This is a great cover!
Yes, I know. I’ll get to the elephant (or should that be elephants?) in the room soon enough. First, I want to heap praise on Adam Hughes, creator of this month’s featured cover. His work is amazing. He and, fellow comic book artist, Alex Ross have brought an incredible sense of realism to comic book art (elephants notwithstanding). The work Hughes and Ross do is top level illustration that can set along side such great illustrators as Norman Rockwell and NC Wyeth.
The design and composition of this cover (Catwoman #45, September 2005) are perfect. Hughes’ color choices make clear it is night, but not just night. A moonlit night. This is shown brilliantly through the use of the sheer window treatments reflecting the blue/silver glow cast by the moon. Batman being in almost total silhouette displays one of his greatest weapons: the dark of night. Criminals are a superstitious and cowardly lot, so using darkness enhances their fear, making them more vulnerable. Hughes’ use of color and shadow add so much to the drama of the scene.
But what has Catwoman in such a state of shock?
Her pose suggests that she was doing her typical flirting with Batman, but something has interrupted her. Her right hand on his face indicates the flirtation, but the look on her face and her dropping her mask shows the mood has been unexpectedly broken. Is it, in fact, not Batman?
Perhaps her shock doesn’t involve the Caped Crusader. Look at her eyes (they’re up here, fellas). She’s not looking back at our hero. She’s looking off to her right. What is she seeing?
It’s breathtakingly brilliant.
Now for the, shall we say, ample breasts that are impossible to not notice. Yeah, let’s say that.
I know there are people who object to the objectifying of women. And they’re right, it can be dehumanizing. I don’t mind seeing sexy looking people whether real or just drawn that way. Sometimes, it gets more than a bit much, though. Tone it down a little, eh?
This cover approaches the line, but I don’t think it crosses it.
However, as I stated at the beginning, Hughes’ sense of realism in his illustrations is one of his greatest attributes. The way he depicts clothing fitting these super-beings looks right. I forget which comic book artist said it, but he said when drawing superheroes the artist draws them essentially naked (the superheroes, not the artist). Well, Hughes and Alex Ross don’t take that approach, not fully anyway. The costumes have creases and folds and really look as though they are inhabited by a body. A hot, sexy body.
In the interest of realism, though, how realistic is it for a cat burglar to be as stealthy, elusive, quick, and flexible as Catwoman while carrying around two elephants on her chest? (Why do I keep calling them elephants?) I would think they’d just get in the way. Well, she is a super, so it appears she can handle them.
Yes, I said handle them. I didn’t mean it that way. Settle down.
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