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Nov 17 2012

Whatever Google Image Search You Did

By now you’ve probably heard of Tony Harris, sexist asshole artist.

Before now, there was a good chance you admired his work without knowing who he was. The comic book industry can be thankless that way. Lots of people like what they like without paying close attention to who produced it for them. This is extra true for artists, weirdly. A comic book writer creates a story for you, but the artist brings it to life. Still, plenty of people don’t know who draws what they read.

We’ll just pretend, because it is an actual unfair thing that happens, that Tony Harris was tapping into a well of bitterness over that when he went off on a sexist tirade about why “real” geeks don’t like women cosplaying at cons. It doesn’t make it the tiniest bit better, but we’ll pretend anyway. After all, the original rant has been fisked, countered with cosplay love, and put in its appropriate social context.

There’s still one thing about it though, something I really only noticed reading PZ’s post on the rant:

And here it is, THE REASON WHY ALL THAT, sickens us: BECAUSE YOU DONT KNOW SH-T ABOUT COMICS, BEYOND WHATEVER GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH YOU DID TO GET REF ON THE MOST MAINSTREAM CHARACTER WITH THE MOST REVEALING COSTUME EVER.

I read that, and my only thought is: Dude, you know squat about Google, and I can prove it. Here is a screen cap of top results for “THE MOST MAINSTREAM CHARACTER WITH THE MOST REVEALING COSTUME EVER”:

Just over a dozen pictures, none of them of remotely revealing costumes.

Well, that wasn’t very helpful. We’ve only got one comic book. Some of those people aren’t people. But hey, maybe we at least know enough about comics to know we want to specify a comic book character. The results for “MOST MAINSTREAM comic book CHARACTER WITH THE MOST REVEALING COSTUME EVER” (no I don’t use all caps):

Another dozen-plus images, mosty of male superheroes.

That’s a little better. We have mostly comic book characters here, though I’m not sure where the Religulous poster or Westboro Baptist Church anti-Jedi sign came from. Even a couple of Wonder Women and a Supergirl. Not enough for the kind of cosplay variety found at conventions, though. Let’s try “MOST MAINSTREAM comic book CHARACTER WITH THE MOST REVEALING cosplay EVER”:

With this search, we've lost most of our superheroes, and we're getting into geek news.

Still not so good. A couple of cosplayers, but almost starts to look like you might need to know something about comic books to find a good character. Also, the guy with the Jedi sign is now following me around. But we can keep trying. How about “MOST MAINSTREAM comic book CHARACTER WITH THE MOST sexy cosplay EVER”:

A few more sexy superheroes and a bunch of stuff that isn't.

We’re starting to see more sexy costumes, now, but interestingly, they’re most on people, not comic book drawings. Except Wonder Woman and Catwoman, who are mainstream but don’t seem to be being cosplayed much. But maybe we’re mixing things up too much. Let’s take a step backward to MOST MAINSTREAM comic book CHARACTER WITH THE MOST sexy COSTUME EVER”:

Now we're back to male superheroes, including a couple of very nice fan-art Nightwings.

All the women Harris is talking about are cosplaying Nightwing? Funny how going from “cosplay” to “costume” takes us back to pages of mostly male characters. All right, we’ve demonstrated that Harris can’t use Google. Let’s try it on our own. “Sexy superheroes for cosplay”?

Lots of women cosplaying, some in body paint.

Again, we’re back to people, not comics. Surely someone must have read the damned things in the first place before translating the character into fabric and paint. “Sexy superhero costumes”?

This one mostly looks like a Halloween costume catalog.

Right. Wear a Halloween costume to a con and see how that goes if you’re over the age of 16. “Sexy comic book character”?

As close as we've come.

I haven’t seen anyone cosplay the one in garters, but this is as close as we’ve come to a resource. Interestingly, a lot of what turns up on this search is fan art, which makes it useless for costume reference. Despite Harris’s whining, cosplay doesn’t generally involve showing up in lingerie that matches your character’s colors.

Also, you really don’t want to know how many pictures of Wonder Woman there are on that page. If this really were how women were getting their ideas for cosplay, this (and perhaps Power Girl) would be how every one of them dressed–particularly if their goal was to become masturbatory fantasy material for the guys of my generation. She’s clearly considered the most generally sexy comic book character out there.

Given all this, I think it’s pretty clear that Harris is extra full of shit. You’re not going to produce the variety of cosplay we see by women Googling themselves up sexy costumes to wear.

23 comments

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  1. 1
    Greg Laden

    Step aside, little lady, let a MAN search for your porn….

    …. try “erotic cosplay”

    Do not do this at work.

    You’re welcome.

    (By the way, I have no idea what this post is about or who this Tony guy is.)

  2. 2
    Stephanie Zvan

    Somebody needs better quality body paint.

    Still doesn’t tell us how anything got from comic to cosplay, though.

