CBR Condemns Attractive Comic Book Females & Their Costumes

I found 3 tabloid-ish columns at CBR worth scrutinizing. In the first one, which discusses brief love affairs, they’re unclear about how Green Lantern Corps member Arisia Raab grew to adult size:

 

She’s a preteen alien, he’s a super powered being trying to rebuild a shattered city. He does rebuff her at first, but for reasons known only to him, the Green Lantern does eventually hook up with her.

In his defense, she has used the Green Lantern energy to age her body to an appropriate age for Hal, but inside, she’s still a 14-year-old. Even if she is an alien, it’s creepy, and fans were generally happy their relationship was brief.

 

I miss the part where they make a clear distinction between the 1986 storyline by Steve Englehart, where she subconsciously caused her power ring to age her body to more of an adult, and the far more troubling story from GLC Quarterly #1 in 1992 by the disgraced Gerard Jones, where it was modified to make it look as though she did it deliberately, and not simply as an inner wish. I won’t say the Englehart tale wasn’t in questionable taste, but the retcon by Jones gave a whole new meaning to creepiness, and their failure to do the research merely compounds why CBR is no longer a relevant news site.

Also telling is their allusion to Emerald Twilight, and Hal Jordan’s contrived insanity, all without even giving an opinion or anything objective about why such a storyline was atrocious, nor any criticism of Ron Marz for taking a bad run of a volume and making it worse. Why must we always be reminded of that terrible moment in history for the wrong reasons, and why won’t anybody at such pathetic sites acknowledge why it’d be best not to regard it as canon?

 

In the second one spotlighting Legion of Super-Heroes cast members, although they do acknowledge Tyroc and Cosmic Boy had some embarrassingly bad costume designs for men (the latter wearing a bustier certainly is ridiculous as it’s hilarious), what they say about women’s costumes is decidedly insulting, in the following part about Princess Projectra:

 

Female superhero costumes have always and occasionally still do work against their characters. Bad costumes tend to emphasize a woman’s physique and sexuality to the point of absurdity, and this 70s ears version of Princess Projecta’s costume is one such example.

 

She wears a garnet costume with the center of the tunic bare but laced with interlocking gold thread. It makes no practical sense, certainly not for someone accustomed to getting into fights, and is a terrible DC female costume. Then again, it’s arguable Tyroc made any sense either.

 

It certainly doesn’t take a genius to conclude where they really stand on Wonder Woman’s costume, in that case. Or to conclude they don’t respect ladies’ love of fashion designs either. What a laugh riot, since WW’s a character accustomed to getting into clashes just as much, and her outfit could always fall down, if it weren’t for that little thing I thought we’re meant to expect in science-fantasy, surrealism. In any case, wouldn’t all those straps criss-crossing between sides of Projectra’s outfit in the picture keep it in place, lessening the chances it’d all come apart during a fight? Somebody clearly needs a pair of glasses!

And then, they follow up on the prior example with this one about the outfit “Jecky” wore when she later took up the guise of Sensor Girl:

 

Sensor Girl has an unusual history in the comic books. At one point, Princess Projecta disappeared and the team thought her dead. She returned in the guise of Sensor Girl, and in this unique costume. It’s not too bad in and of itself, but has the same problematic elements of her ’70s costume.

 

The worst part about it though isn’t to do with what it emphasizes, but what it hides. She wears a mask to hide her identity which doesn’t work with the rest of the costume at all.

 

Unfortunately, their sex-negative bias is still showing, so I’d say they can take their complaints about the mask and put them in a wastebasket. Even Donna Troy’s worn outfits with cleavage like this, and until recently, nobody whined. This is just another example of recent propaganda making it look like women’s sexuality is an inherently bad thing.

And this leads to a third one, where they list what they decide are the worst possible outfits for any lady in the DCU. They may be right that Black Canary’s late 80s outfit was unappealing, but their sex-negative agenda is still there, and what they say about a costume WW got at the time William Messner-Loebs was writing is no improvement:

 

If the ’80s were bad, the ’90s might have been worse. The need to make every character current and ‘extreme’ grew out of control, with no one escaping the worst trends of the decade. Wonder Woman suffered egregiously, losing her traditional and iconic costume for what amounted to biker shorts.

