I've been teaching myself Google SketchUp these past few days. It's made drawing backgrounds and life in general a lot easier. A buddy of mine introduced it to me over a year ago but failed to be convinced of it's awesomeness. Sorry, Daxx. I've seen the light to say the least. It's not like I'm constructing every little detail but using it more as a guide for tricky angles and shit. I mean, I'm workin' with just squares and circles, yo. It's not complicated at all. I implore any artists reading this to try it out and to not leave such a vital tool untouched.

I've also been taking some time to read up on the extensive discussion brought about by the MJ statue and the Sana Takeda cover. The MJ statue aside, I just wanted to give my 2 cents about the latter. No one really reads this blog so I'll be totally honest here. First of all, I've met Takeda-san and like C.B. states in the Lying in the Gutters article she really is a nice and sweet person. I very much doubt she drew the cover to provoke or otherwise offend women in any way. When you step back from all the anger, what you get is a cool looking cover done by a talented artist.

I drew the previous cover to Heroes for Hire and was asked to choose at least two girls out of the cast and draw them as sexy as possible so, naturally, I did. It ended up looking more cute than sexy but herein lies my point, I guess. Cultural attitudes towards sex and nudity are, well, different. Especially between North America and Japan. J-comic readers know that there are many non-porn titles that will probably never see the light of day due to these differing tastes. Showing penises and boobies aren't that big of a deal in Japan but often get censored or edited backhome. Even if it's the cute Dragonball style double U for a wee-wee. Y'know what I'm talking about.

There is also the issue of what an "ideal" woman is considered to be between NA and J. Basically, dominant vs submissive. I'm not saying which is better, just that it does indeed exist and that it falls under the umbrella of sexy and attractive. And I'm speculating that what hit the biggest chord with most people had nothing to do with the tentacles or the hairband or the cleavage but the expressions on the faces of the three girls. And, y'know, I understand. Especially since I'm somewhat familiar with the characters and the fact that they are supposed to be strong kick-ass amazon woman-like. It's rather uncharacteristic of all three of them to be acting so helpless and contrary to the purpose of the property. I'm sure Takeda-san had no idea, though, and since she recieves work through translated e-mails and notes, I'm not surprised. She drew the most attractive cover in a way only she could.

So, what it boils down to in my opinion is partial miscommunication and differing standards of what is considered sexy. From the pov of an artist.


15 Comment(s):

Anonymous Don Van Horn said...

I don't know what all the fuss is about with the HFH#13 cover. I checked out the cover and it looks fine to me. Honeslty. I've seen way worse on many other covers and nothing has ever been said. I think a few do-gooding pains in the ass got their panties in a bunch and they needed something to bitch about so they made a big fuss out of a non-issue so the could piss off everyone else who couldn't care less. At least that's how I see it.


8:04 AM  

Blogger Noah Brand said...

An understandable assumption, Mr. Van Horn, but as one of the many people personally offended by the cover in question, I must inform you that you are factually wrong about the people and motivations behind this outcry.

It's okay, we've all jumped to conclusions and been wrong about them; human condition, you know? I can explain further what it's actually about, if you're curious.

7:30 PM  

Blogger ADC said...

I think you hit the nail on the head, with the facial expression note. Looking at the cover, it's nowhere near tentacle porn (other than the fact that there's tentacles in there). But what really struck me was that they were both tied up, and had those ambiguous pain/pleasure expressions. What makes this cover effective is that it's taking our "heroes", and placing them in peril, and it's believable. So much so that people are feeling that impact, and are turned off by it. Then they blame it on tentacles.

10:40 PM  

Anonymous Russell Borogove said...

I don't blame the artist. Ultimately, the responsibility lies with the editor who approved the cover. There would be a small fraction of the outcry if the editor had gone back to the artist and said "make the women more determined, less frightened, less exposed, and get the tentacle jizz off of the breast here". That's the editor's job.

5:50 AM  

Anonymous Don Van Horn said...

No Mr. here just Don.

