The Possessive Pose

Posted by RazzaTazz (9450 posts) - - Show Bio

The next (and maybe last?) blog looking at body language in terms of comics, mostly as I am done the book I was reading on body language now.  This is more of a nitpicky thing than anything, but at one point the book mentioned how women who want to act as though there relationship with a man is very faithful (even if it is not) will install themselves in between their man and others.  After the comments on the previous look at Marilyn Monroe and her impact on comic book drawing, it struck me that she might not be a very good actress, who relied more on a sex appeal than anything else, but maybe that this is something in common with other such women that rely more on looks than talent.  In light of that, the book highlighted specifically how Victoria Beckham is also quite good at using body language to her benefit.  In the following two cases it is visible how she is positioning herself - in the first photo between David and the camera in a relatively attractive pose (for those that find her attractive that is) and in the second one, upping the ante by placing her hand on him to display a form of propriety.    
 

 While the manner in which the stars pose is not all that important, there is a bit of more nitpicky part for me here.  As most know about me I am very much opposed to the concept of a Wonder Woman-Superman romance.  It is hard to put into words why I think this because there are a lot of different aspects to it, but among them are that its too obvious, that it doesn't do justice to the personality of either character and that it would show a complete lack of imagination on behalf of the writing staff.  With that in mind most of the issues where there is a Wonder Woman-Superman pairing are generally poorly handled in my case (one exception would be the final issue of the second volume which I though handled it quite well.)  In one other such issue (#88 of the same volume) Wonder Woman is depicted in much the same pose as Victoria is above, just with Superman instead of her.  While nothing in the issue itself points to a romantic pairing of the two, it definitely is a more suggestive cover than I had previously thought.  Like I said it doesn't really mean anything in terms the actual characters, but interesting in a sense to show one artist's own feelings on a pairing between the two.  
Moderator
#1 Posted by azza04 (1503 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't understand when people say the Superman Wonder Woman romance doesn't do either of the characters justice or that it shows a complete lack of imagination....how does it show that? If the story hasn't been writen how do you know it would lack imagination...what if it was a really imaginitive story that kicked ass?

#2 Posted by ARMIV2 (8271 posts) - - Show Bio

Very astute observations and points. I will now probably be going back to my comics to look for these kinda things.

#3 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (32121 posts) - - Show Bio
@azza04: Because it's a pretty obvious move to put the prime male super hero with his female counterpart 
Online
#4 Posted by azza04 (1503 posts) - - Show Bio

@spiderbat87: I have never looked at Wonder Woman as a female counter part of Superman. Just cos they both got Super Strength and Flight doesn't make them the same.

#5 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (32121 posts) - - Show Bio
@azza04 said:

@spiderbat87: I have never looked at Wonder Woman as a female counter part of Superman. Just cos they both got Super Strength and Flight doesn't make them the same.

but she is still the prime female super as is superman the male.
Online
#6 Posted by azza04 (1503 posts) - - Show Bio

@spiderbat87: and what....

#7 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (32121 posts) - - Show Bio
@azza04 said:

@spiderbat87: and what....

..... and it's an obvious move to put them together.
Online
#8 Posted by RazzaTazz (9450 posts) - - Show Bio
@spiderbat87 said:
@azza04 said:

@spiderbat87: I have never looked at Wonder Woman as a female counter part of Superman. Just cos they both got Super Strength and Flight doesn't make them the same.

but she is still the prime female super as is superman the male.
I have never come across a Wonder Woman fan who thought this would be a good idea.  I have never come across a Superman fan who thought there would be anything wrong with it.   
 
