyone involved in this comic: Tora can’t fly. Also, where are her pants? ↩
- Protip #2, 9 is an awful lot of people on a team. ↩
- Oh God, if Booster was doing the Molly Ringwald in the front of this cover it would be my absolute favorite comic book cover of all time, even with all the anatomy mistakes. ↩