As the summer draws to a close, I hold a single truth close to my heart. It’s a truth that I’ve had to fight hard for–yet one that’s been sitting right in front of me ever since I picked up my first comic book. Literature and conscious aren’t as disconnected as people like to believe they are. It’s impossible to immerse yourself in a series and leave it behind. Like it or not, what you read and watch affects your judgement near as much as “real-life” experience does.

But what does that have to do with hands? I’m getting there. Slowly.

Following shortly after this realization followed a horde of insight: I finally was able to pull apart the ideas and philosophies I had unintentionally gleaned from series I had grown up. One of the more surprising, however, was the dehumanization of people.

Humans are hardly ever in fiction anymore. Instead we fill the pages of comic books with goddesses and our video games with toy soldiers. Our men are muscular to an uncomfortable degree and our women–despite the advancements our society is supposed to have made–hardly ever wear appropriate clothing.

Batman gets a bullet-proof vest; Catwoman gets skin-tight clothes with a clear target area.
What is this nonsense.


A note on women really quick. I’m not advocating turtlenecks and pants that go all the way up to a girl’s neckline.


But women get the sore end of the stick in almost every series ever. While the men are able to wear armour or sun-protectant clothing, women have somehow been tasked with being sex-objects in modern fiction–so they have to run around in clothes that are ill-suited for battle.

It’s almost as if writers today think boobs are bullet proof.

The sad thing is that most people don’t see anything wrong with this. Many of the woman in these series are otherwise strong and girls look up to that. They also are taught to value the romantic relationship and so this skimpy, ill-suited clothing becomes just another way to become that strong, successful women they want to be.

But you don’t need to show skin to be a successful woman, nor do you need to hook yourself a man. Not only that, but most of the women in our fiction have impossible shapes and figures. Very few girls could manage such a figure–and that’s after taking surgery into account.

Despite this, many women grow to hate themselves because they aren’t able to live up to this beauty standard.

And the men don’t get off much better.

Believe it or not, these men are both Chris Redfield from the Resident Evil Series. The first is the Chris I grew up with. His features are semi-ordinary. By anatomical standards, he would probably qualify as muscular but fairly natural, right?

The second I’m not so sure about. I’m fairly positive biceps don’t get that big. Just saying.

It seems like fiction is falling further and further away from natural anatomy, prefering to dabble in the realms of gods and goddesses rather than men and women.

I want to give natural human anatomy the spotlight in my drawings and work.

I want women to know they’re beautiful, I want men to know they’re handsome–even if their biceps aren’t the size of their head.

I want people to see the beauty in their natural form rather than praise shapes and figures that weren’t meant to exist.

And that’s fine and good–other than the fact that my drawing style is anything but realistic.

When I learned how to draw, it was with these small hipped women and hour-glass men. So I need to force my drawing style to improve.

But doing anything to improve is hard.

Not only do I need to observe real people and shapes, but I need to study anatomy. I need to analyze muscles and bones and how they move. I need to pay attention to wrinkles and hair and study when/where they are and are not prominent. I even need to keep gravity and weight in mind now.

It’s hard.

I almost cried today because I couldn’t draw a hand correctly.

A hand.

A simple little hand.

This is probably what keeps good people from becoming great: the need to improve. Good people know how to do their job decently, but great people are able to take visions and, despite pain, make them reality. It’s no wonder that great people are usually the only ones to change the world.

Going back to my old style, my old ways, would be easy. Comfortable. But to persevere,  to draw hands until my own feel as if they’ll fall off, that is the stuff that greatness is made of.



  1. EFoley said,

    August 4, 2012 at 14:14

    Marg, this is your 95 Theses, your summer semester final exam. It’s brilliant, true, deeply moving, and very inspirational. You used your summer well.

  2. derekberry said,

    August 8, 2012 at 01:57

    I agree. I put down the new 52 version of the Catwoman comics because, despite obvious attempts at asserting her feminism and self-sufficiency, she is half-naked throughout the entire first issue and then even relies on Batman for sexual favors.
    I also get annoyed by that, that in comics or books (film too), women are often portrayed as big-breasted and emotionally needy, their lives always revolving around men, sometimes their identities attached to men.
    “So-and-so’s wife” instead of “Amy”

    • August 8, 2012 at 03:46

      Oh no… I hadn’t actually read the new 52 versions of anything since their version of Superman upset me too much. It’s unfortunate that they aren’t doing better in other areas either.

      Excellent point, though! It’s disappointing since a lot of these women begin strong and independent but, over the course of the story, trade this strength to become reliant on the male lead.

      • derekberry said,

        August 8, 2012 at 04:02

        I mean, that depends entirely on which comics you read. I mean, the Batman comics are awesome. Pretty much every reincarnation of Batman characters is awesome. The best being of course Batman and Batman & Robin.
        Also, Animal Man. Swamp Thing.
        I haven’t bothered with Action Comics with Superman, but he’s in Justice League, and the first volume of that is pretty good.
        Comic nerd FTW!
        But yeah, New 52 is pretty great. A good idea for some fresh titles.

      • August 8, 2012 at 04:07

        Oh wow, looks like I just added a lot to my “to read” list, thanks! For the most part I just stop by the library and take my pick from which comic books they have in stock, but I’ll need to get to these eventually. Comic books are an important genre after all!
        That and they’re awesome. But potential philosophers can’t say things like that, can they? Whoops.

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