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The Female Perspective: Frank Cho and Wonder Woman

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


So last week there was a flurry of stories regarding artist Frank Cho and his variant Wonder Woman covers. Seeing as a lot of the articles dealt with people being aghast at the amount of skin Cho was drawing and his departure from DC Comics because they did not like his covers (he quit the job) I became curious. Was this another case of women being drawn as fodder for drooling men?

Nope.

The few covers that Cho did do are actually quite stunning. They are well-executed and I have to say, awesome. I am neither offended by the amount of skin or the poses Wonder Woman is in. I am confused as to why there is even a story.

The fact is, Cho acted like a petulant child, posting this online:

All the problem lies with Greg Rucka.

EVERYONE loves my Wonder Woman covers and wants me to stay. Greg Rucka is the ONLY one who has any problem with covers. Greg Rucka has been trying to alter and censor my artwork since day one.

Greg Rucka thought my Wonder Woman #3 cover was vulgar and showed too much skin, and has been spearheading censorship, which is baffling since my Wonder Woman image is on model and shows the same amount of skin as the interior art, and it’s a VARIANT COVER and he should have no editorial control over it. (But he does. WTF?!!!)
I tried to play nice, not rock the boat and do my best on the covers, but Greg’s weird political agenda against me and my art has made that job impossible. Wonder Woman was the ONLY reason I came over to DC Comics.

To DC’s credit, especially [Art Director] Mark Chiarello, they have been very accommodating. But they are caught between a rock and a hard place.

I just wanted to be left alone and do my Wonder Woman variant covers in peace. But Greg Rucka is in a hostile power trip and causing unnecessary friction over variant covers.

ComicsBeat.com

Sure, Cho isn’t really taking the “high road” here, but whatever. What really annoys me is that DC hired him, knowing exactly what kind of artwork Cho is famous for (click here, but be warned NSFW) so why the heck are they hiring someone who has a website called Apes and Babes and who is KNOWN for drawing naked ladies in sexy positions?

The mindset of these comic companies baffles me. In 2014, Marvel had a similar issue, only they actually published a variant cover of Spiderwoman that was fairly insulting to women, spiders and anyone who has any respect for women. In this case, Cho’s covers are actually pretty awesome and in keeping with the characters spirit.

It’s a difficult thing in this world today, toeing the line between being “too” sensitive and being sensitive “enough”. I have to go with my own thoughts and feelings on these things, but as a feminist, as a woman, I see nothing wrong with Cho’s covers. I may not care for him as an artist (or as a human being), but his artwork here is pretty great. What I have to wonder is if DC was simply looking for some press (which they got) or if Cho just wanted out of the deal that he signed because he was frustrated with the team at DC, (or, Cho wanted some press) or these guys are really just children in disguise, and none of them know what they’re doing. My bet is on that last one.

There’s another aspect to this story though, is it inappropriate for the creative in charge of the story to want to have some control over how his/her story is packaged? Is it wrong that Greg Rucka didn’t like what Cho was doing and kicked up a fuss? That’s a tricky one. As an author, I would be aghast if someone took my character Katrina (from my book The Last Daughter of Lilith) and drew her as a sexpot wearing heels and a miniskirt (or something worse than that) because she is a simple character who wears simple clothing. I wouldn’t want that to happen either and would kick up a big ole fuss about it. In this case though, I’m not sure what is going on since (as you can see below), these covers are pretty cool, and not at all insulting to the source material.

Original Art.
Original Art.
Finished piece.
Finished piece.

While the cropping is different, ending at the knee, everything else is the same. There is no extra cleavage, no under skirt shot. I feel like I am missing some piece of a puzzle and these guys at DC are holding the piece I need to complete the puzzle over their heads going, “Nope, not gonna give it to you!”

Let’s look at one more.

Original Art.
Original Art.
Finished piece.
Finished piece.

Yep, I still don’t see it, do you? Am I missing something? If so, please enlighten me!

Tell me what YOU think about all this? Do you see the problem? Do you think there’s no problem and everyone in comics is coco-NUTS? Sound off in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: Ladies Are Taking Care of Business…

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


I thought about writing about Daredevil season 2 and how amazing the women are in that show but then I started thinking in a slightly broader sense. As I was binge watching season 2 with my man I realized that in the Marvel film and TV universe, they are writing exceptional women. Women who fight, who love and who do not apologize for being tough and brave, but who are also feminine and have their weak moments as well.

