A scientific reason for the sexiness of the comic supercharacters

Posted by krspaceT (1882 posts) - - Show Bio

A short blog to see how it comes out.

Comics have many, many reasons for getting a bad reputation. Ranging from the Comics Code Authority to geek persona, one issue that people have in comics is that of how characters are depicted visually.

There are those who complain that comic book females and guys are not realistically portrayed physically. Few have reasons for this, bare Caitlin Fairchild.

The body is part of the power

So why are 90% of the super powered characters, bar exceptions like the Blob....depicted the way.....

Science searches for an answer, and unlike Monster Quest has a good one.

Mutations and the desire to pass them on

A fare few characters, like Emma Frost do admit to having plastic surgery, and Mystique is a shapeshifter, but there are many heroes who appear to be immensely attractive without alteration.

A possible explanation for this is the biological desire to create better offspring, which is the basic idea of evolution: Where the good genes are passed on.

The idea behind this is simple: the presence of active powers would, if humanity were animals who focused on only breeding like wild animals, would they want to pass the genetics of a normal person....like Alfred...or would they want their children to have Wolverine's healing factor?

Characters like Storm, Fire, Rogue, Wonder Woman and Jean's biologies are attractive to those around them due to biology wanting to have them pass on their powers to the next generation, as Wolverine proved with Daken, Jimmy Hudson and the Ultimate X-23 for just a few examples.

(I remember reading a panel with Jubilee, Kitty and Wolverine that might explain the male equivalent of the female's most common superpower, but I can't find it. )

Other reasons for non mutants

There are exceptions to this evolutionary idea. Heroes like Batman and Iron Man lack super powers, yet they have a lot.....of company.

I can't speak for why a male is attractive or not, but while non powered heroes do train a lot.....I am sure the fact that some are extremely rich has some thing to do with it.

So, wonder if this will get any attention of a positive nature. Its a short article

#1 Posted by TheCrowbar (4397 posts) - - Show Bio

@krspaceT: I always thought that people had issues with how they dressed, not how they looked like.

#2 Edited by DeviousBastard (291 posts) - - Show Bio

Ultimate X-23? Since when?

#3 Posted by COBRAMORPH (1867 posts) - - Show Bio

First, I have to saw the DC pic is horribly ugly. They have long necks, & the faces are just gross. The Marvel one is better, but not much.

There are attractive people & ugly people in real life. I assume there are ugly super people, but just like in real life they dont draw much attention to themselves. As for Bruce wayne or Tony Stark. A lot of hollywood actors are attractive. The guys who played Clark, Lex, GA, Zod, they were all good looking guys, & I can say that completely secure in my heteroness. So yeah, rich guys will be attractive, they can afford the healthy lifestyle

If powered people

#4 Posted by Blood1991 (8115 posts) - - Show Bio

@TheCrowbar said:

@krspaceT: I always thought that people had issues with how they dressed, not how they looked like.

Same. I mean looking hot is one thing, but fighting in heels and a thong is a little ridiculous.

#5 Posted by Lightburst (164 posts) - - Show Bio

There's an Ultimate X-23 now Since when?! last time i check she didn't exist in the ultimate universe

#6 Posted by CerealKiller (169 posts) - - Show Bio

@Blood1991: i know right? i mean i can barely manage to spend a whole mundane day wearing one of those things, let alone save the world. Itd be a bit distracting if your trying to kick some bad guys ass and all you can think about is fixing that killer wedgie.

but besides that, in an industry that considers parallel universes, frequent time travel and magic pretty normal, i really don't think too much about how unrealistic the costume choices are haha.

#7 Posted by ambival1 (105 posts) - - Show Bio

Although X-23 is physically attractive, sometimes her stories like to sacrifice her attractiveness for realism and depiction of her rather strong personality. Other heroines, like these above, usually go through dramatic situations with only few scratches to not damage their look (I'm not an expert, maybe I'm wrong). But when X-23 had her limbs cut off, not to mention being constantly burned to muscle tissue, it was hard to think about her attractiveness (X-Force, when she was carrying her arm while escaping from the facility. It wasn't very sexy if you ask me). Such situations gives drama, but also realism and brings attention to her personality rather than her look. As for her look itself, she has quite good genes (Wolverine represents strong manliness and dr Sarah Kinney wasn't ugly at all) so the fact that she has a pretty face and a good body is not a big surprise (visually she is a perfect copy of her mother). Since she doesn't give a damn about her look, her clothes were rarely provocative (with only exception being cropped top X-men shirts). She was seen quite often wearing ordinary clothes like dark jackets and blouses not revealing her breast (surely not like in the pictures above). I like how writers adds dose of realism to her stories and I really like the fact that X-23 is not heavily sexualised. For me she is the most realistic heroine in Marvel Universe.

