The buttocks-baring badness of Battlestone

If bad super hero costumes had a Hall of Fame, Image Comics would occupy almost every slot with their bewildering array of over-the-top, hacky sartorial disasters. Seriously, whenever I start to run low on mockable items for this blog, I go to Half Price Books and buy an issue -- any issue, and only one -- of an Image Comics title from the early Nineties. Which is exactly what I did with "Brigade" number 3, where I found this:

battlestone-1.jpg

Battlestone is a virtual cornucopia of Image cliches. You've got the longer-on-top, wavy white hair combined with the excessively long braided rat-tail. You've got the large shoulder pads over partially armored body. You've got the anatomically-impossible sculpted abs, one armband dramatically bigger than the other, the itty-bitty hands, the appearance of a skull somewhere on the uniform (bonus points for putting it on his actual skull!), and of course the bulging, manly crotch being either stared at lustfully by someone else in the panel or with big long "background" lines pointing to it.

(Edited to Add: Plus look at how HUGE that groinal area is in relation to the figure of Thermal the flame girl, who in theory is IN FRONT OF him and therefore closer to us, the hapless viewer. That thing's bigger than her whole forearm and hand! And head!)

Combine that with his epitomization of "Image's Golden Rule of Naming Characters": Two words jammed together, at least one of which must be related in some way to bloody carnage. War-blade. Rip-claw. Death-blow.

Ok, that last one is actually from "Seinfeld", but it absolutely could have been a Nineties Image character, and you know it!

At least most of the word combinations make a vague sort of sense, but "Battlestone"? I'm supposed to be scared of slingshot ammunition? Particularly when paired with the shoulder pads' rainbow chrome effect and red stripe, he comes off less as intimidator and more as humorous sidekick. Especially when you see him from behind, when the awfulness of the outfit really shows:

battlestone-2-butt.jpg

"Holy firmly rounded armored buttocks, Batman!" I guess that's one way to insure that you rarely run away. And if you do, that your backside will be -- literally -- covered.

(All images ©1993, Rob Liefeld.)

16 Responses to The buttocks-baring badness of Battlestone

  1. Gosh, you must be a hard critic on comics to find all these things.

  2. You could have made that post A LOT shorter. Just the pictures and the words “Rob Liefeld”.

  3. Ah, Image. The reason I quit reading comics in the early ’90’s.

    Here’s an oldie about Liefeld’s 40 worst drawings: http://progressiveboink.com/archive/robliefeld.html

  4. @Dude: I love comics. Correction, I love GOOD comics. Which means I hate BAD comics. Which means almost everything Image put out in the Nineties. It’s not that hard to find something to harsh on. But, having said that, I do tend to focus on the snark more than the love, partly because people like reading snark, partly because snark is easier to write, and partly because I’m an ass-hole.

    I do plan on having a glowing post up in the next few days about “Monkeyman and O’Brien”, a fantastic comic put out by Arthur Adams in 1996. It’s right next to the “Brigade” comic posted above, and I worry that if they touch it will cause some sort of matter/anti-matter explosion as they are polar opposites.

    @DJ: Amen to that, my friend.

    @TheNate: I love that post.

  5. Concerning their name creation process… Uh… I actually got to issue #3 of Image Comics’ “Deathblow” series, until the heavy inks got to me. Like with some of their other “HOT ‘n VIOLENT” titles which I fell prey to back then: “Cybernary”, and “Hellshock” (read, “The Crow as reinterpreted by Jae Lee”).

  6. One of the things I find so deeply disturbing about that buttocks shot is that he seems to be *offering them up* for view. Liefeld is such an incompetent draftsman that he has failed to master the art of the gesture. The entire pose looks cramped and uncomfortable. Hm. Speaking of “cramped and uncomfortable,” perhaps he is, in fact, leaving a little crop dusting surprise behind him in order to smite his enemies.

  7. Really Jose?! That’s awesome, thanks for letting us know!

  8. He even has the traditional Leifeld feet! The only GOOD thing about it is the fact that…his thighs/legs are proportional to his body. Now his (left to us) arm is…weird looking but…call it perspective?

  9. OH and I do NOT see any pouches or big guns on his body. Leifeld was having a good day when he drew this!

  10. …and I still can’t get over that name. “Battlestone.” What the *&%$ is a “battlestone?” Does he prefer his ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery? Does he cook homemade pizzas on an baking stone exclusively? Is he a fan of Stone Cold Steve Austin?

    “Battlestone?”

    WTF?

  11. The only issue I have from Liefield is Young Blood #1 (found for a dollar)

    I love Spawn, I bought my brother the volume 1 to 3 of the collection (i will buy the other later), but all the other Image titles are pffffff.

  12. HalLoweEn JacK

    To John: It’s a bit harsh to interpret Hellshock as The Crow revisited – of all the titles that came out around that time, Hellshock was one of the few comics with any kind of substance for it’s very short lifespan, IMO. I’m a die hard fan of The Crow (which I use to teach the idea of Gothic Romanticism to high school students) but Hellshock had the moral dillemas and philosophy of life, death and sanity as the focus of the story, not just as window dressing on some Son-of-Bruce-Lee ass kicking.

    in short, I liked Hellshock.

  13. To Halloween Jack: Hm… I didn’t put that much thought into it back then (I was going for “hot n’ violent”). But you have an awesome, deep perspective of the story. Cool!

  14. Yes, DJ, but check out his pouches here:
    http://www.comicvine.com/battlestone/29-5248/152079-battlestone/105-99328/

    And in this one … I have no idea what those hip-pouches are connected to:
    http://www.comicvine.com/battlestone/29-5248/173688-battlestone/105-229672/?offset=0

  15. Thanks for burning out my retinas with that awful, awful art, TheNate. Two pupils and innumerable brain cells I will never grow back, awesome.

  16. So Battlestone has not only the pouches but the two long braided pony tails? I didn’t even notice them till now in the above panels.

    And where are they in the one where he is running? Shouldn’t they be flying behind him to convey speed?