Avengers Vs. X-Men, the broken spine and no pelvis edition.
At first glance of the thumbnail of this cover, I thought it was drawn by Greg Land, because he is an artist commonly known for making women’s hips and asses vanish. I know this isn’t the case, as this cover was drawn by Mike Deodato, so I have to wonder how this happened.
I decided to deal with each character independently. The more obvious issue of spine breakage will be addressed first. The problems here aren’t just about the spine being broken sideways for the sake of dynamism and maybe showing some butt: as you can see from that second picture, the action of the body and the secondary action of the hair and cape are contradictory. This is a somewhat classic “jumping away from the thing I’m shooting at” and yet the hair and cape are being dragged towards the target of the shooting. The shoulders are way too wide, probably due to a bit of confusion of where everything should be with the guns hiding part of the body. As for the spine, yes, it can bend sideways, but as a curve, and not as much as it is here. The rib cage is vertical and the pelvis is horizontal, with a definite snap in the middle. A real person couldn’t bend that far, even if lying down on the floor sideways and pushing their torso up with their arms. In any case, there’s a whole issue of flesh folds that’s completely absent from this picture, too. Even a skin and bones woman will have flesh pinching because the skin will overlap itself in you press the hips towards the rib cage. The absence of this fold is not an indication of thinness, it is a mistake in drawing. Heck, it’s the kind of detail that often gets photoshopped off of models in fashion magazines.
So then I address the way the form should have been. I placed my line of action, the line of the shoulders and contraposto line of the hips, keeping in mind the direction of the action. Add rib cage and pelvis as basic shapes. With that in, I solidify my skeleton. I chose to have a leg extended and a leg bent here, it makes for a more dynamic silhouette and emphasizes the sideways movement. Could I have kept the bent legs? Sure, but not the way they were drawn, unless I changed the entire upper body. Another way this could have worked is switch which leg is bent and have the other extended, with the body turning away from the target of gunfire.
In fleshing out the body, I thoughts of the stretch and pinch, and I also changed the direction of the secondary action of the hair and cape.
Spider-Man seemed odd to me, especially that weird big bulge below his thigh, so I had to go in and figure out where his pelvis was actually plotted. I realized in reworking the image that his thigh is actually way too long: if you continued the arc of rotation towards the shoulder, it would come up to his mouth when it should line up below his shoulder. I shortened it, and fixed the exaggerated butt and thigh muscle bulge and valley, as these muscles are actually relaxed, not flexed in this position. (Poor Spidey.)
Note, though, that the original Spidey DOES have that flesh pinch at the waist, the one that wasn’t drawn on the woman (sorry, I don’t read this comic, I don’t know who she is), because his spine, while shown as pretty flexible, actually follows a realistic curve, and his ribs and hips work. Hm.
And now for Hope Summers: a new pelvis, mostly. A little bit of a fix of the ribcage and breast placement, but that’s nitpicking, whereas the absent hips and straight line down from the ribs to the knee is really weird. It’s a fairly straightforward fix.
Which brings me to this bit about behinds, and the seeming reluctance of artists to draw real bums. I keep seeing those illustrations in comics and in fantasy art, those weird crouching poses that have arched backs and butts sticking up and out, which make me think of fart jokes far more than I should. I also shake my head a lot at Greg Land-ish lack of butts and hips to go with them, and also Barbie-like legs that attach to a thong and show no butt, just a thigh that starts at the waist. To address this, have a little tutorial.