3/26/2012

There is a pose that's all too familiar in comic books, one often used for superheroines that's come to be known as the "brokeback." It's basically a spine-twisting pose intended to show the butt and the boobs at the same time, but which also defies logic and anatomy. While the pose varies between subtle and extreme, it's always hovering within the wings of comic book art. Here are ten of the most ridiculous examples in comic art. Remember, these are all the work of professional so-called artists who are supposed to be trained in skeletal structure, biology, and stuff.
1. Wonder Woman shows her lesser-known superpower, dislocating her spine

2. Even Red Lantern Bleez is surprised by her  flexibility

3. Cloak helps Dagger make this very threatening pose

4. Psylocke demonstrates the very difficult midair brokeback pose

5. Voodoo is wondering how she managed to twist her torso like this
6. Black Widow never lets anyone get the drop on her, not since she surgically removed her ribs
7. Black Cat, like many women, finds this pose very relaxing
8. Barda is tough and strong and has no spine whatsoever
9. Spider-Woman is falling, but still manages to give the male audience what it wants
10. Avengelyne has no waist whatsoever, replacing her stomach with little pouches
What do you think of the brokeback poses?


[Via The Brokeback Pose and Escher Girls]
Categories: ,

34 comments:

Jthegeek said...

I've seen REAL women do these poses. They're dancers, models, and athletes but still, there's nothing impossible about any of the poses mentioned here.

Nigel Mitchell said...

Well, I've never seen a woman with a torso smaller than her neck like in number 10, but this is a common argument: "real women can do this pose!" If you look in the brokeback tumblr, you'll see the rebuttal - can some women be this flexible? Possibly. But a lot of the photos with this pose are either Photoshopped or the result of an excruciating amount of twisting. I remember reading one model who said that the seductive looks in her photos were often thinly disguised expressions of pain. The brokeback is certainly achievable, but nowhere near something a real woman would casually adopt when she's lounging around or in the heat of battle.

dudeguy said...

 Sorry, I've seen all of these poses in real life. & these aren't even very extreme.

Nigel Mitchell said...

I won't debate this too much, to be honest. If these look like a normal woman to you, then I will refer to the following article from a gymnast and contortionist on the topic: http://justsayins.tumblr.com/post/14957660366/this-needs-to-stop-and-let-me-tell-you-why

Walter Knight said...

Who wants a real woman anyway? Love these poses.

Moira said...

As a woman, I can tell you it is extremely hard to maintain that pose without using something to brace yourself, like a chair. Even then it hurts. Really, try it yourself.

Nigel Mitchell said...

Agreed. I think I need to do a follow-up post breaking down exactly how the spine works and why this artwork is impossible. But this post explains it well: 
http://justsayins.tumblr.com/post/14957660366/this-needs-to-stop-and-let-me-tell-you-why

Kim Ellison said...

You should try a photoshoot comparison with real women trying to imitate these poses.

Nigel Mitchell said...

If you seriously believe that, you should take a course in anatomy

Nigel Mitchell said...

I really wish I could

artistic007 said...

I'm actually an art student, and we use Yoga, Gymnastics, and other athletic poses constantly. All the poses we use have to come from real life models doing them, as many classes for 2D and 3D animation are called "Life Drawing For Animation". I came across this page while doing a routine search for models to draw. The subject we are after is drawing poses with torso twists, because as a 2D animator we have to draw the human figure from every angle to study how what the body is capable of.
I have also studied comic art, and have instructional videos from artists such as Todd McFarland "Spawn or Spider-Man" fame. One thing that the OP doesn't seem to grasp is that comic art is "based" on real life athleticism, but its not stapled there. Pushing the boundaries of the human figure is what art books such as "Drawing Comics the Marvel Way" are about. Kids don't want to read an overly realistic comic, they want the extreme, I mean be honest, what man can really fly? What "real" woman can lift a bus? The fact that you are comparing comics to real life is kinda like comparing Mickey Mouse to a real mouse.
However as I stated at first, these poses on this post are not impossible by any woman who trains to be flexible and if you do a simple google search on yoga torso twists poses you will find women "and men" doing poses that are more extreme than any you have seen in comics "in real life". This is the age of information so a discussion like this can easily be debunked.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Here's the one thing that punches a hole in your argument: if it's all about flexibilty and hyper-realism, then why don't comic books present men this way? There are a ton of acrobatic superheroes like Nightwing who are never drawn in this pose. Also, why are all female characters drawn this way? Barda and Wonder Woman are not gymnasts, but are given the same pose as Catwoman and Spider-woman. The answer is that it's all about sex, not art.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Also, they're totally ignoring the fact that a professional contortionist and gymnast has actually tried all these poses and they're impossible. The only woman who could do these poses is the "lordosis Woman" from the Mutter Museum, and I highly doubt she'd want to go prancing around in a lycra costume.

