While going around the internet over just the last 24 hours, the following images turned up, all fine examples of the “Brokeback” aka “Show your ass AND your tits” pose, which all male fantasy comics women are required to master. We know artists have a hard time mastering this anatomy-defying pose, since unless you are a member of Cirque Du Soleil it’s actually impossible to turn your ass and your tits in the same direction. But they will try, oh yes, they will try, although the manga example has a rather disturbing addition in the downstairs area that looks like a testicle or a swollen taint or…something.


Luckily, we have comics to rectify that human design flaw.


Darn. This seems like such a paltry tribute to the Brokeback Pose. We encourage readers to send in more tributes. Let’s give the classic the respect it deserves!


  1. I was shocked when I saw the video for Keri Hilson’s R&B hit, “Love Knocks You Down”, and she actually manages to pull off this pose. Of, course, she has to lay down on a bed to accomplish it, but it still happened.

  2. The Ms. Marvel illo is certainly appropriate. The only halfway good thing about her is the occasional cheesecake pose.


  3. I’ve seen that pose many times in issues of Playboy, (which I read for the articles, scouts honor). I always kind of figured that most of the artist that used that pose learned about female anatomy from Playboy, and not from, you know, real life.

  4. Um it is possible, shows up a lot in Maxim and other AHEM gentleman’s entertainment magazines (that I personally never, ever read).

    No, no one would ever stand around like that but it is possible.

  5. As a publisher of that very type of manga, my opinion is more valid than that of anyone else, as I am an expert in erogenous simulacrums.

    These examples are meek. They have not disconnected spines, just very large chests. And according to science (which is therefore unchallengeable!), women with hefty bosoms are smarter, and men instinctively pick up on that. Therefore, we are actually appreciating these beauties for their intellectual prowess. Flaunt that gray matter, baby.

    The absolute, undeniable truth:


  6. It’s not quite male Brokeback Pose, but I was pretty amused by the cover of Superman: World of New Krypton #1 I saw in this month’s Previews:

    Adam Strange is just choosing to show of his rocket pack (if you know what I mean) instead of his pecs. There’s something going on between Supes and Adam Strange, no doubt about it. Look at that how they’re looking at each other!

    Also, Denise Richards fights Wonder Woman in Greg Horn’s cover of Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2, featuring the rare Front View Brokeback Pose:

  7. @Steve & Franklin, LOL!! :D

    @ Jennifer…that Denise fighting pic HAS to be taken from Undercover Brother!!

  8. This sort of pose is not unusual at all (as far as showing the upper body in profile, and the rear to reveal both cheeks). The spine is capable of enough rotation to capture that pose. In fact, as an artist, it is, in general, it is your duty to twist the spine whenever possible to bring life to your figures, and imply movement. Stiff symmetrical figures are the hallmark of amateaur artists. I think what make it in such bad taste is the over arching of the back which serves to lift the buttocks and heave out the bossom.

    The rotation of the spine is a classical figure drawing exercise. I believe its called “contraposto”

  9. “No, no one would ever stand around like that but it is possible.”

    Yeah, it is. And as for the first two examples, this is typical of comics where a single panel is just iconic of the entire action, not always the holding / duration of a physical pose.

    The third example is more of an actual pose (no or little movement).
    Out of the three this is clearly less “broke”. In fact, it looks acceptable as seen in many adverts / Victoria’s Secret, et. I’m not fully defending it. These images serve multiple jobs; male fantasy, exaggerated movement, comic standards, et. I just (personally) can’t find it disturbing in a sea of hero genre comic books that also use such techniques. It’s like saying the stripes on one tiger are exaggerated more than the stripes on other tigers when the fact is they all have stripes.

    I’d be more interested in examples of this genre that break the norm than point out the obvious standards. Still, I see the fun in it, I won’t lie. Haha!

  10. Sean: Why go ruin the fun with actual ART HISTORY and shit! Gimme a break!

    Jimmie: you are saying these poses are chosen to highlight dynamic anatomy and storytelling?

    Hm…so much to ponder.

  11. Jennifer,

    “There’s something going on between Supes and Adam Strange, no doubt about it. Look at that how they’re looking at each other!”

    Obviously, Adam Strange has a marvelous time rubbing his rocket pack on Superman while being cheered on by a crowd of leather-clad middle-aged men — and the sentiment is eagerly reciprocated. Note how the Man of Steel’s feet are gently teasing Strange.

