Panel 1: For the record, my preference for drawing open-toed, sandal-style high-heeled shoes like this isn’t a “foot fetish” issue so much as a “only kind of heel I can draw even half-decently” issue. For some reason, I just can’t draw close-toed high heels worth a crap. Even when I try working from photoreference, the results still look wonky as hell to my eye, to the point that it seems to me as if I’m drawing those absurdly long-toed “Crakow” shoes from the 15th century. I just cannot seem to depict the elongated toe boxes of some types of high heels, at least in a manner that doesn’t strike me as appearing just plain goofy.
I have a vivid recollection of a friend of mine telling me about some business-related classes she attended back in the late 80s, in which the topic of proper office attire for women was addressed. To my amazement at the time, she mentioned that one of her courses was very, very insistent over the point that women should not display—wait for it!—“toe cleavage” in their choice of footwear. “Toe cleavage”? Seriously? (Apparently, actual foot fetishists were teaching business courses in the late 80s.)
Panel 5: Wellp, I absolutely tanked Emp’s figure drawing in this shot. Gotta say that I still like the idea of this pose, but the execution was tragically flawed. Emp’s torso isn’t working out, her lower legs are far too long, her seemingly nonexistent neck is direly problematic, and so on. Oh, well.
I find myself charmed by how comically disingenuous Emp’s first line in this panel is—“I’m not fishing for compliments, I swear…!” Let there be no doubt, she is absolutely fishing for compliments, if not “grenade-fishing for compliments,” as a later story puts it.
As discussed in the earlier Empowered vol. 2 story “Schrödinger’s Catgirl,” the idea here is that Emp isn’t completely unaware of her own hotness—or “hawtness,” if you prefer—but this is a self-perception ordinarily blotted out and overridden by her yammering host of self-doubts. Occasionally, the oppressive cloud cover of Emp’s insecurities and body-image issues will part long enough for the blazing sunshine of her awareness of her own attractiveness to beam through, as in this scene. Ah, but in a later story, Thugboy speculates that an Emp unencumbered by doubts and wholly cognizant of her own hawtness would be an alarming if not possibly terrifying concept. As in, “Now, witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational battle station—I mean, this fully armed and operational Emp.”