 

Wonder Woman also got a jacket because everyone got one in the ’90s. It made no sense with the rest of her costume, which was very skimpy. Thankfully this radical look didn’t last long and Wonder Woman went back to the old standby.

 

If the 90s were worse, it wasn’t because of the costume designs. Not by a longshot. Rather, it was because of increasing focus on jarring violence, exactly what brought down the aforementioned Green Lantern at the time, or that the stories were becoming surprisingly dull, or just lacked an interesting plot. Or, they insulted the readers’ intellect, as Spider-Man’s Clone Saga did, and the way Peter Parker was depicted assaulting Ben Reilly, which led to his accidentally bruising Mary Jane Watson, followed by running off in horror rather than trying to help her mend any injuries on the spot, was abominable. I don’t think X-Men’s Age of Apocalypse was particularly impressive either. And I’m sure I don’t need to mention again how colossaly overrated the Death & Return of Superman happens to be, if it only served as a lead-in to Emerald Twilight, and a cheap excuse for doing away with Cat Grant’s son at the hands of the Toyman along the way. And WW got a jacket? Well guess what? It doesn’t look that bad in retrospect. All because her main outfit is skimpy they think it doesn’t fit? Sorry, but even if it adhered to their belief in “practicality” as Rogue’s outfit does, they’d still say it was trash. Indeed, I have no doubts what they must think of the X-Girl’s green and yellow outfit.

CBR also commented on Starfire’s New 52 costume:

 

By far the most common thread – and unfortunately, usually the only one – in bad costumes for female superheroes is their skimpiness. The costumed superhero, male and female, is above all a celebration of the human form (practicality be damned).

 

But some simply take it way too far, like Starfire in the New 52. This costume barely exists, with very thin purple strips of fabric covering what must absolutely be covered. It makes no sense and serves only to emphasize her sexuality. This only diminishes the character overall.

 

But then George Perez’s 1980 costume design diminished her too! I’m sorry, but with this, they continue to make sex out to look bad, rather than ponder if there’s an overlooked advantage to be found. No mention of the real problem: Scott Lobdell retconning Starfire into an awfully mindless-sounding protagonist who’s willing to have sex with anybody she pleases, yet says “love has nothing to do with it”. Not even the fun and joy of sex, I guess. The design Koriand’r has in Red Hood and the Outlaws is the least of its problems. They almost manage to find a point with the Star Sapphire costume worn by Carol Ferris around the time Geoff Johns was GL’s writer in the past decade or so, but even this is botched:

 

Another costume of a cosmic DC heroine that commits the exact same sin belongs to Star Sapphire. The alter ego of Carol Ferris puts on a costume with virtually the same design as Starfire’s, though with a little more fabric (maybe). It’s made even worse by the completely unnecessary high collar, which surely must protect her from something.

Carol Ferris fights for love across the cosmos as part of the Star Sapphire Corps, but many if not most of them wear some variation on a uniform which is much more modest in nature. It begs the question of why hers is different.

 

And this begs the question why she must even become Star Sapphire yet again – I think the whole idea was taken too far, and definitely went overboard in 1988 during Christopher Priest’s catastrophous run on the GL entry in Action Comics Weekly, where, while still under the gemstone’s influence, Carol slaughtered Katma Tui, something which, again, has not been fully mended till this day, seeing as last time I looked, the first female GL was still in the afterlife. Oddly enough, when Gerard Jones was still the writer, he seemingly reversed Katma’s death towards the end of the Mosaic spinoff, but later gave an interview or two where he hinted it may not even be the real deal of resurrection. In that case, I can see how Marz, Kevin Dooley and company found a hole to exploit where they could get rid of Katma again.

Oh, and before I forget, how can you call the Sapphire role that of a heroine when it ended up forcing Carol into more the role of a crook? Now, here’s where they made another comment about Princess Projectra:

 

This trend got started early, visible in numerous 1970s era female costumes, and to be fair, a number of male ones as well (looking at you Cosmic Boy). A notable example of just plain bad is the costume for Princess Projecta. She’s not a member of the Princesses of Power but the Legion of Super-Heroes.

Projecta’s costume features a common and hideous design element that dogged a lot of female (and male) costumes of the ’70s and ’80s. The bare cutout in the center of her leotard with the crisscrossing lace is a poor substitute for an emblem.