    It should be pointed out that the cover is not the final version, though; due to a glitch, the dance floor and mirror balls were replaced with a skyline here, but no doubt this will be corrected before the book goes to the printer.

  12. I dunno, H. As a longtime admirer of the ladies, I’ve seen it happen plenty in real life. It just requires a generous helping of bust. Still, it seems often abused in Comics-land. And that manga girl should really see her gynecologist about that prolapse:|main|dl1|link7|

  13. Has anyone heard of a woman named Betsy Braddock aka Psylocke. She flashes her butt whenever the artist chooses to oversexualize her. Which is the standard norm for such a shallowly developed and convoluted character. Her history is another matter unto itself that could probably take hundreds of pages to explain.

  14. >Thy arrogance seems boundless.

    My apologies that the entire content of the post was not sufficiently facetious enough for you.

  15. Steven, Psst! New topic for ya…’Sex Sells!!’ ;P

    Now let us please continue this VERY interesting topic! ;D

  16. I’m not defending bad art if indeed it is considered bad art…but I believe YOGA is the answer we’re all looking for here.

    With YOGA (and some cases plastic surgery) women will be able to do these poses and well, men won’t really need women after uh…YOGA, so-to-speak. :)


  17. Alan–>

    Wait, I’m sorry, why is it that you feel the need to insult me in such a backhanded way after I made clear that my post was in jest? Did I catch you on a bad day? Are you naturally vindictive? Or do you simply not appreciate sarcasm?

  18. I’m currently in school for comics illustration, taught by industry vets Dave Ross and Ty Templeton, and we’re encouraged to twist the spine all the time, in just this fashion, for men and women. I drew a male magician the other day turning to reveal the contents of a hat that was much more twisted than this Dodson example. It’s a titilating pose not just because it shows off T&A, but because it’s not a static pose. It gives the illusion of energy and life even when the figure is just posing, like Black Cat up there.

    Not saying it can’t be taken too far, but I mean, I’m an out of shape guy and I can twist enough to do “break the back” by some of these standards.

  19. “Any examples of males posing this way (Tom of Finland?), or posing in a male-specific version of Brokeback?”

    Tom’s the wrong place to look for this sort of thing; while his figures stretched the bounds of possible anatomy, they were always a bit musclebound and stiff. Also, chest-and-ass is a harder pose to pull off. In ads for porn, you’ll see the model with his ass to the camera and his head turned around so you can see how cute he is, but that’s admitted porn. In superhero comics, it’s usually a contest to see how steroidal (big muscles, shrivelled cock) you can make the hero, which is a very different goal.

  20. Pretty rich, coming from someone who’ll use any excuse (or no excuse) to run beefcake shots of shirtless actors.

  21. I think the people citing contrapposto are missing the point. While the spine does rotate, it is, as Heidi says, still physically impossible for boobs and butt to face the same direction. But comics artists will continue to valiantly try to push the limits of human anatomy, not for the sake of visual dynamics (though that always provides a less-than-plausible excuse) but for the sake of boobs and butts! They love boobs and butts far more than they love academic drawing exercises, let me tell you. Boobs and butts are the most important things in the universe when it comes to lady superheroes, which is why it is so necessary to wring women’s spines like dishcloths and arch their backs so much it causes vertebral dislocation.

    Necessary, I tell you. Necessary. In fact, I practice contrapposto exercises every morning to better fit this ideal. It’s not so sexy or easy now that I’m seven months pregnant, but I can’t let my spine slip back into alignment!

  22. In all seriousness, Synsidar’s picture shows a good way for an artist to judge whether a drawing is pushing the limits of brokeback or not, without having to slavishly conform to anatomical standards that may not be productive in certain styles of cartooning:

    Take the outline of the drawing, rotate the mind’s camera around 180 degrees, and draw the figure again from the front. If it looks plausible, then it’s okay, at least within the realm of one particular artists’ style.

    Jennifer de Guzman–>
    I think you touched upon something that hasn’t come up yet, and that’s the appropriateness of the pose within a given scene. In the last two images (which weren’t brokeback anyway, they just showed immense “side-heft”), the characters were at least looking back at the viewer. In the first image, the character didn’t have any particularly obvious reason within the scene to hold such a pose; it’s an exaggerated movement for exaggeration’s sake. I don’t have a problem with that at all, but at least that’s a difference I see between the three images.

    The level of flexibility on exhibit here is not impossible, just usually the domain of gymnasts, ballet dancers, and contortionists who tend not to be so well-endowed (heck, most people aren’t). That’s why they seem unreal, but hey, it’s cartooning.

