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This is how to draw Spider-Woman as a hero rather than a sex object

An artistic critique of the new Spider-Woman cover.
An artistic critique of the new Spider-Woman cover.
Karine Charlebois

After a summer of success, Marvel comics made a huge mistake this week.  The recently revealed variant cover for Spider-Woman #1, pictured a woman crouched on the edge of a building in a seductive position. The artist, Milo Manara, chose to portray Spider-Woman as erotic and sexy instead of as a strong, beloved member of the Avengers universe.

Here is what it would look like if Spider-Woman tried to jump from the position Manara rendered:

Spider woman

Spider-Woman tries to jump (Karine Charlebois)

But even the main cover for the issue, drawn by Greg Land, featured its share of problems. In addition to the obviously problematic sexualization of a female superhero, the drawings of Spider-Woman aren't even anatomically correct. Instead of rendering the female body as it appears in the world, the artist enhanced and skewed the proportions to fit a male fantasy of how a woman should be portrayed.

Artist Karine Charlebois, who runs the Tumblr Less Tits N' Ass, More Kickin' Ass, re-rendered the drawing to be anatomically correct and, in doing so, showed just how manipulated the Spider-Woman figure really is.

Katrine 2

Spider-Woman leaps incorrectly because of anatomical deficiencies (Karine Charlebois)

Land's cover, Charlebois critiques, is also anatomically problematic even if it is less promiscuous than Manara's variant cover. "Artistic anatomy is all about drawing structure, from the inside out. Your muscles by themselves can't look right if they aren't placed on top of a properly proportioned skeleton," Charlebois wrote on her Tumblr. "It shows that Land is drawing by guessed shapes, copied contours, and practiced repeated motions. There's no real structure underneath his shapes."

Ultimately, this demolishes the critique that either of these Spider-Woman images are rendered in a way that Spider Man would also be drawn. Spider Man may also crouch before he launches into the air, but he certainly doesn't have his back lengthened, butt enlarged, and limbs skewed out of proportion to meet male expectations of beauty. Both covers have rendered Spider-Woman's body to meet male expectations, instead of to show her strength and power.

The Mary Sue has published all of Charlebois's anatomically correct images in a gallery.