Why I’m Not Reading JLA Right Now.

I simply cannot handle the art. I suffered through Ed Benes’ bizarre butt focus in Birds of Prey for the sake of a) His facial expressions, which were rather lovely characterisation and b) Gail Simone’s writing. I was enjoying JLA, and I like Dwayne McDuffie’s writing as a rule, but I cannot read the series when I know I will be greeted with images like this:  

notwhitemari.jpg

1) I think it is safe, at this stage, to say that Ed Benes really likes drawing women’s butts. This is more than I am personally comfortable knowing about a complete stranger, but outside of my personal preferences and more to the point, it is utterly inappropriate to regularly position or twist every female character so that when she’s, for instance, supposed to be staring down an enemy, she’s actually presenting her impressive and lovingly detailed ass to the reader. Unless the story somehow calls for it, the focus of almost any given scene ought not be a female behind.

2) Mari Jiwi McCabe is not a white woman. Benes managed to portray Vixen as a (somewhat sharp-nosed) immigrant from made-up-but-not-at-all-white African country M’Changa in Birds of Prey, so I assume he has forgotten that her facial features and skin colour ought not to look Caucasian. Clearly, he needs a reminder of this salient fact. So does the colourist.

This page is sexist, racist, and atrocious storytelling. It handily destroys the suspension of disbelief necessary to maintain a fantasy narrative. I’m left so painfully aware of the fourth wall plastered to the female characters’ backsides, and wondering why Mari woke up white, that the story Benes is presumably meant to be telling with this art comes in a distant and limping third.

- – - – -

Comment on this column here.

- – - – -

Willow comments further at Seeking Avalon, pondering, among other things, what fans might say if the current Superman woke up with dark skin and braids.

2 Responses to “Why I’m Not Reading JLA Right Now.”

  1. [...] Benes. I checked to see if any other bloggers would have noticed this, and apparently they noticed as well (the second link has swear words, mind you). And I am in complete agreement with [...]