@ARMIV2: This kind of stuff is everywhere.  Artists often take their inspiration from different pictures for their work.  This one was likely some power couple from the early 90s.
Moderator
#9 Posted by azza04 (1503 posts) - - Show Bio

@RazzaTazz: Well it wouldn't seem like a good idea because in main stream continuity they haven't writen the characters together in a romantic way (other than a few little scenes). Supes has always been with Lois, and Wonder Woman hasn't really had anyone of note. All I mean is no one has ever told me a proper reason why Supes and Wonder Woman would be bad, I'm not saying they would be good but I don't know why alot of people think it's a crap idea. They just say it's to predictable or it would be completely out of character, which just doesn't seem true to me at all.

#10 Posted by RazzaTazz (9450 posts) - - Show Bio
@azza04: To be fair for about 40 years Diana was with Steve Trevor.  
Moderator
#11 Posted by Delphic (1459 posts) - - Show Bio

@RazzaTazz said:

@spiderbat87 said:
@azza04 said:

@spiderbat87: I have never looked at Wonder Woman as a female counter part of Superman. Just cos they both got Super Strength and Flight doesn't make them the same.

but she is still the prime female super as is superman the male.
I have never come across a Wonder Woman fan who thought this would be a good idea. I have never come across a Superman fan who thought there would be anything wrong with it.

Going with the idea that the majority of WW fans are female, and the majority of Superman fans are male may be the reason behind why the respective fandoms have differing opinions on the pairing. Women seem to have a much more keen sense when it comes to searching for an intimate partner. Many jest that women do not know what they want, but the probable truth is actually that women know exactly what they want and are very particular about it. WW fans have a problem with it because they see something in the relationship between Clark and Diana that makes better sense for them to remain just friends that many Superman fans may not. Sure a story could be written to where a romance between the two would be a very good read, but would the characters themselves change to fit the story mold? Would Superman still be the Superman we know? What about WW what would have to change about her?

#12 Posted by azza04 (1503 posts) - - Show Bio

@Delphic: I'm not sure I agree with the women have a more keener sense about searching for intimate partners. I think both men and women have a general idea or feeling of what is suppose to be a "good" partner but don't always go with it and often get it wrong. And about the characters changing...they have changed, we are still finding out who they are again lol. And again what annoys me is that people condemn the pairing even though it's never actually been properly tried in the main universe, they just say oh it wouldn't work because they are better just as friends or Diana loves Batman lmao. It doesn't really fuss me either way :)

#13 Posted by JoseDRiveraTCR7 (1005 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree with the sentiments of Wonder Woman and Superman not being a good pairing. Most of the time the reason for pairing them together is because they have similar powers. I find this reason to be superficial. The other main reason to pair Wonder Woman with Superman, or any other hero (Batman, Green Lantern, etc) is because she's the top super-heroine in DC. I hate this because she ends up being a trophy for the hero to win in the end.

#14 Posted by Delphic (1459 posts) - - Show Bio

@azza04 said:

@Delphic: I'm not sure I agree with the women have a more keener sense about searching for intimate partners. I think both men and women have a general idea or feeling of what is suppose to be a "good" partner but don't always go with it and often get it wrong. And about the characters changing...they have changed, we are still finding out who they are again lol. And again what annoys me is that people condemn the pairing even though it's never actually been properly tried in the main universe, they just say oh it wouldn't work because they are better just as friends or Diana loves Batman lmao. It doesn't really fuss me either way :)

It was just a generalized observation based on my opinion of how things seem to go in the main continuity. Personally I felt the relationship was handled very well in Kingdom Come. In the main continuity though I don't see the two matching up as romantic partners. Each writers interpretation of a character is different, so when you have different writers handling characters at different times signals are going to get crossed. Most writers though draw their inspiration for the character from past issues the character was featured in. Seeing how things were done in the past issues it is more likely that Diana and Superman would be just friends. I'm not saying it isn't possible, but highly unlikely.

#15 Posted by RazzaTazz (9450 posts) - - Show Bio
@Delphic: I am not sure how many more Wonder Woman fans are female.  There can't be that many 
 
@azza04: I think also different genders look for different traits
Moderator
#16 Posted by SC (12505 posts) - - Show Bio

Firstly great blog and topic. 
 
