Via J. Caleb Mozzocco:

So here’s a preview of Cry For Justice, which appears to be a comic book about four random DC supermen teaming up with Supergirl’s breasts. Not Supergirl herself, thanks, just her breasts. I’m sure this isn’t a full image, and was maybe cropped like it is to avoid a spoiler—Supegirl has been exposed to red kryptonite and is now an ant-headed centaur!—but really, that’s the single best image they could choose? One in which the foreground is devoted exclusively to a teenage girl’s breasts?


  1. Are they skipping ahead now and straight-up *begging* for mockery?

    And I’m pretty sure there should be a ribcage in there somewhere … don’t know how they missed it in a close-up, but perhaps it comes down to one’s priorities.

  2. To be fair, those dudes are wearing waaayyy tighter spandex than supergirl. And The identifying mark on her costume, a Large “S”, happens to be on her chest. They could try putting it on her ass but that would probably be just as dodgy an image.

    Also if Superman was in the same position there would be no problem with the image. We aren’t offended by a man in tight clothes. So what are we saying, that men are more versatile than women? That kind of explains why there aren’t more female superhero books.

  3. A-Rod, I see your point, and their spandex IS tighter.

    But with the Superman/Supergirl question you’re comparing apples and tomatoes; just as men can get away with being shirtless on any beach, women can’t. Breasts are much more sexualized than pecs, and that’s what makes this image so silly.

  4. I try to be a clean upstanding citizen. HOWEVER, when I saw the ad in the back of Green Lantern, the first thing I noticed was Supergirl. Then I immediately wondered why they had chosen that particular layout. The way her figure is positioned, especially in line with the other figures, it’s almost deliberate. Furthermore, I didn’t even notice the Atom until this article mentioned there were four male figures.

    If Kara’s mother now resides in New Krypton, will she make Kara wear something a bit more sensible before leaving the house? Meanwhile, I’m off reading Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade, and enjoying every issue!

  5. Which is worse, soft-core porn in the artwork, accompanied by mediocre storytelling, or contempt for the characters and their stories? Rich Johnston’s 4/13/09 “Lying in the Gutters” column at CBR features this transcribed 2006 quote from Quesada:

    Quesada said, “These toys are meant to be broken. If we just told stories that kept the status quo, nobody would be in this room, and I’d be out of a job. They’re mean [sic] to be thrown against a wall, smashed together, and built back up again.”

    Johnston goes on to refer to a Big Hollywood column by Batton Lash, which features an essay by Steve Ditko on the extensive downside to Quesada’s attitude toward the characters. It might be that Quesada is simply touting the virtues of unpredictability and having readers worried about the fates of their beloved characters, it might be that Quesada really isn’t concerned about multiple retcons within a storyline and discontinuities within a storyline, since the writers and artists are working with “toys”; it might be that Quesada doesn’t really know what he’s doing, in a storytelling sense.

    At least the soft-core porn artwork is an addressable problem.


  6. I may be in the minority here, but I find this pic far more appealing than another picture of Dan DiDio.

    Although, perhaps it’s not an image of CRY FOR JUSTICE, but a preview of DC’s upcoming series THE BREASTS AND THE BOLD.

  7. Four of DC’s best known male heroes staring at the breasts of a 16 year old who can’t dress herself properly. Now that’s an iconic image of DC you can be proud of.


  8. I’m sure I’m taking this way too seriously and will be shot down by devoted fanboys everywhere but this is just wrong on so many levels.

    It’s just ridiculous. I mean listen, I don’t live in a bubble…boys buy comics, boys like boobs, boobs sell comics, it’s not rocket science, but c’mon!

    How many editors/high level whoevers did that image have to go through before getting published. Did not one of them go…”Hmmm…you know, we’re not complete assholes right? Maybe we should rethink this…because not only are we just super sexualizing Supergirl by making her the only female hero on the cover and the putting her breasts, stomach, and hair in the extreme foreground to a quite frankly ridiculous degree, but we’re also cutting off her head…could this perhaps be interpreted badly?”

    I mean, again, maybe I don’t belong here, a girl that loves comics, a feminist that wants comics to be better – and you can all vote me off the island, but this is just taking misogynistic bullshit to a whole other level.

