Wednesday, August 24, 2005

COMICS: Editorial swimwear

Now that I've gotten caught up on the comics I've missed for the past couple weeks, I can finally ask this pressing question:

In Defenders #2, it's really, really obvious to everyone that Umar's bathing suit is a post-production, editorial addition, right?

Dave's Long Box recently took note of this bizarre (and apparently Marvel-specific) phenomenon as manifested in Thor #499. Dave calls it the "De-Nudifying Effect," and I have no reason to call it anything else.

In Defenders #2 (and here is where I wish I had a scanner to offer you visual proof, but I don't, so just imagine it for yourselves), Umar is shown in one scene taking a shower in front of her brother Dormammu (creeeepy), and in another scene taking a bath, or perhaps just a quick dip in the hot tub. (Bitch likes to get clean!) In both scenes, the artwork has very clearly been arranged so that none of her actual naughty bits are on display. That's an intentional choice by the artist. The editorial meddling comes with the addition of a black bikini colored in over the art. Marvel obviously was uncomfortable with even the implication of nudity (especially in conjunction with the strongly-implied incestuous nature of Umar and Dormammu's relationship), so they slapped on a swimsuit where it really didn't belong (why would Umar wear a bikini in a soapy shower?), presumably to protect the children. Because heaven forfend a child should run across the suggestion of an unclad side of boobie or flank of buttcheek in a comic with the word ASS on its cover. (A word partially concealed by a "CENSORED" bar, but still.)

Not that I'm arguing for more nudity in comics. Or less nudity, for that matter. I'm just saying, it's silly to try to have it both ways. It's like Demi Moore's famous body-paint cover shot from Vanity Fair: she's naked!! But let's add some color and pretend she's not!!

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