Saturday, January 17, 2009

Could Someone Please Help Brother Francis With His Hormones?

Today seems to be another of those "Gosh, I wish I could translate every comic in existence" days. Beetle Bailey has General Halftrack gazing adoringly at a picture of someone he says is Ronald Reagan, though the guy actually looks more like Adolph Hitler. B.C. makes fun of accordion players.* Blondie waxes poetic on the beauty of the obsolete; outmoded stuff, it claims, will one day become popular again. Crock has two characters debating that age-old question, "What do women want?", while standing on top of a phallus-shaped tower. Hagar the Horrible reinforces the solid medieval truth that a woman's place is in the home. The Marvin colourists make the mistake of covering Marvin with chocolate ice cream, in the process causing him to look as if he has had a bowel movement and smeared feces all over his body. Marmaduke involves the Really Big Dog preparing to eat an entire boys' football team. Spider-Man gives us a hero who faints after he is knocked down by water.**

However, I think I'm going to have to go with my first impulse and choose Archie. It's been a while since we've checked on Brother Francis, the breast-obsessed young monk who has never exchanged words with a woman in his life. Today, we see Brother Francis projecting his libido onto his young hero. Just take a look at the direction of Archie's gaze there. Veronica may be expressing noble, albeit patently false, sentiments as she projects little hearts into the air with her mind, but Archie's brain is clearly going, "BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES." The grin is not Archie being suave; it is Archie achieving orgasm.

Brother Francis tries to cover up his personal stake in the content of the comic by giving it a flimsy frame that simply parrots everything he's ever heard about women: they claim to exist only for the men in their lives, they actually exist only for the money in their lives, and they project little hearts into the air with their minds. The antifeminist stereotyping may also very well be the good brother's attempt to convince himself that women really are the root of all evil. The guilt that he feels every time his thoughts stray to breasts has made him overcompensate by vilifying not himself but the wicked creatures who cause his sin.

Note that in the second panel, Veronica's breasts have disappeared. Fight it, Brother Francis. Fight the lure of the evil, evil mammaries. You can do it. And if you can't, you can always nip into your cell for a bit of private time.

*I am the scourge of cartoonists who make fun of accordion players...the scourge, I say. Mock accordionists at your own risk, Hack Writers of Doom!
Some of these links will continue to work forever; some may not. Curse you, Inconsistent but Otherwise Useful Houston Chronicle comics page.


Michael said...

It wasn't Veronica's breasts that got my attention but rather how her lips don't end at the corners of her mouth.

In panel 2 her vacuous expression is also noteworthy. Of course this is just Brother Francis showing that Veronica in particular and women in general are brainless.

One further point on the subject of cartoon breasts. With a few exceptions* cartoon women are extremely buxom. I'm sure I'm not the only one to have noticed this.

*Olive Oyl is built like a brick flagpole.

Angry Kem said...

Michael: No, you're not the only one to have noticed this. It could be argued (in fact, it has been argued) that the majority of comics are drawn by men, and the majority of that majority are aimed at teenaged boys. Most women in superhero comics are so very buxom that it is difficult to see how they are 1) standing upright and 2) not suffering from chronic back pain. Some claim that the ability to deal with gigantic breasts is a superpower. Newspaper comics are less likely to feature huge bouncing mammaries, though they certainly have their fair share.

Archie Comics was, of course, originally MLJ Comics, which also did superheroes. Brother Francis is but one such monk in one such monastery; the tradition of drawing and writing female characters without knowing anything about women goes back a long way.

Note of Hope: Though superhero comics still almost invariably feature impossibly hot women, there are now a very, very few that allow these women smaller cup sizes. Runaways, a Marvel series aimed primarily at teenagers (but containing some of the better superhero writing out there), is a case in point; of the four female protagonists, two are skinny and small-breasted (and, yes, impossibly hot), one is pudgy and quite realistic-looking, and one is about eleven and has no visible breasts at all.

This has turned into a Rant. Oh well. I shall close it by saying that slender women with large breasts do exist, though they are relatively rare. Much more common are solidly built women with large breasts and women of all shapes and sizes with medium or small breasts. When breasts are gigantic, they tend to sag and bounce, and they must be reined in via uncomfortable wired bras.

It would be nice to see women portrayed realistically in comics, but I'm not holding my breath.

dmontag said...

Kem, Sunday's "Garfield" made fun of accordion players. Just thought you'd want to know...

Angry Kem said...

Thanks, dmontag. I shall send my army to camp on the doorstep of Paws, Inc.

I have sort of skipped Sunday. Things happened, alas. I'll try really hard to do something Monday-ish later on today.

I just read the Garfield comic. The accordion really is the whipping boy of the funny pages, isn't it?

The Prettiest said...

Sunday's Garfield did make fun of accordion players, but it was a bit baffling because Garfield has previously shown delight at the prospect of a night of accordion. Or, well, maybe it was a bayan that time (the instrument was never named) and Garfield prefers its clean sound.

jackd said...

Alternate but non-medieval script

Panel 1
V: Hi, cutie!
A thought ballon: (mmmmm. boobies.)

Panel 2
J: Dude, she just stole your watch.