  3. 3
    Greg Laden

    I can only guess at what goes into the costume making that I’ve seen. What seems easy may be hard, what seems hard may be easy. I doubt Google Image Search played much role unless one was temporarily stuck for an idea.

  4. 4
    John Morales

    I see you enable “safe search”. ;)

    (Also, your google-fu is lacking)

  5. 5
    Greg Laden

    John: I tested the safe search hypothesis on Stephanie’s searches, I don’t think she had it on!

  6. 6
    Miriam, Professional Fun-Ruiner

    What’s interesting is that, apparently, it’s totally okay for comic books to include progressively more revealingly-dressed women. But for female comic book fans to DRESS that way? Oh, gods no. You’re ruining geekdom for all of us.

  7. 7
    Stephanie Zvan

    No safe search, John. What search did you use that would give someone not familiar with comics a set of sexy, reliably canon costumes from mainstream characters?

  8. 8
    Stephanie Zvan

    Oops, my bad. Safe search was moderate. I must have needed to search something with a high noise ratio recently.

  9. 9
    brx0

    I’d like to propose a geek corollary to Godwin’s Law, in which anyone who says “YOU DONT KNOW SH-T ABOUT COMICS” in ALL CAPS instantly loses the argument, regardless of what the argument’s about.

  10. 10
    John Morales

    Remember Rule 34, Stephanie. ;)

  11. 11
    laconicsax

    Tried the same searches with Bing. Apparently, ’60s Batman and Robin are the “most mainstream comic book character with the most revealing costume ever.”

  12. 12
    Greg Laden

    In Batman and other comics, the way they get out of some impossible situation is revealed in the next episode. That is what “revealing” means in comics. YOU WOULD KNOW THIS IF YOU KNEW ANYTHING ABOUT COMICS. The word you are looking for is probably “boob” not “revealing.”

  13. 13
    Stephanie Zvan

    John, I’m well aware of Rule 34. It doesn’t answer my question. Assume a young woman who isn’t into comic books, since that’s what Harris is claiming, so she doesn’t know who she’s looking for. How do you get from there to canon sexy costumes that aren’t Wonder Woman or Power Girl in a Google Image search?

  14. 14
    frankb

    So Stephanie, your point is that cosplaying women who don’t know much about the subject would not be helped by google search. I agree. Also I think they would not put a whole lot of effort into a particular costume if they knew nothing about the character.

  15. 15
    julian

    Also I think they would not put a whole lot of effort into a particular costume if they knew nothing about the character.

    Oh yeah.

    With how much time, effort and money (sometimes) goes into a costume you are not going to do this unless it’s a char you really like. Someone you know and can get all the tiny details down for.

  16. 16
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    As somebody who has half a wardrobe of costumes (though not comic costumes because, well, I’m actually not interested in comics if you don’t count Girl Genius, which I think kind of proves the point) Bullshit. You put a hellotof time, money and effort into those things . You don’t do so without a pretty good reason.

  17. 17
    Brad

    He insults what he thinks of as his base- the average (male) comic fan- rather thoroughly too. What a dumbass.

    I’m not sure (uuuuuggggghhhhhh) “THE MOST MAINSTREAM CHARACTER WITH THE MOST REVEALING COSTUME EVER” was meant as literal search terms, but the post is funnier that way.

  18. 18
    F [is for failure to emerge]

    But for female comic book fans to DRESS that way?

    Um, yeah. Don’t get to close to my fantasy, right?

    Safe search was moderate. I must have needed to search something with a high noise ratio recently.

    Or Google randomly decides what level of safe your search includes. Which it does. Unreliable as ever.

  19. 19
    abbeycadabra

    “female comic book character” produced the result The Amazing Sexistman was probably thinking of. Mainstream female characters get ridiculously revealing and/or titillating costumes by default, and the top of google will BE the most mainstream.

    Let’s see. Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Supergirl, Batgirl, Lady Punisher… Lady Punisher? Is that actually a thing?

  20. 20
    Michael Brew

    Doing “sexiest comic book heroines” gets pretty decent results. Really, though, the best option would be to do a regular google search, look through all the “top arbitrary number sexiest comic book characters” links and then do some image searches on the sexy lady of your choice.

  21. 21
    Ben Zvan

    “Sexy comic book character” does a pretty good job too, but if that was the search the supposed non-fangirls were using, Comicon would still look a lot like Gotham City on an endless loop with the occasional Wonder Woman and Black Widow thrown in.

  22. 22
    Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc

    Does “mainstream in Japan” count??

  23. 23
    doubtthat

    Having read more than a couple of comic books in my time, let’s just say there are more than a few examples of visual appearance representing the vast majority of what could constitute “interesting” with a character.

    We’re not talking about Hamlet, here. It just cracks me up that someone would be incensed that the subtleties of Aqua Man’s persona were ignored.

    That’s in addition to everything else that was bullshit about the old dude rant.

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