Artist Lord Ingvard Apologizes For Unsexy Costumes


Several weeks ago, artist Lord Ingvard caused a commotion by releasing designs of several female comic book characters. His unique take on these super heroines was marked by how he covered them from head to toe. He argued that the traditionally skimpy outfits they usually wore were not the most ideal for fighting crime. More, he compared the costume designs for the women to the men, finding that the women had a disproportionate amount of outfits that revealed skin when held up against the men. Where was the sense in that, he argued on his Tumblr.

"Does the rationale we use for what the women wear apply or make sense when applied to the men? I ask because I’m a father who loves his daughter, and thinks constantly about what her future will be like compared to my son’s. I ask because we have a habit in this country of perpetuating certain behaviors and attitudes regarding things like gender and race simply because it’s “just the way we’ve always done it.” But just because something is a tradition doesn’t make it right."

As is so often the case in our society these days though, he was ridiculed by many for his beliefs. He was not saying that women in comics need to cover up more often, he was simply sharing his thoughts on the subject. But many comic fans interpreted his work as an attack against tradition or some subtle nod to feminism. “We have always gotten to see Power Girl’s cleavage!” his critics seemed to scream in unison. “How dare you interfere with this long-held tradition?”

Myself, I love his designs. I have included several in this article, but if you would like to see the whole portfolio, you can go here. My thinking is most of our male comic characters are more than covered up. Heck, the Batmans and Iron Mans of the world really do not have female counterparts. Their costumes are layered and very little, if any, skin shows. In this age of equality, how could any sane person criticize an attempt to balance out the playing field? Unfortunately, that was the case, though Ingvard explained his viewpoint as well.

"I’m not try to get all puritanical on everybody; I have no problem with women expressing their femininity or sexuality. In fact, there are a bunch of very talented female illustrators out there (straight) who quite enjoy drawing sexy pin-up girls and so forth. Great stuff. And you’re right, there are some muscled-up, near-naked super-dudes like the Hulk, Namor, and Conan already out there."

I understand much of comic sales is generated by what teenage boys find interesting in any given week. And teenage boys like boobs and butts. No argument. Heck, I am a 43-year old man and I still like boobs and butts! My point though, is that habitually portraying women as objects damages the comic medium by failing to show that super heroines are able to contribute to a story aside from serving as “eye candy.” I have noticed recently that both the Big Two publishers have gone with less sexy versions of some of their more iconic super heroines. Wonder Woman, Batgirl and Captain Marvel all currently sport costumes not so different from what Ingvard dreamed up. We will see how long that lasts, but it is the gesture that sometimes counts. We have moved away from comics always portraying women as victims and “girlfriends.” If we can get comic audiences to accept them as physical presences without focusing too much on their curves and skin, we might really be getting somewhere.

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