Let me just say that while I was scrolling to see the great critiques for Milo Manara’s Spider Woman as soon as that cover was released, I saw this little number & for some reason I couldn’t help but redraw this..
Personally this cover was weak in many ways, and definitely this article as a response & redraw was PERFECT. The problem was in the way their body language was to convey conflict. There was no conflict. AT ALL.
First of all, Batgirl’s leg was wrapped around Scorpiana’s thigh (WHY?). This confused me because there was NOTHING in that image that would want Batgirl to STAY with Scorpiana (an electrified pincer-like attack & giant back-of-the-head stinger to the face are some things that should be avoided). Then there’s the “tugging of the hair..embrace?”! I thought the hair tugging is what made Batgirl wrap her leg around Scorpiana, maybe try to counteract the balance of being pulled in another direction..? Nope. The tension wasn’t pulling at her hair more than it was to disguise the fact that Scorpiana was pulling Batgirl IN.
And just putting it out there, these COMPLETELY different body languages (i.e. Batgirl pushing everything every which way AWAY from her only to WRAP HERSELF AROUND the villain..?!) make any sense?! Did their minds say “no” but their bodies say “yes”!?
Anyway..upon observing just these two details, it was clear to me that this was some awkward tango-esque fight scene. And in some digging (thanks Google), the artist’s intentions WERE to create a fight scene reminiscent of the tango (mainly because Scorpiana is an Argentinian villain & the most famous of Argentine dances is the tango)! While I applaud his efforts for trying to create a scene of conflict with a famous dance..the tango is a very sensual, sexy dance. His hint about using a move from the famous dance is more like a blunt object to the head, which ultimately dazes & confuses you into thinking that there was more of a sex vibe than a cultural one.
It’s difficult to incorporate something into an artwork without having your original intentions be skewed upon releasing it to the public because not EVERYONE has the same way of thinking. And honestly, I would have just thought that this was just another anatomically-incorrect-for-the-sake-of-hot-babe-action. Instead, I now see it as an anatomically-incorrect-for-the-sake-of-trying-to-be-subtly-cultural.
Speaking of anatomy, Batgirl’s spine is quite honestly thee thinnest, bendiest spine I have seen in a while. Why? It seems like the elasticity of her spine has made itself clear in her neck. Pushing her back & pushing her neck in opposite directions will surely sever that poor thing that is her skeletal structure. As well as her head that seems to be unaware it’s moving too far away. But for whatever reason, as structurally unsound her body looks, Batgirl lives. Believe me when I say my rendering of anatomy is NOT accurate, but if it LOOKS somewhat structurally sound then it can work. This cover didn’t have that stability.
In the redraw, I immediately discarded the fact that this was meant to be a tango scene (and while the tango is sexual, it also conveys a strong feeling of trust..I mean, look at how close & how fluid tango partners are with their movements. IT’S FREAKIN’ AWESOME, but that is NOT the feeling I wanted to convey between Batgirl & Scorpiana). I also tried NOT to have Batgirl’s body bend in an unnatural fashion.
I tried to create a scenario where the very details I noticed about the image that threw me off were to be justified. I had the Scorpiana threatening Batgirl off the ledge of a building by her hair (sorry for not drawing the buildings, maybe next time..), stinging her with her stinger or pincer-like thing or choke her. This would all justify why Batgirl would wrap her leg around Scorpiana’s thigh.
Is my redraw anatomically accurate? Nope. But at least Batgirl’s head isn’t poppin’ off any time soon, nor are the two going to dance while killing each other.
Thanks for all the work you did to explain what’s going on in the original, and finding out the intent of the artist! :) I had thought it looked like a dance too (as had another redrawer) but it’s good to know for sure.
And also thanks for going through your entire thought process as to why you drew your version the way you did, and what you thought it should convey thematically. I love seeing different people’s takes on pictures featured on this blog, and I especially enjoy reading people’s breakdowns of what the scene evoked for them and how they see it.