 

And this is a poor substitute for understanding that there’s women who could wear that kind of design at fashion shows, to the Oscars, and other fancy parties in wealthy neighborhoods. CBR’s blabber is truly pathetic as it’s ignorant. It continues with this earlier comment they made about her Sensor Girl run:

 

Poor Princess Projecta – not even changing her name could help out of the costume trap she was in. Despite her powers of illusion, she could never conjure a believable or good outfit. That continued with the Sensor Girl identity (which was actually her just pretending to be someone else for a long time).

While the outfit is less cognizant of the male gaze than the previous one, it doesn’t leave a ton to the imagination. Except for her face. The incongruent mask demolishes what might have been an ok costume otherwise.

 

And not even an abbreviation of the official name of this site could get them out of the PC/SJW trap they’ve fallen into. They fail to consider a female gaze could also take a liking to such outfits, nor do they recognize why there’s such a thing as a ladies’ fashion industry and why the fairer sex likes to wear all these dress designs, or that there are women do like it when men admire their dresses as much as themselves. Far-left feminism’s absolutely ruined much of today’s discourse with the kind of propaganda they’re pushing. I also must question whether the following about Black Canary is accurate:

 

So Black Canary. There have been a lot of ups and downs. One of the absolute low points in the comics occurred with this epic fail from the ’90s. Elements echo her traditional costume, certainly with the leather jacket and to some extent the leotard. But it becomes more of a bustier, and without the leggings, it strays into Sin City territory.

 

That’s reinforced by Canary’s haircut, which abandons the traditional long, blonde locks for a black buzzcut. The costume is simply a buzzkill and like the similar Wonder Woman costume, best forgotten.

 

Did they forget BC often wore a blonde wig over her black hair, and as far as I know, still wore it well into the early 90s? At which time there was a brief solo book in 1993, of which I own 2-3 back issues where she did wear the blonde wig. This was before Chuck Dixon wrote her deciding to dye her own hair blonde instead when Birds of Prey began. I assume this was a moment where BC’s wig fell off, and she didn’t have time to retrieve it. If that’s the case, CBR’s pulled quite a falsehood there (and what’s this about being more a bustier? It was a bustier before!). And it doesn’t get any better with the following about Power Girl:

 

Power Girl’s classic costume is very popular with fans and is also the subject of a lot of debate due to its impractical emphasis on her chest, but it’s nothing compared to the complete disaster she wore while a member of the Justice League Europe in the late ’80s.

The costume is a confused mess. With shoulder pads, a Shazam-like cape, and a very ’80s headband, the elements clash hard. The blue is an interesting choice but ultimately doesn’t work with the character.

 

And this is a confused description of the era where this actually came up – in the early 90s, at the time the awful Gerard Jones had taken up the main reins of scripting. In the late 80s, PG was still wearing her original white outfit with a red cape when JLE first began. But when Jones took over fully (at which time the title began to deteriorate), that’s when PG’s costume actually got modified. And you could make a valid argument that under such a terrible writer, that’s why Karen Starr wasn’t being done justice no matter what the design of her outfit. In retrospect, after the crimes Jones was convicted for 2 years ago, it could easily be argued he ruined everything, and embarrassed PG as a result. (This also reminds me that, when Johns was the GL writer in the mid-2000s, he made use of a character seen in Jones’ dismal GL run named Boodikka, and I’m wondering now how Johns feels about using the creation of somebody so vile, if only because of the risk of granting Jones residuals?) When a writer commits serious offenses, it can taint the material for a long time to come, since his twisted visions tragically found their way into some of his material in the past 3 decades.

 
Apart from that, this kind of costume design for PG is no worse than any other superheroine. A better argument could be made whether the artwork is uninspired, as I’m beginning to think when taking a look at the above picture, and sadly, I’ve got a feeling that’s just it.
 
Anyway, CBR’s done it again, making SJW statements insulting to the intellect, to say nothing of other artists’ hard work in the past, and they compounded the insults with slapdash research misrepresenting eras and situations in the stories themselves. Why does the site still even operate if this is what their current writers think? There’s certainly no point in giving them an audience, let alone advertising with them.
 
 
 
Originally published here.

 

 

Avi Green

Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1

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