    Now I’m pissed. Probably for the rest of the day. Just great.

  9. A couple of points of order, which probably don’t matter much.

    1) That’s not a cover image. According to the text accompanying the image, that’s interior artwork, and probably cropped at that. Doesn’t justify the boobification, but moderates it a bit.

    2) Supergirl is older than 16 now. She was 16 when she debuted, and an entire year of story time lapsed in ONE YEAR LATER alone. She has to be over 18 by now. She should probably get carded in an upcoming story.

    Now, back to discussing the boobies.

  10. Oh boy. This is a big opening for my male feminist side to come out and rage, but ultimately I’ve grown so frustrated with the oversexualization of Supergirl, particularly when she was way supposed to be SIXTEEN YEARS OLD!


    I’m just happy that Churchill (arguably and towards the sexy side, I know, but still), for one issue Amanda Connor, Joe Benitez, and now Jamal Igle to draw her at various points in her own series. They at least seemed to have a decent grasp at anatomy.

    But yeah, I’m already captioning this in my head. Especially given Ollie’s in there, although Hal already made that joke in Brave and the Bold. (What are you, Ollie? You’ve got food in your fridge older than her. No bad thoughts. She’s 17.)

    Guh. Funny. And pretty art. But frustrating.

  11. I hold in contempt the apologists who say, “The mens are in tights, too!” A woman commenting recently in some other comment dustup that I can’t recall right now put it perfectly, to the effect that: Male superheroes are almost always directed toward a straight male audience with the message, “You want to be this.” The female superheroes are too often directed at the same straight male audience with the message, “You want to have sex with this.”

    Thus, the men are made heroes and the women are sex toys. Anyone who cannot see this distinction at play, and/or does not find the distinction odious … makes me sad.

    On a lighter note, can we be surprised by this development? Hasn’t the Black Canary’s ass been the chairman of the Justice League for more than a year now?

  12. Given that there is a problem with the inappropriate sexualization of female characters in comics, what’s the solution?

    The problem isn’t just or even mostly breast size, per se. The problem in any given issue occurs in individual panels, when the woman is shown in a flesh-baring costume, or posed in such a way that attention is drawn to her breasts or midriff.

    If I recall correctly, characters are generally drawn nude, with the costumes added via lines and coloring. So, a pencil artist draws a big-breasted woman; the inker and colorist provide the costume. If the pencil artist is used to drawing certain body types — that might account for the notorious X-babes, all large-breasted pinup types.

    Since context matters greatly, there’s no need to make all heroines small-breasted or unattractive; the artists should just provide functional costumes and watch their poses. The nature of the artwork matters, too. Erik Larsen’s SAVAGE DRAGON regularly features large-breasted women, with or without costumes, but the artwork is so cartoonish that the characters aren’t really attractive, much less sexually stimulating.

    The artistic problem is solvable, but if sales decrease, I anticipate that Marvel, for example, will only further emphasize the sexual aspects of characters. She-Hulk II is an unfortunate example of that, an empty shell that Marvel has tried to fill with new stuffing. The abuse of Supergirl is particularly unfortunate, since she was, at one or more points, designed to appeal to kids.


  13. It’s “J. Caleb Mozzocco,” not “Caleb J. Mozzocco,” actually. But please feel free to just call me “Caleb”…it’s much easier to spell that way.

    Regarding the “men are sexualized too” thing, yeah, and I would have also made fun of that image if it was cropped so that Robin’s crotch was dominating the foreground.

    Regarding sexualization of superheroines in general thing, that image would still have been laughably clueless if those were Wonder Woman or Power Girl’s breasts up there, but if it’s kinda gross for a bunch of middle-aged men to use a picture of a grown woman’s breasts to sell a comic book to a bunch of other middle-aged men, it’s much, much, much grosser when it’s a teenage girl.

    I don’t buy the “Supergirl is 18 now and is thus barely legal, not underaged” argument. Comic book characters don’t age that fast. She’s 16 plus one year (the “One Year Later” jump) plus a few months, and that’s how old she’s probably going to be for the next 20 years or so.

