- Posted by Johanna on July 9, 2013 at 7:40 am
- Category: LinkBlogging
Juliet Kahn has a great writeup of how important it is to think about what your comic character is wearing to reveal important things about her or him.
When Bryan Lee O’Malley tweeted this a while back, I nearly stood up and cheered: “A cool thing about comics is FASHION = CHARACTER. you can convey personality through clothing. Why do 90% of western artists ignore this.” He gets it — and unsurprisingly, Scott Pilgrim is one of the only Western comics I can think of that uses fashion to effectively convey characterization. Through a character’s clothes, the reader gleans insight into their insecurities, ambitions, social status, and more — y’know, the basics of subtle characterization. The titular Scott is a slacker geek dude in reference-happy t-shirts and jeans. Flighty, jaded Ramona is a mercurial hipster pixie with ever-changing hair. Wry Wallace Wells dons monogrammed polos and boxer briefs. …
But year after year after year, the comics industry ignores it. Male characters are dressed as blandly as possible, or come clad in weird, baggy approximations of early 2000s fashion. Female characters exist in a world where — surprise! — most clothes are tight and sexy, albeit oddly out of date and in clashing colors. …
When I say I want more thoughtful fashion in comics, I don’t mean that I need every character looking like they stepped off a runway — I mean that I want comic creators to think about who their characters are, what they would be most likely to wear, where they would buy it, their relationship to their body, and how they want the world to see them. I want them to think about their characters on a deeper level. I want them to make good comics.
Brava! She goes on to praise one of the best artists when it comes to such outfit design, Cliff Chiang, and highlights a terrific example of his work in that area.
I think that’s one of the reasons that Adam Hughes’ Women of the DCU poster caught everyone’s attention five years ago. He thought through the different styles that the heroines would choose and made them all attractive in individual ways.
It’s true, when it comes to men’s fashion, it’s harder to differentiate the choices, but there are still details that can be used to distinguish characters, whether options in color, cut, accessories, or how a man wears the items.
Inspired by Juliet’s post, Blue Delliquanti examines the women of Sailor Moon and the distinctions in their outfits.
Kristafer Anka, on the other hand, throws back to Adam’s poster, creating a “Ladies of X” print where the female X-Men wear red carpet fashion. It will be available as a print at the San Diego Con.