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The annoying puritanical attitude of mainstream America never ceases to bug me

by  in Comic News Comment
The annoying puritanical attitude of mainstream America never ceases to bug me

This past week I was reading a trade paperback (I’m not telling which one yet, because I want it to be a surprise!), and I was reminded again how idiotic Americans are.  You’ll see why after the fold, which is probably not terribly safe for work, so be aware!

I’m reading along, enjoying the heck out of this DC-published mini-series starring some neat-o characters, when I see this:

In case you don’t recognze her, that’s Knockout, and the mini-series is Secret Six: Six Degrees of Devastation, written by “fan-favorite” Gail Simone and drawn by Brad Walker, who is not a fan-favorite, according to the back of the book.  Poor Brad!  Of course, after drawings like this, maybe he’ll become one!

You may notice some odd things about this drawing.  First, some context: Knockout was badly burned, but because she’s Apokoliptian, she got better.  The first thing she did was take a shower (hence the wetness) and now she’s hungry.  She shows up in the kitchen, mesmerizing Catman and Deadshot with her nakedness, and strolls off.  Black and Lawton, flabbergasted, are even more flabbergasted because the Mad Hatter doesn’t care about the nakedness … because Knockout wasn’t wearing a hat.  Ha!

But back to the odd things.  You’ll notice Knockout’s hair is placed discreetly about her body, so as to hide her “naughty bits.”  This is pretty standard in comics.  In case you haven’t noticed, however, let’s zoom in on those “naughty bits”:

Notice that the hair isn’t exactly where it should be to really cover up what DC doesn’t want us to see!  With that hair placement, we should see nipples and vagina.  But we don’t.  My No-Prize explanation is that because Knockout was bred on Apokolips, Darkseid has some kind of eugenics program that eliminates nipples and a vagina because they are connected with birth and breast-feeding, and his warriors need neither (we’ll save the discussion of how she pees for another day).  That makes sense, right?

The thing that annoys me, of course, is that the presence of two circles and a vertical line segment somehow make this drawing “pornographic” and therefore DC has to put hair in places to shield the mind-rending parts in the first place, and then, when Walker doesn’t put the hair in the right place, he turns Knockout into a mannequin.  I’m not blaming Walker at all, mind you – he could have given her more hair, I guess, but that’s a minor point.  I am blaming this idiotic puritanical attitude we have in this country, which leads parents to freak out if there’s any nudity in anything at all.  This is a completely non-sexual scene – Blake and Lawton talk about her nakedness, sure, but all Knockout does is sashay into the kitchen, pick up an omelet, and walk off.  Man, that’s hot!

I can imagine an uptight parent finding their son reading this and freaking out.  They drag poor Johnny back to the comic book store (let’s say it’s Mike’s, just for the fun of it) and demands that Dan DiDio, Gail Simone, Brad Walker, Jimmy Palmiotti (who inked this), the owner of Mike’s store, and Mike himself be dragged in front of a hanging judge because they’ve wrecked Johnny’s mind.  I imagine the conversation would go something like this:

Parent: Argle bargle NUDITY blah blah blah SEX homina homina homina PERVERSION gak CHILDREN blech WARPED!

Mike: So, the torture, the shooting of prisoners in the head, the severed arm, the neck twisting [okay, it’s Robotman who gets his neck twisted, but still], the face kicking, the neck stabbing with chopsticks, none of that bothered you?  But a naked woman simply standing there, that’s going to warp Johnny’s mind?

Parent: KILLING IS ALL-AMERICAN!  But naked chicks are so … French!  Next thing you know he’ll be wearing a beret and smoking Gauloises and reading Proust!  This is how it starts! 

Yes, good readers, this is a comic book about villains.  Therefore, Scandal tortures the woman who blew up Knockout in the first place before Floyd Lawton shoots her in the head; someone shoves chopsticks into someone’s neck; Knockout twists Cliff’s head completely around; and Ragdoll gets his arm chopped off.  All of this is lovingly and pretty explicitly rendered by Brad Walker.  But a naked woman standing around must be covered inexpertly, or someone’s eyes might explode!

I really wonder what would happen if those theoretical parents took their kids to an art museum, where women are naked all the time.  Or better yet, to Egypt, where poor Johnny would see stuff like this:

“Mommy, what’s that man doing?”  “Um, he’s, uh, he has a pen in his pocket, Johnny.  Yeah, he’s the ancient Egyptian god of writing.  Let’s move on now.”

I know this is an old and futile argument, but it’s good to bring it back up every so often, just to point out the ridiculous attitudes we have, not to sex (which is a delicate subject, I admit, even though our attitudes toward that are pretty idiotic too), but to the naked form in general.  What the hell is wrong with showing someone (even a man) standing in a doorway naked?  I doubt if anyone can defend this policy here beyond the fact that people are idiots, but if you want to, go for it.

I have no problem if parents don’t want their kids to read this comic.  It’s pretty violent, after all.  I just know that if Knockout had been portrayed like an actual woman (and I commend Walker for drawing her with realistic proportions, because she’s a freakin’ warrior, after all!), people would have gone nuts, ignoring the bloody carnage on almost every other page.  What an uptight country I live in!

Sorry for the rant.  I just wanted to get that off of my chest.

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