When my father was eighteen, he read To Kill A Mockingbird and decided that, amongst the many gems of wisdom contained within its pages, it was a manual on how to be a good father. I’ve read To Kill A Mockingbird, but I have no clue which bit he was thinking of when he decided it was telling him to read comics to his children as bedtime stories. Presumably there was logic there somewhere. Either way, I therefore grew up on the Dark Phoenix Saga and Tony Stark’s battles with alcohol. These things have led to Point 1 about me, which will help to explain why this blog exists.
1. I really really love comics.
Point 2 is less to do with Dad’s parenting and more to do with his genetics. Well, and my Mam’s.
2. I am lucky enough to have, in the land of Real Life, an actual hourglass figure.
This is mostly pretty good, since it means a 28GG bra size and a 27 inch waist, but the thing about hourglasses - the crucial thing - is that the top and the bottom are both balanced for accurate sand-based time measurements, so 40 inches of shoulder and thigh comes with that. My shoulders could comfortably bear a yoke, and my arse could block out the sun. It’s brilliant.
I mention these, though, because in recent years Points 1 and 2 have collided somewhat in my head. It has been a long time since I saw a female superhero in a comic drawn with anything approaching a genuine hourglass - they’re frequently drawn with one in mind, clearly, but then something happens and the artist falls at the final hurdle. You end up looking at a stream of identically-figured women who are completely slim up and down until you get to the torso, where you find breast implants that could take your eyes out and the abdomen of a wasp. Plus, those breasts - those enormous, massive breasts - are always drawn out of a bra, and therefore spread sideways under the armpits. And yet are still completely perky.
For the record, there’s just no way they would be. Breast tissue has no ligaments, so the bigger and heavier they are, the more you’re picking them up off your navel of a morning. And you can’t even approach the word ‘comfortable’ without a bra. At that size, you can’t even approach the words ‘not hurting’ without a bra.
So, I’ve decided to start this project where I redraw a lot of superhero women as they’d actually look if they were Real Life hourglass figures, using myself as a model. The process so far has involved prancing about in front of a camera in a bra and thong while trying not to fall over, and then drawing myself while resisting the hella-powerful temptation to ‘correct’ things. The emotional slide goes “Oh god hideous photo” - “Sketching seems like I look okay” - “Sketch is finished oh god I’m hideous” - “Colouring oh god I’m hideous” - “Colouring is finished, seems like I look fine but am wearing a shit costume”.
Most inappropriate costume for a Real Woman ever, by the way, goes to Emma Frost. In case you were wondering. Remember those large bricklayer shoulders I mentioned that come with the hourglass figure? They don’t mix well with an off-the-shoulders line.