  14. “It’s “J. Caleb Mozzocco,” not “Caleb J. Mozzocco,” actually. But please feel free to just call me “Caleb”…it’s much easier to spell that way.”

    Thanks for the correction, Mr. Mozzocco.


  15. Boobs seem to be the new DC marketing hook. Note Babs’s deep cleavage on Oracle 2, the nipple pumps on REBELS 3, and the nearly 3-D orbs on the cover of Green Arrow/Black Canary 19? (Not to mention the upcoming Power Girl series!!!)

  16. “…shot down by devoted fanboys”

    This is where the discussion goes silly. If you disagree with the prude outrage you are doing so because you’re some fanboy. Sorry if I’m not outraged by mildly titillating images of fictional characters. Heidi posted a picture of a male model with no shirt just yesterday and the other day a pic of most of Hugh Jackman’s rump- I didn’t hear howls of protest from anyone. Anyone acting as if this is somehow exploitative needs to walk through a mall or look at a couple MySpace profiles and check out how real 16 year old girls dress. I actually though it was a great leap forward that she wasn’t wearing Dirk Deppey’s infamous “boob socks.”

    Heidi nailed it when she called it a comedy image- not an incendiary image that deserves howls of outrage but more of a roll your eyes and smirk response. My biggest problem is that her belly button seems to be located just below her non-existent diaphram. Meanwhile, Captain Marvel’s closed hand is the size of his head. At least Green Lantern seems to be attempting to look her in the eyes, The cock of Green Arrow’s head (no pun intended) suggests he isn’t even trying to hide where his eyes are.

  17. The problem is not so much that Supergirl is being sexualized, but that she’s being presented *only* as a pair of tits.

    And this is something that happens disproportionately to female characters in comics, film, art, and advertising.

    The guys get their whole bodies. They get their *faces*. They get presented as whole people.

    But once again, the woman is reduced to (a poorly drawn) body part.

  18. So, my comment from the other day in response to Mr. Williams for some reason got deleted (as did two comments directly after mine that were somewhat in agreement with my comment).

    I emailed Heidi, who did get back to me, but had no answers…so I’m trying to remember what I said and re-create it here. I didn’t say anything revolutionary or brilliant, but I was pretty frustrated to find my comment removed so I feel compelled to re-post it to the best of my memory. Here goes.

    [“…shot down by devoted fanboys”

    This is where the discussion goes silly. If you disagree with the prude outrage you are doing so because you’re some fanboy]

    I assume this is directed at me since that first line is a quote from my comment above. If I expect to get shot down by devoted fanboys it’s because I’m a fanGIRL and I’ve gotten used to it. While nobody, other than Mr. Williams, came out against me directly, there’s still a lot of “this is silly, and it doesn’t really matter” going on in the comments which is kind of exactly what I was talking about. If smart comic book readers accept this kind of sexism how can we ever expect it to go away, or even get better?

    I think comparing Heidi’s posting of a topless male model and Hugh Jackman’s rump are unfair and can be discussed seriously as a “problem” when men start to have the same issues of sexism in the world that women have. When men start dropping dead from anorexia and underweight male models are plastered on magazines everywhere, and when high numbers of actors can’t get jobs for being a certain weight or size then the playing field will be evened THEN we can start seriously talking about the objectification of men as a real problem in society. Until then, I think we all know it’s not a big issue for men and it’s a huge issue for women. So I’d prefer to focus on the actual problem and leave the imaginary one alone, for now.

    I also think in regards to how girls dress/behave on myspace and in the mall we are ignoring the fact that it is absolutely related to how the media portrays girls/women. I’m not saying it’s absolutely cause and effect, but it is absolutely related.

    Lastly, the point is being missed. It’s not that Supergirl is being overly sexualized and she’s a teenager and all that – though that should be disturbing enough, it’s that she’s missing her HEAD. I’ve been reading comics for 17 years now, I’m pretty used to seeing women objectified on a daily basis, I usually just get over it and don’t bother getting upset about it, but this is not just Supergirl being sexualized and objectified. In this image she’s the only female featured with four male superheroes and she’s being super sexualized by her most feminine body parts being exaggerated in the extreme foreground and the other heroes being placed in a way that suggests they are looking at said sexy body parts, AND THEN on top of all of that she’s missing her head. She just doesn’t need that head, cause clearly she’s just a pair of breasts. That’s what is important about Supergirl.