Reminds me of the grounding of characters, in regards to fantasy versus realism. Recently I have seen a large number of threads and comments echoing the idea that comics are unrealistic, and whilst thats true to a relative degree, writers and for my examples artists creating these fantastic fictional worlds still reference and draw inspiration from reality. Magazines, stock photography, certain patterns establish themselves. As you mention Wonder Woman #88 is probably referencing a magazine or newspaper image from that era, but probably not Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. So artist was probably looking for an image of a female and male that looked good together and then went about turning them into Wonder Woman and Superman. Taking reality and layering fantasy on top. It can create inconsistency that can plaque characters not just artistically but characterization wise. So I find it a bit funny that the cover can reflect this. Today the digital age, greater resources its easier for artists to find reference material to help create covers that can invoke more intentional and crafted reactions from its viewer. If they chose to that is as the Wonder Woman cover most likely us a projection on the part of the artist as they see both characters. 

In reality females generally tend to be a bit smaller than males. Well again the exception being Tom Cruise and now Katie Holmes. Many sources of reference material such as magazines, stock imagery will invariably reflect this by virtue of using real people. So if an artist is looking for references and their discretionary emphasis is say on a characters gender. There can be inaccuracy with say characters height, build, racial identity etc, things that can't be so easily transfered superficially.  Not necessarily a huge thing, but as an example, and my personal preference, I appreciate when Wonder Woman is shown a bit larger, muscular, many artists do draw her as tall as many of the males she shares covers with. Here, its likely that the reference material the artist was working with, accuracy with height was not a significant factor nor consciously considered and rectified and so the end product illustrates a Wonder Woman that is a bit smaller than many other depictions. Not just that her finger nails appear perhaps a bit longer and sharper than one could presume, well for Wonder Woman, but not out of place on an actress. This isn't of course exclusive to gender, depends on characters defining and recognizable traits. Not necessary huge problems that need solving, just fantasy often needs a reference point to have certain groundings that help compliment fantasy and thus artists references and their ability to apply discretion when looking and choosing reference material and how they apply such references and how they emphasize characters defining traits when selecting.
 
Oh and I really appreciate pointing out and the comparison with the body language and your examples and its implications. 
 
 
@Delphic said:

Going with the idea that the majority of WW fans are female, and the majority of Superman fans are male may be the reason behind why the respective fandoms have differing opinions on the pairing. Women seem to have a much more keen sense when it comes to searching for an intimate partner. Many jest that women do not know what they want, but the probable truth is actually that women know exactly what they want and are very particular about it. WW fans have a problem with it because they see something in the relationship between Clark and Diana that makes better sense for them to remain just friends that many Superman fans may not. Sure a story could be written to where a romance between the two would be a very good read, but would the characters themselves change to fit the story mold? Would Superman still be the Superman we know? What about WW what would have to change about her?

 
I especially agree with your latter points. Not to dismiss the conclusions you draw from your initial idea, but I am fairly sure history, numbers suggest that like most characters, males make up majority of fans for comic characters. Its just sort of the way the industry is set up. The ratio with Wonder Woman just would be gender balanced than say the The Hulk, just its unlikely her female to male ratio is a majority. At least as far as fans who spend money and actively stay with the comic of the character they are fan of. Not to say there isn't validity with distinguishing objective factors that could explain the differences in opinions of characters and preferences, I am just not certain gender in this context is one of them.  
 
My own potentially flawed theory might just be that Wonder Woman fans who emphasize on their appreciation of that character more than others, might have to be more protective of her character in ways that fans who emphasize their appreciation of Superman don't have to be. So not really any inherent reasons, rather just understanding comics industry such as popularity, money and writers and company priorities. Characters histories and treatment. Do Superman fans really have to worry about him exclaiming to another well known hero that its their actions, attitudes that inspire him and give him direction morally and ethically? They can, its just not likely. In and odd sort of way its actually more comparable to address Wonder Woman and Superman romantic interaction to Superman and Batman mental hardening and discipline interaction. Those are areas where Batman seems to have protection, and importance and priority and so on one of the newest JLA covers its Batman with the grit and determination to rise up to one knee - or to overemphasize the point just compare the two characters mental/intellectual roles. Superman fans (generally) maybe a bit more cautious with how their character is represented in that context.  

