Ok, to kick off this weeks What Were They Thinking? (the place where we look at all of the stupidest, most ill-advised things in all of comics history) I'd like to take some time out of the sarcasm and semi-mock-outrage to be a dictionary, and todays word of the day is Cheesecake. So what does the dictionary have to say about the word cheesecake? Well, cheesecake is a noun, the name of a type of cake that has a firm custardlike texture, that is made with cheese (usually cream or cottage cheese, sometimes both) and sometimes topped with a jamlike fruit mixture. I, personally, adore cheesecake, it's my favourite desert. However, there is a more pertinent definition of cheesecake, which is also in the dictionary. This definition is the informal definition, used to describe artwork (originally photographs but now also drawn artwork as well) featuring scantily clothed attractive women, also referred to as "leg art".
So, with the definitions part out of the way, lets move on to the main subject of todays missive shall we. Now, when talking about cheesecake in comics two things should come to mind immediately. Firstly, the 90's and secondly, Image Comics, because the 90's was an era famous for style over substance and Image was the most pervasive perveyor of such comics, so who else do you think we'd be talking about when we're talking about cheesecake (apart from Marvel, but we'll get to them at some other point). So, out of all of the cheesecake Image sold in the 90's, what to start with, oh what to start with? Well, let's start at the event (because it was the 90's, of course there had to be an event centred around cheesecake) known only as EXTREME BABEWATCH! And no, I am not joking. And it gets better...
So, EXTREME BABEWATCH!!!!! What was it? Well, it was a month long, company wide crossover where a majority of the male superheroes in the Image Universe were all suddenly transformed into women. Yes, indeed, this was a thing. I mean, I guess this could have been a great storyline as a way to talk about sexism and gender inequality... oh wait, this was the 90's and Image comics, so what we got was this
Can I also point out at this point that the male hero Supreme changes his outfit to one that's much much more revealling upon being changed into a girl despite his/her original outfit fitting perfectly post-transformation. But then it turns out he was a woman all along? I mean, I don't know, nor do I really care, but WHAT? Oh and tiny feet alert.
I mean, as if the name Babewatch didn't give it away, this was just an excuse to gender swap some of their male characters so they could just draw them as sexy ladies. So what was the storyline reason for all of this? Well, the villainess Diabolique decided that she needed to get revenge on Wonder Woman rip-off Glory (and she is legitimately Wonder Woman with a name change and white hair, even her costume is the same, she's an Amazon as well and she has the same powers. But why this is will become clear shortly) and the male gender, so she cursed every man Glory had ever met so they would become women. Quite how this was meant to get revenge on Glory I'm not quite sure, maybe she wanted to make it harder for Glory to score on a night out? I think she thought that becoming women would somehow make them want to join her side, but that plan is about as water-tight as a pair of fishnets. Anyway, both of these characters were "created" (and I say that in the loosest possible terms, considering the scale of rip-off we're talking about) by Rob Liefeld, who I won't put any more of his art up than is nessescary because none of you deserve that. So, that should explain the terribleness of this whole debacle.
Anyway, the whole thing ends after a month with about as much plot development and resolution as one might expect from a 90's Image crossover. All it really served to do is to boost sales and the teenage boys who bought the comics for a month and prove that Image is above such things as credability and common-sense. It's also nice to note that at least Image aren't as sexist as once believed. They'll treat their male characters in just as sexist a fashion as their female characters, provided that said male characters are female at the time.
Oh, and Rob Liefeld can't art.
You know what is most amazing about this column? The fact that some of these storylines went of for over a year and you still have material for the column. You must have done what? 40? 50?
Both amazing, and just a little bit sad…
You know, sometimes I regret not getting in to Image. Then I see stuff like this, and I have no regrets!
@Worf- A bad storyline is still a bad storyline, no matter how long it lasted (see The Clone Saga, that lasted two whole years and that’s the principle reason for it being so terrible). Also, I haven’t done as many of these as you’d think. If you don’t count the ones I did back in 2013, it’s less than 30. If you do count the 2013 ones, it’s still around 35. I’ve barely scratched the surface.