Monday, November 13, 2006

Magical Vaginas

When I read this on another site:

"Why are there no magical vaginas or cosmic ray shooting asses. It's always from the hands or eyes."

... I realized that I almost never discuss comic book vaginas.


But let me try to answer the question anyway.

Our brains are highly focused on eyes and hands as its primary means of interacting with the world (this can be seen graphically in the well-known 'body self-perception' diagram, in which the head and hands are vastly out of proportion).

Our hands and eyes are the way we "reach out" to the world, which is why it's psychologically natural for writers to have characters channel their powers through them.

In fact, a case could be made that most characters who give with the zappy COULD do so from any part of their body in theory, but because their powers are "mentally activated" rather than autonomic, they naturally focus their energies through their eyes and hands because it's much easier for them to do so.

And, honestly, aren't you glad? Think of the costuming difficulties that would arise otherwise...

25 comments:

Not_Paladin said...

Nicely put.

Imagine how Havok's life would have been if his plasma came from his penis *grin*

Anonymous said...

Maybe that's why Polaris when crazy?

-Mindbender

Anonymous said...

Obviously, I meant "went" instead of "when". It must be more Monday than usual today...
-Mindbender

Tom Curry said...

Good points all, Scip, but don't forget the mouth. Well, the voice, anway.

We can’t manipulate the world as directly as we can with our mitts, but with a sound or series of sounds we can express emotion just as well as we can with a gaze or a stare.

Throw (a common) language into the mix, and we can manipulate our surroundings on a massive scale, and transmit incredibly complex images, thoughts and knowledge from the brain of one person directly into the brain of one or more other people, through the very air itself, as if by magic.

That said, I can't think of a character who zaps people in that amorphous "plasma-energy-bolt" kind of way from the mouth, most likely because comics are a visual medium, and no matter how silver/fiery/Kirby-dotted, any zappy energy leaving the mouth would inevitably look like magical vomit. Behold, the Spew Cosmic!

Though I've no doubt there's a Marvel mutant out there who can vomit crackly energy, with a name like: Chyme! Or Duodenemesis! Or something. Toad does his mucus thing, which, gross, but other than that…

No, the vocal-powered characters I can think of like Black Canary, Tyroc, Silver Banshee and Siryn have powers depicted as vibrations, not zappy energy. The canary cry is a series of conical rings.

I suppose this has to do with the fact that verbal communication and language (and music, which is how many characters with voice-powers work their mojo) arose well after we were glaring and shaking our fists at our fellow Homo habili.

So, eyes and hands, which express basic human emotions, get zappy energy, while the voice, which CAN express basic emotion but can also be used to attempt to hide or disavow those same emotions, gets the more abstract wavy-line treatment.

Matthew E said...

Fire, back when she was Green Fury, used to shoot her flames from her mouth. Scuzz of DP7 used to spit little white bombs. Then of course there's Superman's super-breath, and the Martian Manhunter's equivalent Martian breath.

Was there anybody who had some kind of energy-beam that emanated from a chestplate? Sort of Care-Bear-style?

Wildfire had the typical hand-based energy-blasts, but when he wanted to kick it up a notch he'd shoot it all out through his faceplate. Does that count as eyes or mouth or both or neither?

Scipio said...

"We can’t manipulate the world as directly as we can with our mitts, but with a sound or series of sounds we can express emotion just as well as we can with a gaze or a stare."

Our voices (like those of most animals) are primarily a means of communicating with one another. Don't forget all the "spellcasters"; Zatanna, for example, manipulates people and things with her mouth.

So to speak.

Chris Laffoon said...

Yes but as focused as people are on their privates then why wouldn't we have folks with mutated penises with minds of their own. Also, why wouldn't folks who can manipulate their size simply walk around with huge packages...I'm sure somebody is buying all those penis growth pills advertised on late night TV and through spam emails. People in the real-world are focused on sex and people in the comics seem to be almost completely devoid of sexuality.

Scipio said...

I just always assume they are pretty much having sex whenever they want, as long as they are drawn that way.

I figure we don't see their sex lives any more than we usually see them on the toilet, brushing their teeth, or having breakfast; those are all thing that "real people" can do. We tune in to see them do things we can't.

Marcos said...

