Pretend heroes, real women.

But men are idealized too!

I swear if I hear that one more time, I am going to scream. Male heroes and villains in mainstream comics should have taut, muscular bodies because they perform feats of athletic strength on a daily basis. And female heroines and villains should have taut, muscular bodies too. After all, don’t they chase down bad guys and bench press buses just like their male peers? So why do I see so many heroines who lack muscle tone when compared to their male counterparts? Why do so many artists believe that a large chest on a woman is more important than visible biceps? Trust me, a large chest has never helped a woman win a fight or lift heavy machinery.

If you are using an emaciated actress or socialite as a reference when drawing a superheroine, please stop. If you are using a porn star with disproportionately large breasts as a reference when drawing a villainess, please stop. So, what kind of women should you be searching for? Search for fitness competitors such as Monica Brant, Jelena Djordjevic, Lisa Ray, Casandra Madero, Mocha Lee, and Sonia Adcock. Google these women. Take a look at their accomplishments and the wonderful goals they have been able to reach with their physiques. These are regular women in the bodies of superheroes.

I’d like to add that I know it must be difficult for artists to find images of strong, sexy women who aren’t in poses that are designed solely to titillate straight male readers. Sure, an artist can use a photo reference of a strong, athletic woman; however, if she’s pulling off her bikini top, what would be the point? A capable hero should have a powerful stance, right? If you cannot afford to have models pose for you, I suggest picking up a fitness magazine such as Oxygen. There you can find pictures of strong women performing feats of strength. The women in the magazine, though beautiful, are generally not in solely sexual or flirtatious poses.

I’d also like for any artists to note that the women listed here have very different bodies. Some artists tend to give all of their female characters one generic body type. A body should vary depending on the character’s activities. Is she a powerhouse? A graceful ninja? A teenage novice? Think about the impact that would have on a woman’s frame!