    It sends a horrible message to both men and women that read comics. It’s wrong and somebody screwed up.

  19. “I think comparing Heidi’s posting of a topless male model and Hugh Jackman’s rump are unfair and can be discussed seriously as a “problem” when men start to have the same issues of sexism in the world that women have. When men start dropping dead from anorexia and underweight male models are plastered on magazines everywhere, and when high numbers of actors can’t get jobs for being a certain weight or size then the playing field will be evened THEN we can start seriously talking about the objectification of men as a real problem in society. Until then, I think we all know it’s not a big issue for men and it’s a huge issue for women. So I’d prefer to focus on the actual problem and leave the imaginary one alone, for now.”

    Do you actually have numbers for that?

    Can we go into suicide rates? School shootings? Drug abuse? Gangs?

    Just because guys deal with superficial self-doubt in different ways, doesn’t mean it’s any less prevalent. I’d assume it’s true that men don’t suffer from anorexia/bulimia to the same degrees as women (again, no hard numbers here) but there’s still plenty of issues which guys have to deal with.

    And you know what? We all perpetuate this. Men and women. I’m not arguing that it’s a problem, but playing it as though women are the only ones in the world who go through self-esteem problems is downright absurd and it comes from BOTH genders. And I don’t really know that there’s an easy solution to it. Changing the art style of comics certainly isn’t it though.

    Do I have a problem with this? Yes. Because it’s insulting and demeaning to women, and to a certain degree to men. Because DC should know better. These are not the problems I’m arguing against. But to say that the impossible standard of idealism shown to men by super heroes isn’t equally stated gets a little absurd. Not because it’s necessarily wrong, but because you’re arguing about whose problem is worse rather than the problems themselves.

    Men are oversexualized. Women are oversexualized.

    We both have different standards for it. We both have different ways of collapsing under the pressure. And it’s a problem. So instead of arguing over who’s most persecuted, why not offer actual solutions that aren’t “Stop doing it!”?

    And really, that doesn’t just apply to comics. Or gender issues, for that matter.

  20. “Can we go into suicide rates? School shootings? Drug abuse? Gangs?”

    What do any of these things have to do with oversexualization and objectification (of men or of women) except in the most tenuous of ways?

    It’s obvious you’re arguing against some things you think I said Brendan – but I didn’t actually say most of the things you’re suggesting. I certainly never claimed that women have the market on self-esteem problems or self-doubt etc.

    I only even made my comment about the oversexualization and objectifcation of women in the world being a drastic problem compared with men in response to Mr. Williams comment about Heidi’s posting of a male model and Hugh Jackman, which seemed like a silly comparison to me. I stand by it though, regardless of whether I can provide “numbers on this” (how would I even do such a thing?). If this isn’t just common knowledge to you then we live in very very different worlds (and I’d very much to come live in yours – please!) The fact that there are some men out there who suffer from objectification (of course there are) is unfortunate, but from where I’m sitting it’s not a widespread problem and so I’m not as concerned with it as I am with womens’ issues with it. The first time I see an ad on television for a male strip club (never seen one in my entire life) – yet I see female strip clubs (and similar) advertised all the time – I’ll start to take the problem of male objectification and oversexualization a little more seriously as a real societal problem.

    I’m also not understanding why you’re talking about the style of art in comics…but maybe that’s not directed at me and just at the thread in general? I’ve never once complained about the actual art/drawing in this promo. I agree with others that I have a bigger problem with some of the anatomy (of all the characters) than I do with the size of Supergirl’s breasts. I don’t think the size is actually that bad…they only look huge because they’re all I can see. I have no problem with the actual art – except the way it has been framed – men’s eye line made to look like they’re staring at her breasts, extreme foreground of her most feminine parts, and again, the biggie, she’s the only female character in the shot and she has no head, thus making her a sexual object rather than a superhero, while the dudes in the back get to be just superheroes.

