I do appreciate comments, partly because i'm a vainglorious and self-absorbed artist who measures his worth by the words of others (i hope that's only partly true) but also because every once and then you get a good piece of insightful criticism (see almost every comment given by my good friend
) or a statement that makes you think even when you had no intention to a moment ago.
in my latest submission, [link]
made a nifty observation:
"One of the things I've wondered about Gogo Bomango, is that much of her charm stems from the fact that she is an attractive female. If she were a six foot tall, blonde, muscular surfer dude, would she (well, he in this case) be as adored of a character, or would he just be really weird?"
Interesting indeed, no? Speaking of the character itself, i've made allusions to bad hygiene, recklessness, social detachment, violence, stunted emotions, and the odd body mutation, but the truth of the matter is you can get away with lots of quirks and flaws when, at the end of the day, the character itself is a (generally) good-lookin woman.
More than that, a character who exists on various levels except
reality is easier to embrace. In reality, attractive women can still get away with an awful lot, but their flaws become more of an obstacle. If we remove Gogo from the confines of comics and pictures and the spaces in between and make her real for the sake of argument, a few of her aforementioned deficiencies are a bit harder to get over (people who don't bathe tend to make themselves known in a hurry).But even with those flaws, there's still the benefit of the doubt. A lot of Hollywood starlets are an ongoing train wreck while a lot of attention remains focused on them because, like it or not, they are (or were, in some cases) beautiful people.
In illustrations and comics, there's even less tangible qualities to get in the way of the pretty folks. I would venture to guess that's why the human ideal is so often at the forefront in mainstream comics. Other qualities that shape a character, make them more or less appealing, are almost ornamental in the face of their appearance. They're almost an afterthought.
If Gogo (or any number of characters, but we'll stick with her cuz i know her best, hehe) were shorter, or fatter, or just didn't have what most perceive to be good looks, how much of the character falls apart? Do the character's antics continue to be entertaining? Do we look forward to seeing the character at all? Certainly you could still find an audience. Not being beautiful doesn't completely destroy appeal, but it would change things. How it would change is harder to nail down. I don't know if i'm brave enough to try *snicker*.
Further along Karnagoz's comment, i think if the character were instead a big, well-muscled surfer guy, the dynamic indeed changes, but in a different way. I'm certain there's a well-established comic audience for musclebound guys, and they can get away with being handsome, rugged, and borderline ugly (although the stereotypical fat comic nerd might not be as appealing) but there's a bit of an apples and oranges thing going on there.
This is only one arm of an argument that could go on forever, but food for thought on a Sunday morning when i SHOULD be finishing more comic pages, hehe...