Welcome to Cover Girls. Each month, we gather a team of WWAC contributors to analyze a new and notable comic book cover featuring one or more women. This month, Claire, Nola, Mel, Louis, and Wendy share their thoughts on the cover of Daredevil #16 by Julian Tedesco for Marvel Comics.
What is your initial reaction to this cover as a piece of comics art?
Wendy Browne: I love it. The composition is so strong and, while the focus is obviously on the couple and their weapons, laid out within easy reach, but I can’t take my eyes off of the background imagery with the swirling vines and fading throwing stars. Then there are the slices across the page, more prominent in the bottom. A naked, post-battle Daredevil often shows off several battle scars but here, the violence cuts through the page itself. I’m also so in love with the colour. It’s not the colour I’d choose first for a sensual interlude, but, along with the pattern, it gives a sense of heat to contrast the cool sheets.
Louis Skye: I like this aesthetic. It’s kinda retro in its colourization–not too bold, but quite pared back, and orange is something we don’t often see in modern comics (don’t know why, it’s a great colour!). I get this pop art feel from the colours as well, if not from the actual design. Daredevil looks a bit too beefy, for my taste, and the beard is giving me Wolverine vibes, but for the most part, this is the kind of slick comic cover that would make me do a double-take.
Nola Pfau: Delightful.
Claire Napier: This is extremely good, as a piece in itself and in the context of “sexy (superhero) comic book covers.” As I pointed out, in the honoured tradition “drawing on some lines,” the composition is incredible when compared to the average: beautifully framed masculine sensitivity, delightfully balanced salettile focus areas. The lines, the sizing, the geometry! The soft little leeeeeeps~ It’s an obvious scene of sexuality without any cheap or exploitative anatomical cues… it acknowledges the violence in this relationship in a perfectly soft image! Elektra’s active (not aggressive!), Daredevil’s passive (not subdued!), but together and in context they’re engaged in mutual canoodling. It’s just great. A non-upsetting horny male superhero cover. It can be done.
A bed scene that’s all about THAT SHOULDER! Subsequent focus areas that emphasise closeness and poise! Superb~ pic.twitter.com/muSBiWiYFL
— Clownhunter (@illusClaire) December 13, 2019
Mel Perez: I think it’s beautiful. These two deadly warriors caught in a moment surrounded by snowy white sheets. It would be almost soft with it’s more painted style and the lack of bruises and cuts if not for the prominence of the weapons. Even the background contains the beauty of swirling flowers contrasted with fighting stars. I really love it.
What do you think the artist is trying to achieve?
Wendy: There’s a lot of tension, electricity, and danger in this image. It is very good.
Louis: There be sexy times ahead! Or, these are already sexy times that we are somehow privy to. I definitely get the sense that these two aren’t your garden-variety lovers–there’s an element of enmity involved. There is a clear sword in the frame, after all. Is this a regular meeting between these lovers or a one-off event before the frenemies battle each other? I now want to read the book to find out.
Nola: More than just the immediacy of the moment, it’s a cover meant to convey the passion that exists between the characters. Everyone knows who Daredevil and Elektra are these days, everyone knows about the tempestuous nature of their relationship. To see them together like this isn’t just meant to be an intimate moment, it’s the kind of thing their friends would roll their eyes at and say “Here we go again…”
Claire: The fact that Matt Murdock, a man who does not use his eyes to see, is blindfolded in this sexual situation is so… subtle? Like—Daredevil has a mask that covers his eyes. So this is not an unusual way to see Daredevil, you know? It’s not egregious sexualisation. It’s not “why did they put that on the COVER?” stuff. But it is definitely an element that ups the sexual nature—maybe because it’s implicitly kinky (because it’s an in-bed blindfold) while also implicitly non-kinky (because he doesn’t use his eyes to see—no sense is being reduced here, it’s not actually a kink scene, unless you count the swords, which I probably don’t with these characters), and maybe because it’s “actually” his superhero mask, for that (ugh, I know, but—) “We keep the masks on. It’s better that way” All-Star Batman-style identity-based titillation. Nite Owl needing to dress up to get it up. All those old hur-hur thoughts, but nice. It’s just another way that the line (you know… the line) is being walked so well here. So rarely! So well.
Mel: I think the artist was trying to show the relationship of love and violence that follows these characters and how there’s a kind of beauty in that. There’s an urgent feeling to this. Costumes still half on and weapons still out. It’s as if they couldn’t wait one more minute.
Is it sexy?
Wendy: The Big 2 seems to have forgotten how to be sensual, confusing sex and sexy with sexualization these days. This is a tastefully mature cover that oozes sex appeal, sensuality, and desire. I want to know more about this relationship and I am rooting for them to succeed as a couple, but I’m pretty sure that Matt is going to find his bed empty in the morning.
Louis: It’s more sensual than sexy, despite the obvious sexual coding of the bed and the nude states of the characters. There’s also a rapport shared between the characters, that we can observe from their laidback stance in bed, and it comes off as two people who are comfortable with each other–because they’ve known each other for so long. That kind of comfort could have been made to look sexy, but that’s not what this cover achieves. I don’t think the cover is aiming for that look either, so in that sense, it’s accomplished its goal of looking sensual.
Claire: The painty texture is like “HEY! HEY! THINK ABOUT TOUCHING SKIN!” Is that sexy?? I don’t knowwwwwww….. Mayybeeeeeeeeee
Mel: I agree that it’s more sensual than sexy. We’re getting a peak into the connection between these two characters but it isn’t salacious.
Daredevil #16 is available in stores now.