  
@azza04 said:

I don't understand when people say the Superman Wonder Woman romance doesn't do either of the characters justice or that it shows a complete lack of imagination....how does it show that? If the story hasn't been writen how do you know it would lack imagination...what if it was a really imaginitive story that kicked ass?


Well the question you ask as a defense to negativity addressing the two characters is one that can be literally asked of all characters. Not just all characters, but stories too. Its just a loaded question? Luke Cage gets Thor to use magic to turn him white? He decides to go under cover as a neo nazi with neo nazi symbols and insignias tattooed all over him, to infiltrate a new super powered gang of KKK. However Luke Cage finds himself actually agreeing with their politics and philosophies and so decides to stay sincerely, so Captain America has to go under cover to rescue Luke Cage but ends up going down the same route and then Galactus comes and finally eats the planet. Then... what if it was a really imaginitive story that kicked ass? Despite how convoluted my example is, its actually easier to address as far as not being a route that would make sense to avoid.  As far as romantic pairings similar questions and justifications can be made for Galactus and Spider-man, Superman and Batman, Cyclops and a Arcade made Cyclops robot, Captain America and Red Skull etc except we know its far more complicated than what if the story was really really good anyway. That "what if" factor is huge. I think the difference between you and me is that you might be optimistic lol
Moderator
#17 Posted by azza04 (1503 posts) - - Show Bio

@SC: lmao yeah I get it, it would be a big risk and I'm not saying it should happen but I don't agree with people that just say it's a horrible pairing, as far as romantic pairings go I think it's quite sweet. Luke Cage as a neo Nazi lmao I couldn't help but laugh, I might be a bit of an optimist but your the one with the imagination :D

#18 Posted by jrock85 (2874 posts) - - Show Bio

Wonder Woman+Batman forever!

#19 Posted by RyuHayabusa (2019 posts) - - Show Bio

Wonder Woman should be attractive after all she is as beautiful as Aphrodite but this pose is not a good way to showcase Wonder Woman's beauty.

#20 Posted by etragedy (1042 posts) - - Show Bio

To me it does not suggest a romance, but there is an intimate closeness about the pose. It can be two people in an actual romantic relationship - or it can be two people with a platonic relationship who have known each other for a long time. That's how I see the WW/Supes pose, and I kind of like it for conveying that.

#21 Posted by Silkcuts (5272 posts) - - Show Bio

What I like about your blogs like this is that you look for the language that is not spoken.  Body language is theory is actually more effective then actual words.  I personally like when there is that "tension" between the most powerful man and woman.  Brian Bolland screwed up Superman's face, but the rest of the cover is perfect.

#22 Posted by RazzaTazz (9450 posts) - - Show Bio
@Silkcuts: I do lots of stuff with my blogs ;)  You are right though as the spoken word really doesn't convey that much information as we think in interpersonal communication.  The book I read on body language has changed the way I look at people communicating.  Particularly effective on reality tv, as you know which people are lying or not.  
Moderator
#23 Posted by Silkcuts (5272 posts) - - Show Bio
@RazzaTazz said:
@Silkcuts: I do lots of stuff with my blogs ;)  You are right though as the spoken word really doesn't convey that much information as we think in interpersonal communication.  The book I read on body language has changed the way I look at people communicating.  Particularly effective on reality tv, as you know which people are lying or not.  
That is great! What book is that? I've studied body language informally since I was a teenager when my father told me to sit up straight or women won't talk to you. Don't drag your feet no one will hire you. 
#24 Posted by RazzaTazz (9450 posts) - - Show Bio
@Silkcuts: Hmm, I already took it back to the library.  I can look up the name if you like ... there are lots of books on this topic though
Moderator
#25 Posted by aztek_the_lost (28224 posts) - - Show Bio

Well, you know, Bolland's Wikipedia entry claims that he's known for his bondage imagery, so it only seems natural he would make a Wonder Woman/Superman cover into a dominance/submission thing, right?

