The Best of 2019
Pretty good year for video games and other media in that more studios seem to be trending towards creating more equitable attire for characters to varying degrees. Even Games Workshop has released some new Sisters of Battle that look like formidable warriors (as opposed to well…), and have promised more. There are a few stand outs:
Captain Marvel by Marvel Entertainment
This movie was a great start to the year and addition to the dialogue regarding the Marvel movies. Representation of women and same-gender relationships were great discussions sparked by it, and it smashed a box office record in the process.
Control by Remedy Entertainment
Weird, compelling and a whole lot of destructive fun – the adventures for Jesse Faden warrant almost infinite exploration and interpretation – all without needing to engage in exploitation of women.
The iconic game of killing Nazis provided as with the new and exciting opportunity let the players co-operate as a pair sisters killing Nazis for themselves.
Apex Legends by Respawn Entertainment
Battle Royales are a big market right now, and it’s nice to see one that embraces diverse characters and provides the female characters with interesting roles and equipment (that is also practical looking)
And because I’m not too proud to admit to schadenfreude:
Amongst others we took great delight in that the attempts to use sex to sell by EM83R completely fall over, along with the release of the Kill la Kill video game going pretty much unnoticed.
The Worst of 2019
For simplicity I’ve limited this to major media and not the various groups of the worst people supporting the worst celebrities – because those people don’t need our platform and never change.
Mortal Kombat fanbase highlights general toxicity in gamer culture
So, Mortal Kombat 11 came out and it’s… well it’s a Mortal Kombat game, but a few changes to default designs and made a few female characters have less conventionally sexy outfits… and well, capital G gamers did not take it well:
League of Legends studio, Riot Games, confirmed as misogynistic cesspit
Throughout the year various details came out about the studio being a horrendous to female staff – to the point where a judge ruled they have to pay ten million dollars compensation to female employees. It’s good that they received some compensation, but it shows how the video game industry still has a long way and how if a studio’s products look like it doesn’t care about women… it probably doesn’t.
Media and platform capitulation to Nazis
If you’re wondering why you hadn’t seen more on Wolfenstein: Youngblood or Control, it’s because pretty much the vast majority of platforms such as Steam and rating services such as MetaCritic still want to take a hands-off approach to their communities because they just don’t care. Of course, there’s also the issue of how Kelly Marie Tran was all but written out of Rise of the Skywalker.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
Well the game is out now and while it was celebrated for its nostalgic qualities, it sadly also carried along all the nostalgic ideas on how female character’s costumes should just be generically sexy without anything thought on… anything else at all… not even whether the clothes can even exist.
Of course, the comic industry remains a trash fire… for many years running now.
This comic opens with this line, then outlines the brutal deaths of the protagonists parents in a manner plenty of people will find disturbing. The core plot for this is the protagonist avenging her brother.
So, it’s a little confusing why ever single cover depicts her like one of her like less armoured version of a long forgotten pulp fantasy character. I mean, okay it’s a an improvement on her famous appearance in 1982:
However at some point, the creators of these things really need to decide if they want them to be a:
- A light hearted romp full of pulp, cheesecake and beefcake OR
- A serious and shocking drama story about hatred and revenge
‘Cause this weird thing of wanting to have the 80s pinup camp along with the “we have serious stories” grit really isn’t going to do them any favours.
From Generic Bikini, to Generic Swashbuckler. What creativity!!
As a follow up to HBomber’s excellent video discussing how popular media (especially games) doesn’t objectify men I thought it was worth pointing out that the double standard is especially obvious if one looks at novelty superhero costumes (using the above examples or any of those featured at @fucknosexistcostumes)
Male costumes commonly come with the padding to simulate the muscular physiques, because they’re to make the “every man” feel like a superhero without having to work out or diet.
Female costumes commonly are sized with the assumption the wearer will fit within conventional beauty standards commonly assigned to superheroes. The “every woman” is expected to diet and exercise to look like a drawing in a comic book.
On top of that: women who don’t fit within the very narrow, artificial beauty standards will find that the family pets get better costume options than they do.
It’s really amazing how much of reality you have to willfully disregard to try to support the “men are sexually objectified too!” argument.
