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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

Great Hera!

Wonder Woman Strikes A Pose On This Fake Justice Magazine Cover

Artist Stanley Lau, aka artgerm, shows how a superheroine can look sexy and strong at the same time without having to show both her breasts and butt at the same time. I’d buy this.

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  • Sara Sakana

    Why is it necessary to make her (or for that matter any other superheroine) “sexy” at all, though? “Sexiness” is not a requirement for male heroes. Why are we still pushing this ridiculous idea that it’s okay for women to be strong and athletic and muscular but only if straight men would still enjoy staring at them?

  • Heidi Patterson

    I wanted to make this argument too… but actually, thinking about it some more, aren’t the male heroes mostly good-looking too? Especially when posing on a cover? Those male leads with less sex-appeal are typically villains, are they not?

  • elaine!

    LOL. Her boobs look as muscular as her biceps. :) And how is it possible that a leotard that’s thin enough to show that much torso definition also manages to hide any headlight action? Or, is that magazine cover Photoshopping being portrayed as well?

  • Anonymous

    You’re kinda right. Being sexy isn’t a requirement for male superheroes, however how often do you see an unfit hero? The guys are held up to similar standards of muscular build, toned in all the right places, broad shoulders, tight costumes, etc.

  • ampersands

    Honestly, I don’t mind sexy (I mean, Nightwing is sexy as hell) when it’s not overly sexualized. I realize that that’s a small distinction, but I think it carries a great weight–you can be sexy like so many male action heroes, eg James Bond, without having your whole personality reduced to sexiness. What I like about this is that she comes off as extremely strong, both physically and in personality, with sex appeal kind of falling out of that, rather than the opposite.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Hah, if you take a look at his portfolio…his Invisible Woman, for example, I think that his Wonder Woman might be ACCIDENTALLY all of the things you are saying…but mostly he’s just drawing sexy superheroes.

  • TKS

    It’s a shame that they had to take her picture upside down to get her hair looking like that. It must have been uncomfortable. (I am fully aware that this is not a photograph…LET ME HAVE THIS.)

  • Ben Lundy

    Artgerm is amazing. I hope he eventually gets an artbook.

  • TKS

    But his Korras are pretty epic. I agree that his works are hit and miss in this regard, but perhaps he has different goals in different works?

  • Anonymous

    Now those are some great muscles! For that alone I love this image.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    I think that’s a bit deeper thinking than what was used to create these. I really think they are innocently/mindlessly/deliberately and without any conceivable thought that they should be otherwise, cheesecake. I think, maybe, it’s just his “style.”

    Granted, I’m too lazy to ask him.

  • Jill Pantozzi

    I know not all of his work is like this but I like to highlight the positive examples where I see them.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Now that I’ve flipped through a few pages of his DeviantArt, I remember him & that he drew one of my all-time favorite Batgirl covers, so I’m sorry if it sounds like I’m complaining! I’m glad he’s around.

  • Travis Fischer

    Is anybody else mostly curious about what the heck is going on with her hair? It looks like gravity has gone sideways around her head.

  • Douglas Raymond

    This argument gets trotted out every time, but it doesn’t hold water. If you’re a hero and aren’t sexy, you’re marked for death or you’re going to turn villain. The question you should be asking, is would a male hero be drawn on the cover of a fashion magazine? The answer is no.

  • Jill Pantozzi

    It’s all good. I just get folks complaining sometimes that I/we only focus on the negative representations of superheroines so I wanted to make sure this one got attention for being positive. :)

    I also love his Batgirl stuff.

  • Kimberley

    They’re trying to show off how perfect it is! See, even the tag line reads like a hair product ad: “Crime-fighting has never looked this good”.

  • Anonymous

    So, I did a quick search of a bunch of magazine covers from recent movie releases featuring a male superhero:

    Green Lantern on Entertainment Weekly Magazine:×668.jpg

    Thor on Film magazine:

    Thor on Empire Magazine:

    Captain America on Empire Magazine:

    Captain America on Entertainment Weekly Magazine:

    Batman on Empire Magazine:

    Batman and Catwoman on Entertainment Weekly:

    Comparison of Empire Magazine’s Batman and Catwoman individual covers:

    Storm and Cyclops on Wizard Magazine:|

    Superman and Louis Lane on Entertainment Weekly Magazine:

    Superman on Empire Magazine:

    If you compare the images by body language, posture, and facial expression you can see that Green Lantern, Thor, Cap, Superman, and Batman all demonstrate posing that isn’t body-focused. It’s all pretty much power/strength-focused. A lot of them have obscured bodies if they’re in 3/4ths depiction, or it’s a close up from half of the chest to the face.

