JohnRaptor's avatar
Female Superheroes Under the Costume
By JohnRaptor   |   Watch
427 235 40K (2 Today)
Published: May 18, 2012
© 2012 - 2019 JohnRaptor
If superheroes really existed, I don't think the female ones would look anything like they're usually depicted in comics. I mean we're talking about women who've dedicated their lives to violent conflict with extremely dangerous people (and aliens, and robots and monsters).

In discussions on this topic, one counter point that is often made is that female superheroes don't need big muscles because their strength is supernatural. That may be the case, but then why does Superman have big muscles?

The scars, of course, wouldn't be there if she had Superman-like invulnerability, but whenever Batman is seen with his shirt off in the comics, he's shown as being completely covered in scars, but I've never seen Catwoman (for example) depicted that way, even though she has a similar history of injuries.

Line art is ink. Color and text is digital (vector).

PS I'm happy to debate the issues raised by this piece, but childish name-calling will get you blocked.

PPS It's been pointed out that my "Chest like a stripper" vs. "Chest like an athlete" comments are a false dichotomy, i.e. some athletes have large breasts and some strippers have small breasts, as well as being disrespectful to strippers. If I were to redo it, I'd replace those comments with something like "Magical anti-gravity breasts" vs. "Breasts that obey the laws of physics."
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anonymous's avatar
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ralmcg's avatar
ralmcgNew Deviant
Personally I like the "Reality" woman better than "Fantasy" woman.  "Reality" woman isn't trying to be sexy but I do like her short hair and muscular build.
turtleluz's avatar
awesome concept and critique!  Bravo!
JohnRaptor's avatar
JohnRaptor General Artist
rubberi's avatar
I am preferring the right one.
If she would be my friend, I would recommend her to wear protective gear and steal-toed-shoes.
If she would be my wife, I think, I would be concerned a bit to see her in danger. But no matter if she is a cop or fighter pilot or chief blaster, most important is, she is happy with what she is doing.
Most people statistically dies at home. Housework is dangerous too. :)

JohnRaptor's avatar
JohnRaptor General Artist
"Get out there and fight some crime. It's too dangerous in here!"
goozulgah's avatar

I can't watch most superheroines because their depiction is unrealistic enough to shatter my sense of immersion, Supergirl being a prime example.
Hro-Talak2's avatar
Hro-Talak2Hobbyist Artist
Using a hair dryer and flesh-toned make-up can cover up the scars, while a pedicure would remove imperfections on her feet.
destroyerlove's avatar
Damn bitch totally on point.
Wasichuwitko's avatar
I've seen photos of woman athletes. Some do look quite feminine (as the culture defines it) while being obviously toned. It's too bad that some artists just don't have the time to properly work on panels because they're paid per page.
toxiczombiespy's avatar
May I ask why the thousand yard stare I get the bedroom eyes thing but why must she have the dead eyes
JohnRaptor's avatar
JohnRaptor General Artist
I figure superheroes see a lot of violence and some pretty horrific stuff in their line of work, so there's bound to be some psychological trauma.
grisador's avatar
To the point that the female hero looks more manly than most :D
Honey-Bunn-Boi's avatar
Honey-Bunn-BoiStudent Digital Artist
This makes a valid point xD
mechagrim's avatar
Interesting picture with valid points. But I've seen wave after wave of female super heroes with the muscles of the one on the right combined with the hair and breasts of the one on the left. Most of them I think. In fact, I'd deliberately give her muscles to add to sex appeal and then decide she was a super hero as an excuse to justify it. You're absolutely right about the battle scars though. The short hair, maybe if she's ex army. Aren't superheroes just self appointed thrill seekers rather than disciplined professionals. 1 in 10 female superheroes would have the short hair maybe.
Shane-Crown's avatar
Shane-CrownHobbyist Writer
Are we really arguing the realism of superheroes? I get the feminist aspect of making them less sexualized, but 1.) it's not one sided, male superheroes are models too, 2.) superheroes are super, they're supposed to be the next level, of course they look like gods! I dunno, it's just a little irritating when I argue for women's rights and see dumb stuff like this.
JohnRaptor's avatar
JohnRaptor General Artist
This cartoon is meant to be more "good for thought," not a commandment of how things need to be done. I'm not arguing that all superhero stories need to be more realistic, but there's room in all sci-fi and fantasy genres for a range of degrees of realism. Compare The Dark Knight to The Avengers, for example, or Game of Thrones to Lord of the Rings. I love them all. Personally, I think that drawing female superheroes to look more like athletes is peak physical shape makes them look more super and next level, not less.
Shane-Crown's avatar
Shane-CrownHobbyist Writer
I guess in a sense that makes sense, but in my opinion, I only get upset at characters when what they are is a bad example, not what they look like. Like a damsel in distress (though it is possible to work around that by making the character interesting) or a male meathead. Like, it all depends on certain elements like character and the setting. Something can come off as mean spirited and wrong if you do these elements incorrectly. Like, let's say there's maybe a fan service-y girl in an anime, but then they make her a badass and fun character, then I would defend her. But if she was boring and had no purpose besides fan service, then I would feel that it's wrong. That's just my take on it. But I understand your point.
JohnRaptor's avatar
JohnRaptor General Artist
I completely agree that a character's personality and how they're used in the story is more important than what they look like.
MacabreBeautyRose's avatar
MacabreBeautyRoseHobbyist Traditional Artist
I would point out that most "traditional" male superheroes arn't really covered in scars (though that is mostly a "to taste" thing), same thing on the issue of hair since it is possible to cover and control hair

But to ask a question, should it possible for a realistic female superhero to be "traditionally" beautiful, in your opinion. (Artemis from Young Justice springs to mind).

I bring this up because I prefer lean muscle to bodybuilder physique, even in males.
JohnRaptor's avatar
JohnRaptor General Artist
Their powers would determine whether a super hero would get lots of scars or not, if they were real, male or female.

I don't see any reason why a super hero couldn't be traditionally beautiful. There are lots of beautiful female athletes, so clearly being in peak physical condition doesn't preclude beauty.
MacabreBeautyRose's avatar
MacabreBeautyRoseHobbyist Traditional Artist
And I agree. Cool beans.
MadCrazyMee's avatar
so true, same goes with anime, i seen alot of times where the chick has boobs that don't comply to logic but then it fine for males bodies to be logic.
forester10's avatar
I like the Reality one, just saying.
JohnRaptor's avatar
JohnRaptor General Artist
Me too.
anonymous's avatar
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