Yes, comics are comics, but it would be nice if our comic book artists actually had to show some degree of knowledge about the human body and what it can and cannot do.

The Geek Anthropologist said...

I'm starting an online class about gender through comic books, so I'll share the word about this post and other related ones!

Matthew Lane said...

Actually half of them are not impossible. In fact half of them can be done by an every day person & someone who understands how camera perspective works: Specifically 2, 3 & 8 are the work of forced perspective.

As for the professional contortionist bit, would this be the same contortionist who said the famous MJ sitting on the couch image was impossible... An then a photographer on deviantart, actually went and made that very image with an everyday model.

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Mara Blythe said...

Yeesh, all of these look like they'd be super uncomfortable to maintain... Though I guess I can see Wonder Woman twisting into that for a moment to deflect bullets then going back to whatever she was doing. And I've noticed that my little brother sleeps in a really close approximation of this position, so it's not impossible, but it probably hurts to do it for a long time without leaning against something.
On a verily different note, kudos for the witty subtitles (comments? notes? I dunno what to call them)!

Maurice Mitchell said...

Link?

Matthew Lane said...

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=782735431741126

imforrest said...

thanks for sharing, i enjoyed reading your blogs.

www.triciajoy.com

Nigel Mitchell said...

That's not really the same pose. The arch to the spine is much much more pronounced in Mary Jane's image. Her back isn't against the couch like the model's

Matthew Lane said...

Its exactly the same pose.

Clayton Barton said...

Everything you stated in this article is 100% true. In reality, most women and men would find these poses extremely hard to replicate, if at all.

But what point are you trying to make here?

What you're saying is accurate - But it couldn't be more blatantly out of context. Comics have never been about replicating reality. Male and female characters have always been stylized representations of people, exaggerated and pushed to their limits for dramatized impact and idealized aesthetic appeal. We're talking cartoons here, not photographic, fine art replicas of reality. You're comparing apples to oranges.

Do you think comics are read for their 'realism' factor? Let's be honest, there's not a lot in the comic book genre you can really relate back to reality. Wonder Woman's entire story, along with here abilities are as fantastic as her visual depictions above. If these kind of poses concern you, comic books are something you might want to keep away from altogether.

On top if that, twisting your body around to look behind you isn't an impossible exaggeration of it's limits. It is completely reasonable for a character to be drawn in this way, especially one that's stylized in a dramatized shot.

Nigel Mitchell said...

Again, the problem with this argument is it doesn't apply to men. While men are often posed in unrealistic ways, they're rarely posed with their butts and crotches facing the camera at the same time. Unrealism isn't the problem. These unrealistic poses exist to enhance the sexuality of the character, not for dramatic purposes.

ewokingdead said...

just ignore this idiot he is a sexist asshole who is into boob growth and defends pedophilia. I've gotten into arguements with him before and looked up his post history to find some distubring things.

mausium said...

Your sad fantasies don't count.

mausium said...

Or actually talk to a woman.

mausium said...

People who like and love women, I guess.

mausium said...

"This is the age of information so a discussion like this can easily be debunked."

And yet, you haven't done so. Your argument must lack facts and data considering you haven't offered up a single piece.

mausium said...

They'd have to talk to a woman.

Nigel Mitchell said...

Thanks for the kudos!

Marissa MetalMilitia said...

Of course it's all about sex. Anyone can make that realization.

Anonymous said...

These poses aren't all anatomically incorrect (some are grossly incorrect though), most don't need a broken back. Anyone who can touch their own left foot with the right hand or vice-versa can do such poses, and it's even easier than that. The actual "brokeback" tag on eschergirls should be really named just "womens' butts shown in comics", as many don't even have their torso twisted at all. All valid for the victimization community, social justice bloggers need to protect damsels in distress of the world from attempted sexyness in comics made for twelve year old horny teens.

Anonymous said...

And the "escherian" aspect of Rob Liefeld's art applied both to males and females, but, since man is the oppressor it only makes sense that they're the victims in focus. Probably men benefit somehow from their "portrayals" in comics.

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