    I’m also not arguing about whose problems are worse in the world (men or women) we’ve all got our own problems – and they’re often gender specific, race specific, sexual orientation specific etc. In comics, for us women, one of our biggest problems to overcome is the oversexualization and objectification of women, but as I said in both my posts, as a long time female reader of comics, I’ve mostly just learned to suck it up. In this case, with DC I feel they have gone WAY over the line and I felt the need to comment on it.

    As stated three times now though, it’s not just about her being sexualized, which happens every day (hello the ridiculous cover of Oracle: The Cure #2 and GA/BC #19 out right now) and I’m not on here ranting about that and Heidi’s not posting it as the “comedy image of the day” and one of the reasons is because those characters – ridiculous and cheesecake-y as the covers are – all have their heads. They’ve been disrespected as per usual – some sexualization, some objectification, some ridiculous clothing, etc. – and because it’s basically just another day for women in comics I’m not crying foul (too much) -but the Supergirl thing, it’s just a whole other level I think. Frankly I’m surprised there weren’t some decent people (be it men or women) that raised their hands at DC before this went to print and called foul. It makes me very very sad actually.

    The really funny thing about all this is that I think you and I actually agree on the image – that it’s wrong. So I’m not really sure what we’re arguing about. Maybe you think I’m making an argument about “oh, the poor womens! – oh how we’re so put upon?” I’m really not. I’m just stating – what I thought we all kind of knew already – objectification of women in comics is a big problem already – and this DC promo is a really good example of it. I think the furor over it on the web, by both men and women is actually a great thing – and I do think the only way things like this are going to start changing is if we all start talking about it. But of course that’s only true if DC decides that all the “free press” isn’t worth some disgruntled fans. No such thing as bad press?

    You know the worst part of all of this? I don’t even like Supergirl. Bah.

  21. Yeah, we really do agree on the basic point.

    Also, my greater point and the relation of things such as teen suicide and school shootings is that while the effects of body image problems are easily shown in directly connected ways such as the aforementioned eating disorders commonly with women, male equivalents tend to fall more in the way of extreme depression…the effects of which are difficult to properly gauge.

    All in all it wasn’t meant as a personal assault. I don’t actually think you’re wrong. But it was more a general frustration with how these types of discussions seem to always end up in greater sociological debates centered around the conventions of comic books…which doesn’t work, because the issue is infinitely larger than the medium.

    But where I took objection was the line about men having the same issues about sexism. Because when we’re generally viewed as untrustworthy and/or stupid, I find it hard to particularly agree that we aren’t. It’s different kinds of sexism, different effects, etc. but they’re still present. And as I was saying, as soon as you say “This deserves more attention because this gender has the biggest problem” it loses focus on the point and falls into semantics and games of “Whose issues are bigger and more legitimate?”

    So it was when you said “Until your issues are as big as ours, you don’t have the right to say anything” that I got on a rant, I guess.

    I don’t even think you realized you did it, actually.

  22. Listen, I’m glad we agree on the DC promo image, and so I’ll leave it at that.

    As for the larger socioeconomic issues I think we’re just going to have to agree to disagree. I can truly say though, that I wish I lived in your world – I’d happily trade it for mine.

  23. I don’t consider the sexualization of men a significant issue. The live men who are sexualized (e.g., via publicity photos) generally encourage it; in fiction, the perceived sexualization is within the context of the genre., be it Westerns, mystery, or romance.

    In comics, however, the sexualization of the heroines is pervasive and often unrelated to a story’s plot content; the women are just drawn in ways that direct attention to their breasts and other body parts.

    As an example of a comics story that does not deliberately sexualize women, I cite WEST COAST AVENGERS #16. The spotlighted heroines, Hellcat and Tigra, could easily be sexualized by posing them in certain ways and having characters comment on their appearances, but the content of the story makes their costumes incidental. They just go about their work, light-heartedly. The drama in the issue is provided by Hank Pym, who is collapsing under the weight of emotional stressors.

    In the case of Supergirl, having her turned into an ant-headed centaur with breasts straining against her costume’s fabric was bad enough. I suppose readers should be grateful she wasn’t turned into a dog.