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Fascinating like a train wreck or like a fascinatingly beautiful thing? You decide

I keep going back to the comment threads in these two Websnark postings:
Also, they're good at banter. But then, they would be, wouldn't they?
When did we become the No Fat Chicks club? I think I need to see the bylaws.

In the first post, Eric compliments Jeph Jacques of Questionable Content on his rendering of the body types of the three female protagonists in the recent QC storyline, and a number of commenters disagree, a few of them quite vehemently. I'm slightly more with the disagreeers — I think the main reason we know that Dora is squishy is because it is mentioned often in the dialogue. However, I think Jeph is trying within his abilities to render different body types, and deserves kudos, praise, biscuits and free heroin for that. Also the hysterical tone of at least of the disagreeers turns me off in the same way that second amendment absolutists who bring up the holocaust turn me off, making an argument I'd be viscerally sympathetic to look silly.
The second thread is inspired by the fallout from the first, and deals with body type, especially female body type, in comics in more general terms. My own perspective on this is that artists have to constantly remind themselves to draw different body types, otherwise through a combination of lazyness, deadlines, forgetfulness and simple preference (the discussion on the thread emphasises preference only, but that's only part of the story), a single body type will dominate throughout. Typically, my characters, male or female, are more different from one another at the design stage than after they've been in a few dozen finished pages, and I've made a habit of referring back to the early sketches and early appearances to remind myself of the distinctive physical characteristics of the characters.
But the comment about balding, bearded, beer-bellied blokes in comics still hit home.

Comments (3)

Branko Collin:

There's this cartoonist on the web who has a column called Tips for Lazy Buggers. He has two insightful episodes on body types. In one, he advises the aspiring artist to draw every character the same, because then you only need to learn to draw one character. In the other, he advises exactly the opposite: "go ahead", he says, "make your characters wildly different." The bigger the differences in body type, the simpler you can keep the drawings, and the less work you need.

(Speaking of moles: I thought Michiel van de Pol's cartoon in this month's, er... quarter's (year's??!?) Zone 5300 was very funny.)

Oh yeah, that guy. Waddamaroon. Waddan-ultra-maroon.


It's a comic people, Jesus. If I was drawing a comic, I certainly wouldn't want to draw fat people all day, it takes more time and they wouldn't fit in the panels. On top of that, the line design for "skinny" or "curvy" characters is much easier than "chunky" "bulgy" characters. If drawings are making women feel inadequate, then women have reached an even lower point than I ever thought possible. I am female, and I do not have body image problems, and if I did I would be focusing on Versace ads, not a comic strip on the internet. Women need to get a life and stop being so feminist-crazy.

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