    They all face front or 3/4ths positioning (except Superman, who is from the side). If the legs are shown, they’re doing a straight forward stance, like an A-frame.

    Their facial expressions are either angry, smoldering, brooding, or, in Cap’s Case, resolute and solemn. Batman’s facial expressions hows that he means business. It’s serious. There’s nothing “fun” or “happy” about what he’s doing.

    Meanwhile, Wonder Woman is depicted from the front, but with a confident, sultry smirk. Her hips are cocked to the side, with her hands on her hips. Her hair is billowing up and above her head, like she’s in a wind tunnel. The smile and the raised eyebrow suggest that she’s less serious, and more fun. Whatever she’s thinking, she’s entertained or cocky.

    She’s not “angry” or “brooding” like Thor, Batman, or Green Lantern, nor is she reverent and hopeful like Captain America or Superman. They either look off to the side–angry, brooding, hopeful, resolute–or they look right at you screaming while raising their fist (Green Lantern). Wonder Woman is looking right at you, but with a smile and a cocked eyebrow. She’s approachable and accessible, as she’s looking right at you. She’s alluring.

    Catwoman isn’t smiling when she’s turning back to look at you, but she’s showing you two features: her butt and her chest. She looks up at you by lifting her eyes. Her lips are slightly parted.

    In the other image of her, Catwoman is facing you, again, looking up by lifting her eyes, her lips forming a slight smirk or smile, the curve of her hip is emphasized coming from behind Batman’s silhouette

    Storm is also shown with her figure emphasized. Her body is contorted to cock her hip to the left, while conjuring lighting above her head by raising her arms and bending them around her head. Meanwhile, Cyclops is shown only from the neck up, grimacing face, ready to fire.

    By comparison, Louise Lane is standing in a 3/4 angle, but with a straight A-frame stance, looking away and hopeful in the distance, mirrored by Superman behind her in the same posture. Nothing about her is particularly focused on her body. The placement suggests she is strong and confident, and potentially an equal or inspired to similar greatness by Superman.

    I would say that in comparison, though everyone here is good looking, only Wonder Woman and Catwoman are being portrayed as also available and sexually alluring. Green Lantern is angry, ready to punch evil. Thor is brooding, and even though he has media-praised golden hair, it hangs loosely around his head. Batman is a brooding Dark Knight. Captain America is a brave soldier, world-weary, but ready. They’re not being sexualized or portrayed as alluring or available. And it’s very easy to do that. Look at pictures of these same actors when they’re out of costume and posing for Esquire or Details, magazines where there actually are some male gazes interested in looking at their bodies. But here, in costume, they’re not.

    In terms of characterization, these portrayals make sense for all of them, including Catwoman, but doesn’t make sense for Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman is not a flirt. She’s not ever really interested in anyone romantically when her mission to protect the world is her first priority. In fact, as one of the Trinity, she’s very serious and literal. Her mission is to be a warrior. Why is she suddenly making eyes at people? Why is she smirking at the reader? Why does Louise Lane, a reporter, look more ready to do what needs to be done and more serious than Wonder Woman?

  • Nick Gaston

    This is also related to the paradox of hero-to-villain costume shift: heroines who turn evil automatically start wearing less clothes in their costume, while heroes who turn automatically start adding MORE clothes. And often big, impractical spikes.

    Marvel’s Havoc/Goblin Prince is the major exception I can think of…and I can *easily* see him appearing on the cover of a fashion magazine these days, come to think of it. Very “Twilight-ey.”

  • Anonymous

    Is Mister Fantastic sexy? Is The Thing? I don’t think either is characterized as such. But neither of them are marked for death. In fact, I don’t think Reed’s ever died. It seems that the correct statement is that you need to be a hero and decently attractive (e.g. “not ugly”), not necessarily that you HAVE to be sexy. There are scores of “not sexy” male superheroes/anti-heroes out there: Reed Richards, Martian Manhunter, Robin, Red Hood, Beast, Task Master, Vision, Thing, Hulk (debatable), Dr. Strange, Dead Man, etc.

    The number of non-sexualized female superheroes? Not sure, really. Maybe anyone who’s clearly underage like Princess Powerful and Power Pack? As you mentioned about being marked for death, Gert was killed. Kitty Pryde when she was Sprite? Does Jessica Jones count? Even Pixie, who was 14 in the X-Men floating timeline, suddenly became a sexed out 18 year old when she came into greater focus in Uncanny X-Men. Dust was originally in an abaya, but later was redesigned with an abaya that clung to her breasts and cinched at her waist with a sash. But almost every other superheoin I can think of is typically drawn as a bombshell with huge breasts, a tiny waist, and either wildly curved hips or skinny model hips: and always with a uniform that shows those features off, while being posed or unzipped in some way.