I've read enough opinions about this cover to not want to have to read any more.

7:07 AM  

Blogger Steve said...

TAK! You saved the day. I'm certainly no artist, but drawing cleanroom layouts in PAINT has become very tedious. I owe you a beer. GOOLGE SKETCHUP rules. I will send you one of my creations! :) I suppose I missed the meat of your article..

8:40 AM  

Blogger Elena said...

ADC and Don -

As one of the people who does not like the cover, I would appreciate it if you stopped trying to put words in my mouth and speak for the thoughts in my head.

Now, as for what I *do* think about the cover, TAK hit the nail on the head. For me, it was the faces. I don't mind heroines shown in peril, but when they look OOC, cringing, and terrified, then all of a sudden the image becomes incredibly disturbing. Because it's not just the faces, it's the faces in combination with the undeniably sexual imagery in the cover. I mean, come on, there's a tentacle dripping goo on Felicia's exposed breast for cripe's sake. And why is Colleen's outfit unzipped down to her crotch?

Of course I don't blame Sana Takeda for any of this. She's an incredibly talented artist and she drew what she was told to draw, without knowing anything else about H4H. I blame Marvel for not giving Takeda sufficient information, for not telling her that H4H was rated as appropriate *for ages 12 and up*, and then for throwing her under a bus when the fan outcry began.

2:06 PM  

Blogger Anke said...

I've got a question regarding the information you received as a cover artist. Was it really just on the lines of "these are the characters, pick two and draw them as sexy as possible", or did you know what's going to happen in the issue?

I pretty much agree with elena.
It's a combination of the "sex-factor cranked up to 11", and turning normally strong-willed and ass-kicking characters into absolutely helpless and terrified victims that makes this cover disgusting for me. I'm not blaming the artist, but Marvel.

The attitude of Joe Quesada seems even worse to me, though. Seeing him starting that Joe Fridays #100 interview with talking about reaching out to fans and making them feel part of the family, just to later have him blow off a considerable number of fans' (or potential fans' or, after this, ex-fans') concerns completely... not good.

9:34 PM  

Blogger TAK said...

anke - I was instructed to draw them trying to escape from a hive of those little alien-like creatures and to make the girls sexy. I asked a few additional questions and drew a number of sketches for the editor to choose from. Knowing the story would have indeed helped but they gave me enough to go on so it wouldn't have made much of a difference in my case.

4:05 AM  

Blogger Jose said...

It's safe to say that heroes for hire #13 is probably the trashiest cover in recent memory. It really does resemble tentacle porn J-land has has given us over the years. The worst part about this is that it's teen rated meaning that Marvel deemed it appopriate for anyone 9 years or older. This very dissapointing for me I've always thought of Marvel as progressive when it came to minorities and women in comics.

4:13 AM  

Blogger Christina said...

bravo, tak

speaking as someone who colored daughers of the dragon, the precursor to this run of heroes for hire, that book IS sexy. Khari drew all kinds of T&A and sexiness for the book and no one complained then. Definately agree with you on the cultural aspect of the issue.

Also, miss you! and loved your cover for HFH!
Miss you! :D

6:14 AM  

Blogger TAK said...

C - miss ya too, babe! Oh, Mike Choi is flyin' over this week. I thought I got rid of him back in Chicago last year!! Dammit!! :P

3:37 PM  

Blogger Christina said...

I can't. His girlfriend is too good of a colorist, the world needs her. >_< Other wise, yeah baby, I would've taken him down.

3:39 AM  

Blogger CHOCOLATE SOOP said...

Well at least the light in on now my friend...

Dacosta a.k.a Daxx

2:08 AM  

Anonymous Chi Mangetsu said...

I don't want to fan the flames or any some such, but I'd just like to say that I hope they release the full image of HFH#13 as a poster, because I'd be proud to display it on my wall.
My girlfriend's learned to deal with my... quirks. =D

Stay awesome, Miyazawa-dono! GANBATTE~!

2:07 PM  
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