Let’s Review: Rear View
Here’s another “Let’s Review” blog entry, where I look back at pages in our Archive and remember the stories regarding their creation!
Back in The Ninth Wormhole, Black Hole Bill was doing some reconnaissance before attempting to kill Star Power. He spies on her from afar and lets his gaze “admire” her. It was a simple enough moment that I put way too much thought in to when describing the scene to Garth, and looking back it made for an equally interesting moment in our creative relationship.
Like I said, the moment was simple. It was meant to illustrate Black Hole Bill’s sleaziness. Coupled with the look of his cockpit, littered with discarded beer cans and lewd posters, I feel it made for an effective glimpse at who this bounty hunter was. It shouldn’t have taken me more than a few seconds to write in the script before moving on to other pages. But I put way too much thought into describing “Black Hole Bill looks at Star Power’s butt through a sniper rifle scope,” so much so that Garth got confused.
I believe the original description of the panel in the script read something like, “PANEL 2: We see Black Hole Bill looking at Danica’s butt. Now, let’s not make it look like she’s arching her back like a cat or sticking her butt out for a photo-shoot or anything. This should be a creep staring at an unsuspecting girl. But her rear should still look appealing, otherwise why would he be staring at it? Only don’t make it look like we’re trying to make it look like we should all be staring at Danica’s butt, because we don’t want to do that to our female protagonist. So, like, make it look like there’s a reason he’s looking at her butt, but let’s not make it seem like this is something we’re encouraging. Okay?”
Garth’s notes to me for the script regarding that panel were something like, “Dude, I have no idea what you want me to do here. Relax and try again.”
After much discussion and editing, the final description of the panel in the script read, simply, “PANEL 2: The view has drifted down to a blatant shot of Danica’s rear. This should come across as a creep staring at some unsuspecting girl, and not fan-service by us.”
In trying to illustrate Black Hole Bill’s sleaziness I was worried that we, as creators, may be viewed as glorifying that sort of spying. That “wink wink nudge nudge hey look what we got for you here fellas” that has plagued female characters in comics for ages. STAR POWER was created because Garth and I didn’t like how female superheroes were being portrayed, and I became convinced that if we weren’t careful we’d be guilty of the very things we were fighting against.
Was I overthinking things? Of course. The scene worked and nobody wrote us saying “Great job objectifying your female hero, you jerks!” or even “Aw yeah, give us more of that!” Like most of my worries, they were all in my head. Looking back on it now, five years later, my creative anxieties give me a chuckle.