Moderator
#26 Posted by RazzaTazz (9450 posts) - - Show Bio
@aztek_the_lost: Well dominance is maybe a separate issue from this cover, at least to me.  This more represents something like true possession - arm around a woman's shoulder, woman using her body to protect the man and show interest.  If you replaced these two with any other characters (or real people) you would most likely think they are in a serious relationship, but the comic lore doesn't really reinforce that.
Moderator
#27 Posted by Silkcuts (5272 posts) - - Show Bio
@RazzaTazz said:
@Silkcuts: Hmm, I already took it back to the library.  I can look up the name if you like ... there are lots of books on this topic though
If it is not trouble.  It is not a big thing, more curiosity.
 
@aztek_the_lost said:

Well, you know, Bolland's Wikipedia entry claims that he's known for his bondage imagery, so it only seems natural he would make a Wonder Woman/Superman cover into a dominance/submission thing, right?


that explains why he was perfect for the Killing Joke.
#28 Posted by aztek_the_lost (28224 posts) - - Show Bio

@RazzaTazz: She even looks like she's got a glare that says, this one's mine boys...err, I mean girls. I think when you only do covers though, you got to make some images that stand out, regardless of their relation to the interior.

Moderator
#29 Posted by RazzaTazz (9450 posts) - - Show Bio
@aztek_the_lost: Fair enough and I imagine artists often have to resort to other media for inspiration
Moderator
#30 Posted by aztek_the_lost (28224 posts) - - Show Bio

@Silkcuts: well, actually it's funny, his Wikipedia entry says he's known for bondage imagery and then goes on to say he has referenced that portion of the article before, claiming he had no idea he was known for that

Moderator
#31 Posted by Silkcuts (5272 posts) - - Show Bio

@aztek_the_lost: point of the story, no one but Bolland can do animal man lying on the floor so in a "sexy" "religious" pose like him

#32 Posted by The Mighty Monarch (2217 posts) - - Show Bio

In saying that a Superman / Wonder Woman romance would ruin the characters, or just not work right or whatever, I think its important to think about the why. I don't know enough about Wonder Woman to properly express why I dislike the idea from her perspective, but with Superman it's easy. Why does Superman love Lois Lane? Superman is the biggest hero of the DC Universe, he could have just about any woman he wants, if he wanted them. But Superman is so strongly rooted in his humanity. Superman is the cape he puts on to go and fight crime and use the gift of his birthright, but in his heart he will always be Clark Kent, the hard working average joe. Lois Lane helps keep Clark Kent grounded, a firm tether making sure Superman never flies off into full godhood, because he doesn't want that. Wonder Woman's a perfect friend for Clark, but she's essentially the opposite of the kind of woman he wants.

#33 Posted by Dernman (14609 posts) - - Show Bio

Being a fan of both Wonder Woman and Superman I always like the pairing.

#34 Posted by Lady_Liberty (8211 posts) - - Show Bio

Ah, the Clark/Diana romance. What ever happened to Lois? No one thinks about her, or even brings her up. This is a deeper problem in comics, where people without 'power' are often ignored. Its as if they are non-people.

Its something that's always bothered me about the X-Men, for example. They always talk about how normal people are discriminating against them, but how many of them are depicted having close personal ties with a non-powered person?

Its the core of the Superman / Wonder Woman romance. People say that they are right for each other because they both have power. Not because they love each other, or because they have the kind of relationship that would stand the test of time, just.. powers.

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.