Halloween throwback time! Reminder that to wear a mass-produced superhero novelty costume, ladies need to come in conventionally sexy size and shape (and usually ready to show more skin), while guys get the outfit to compensate their everyman figure with foam abs.
I suppose I should be grateful that the girl costumes don’t compensate with foam boobs and butts, cause we all know that’s the Woman Power Fantasy: being slim thicc. 😬
Fixing Some Grim Designs 😬, Part 2
Thanks to my forgetfulness, Throwback Thursday and Wednesday redesign switched places this week. Hope you don’t mind!
It’s the return of the bikini armor edition of Zenescope’s Baba Yaga! And she still looks like a rando shmexy lady, with no indication of being an old powerful hag from Slavic fairy tales. Because who needs knowing who a character is just from looking at her appearance? Certainly not the Grimm Fairy Tales
porn comics! 🙃
It wasn’t a very inspired stream for me, so I basically worked from a Zenescope artist’s default mindset. The difference is, my priority wasn’t “MOAR BEWB”.
Most major edit was sharperning her facial features, so that she looks like an old lady we expect Baba Yaga to be. She doesn’t need to be “sexy” to disguise her dangerous nature – looking like a grandma already did that! Also gave her greying eyebrows and got rid of those random golden rectangles (warpaint?) on her cheeks which, because of outlines, looked like adhesive bandages and added nothing to the design.
I’m not as happy with her new, older face as I am with Arhian, but anything’s preferable to Generic Hot Lady Face #9575.
Another obvious fix was turning this
bodypaint boobplate into something resembling a breastplate. Not my best edit, and I left the center of the chest kinda barren, but I did extend her pseudo-gorget to somewhat normal size for this armor piece. Now she can’t die of stabbing in the cleavage!
The lesser edits, after those, were thickening of her noodly arms and putting a red dress under her plate armor pieces. Not exactly realistic or practical padding, but still preferable to gratuitous skin display.
Definitely among my worse redesigns, but I hope you like it in comparison to the original anyway!
So, recently League of Legends decided to release this origin story for Lux, which has really helped showcase how terrible her design is in comparison to that of… well the rest of her culture. Right off the cover makes it look like she’s the princess to be rescued, not the heroine to reach her potential.
The best thing that can be said about this comic is that they’re depicting her within the society she supposedly came from: it’s now well illustrated how tacky and impeding that shitty boobplate would be.
If it wasn’t for the title, you’d assume this was actually a story where Garen was the hero for baby sitting a generic damsel in distress… Which is kind of horrifying when you realize Lux has been in the game for eight years, and somehow fixing her design or evolving her default into something better has never occurred to the folks in charge.
- Draw a naked chick, make sure her (obviously nipple-less) breasts have an amazingly implausible shape.
- Add the tiniest hint of texture (and little to no volume) on parts that you think might need to pass as armored (hence the boobplate).
- Loincloth/buttflap for modesty.
- Literally everything else: fill in with non-flesh colors!
Leveling up with Angela
This thing was so bad to begin with that it should have been remade from scratch, not by modifying the unsalvagable original. I did my best, though.
Before doing anything to the costume, though, I had to take care of the ABSOLUTE GARBAGE color composition on this whole splash page. What genius thought that orange background was optimal way to present a character with big orange hair and even bigger orange wings?
Fixing it required all the sophistication of the easiest color theory trick in the book – I recolored the background. Wow, amazing! What do you mean orange pops out from blue better than from more orange? What even is complimentary colors?
Only then I could start working on the armor itself. Boobplate proved to be much less inspiring than Angela’s normal golden bikini top, as the shape language and colors in the original gave me much more to work of off. This I could only change into actual, rather boring, breastplate.
I had no idea what was happening to the leg region, so to cover the nonsensical crotch area and to give the design some consistency with my previous one, I recreated the mail tabard (just in gold this time) and gave her an updated version of the belt I was so proud of the last time. This time not only I let her keep the butt cape, I made it bigger and recolored it to light red, for another splash of color. and also to recreate the look her gambeson tassets.
The lesser changes include: fixing the giraffe neck, getting rid of the 90s comic hair (which also seemed to be clipping into her wings?), making her headpiece bigger and connected in the middle, giving her a bit smaller wedge heels and stockier built.
I’m afraid this really isn’t half as good as my previous Angela redo, but I hope you guys like it anyway!