Every now and again you come across an artistic Freudian slip that brings previously obscured motivations and interpretations to light, in such a way as to make it impossible to ever quite look at the same stories with the same characters in the same way again. Sometimes the motives of creative people can be a mystery to themselves - look at Stephen King, who supposedly didn't see the unflattering autobiographical parallels in The Shining until many years after the book had already been written and printed. In the case of recent DC comics, or as I like to call them, "These People Really Need To See An Analyst", it seems that a recent image has laid the unflattering preoccupations of an entire generation of creators on display. To wit:
Look at this picture. This is an "iconic" image from the recent Identity Crisis series, the first major step in the current "middle age crisis" mode of superhero books that the company has been producing. Look at how the work is designed. Look at the way the image draws your eyes in. What's the focal point? What do all elements of the design lead, inexplicably but inexorably, towards?
Look at it again if you don't believe me.
Green Arrow and Zatanna are both absorbed in rapturous contemplation. The Atom, small man as he is, looks positively afraid. Wonder Woman looks as if she would like to remain unconcerned, but is drawn in despite herself. The Flash looks surprisingly aroused - even his little wings are extra... perky. To no one's surprise, however, the two masters of sublimated S&M violence, Batman and Hawkman, are quite curious about the mysterious gravity that Superman's crotch seems to exert over everyone in this picture.
So what does this mean? Does it mean that years of reading superhero comics has warped the brains of certain people to the point where everywhere they go, all they can think of is superhero sex? Have they been conditioned by decades of Power Girl's cleavage and Wildcat's unbridled masculinity in such a way that their arrested adolescent sex drives can only conceive of superheroes except in veiled sexual innuendo?
These questions are bigger than any one man. But look back at the last couple years' of DC comics and tell me the sublimated sexualized conflict hasn't reached shocking levels. After everything is said and done, all this can only be leading to one thing: the world's greatest superhero orgy. This is my prediction for Infinite Crisis #7. You heard it here first.