Matthew E:
"Was there anybody who had some kind of energy-beam that emanated from a chestplate? Sort of Care-Bear-style?"


Metallo has occasionally been shown as able to shoot blasts of Kryptonite radiation from his heart, but he has to actually open up a little door to do it.

Iron Man has some sort of zappy thing from his chest-circle, but it's apparently different from the repulsor rays he shoots from his palms.

Of course, those are both mechanical examples. Can't think of any biological chest-zappiness offhand.

ostrakos said...

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R Greene said...

One of my favorite moments in the far underrated "The Pro" graphis novel depicts her being thrown through the side of a building when when, durinx sex with "Superman", he comes.

It's just a talent that takes to long to use, I guess.

And thanks for this post. It made me smile.

Scipio said...

And I always like making you smile, Rico...

Anonymous said...

Way back when, Marvel did the odd comedy issue of 'What If', with shorts and single panel drawings. One was' What if Cyclops beams came out of his ears'. He was shown with his ruby-quartz ear muffs and beams shooting out to either side. Well, it was only a panel and it made me laugh.

Anonymous said...

I can tell no one here ever read the Savage Dragon! There was a team of super-villains based more or less entirely on the um...less desirible body functions...

They were centered around "Dung" who shot feces out of his hands en masse..he was modelled after DJ Mancow in Chicago..but there was one charming fellow who exuded super-powerful flatulence and another who exuded super-potent mucus from his..eh....from himself. :-)

And then there was the characer Pee Wee Herman played in "Mystery Men" whose super power was to emit super flatulence...

Mike Condon said...

The Demon was able to breath fire.

I never really followed Genertion X, but they had a character named Chamber whose face and chest were crackling energy, so maybe he could shoot energy blasts.

In Extreme Justice both captain Atom and Major Force were able to shoot energy out of their chests. The chest bolts were more powerful than those from other body parts.

Hale of Angelthorne said...

Paging Howard Stern. Mr. Stern, please pick up the white courtesy phone...

"Starman" Matt Morrison said...

And of course there was the great moment in the Indie superhero classic "The Specials" where Amok (Jamie Kennedy) discussed the problems with being able to emit anti-matter energy and trying to control your powers while in "the marital act".

'Next thing you know, you're ****ing a chick with no ***. Should have just stayed home.'

Sleestak said...

In the explanation of Dazzler's powers, the OHotMU states that she can project light from any area o fher skin.

So there you go. In a MAX title the shapely Dazzler's "headlights" would not be a euphimism.

Accursed Interloper said...

>>I'm sure somebody is buying all those penis growth pills advertised on late night TV and through spam emails. <<

Ah, sorry, that's been me. And I do mean ALL of them, which is why nobody else has been able to get any lately. Any of the pills, I mean. But never mind that, I thought I had something pretty gross to say about Spider-Man and abdominal emanations, but looking over the comments so far, it's probably just not gross enough, so never mind about that, either. I got nothin'.

Timothy Liebe said...

What about Gô Nagai's KEKKO KAMEN managa? Doesn't she shoot power beams out of her vagina...?

Best,
Tim Liebe
Dreaded Spouse-Creature of Tamora Pierce - and co-author of Marvel's WHITE TIGER comic - out 11-15-06

Anonymous said...

I always thought it interesting that say in the X-men movies, Jean Grey would always be gesturing, using her hands expressively, when using her powers- lift that plane! - clearly it's meant to be expressive to the viewers that she's doing something..it's a theatrical, visual device, even tho logically she'd have no need to..it just looks better.

Anonymous said...

I think I remember hearing about Gambit charging something by sitting on it?

Again, telekinesis=moves w/mind therefore eyes. Granted, she could do it without looking, but it'd be harder to control.

Also, it'd be kind of annoying/disadvantageous in a fight.

coldqueen said...

*random comment*

Does that mean that if a whore was to suddenly become super-powered, her main means of interacting with the world would become radioactive or shoot things (as in rainmaker?)?

If so, that would suck for her patrons.

(On another point, many superheroes are in fact sex addicts, man-whores, or your general promiscuous girl. Why doesn't it affect them?)

Sinister said...

Desaad decided in Superfriends he needed a "chest-ray" armor plating to press a button. Thats right. He only used the ray to press a damn button.

Caleb said...

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