  23. I’m a little disappointed that this has actually become a referendum on whether or not the primary purpose of a pose normally found in nudie magazines is dynamic storytelling.

    I shall have to rethink my categorizing.

  24. Comics really freaked me out as a kid because of stuff like that, and the horrifying muscles, it seemed like a porn magazine filled with hate.

  25. As a lesbian in good standing, All I really have to say is how sick I am of the phrase ‘male fantasy comics’ and the like.

    I can assure you, males are not the only ones who enjoy flexiblity in the female characters.

  26. How wonderful that you chose a picture from Hakodate Youjin Buraijou Himegami, which not only has the Brokeback pose as a regular feature, and that mysterious lump that so many manga artists insert in between women’s legs as a sign that they have never actually seen a naked woman, but also *gigantic* haunches and breasts that are larger than the average head…without nipples. did I mention it has animal-themed fishnet armor-wearing female ninjas…along side of cowboys and civil war vets. And samurai. And cross-dressing sorcerous Frenchwomen and police captains.

    God, I love that manga….



    Hungry for Yuri? Have some Okazu!

  27. By the way, contrapposto doesn’t have anything to do with spine rotation. Contrapposto is about the weight distribution of the figure, specifically, the figure supporting its full weight on one leg, causing the hips and shoulders to rest at opposing angles and giving the figure a s-curve.

    None of the drawings Heidi posted are contrapposto. Black Cat and the manga chick are distributing their weight equally, and Ms Marvel isn’t distributing any weight at all because she’s flying. The pose they’re in is what the ancient Greeks called “Show me what your momma gave you.”

  28. Perhaps there are two meanings to “contrapposto”:

    The position of a figure in painting or sculpture in which the hips and legs are turned in a different direction from that of the shoulders and head; the twisting of a figure on its own vertical axis.

  29. I find it amusing that a picture of Black Cat looking back over her shoulder is featured as an anatomical oddity, while in the background of that same picture Spiderman is crouched over with his thighs above his spine.

    It’s almost as though it’s all make-believe.

  30. I find it amusing that a picture of Black Cat looking back over her shoulder is featured as an anatomical oddity, while in the background of that same picture Spiderman is crouched over with his thighs above his spine.

    It’s almost as though it’s all make-believe.

  31. Shyaporn,Hm, I just got on the floor and crouched down with my thigh above my shoulder. Any reasonably limber, fit person can do that.

  32. I think the reason for the detour on the topic is that two of the images are entirely plausible. Actually, in all three pic, the breasts are still facing the opposite direction of the butt. But I think the top one qualifies as a “broken spine” based on how arched her back is. I don’t think the impossible part of the Ms. Marvel image relates to the breast/butt-rather the overdone “S” shape of her pose…she isn’t a snake.

    But the other two images? I know average women who have been turn that way. I think the topic would have stayed more focused if you had chosen different images.

    Oh, who am I kidding? This is the internet.

  33. None of these except perhaps the Black Cat pose is anatomically impossible or even perhaps so difficult as to require yoga experience, especially considering the breast size of a typical comic book female.

    You can try it yourself. Find a bathroom mirror long enough to see the counter in the reflection. Stand with your ass against the counter so you know its square to the “camera”. Now twist and look at your reflection. I’m a slim guy and I can see both ass cheeks and one nipple.

    In fact, the pictures above are 3/4 views, versus my example, which is a rear view with a twist. If I do a 3/4, I see both cheeks and both nipples. If I head breasts, it would be even more pronounced.

    Comics are rife with bad anatomy, especially involving twisting spines, but these are not especially good examples.

  34. And the problem with Black Cat pose (or, more accurately, drawing) is that he left cheek – which is further from the viewer – seems to be drawn as a full on rear view while the right cheek looks like a side view. It’s just a crap drawing.

  35. I guess that pose never bugged me too much, but that top example does seem pretty outlandish.

    When Joe draws Dawn that way, it seems realistic to me, but his comics are more – anatomically aware? – than some others. I’m sure part of it is that Joe’s art is also very pinup-oriented. Here is a blue Dawn in “brokeback”, but despite her curvy parts clearly being on display, pointing opposite directions like they do, her back looks fine/normal to me:

  36. It surprises me that so many folk are mystified by the manga girls “lump.” It’s supposed to be the labia majora AKA “pud.” I’m not saying it’s accurately depicted, but it’s the artist’s anatomical intent.

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