It’s bloody brilliant.

Elektra stands on her own (and apart) from her male counterparts in "Daredevil" season 2.
Elektra stands on her own (and apart) from her male counterparts in “Daredevil” season 2.

I am obviously a huge fan of the Marvel Universe that’s being created but I didn’t stop to really think of why, beyond the flash and fun of course, and now I realize it’s because in pretty much ever movie or TV show I’ve watched the women are bad ass, in the most wonderful way. This is feminism at work, this is equality at work and it’s wonderful to see. Today young girls have the option of so many female role models from Black Widow to Supergirl to Agent May on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and so many more that’s actually quite staggering. Even on a show like Daredevil the character of Elektra had the potential to be overshadowed by the “big boys” like Punisher and Daredevil himself, but she didn’t, she had her own storyline, her own struggles, her own power. Karen Page, a normal human by all accounts, finds her way in the world, finds her purpose and doesn’t ever become meek or fragile, even when kidnapped and fearful of her life, she manages to use her head and even though she doesn’t technically save the day, she manages to keep herself alive and guess what? She doesn’t fall apart in a sobbing pile in a man’s arms after. She picks herself up and keeps going. Elektra and Karen were essential to this season of Daredevil and that makes my feminist heart flutter with joy.

To me that’s how women should be written for TV or film. As women who can fight for their life when they need to, who can keep their heads in terrifying situations and who can rebound after those situations and keep going, keep fighting. They don’t run to the nearest man for love and/or sex and/or comforting, they comfort themselves and get going. They take care of business.

Frankly, that’s how the women I know in real life act. Of course, none of them have been kidnapped by madmen (thank God), but we have all had stressful situations in our life. We crumble, we fight, we cry, we get back up. That’s how you do it and it’s about damn time that TV and film catch onto that.

It’s been a gradual shift and Marvel is not the only one doing it by any means. If we look at Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens or Katniss from The Hunger Games (not a fave of mine but I know a strong lady when I see one) or one of my favorites, Black Widow from The Avengers and Captain America. What I love about Black Widow is that she is evolving, we first see her in Iron Man 2 and she is a sexy lady who turns out can fight circles around the men. Then we start to see her in other Marvel films and she starts to become a person, not just a fighter and a solider, but a person. In Age of Ultron she speaks about feeling like a monster for what she has done, for what has been done to her and when faced with the choice of fighting or running away with Bruce, she chooses to fight, because that’s what has to be done. She sacrifices her happiness for the greater good and hopefully you all know some women like that in your lives, I know I certainly do.

Black Widow doesn't apologize for who she is, it weighs heavily upon her, but she keeps on going, carrying that load.
Black Widow doesn’t apologize for who she is, it weighs heavily upon her, but she keeps on going, carrying that load.

The fact is, women are smart, sexy, tough and wonderful (as are men), and what makes me truly happy is to see that finally reflected in popular fiction on TV and in movies. I have high hopes for this weekends big release Batman v. Superman, not because of Batman or Superman, but because of Wonder Woman. FINALLY we get to see her in action and I for one, am extremely hopeful that WW takes after all the women before her and comes off as tough but feminine in the best ways possible.

What I am really digging is that while the costumes are tight fitting and all that, they aren’t slutty or offensive, they make sense for the character and (unlike what so often happens in comics) they are both sensible and sexy, a wonderful combination because when we see young girls cosplaying their favorites, we don’t have to sensor it because hey, it’s long pants and sleeves with a high neckline, fabulous! It makes me proud to be able to witness a time when characters like Agent Peggy Carter and Daisy from S.H.I.E.L.D move flawlessly from being powerful and brave, to being confused and/or uncertain and back again. These are flawed women, beautifully flawed women that aren’t taken advantage of. They stand toe-to-toe with the male characters and sometimes, they end up saving them.

"Don't worry fellas, I'll protect you." - Wonder Woman
“Don’t worry fellas, I’ll protect you.” – Wonder Woman

It’s a wonderful thing to witness, and with so much going on today that is stressful, sad or troubling, it’s truly heartening to be able to see women gaining so much ground, even if it is in a fictional sense. Here’s hoping that one day soon, it will start to really, truly happen in the “real” world.

How about YOU? What female character do you love that’s on TV or in film nowadays? Sound off in the comments and tell me why you love her!