Wellp, that’s it for the fun and frolicsome “Schrödinger’s Catgirl,” folks. Next time, we forge onwards into the Empowered vol. 2 chapter “The Aryan Ideal of Shoulder Candy,” a rather more, ah, complicated story. I’ve occasionally used the buzzword “problematic” a tad archly in these commentaries, but I can tell you in all earnestness that “Shoulder Candy” is direly frickin’ problematic, representing some notably misguided storytelling choices on the part of 2006-ish Me. (And, as we’ll see, the story’s earlier draft used to be even more problematic still.) Note that we’ve gone about 50-odd pages so far—no, maybe more like 150-odd pages, counting vol. 1—without poor Emp being subjected to embarrassing “damsel in distress” scenarios; that happy condition for our heroine, I’m afraid, is about to take a change for the worse.
Panel 2: Yikes! Some tragically flawed drawing in this one, folks. Poor Emp is plagued by a slight variation of the ol’ Mysteriously Intermittent Post-Millennial Torso Glitch, in that her serpentine midsection and upper torso are both too long and waaaaay too skinny, even taking into account my modern-day preference for drawing a softer, fuller-figured version of Emp. Thugboy doesn’t get off scot-free, either—and, tangential side note, did you etymology geeks know about the fascinating Scandinavian origins of the term “scot free?” I certainly didn’t, until just now.
Anyway, as I was saying, Thugboy didn’t escape the artistic bungling either, given the sheer wonkiness of his oversized left hand and its ill-proportioned—and ill-posed—fingers. Hands are already tough enough to draw, but the challenge ramps up considerably when you have to draw fingers grabbing soft flesh. You not only have to work out a proper and aesthetically pleasing splaying of the fingers—as I did not, here—but then you also have to figure out a means of showing how the fingertips press into the flesh they’re squeezing, which can be remarkably difficult. I remember an artist friend of mine, in the midst of drawing some rather graphic yaoi work, complaining bitterly about this very topic along these lines: “I can’t believe my g-d sex scene’s being ruined by the fact that I can’t draw ‘grabby hands’ to save my life!” (For the record, after a year or two of further practice, her “grabby hands” became more than adequate. Er, perhaps I should clarify, the grabby hands she drew became more than adequate.)
I definitely didn’t measure out figure proportions in this panel, as I can see that, as measured from the bottom of the pelvis up, Thugboy’s torso and head are at least a foot taller than Emp’s already elongated upper half. Add in his longer legs, and this panel’s version of Thugboy would be comparatively gigantic in relation to Emp, especially if she were drawn without the Torso Glitch in effect. When drawing single figures, one might be able to get away with “eyeballing” figure proportions—that is, without ruling them out ahead of time. Ah, but real trouble usually arises when you have to draw two or more figures of different sizes and relative proportions in close proximity; that’s when you really need to work out proper figure ratios for each interacting character, lest you stumble headlong into minor artistic tragedy as I did here.