    I’m not saying that’s always the case. I think there are a few artists who really showcase diversity of body types and poses that avoid the typical sexualization you see in female characters. Scottie Young, is one of them that I can think of…Tonci Zonjic, Stuart Immonem…

    Yes, certain male superheroes would be on the cover of a magazine: Johnny Storm could easily be on Esquire. Marvel Boy could be on Details. But those are examples of them being on covers that have an underlying current of male gaze directed at other males. They’re fashion magazines designed for men to either be determined to emulate or actually lust after, depending on the sexuality of the reader.

    There doesn’t seem to be an indication, however, that Metropolis Justice is supposed to be a fashion magazine like Vogue, Elle, Details, or Esquire. By its title, it seems to be a general interest magazine. So why is the subheader suddenly about glamour? Is it because she’s a woman, so her beauty needs to be pointed out on a generic cover rather than her intensity, strength, or sense of righteousness? Has Wonder Woman ever been “glamorous”? She’s always been about getting shit done and getting into hand-to-hand physical combat.

    By contrast, it would make more sense for a flirtatious character like Emma Frost, Catwoman, or Poison Ivy to be on a fashion cover, or on a general cover that mentions their glamour or looks.

  • Anonymous

    “Crime-fighting has never looked this good”? Fuck that noise. That’s not crime fighting. That’s a metal bikini, a come-hither pose, and an industrial hair dryer.

  • Anonymous

    This comment is fantastic.

  • Jessica Foster

    I would have liked this picture more if she’d been drawn in a neutral or assertive stance, instead of a “Come and play with me” sex-kitten pose.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think the problem is so much about male and female heroes being phusically good looking, but more about how the female heroes are usually depicted in a much more sexual way than men. They all posssess imposibly amazing physiques and they all wear skin tight outfits that leave little to the imagination, but where the males are shown as fearsome and battle ready, the females poses tend to lean towards sexualization (butt shots, parted lips, conrted spines and cleavage, cleavage, cleavage!). I don’t really have a problem with this particular image, per se, I don’t see it as hyper-sexualized as other images I’ve seen, but the pseudo super model hand on hip pose is something you would never see Superman or Batman doing, and their hair wouldn’t be blowing in some non-existant wind.

  • Velma Lane Pendleton

    If we’re treating it like a magazine, the bit over her breasts is heavily padded. =p

  • Travis Fischer

    Counterpoint: Aren’t women just as attracted to powerful brooding men as men are to sultry alluring women?

    Also, it’s Lois, not Louise. How does that even happen?

  • Skye

    I wonder how many more times we Mary Sue readers will have the butt n’ boobs pose discussion before the womannequin-type icon in the title logo gets changed.

  • TKS

    I thought a boobs and butt pose required the presentation of both butt cheeks and both breasts. From what I can tell, we’re clearly looking at MS’s back?

  • Rob Buckley

    Depending on who’s drawing her and remembers, Wonder Woman is actually wearing armour fashioned for her by Hephaestus: technically, it’s a muscle cuirass

  • Anonymous

    I’m pretty sure that women are just as attracted to smiling/smirking coquettishly-posed, half-naked, sultry, alluring men, but for some reason, that doesn’t make the cover of Empire magazine or the giant movie poster…

    Spelling of Lois Lane’s name noted. Thanks!

  • Skye

    I took my definition from this: and this: and turning 3/4 possible lady lumps towards us with the spine at a right angle doesn’t look so comfortable anyway.

  • Luke Franklin

    Because all of those things are mostly marketed towards men. Also Wonder Woman not interested romantically? Isn’t she dating Superman now? They had that full spread of her and superman making out.. So I’d say either you are wrong or she has changed..

    By the way this image is about eight months old.. Not sure why they are just finding it now.

  • Anonymous

    Which only reveals another problem: Why are magazines labeled “Film” and “Entertainment Weekly” marketed mostly to men? Women don’t care about film or entertainment? They just sit around not watching movies or television?

    I would say that Wonder Woman is about as romantically-charged as Batman is, and he had a full page of him having sex with Catwoman on a rooftop. But how often is Batman’s romantic interest and sexual availability to women a featured theme for promotion?


    It’s not necessary, but I don’t see why you want an ugly one. Seems odd.