#8 Posted by Lightburst (164 posts) - - Show Bio

@ambival1: All of this Right here

speaks so much truth.

#9 Posted by etragedy (2788 posts) - - Show Bio

I've thought about this before. It first occurred to me when I posted a rant somewhere on here about how all the female mutants in the X-Men had to be hot. It used to be Jean Grey was the 'hot' one then it became all X-Men were attractive females. Someone posted the tongue-in-cheek remark that they (mutants) got the 'good genes'. Still don't know if I buy it, but it's as good an explanation as any and better than most.

It really doesn't explain at all outside the mutant realm - superheroes/heroines that got their powers from some freak accident. But for mutants, maybe I'll kind of buy into it.

#10 Posted by ambival1 (105 posts) - - Show Bio

All in all, should we really treat this subject so seriously? In all the movies, tv shows, games etc women are usually pretty, cause attractiveness brings audience's attention. I'm not talking simply about sexualism, characters looking nice and strong (or weak and miserable, it all depends on the story) are easy to identify with. Some writers wants an action based story, so they put well builded, usually handsome guy, or a skinny, nice looking girl - making a breach of the rule generally ends with smaller, more elite audience, unless the story, by making an departure from classic solutions, brings you different, but still strong emotions.

#11 Posted by Renchamp (5427 posts) - - Show Bio

I think I see what you are trying to say, but it makes little sense. A mutant can pass an attractiveness gene because it is part of survival of the fittest? I don't know if we can bring science into artistic and consumer preference. I'll pass on this notion.

#12 Edited by lykopis (10868 posts) - - Show Bio


Unfortunately, Laura went in the direction all females seem to go in with her new outfit when she joined Avengers Academy. (Bra instead of cropped top). Still much better than others, I agree.

If anything, maybe the perfectly coiffed hair can be annoying, lol. I mean -- I draw the line at the women ALWAYS having great hair days, you know? That's going too far....

Great blog, I always enjoy the topic of how characters are depicted in a visual medium. Discussion is a good thing.

#13 Posted by Blood1991 (8115 posts) - - Show Bio

@lykopis: Lol, perfect hair exceeds comics. You would think that a zombie apocalypse would make hair products hard to find, but it's been two fictional years in The Walking Dead show and those mofo's all have perfect hair.

in real life they all would have had that sh!t in a bun or chopped it off like Carol.

#14 Posted by lykopis (10868 posts) - - Show Bio


That's it. **takes off ear-rings and kicks off heels** The line has been crossed. I am going b@tsh*t crazy on the world now...

#15 Posted by Blood1991 (8115 posts) - - Show Bio

@lykopis: *hands battery powered hair trimmers and runs like hell* May chaos ensue.

#16 Posted by lykopis (10868 posts) - - Show Bio

@Blood1991: ;p

#17 Posted by ambival1 (105 posts) - - Show Bio

@lykopis: I'm not reading Avengers Academy, X-23 is not portrayed well in this series (opinion based on rumors, but the bra thing says for itself)

#18 Posted by NightHaunter (111 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't see why we need to look beyond financial motivations for this...

#19 Posted by lykopis (10868 posts) - - Show Bio

@ambival1: Just her losing her series made me almost lose it -- but the bra thing...ugh. Now with this whole Battle Royale rip-off they are doing, who knows what's going to happen to her.

#20 Posted by Hazlenaut (2096 posts) - - Show Bio

It is on the long list things that are in need to be improved. We should expect more from Marvel as they are the ones who made heroes who do not follow that standards. They do have one Big Bertha when she power up she big fat powerful lady. She was a parody of the super models but we got one. It s a slow process that needs to pick up the pace. how ever we can also blame the readers but we have to make a variety.

#21 Posted by Tommy_X (81 posts) - - Show Bio

@DeviousBastard said:

Ultimate X-23? Since when?

@Lightburst said:

There's an Ultimate X-23 now Since when?! last time i check she didn't exist in the ultimate universe

Funny thing I read about her Ultimate counterpart appearing from her wikipedia page... But that read a little too much like fan fiction and since anyone can edit it and the fact that it hasn't been blasted all over comics sites I know that it was just some fans hopeful imagination

#22 Edited by DeviousBastard (291 posts) - - Show Bio

@Tommy_X: I already took off the wiki himself.

#23 Posted by AmazingWebHead (8240 posts) - - Show Bio

Finally, an answer!

This edit will also create new pages on Comic Vine for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Comic Vine users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.