Panel 3: The manga visual trope of “crossed, popping veins on the forehead” to express anger still cracks me up, particularly when applied in an—ahem—“impossible” context, such as on Spooky’s mask here. Aww, what, izzat too “cartoony” for ya, wussies? I’m always entertained by harrumphing, flustered geeks who demand that their wildly, blatantly detached-from-reality fantasy media feign a sense of supposed “realism” and affect a pretense of being vewwy, vewwy serious. Thus, a frequent old-school geek complaint circa the 90s was bitching about certain artists—or entire creative fields, as in manga—as being “too cartoony,” and unsuitable for the grim’n’ grittiness of real, serious comics work. Ah, but what always cracked me up about such posturing was that one of the founding, oft-cited works of supposed grim ’n’ grittiness back then was Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns—which was drawn in a vehemently “cartoony” and—ahem—“unrealistic” art style. Gasp! (Plus, Dark Knight was actually at times funny as hell, which is quite a difference from the dour, humorless, direly solemn and frowningly pretentious imitations that it inspired, which still dominate the scene decades later.)
Panel 3: Well, a posting “sexy superchica pix” on a blog as opposed to social media was a rather more viable approach a decade ago. Then again, heaven forfend I’d mentioned a then-popular form of social media, which might well have aged even worse; MySpace, anyone? Nowadays the equivalent of a YouTube channel seems the most likely, but such a thing wasn’t commonplace back then. More recent Empowered volumes have mentioned in passing the existence of “suprasocial media,” but haven’t gone into much detail about the precise workings of such matters.