Grrl Power

Sketch Fury Challenge No. 11: Batgirl vs Ms Marvel

About the Challenge

Before I introduce this next sketch challenge, I thought I would take the opportunity to use this platform to speak to all you wonderful artists out there about a subject that has really struck a chord with me. So hear me out, if you will …

The world is ripe for change. There is so much going on in the world right now — from the WHO trying to contain the Ebola virus to the crISIS in the Middle East — it’s actually quite a terrifying time to be living in this world.

Despite this, there are actually a few things that we humans can do to make life on this earth more bearable. Taking care of our planet is one way that we, as a species inhabiting this world, can ensure environmental changes. Allowing basic human rights, like the choice to marry whomever an individual wants, is absolutely another way we can impact harmony and peace among all individuals inhabiting this globe.

Over the past few years, it seems like one particular movement has been gaining momentum around the world. Don’t get me wrong … as a female growing up in the US, I have always been aware of the concept of feminism; however, it was never clearly defined for me until after graduating from university.

Like many women, I had originally thought that the definition of feminism was all about hating men. Unfortunately, that is still happening to many young women today. This was very evident when the Twitterverse exploded with the #WomenAgainstFeminism campaign last May. Celebrities, including Divergent actor, Shailene Woodley (who, ironically plays the strongly feminist protagonist, Beatrice Pryor) and (sadly) Kelly Clarkson have only reinforced young women’s perception of what feminism really is.

So, for once and for all, this is how Merriam-Webster defines feminism:

The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes

And seriously, if you want to hear an incredible speech of why feminism is important to every human being, please please watch or read Emma Watson’s game-changing speech introducing the United Nations new campaign for gender equality, HeForShe.

So what does this have to do with comics and superheroes? Well, I could go on and on about how I believe there should be more female comic book artists in the mainstream; however, what I really wish would happen is that there be more emphasis on the strength of a super heroine or super villianess rather than their physical looks. Now I’m not saying that female characters in comics shouldn’t be stunningly beautiful (realistically, that does add to the mysticism of fictional characters). But honestly? As a woman, I find it highly impossible for a woman to dress in spandex, be extremely top- and bottom-heavy and still be able to kick some serious butt.

And really, what kind of example does this give female comic book readers — especially those young girls out there — when it comes to looking for other females (fictional or not) to look up to? It’s bad enough that society and pop culture constantly bombard impressionable young women with these ideal-but-highly-unrealistic images of what a woman should be.

Regardless, there is something that Marvel and DC are doing that I believe is a great service to female comic book readers everywhere. Over the past few years, these comic book publishers have been releasing more and more titles with female leads. While Marvel currently holds the record for the most female titles, DC holds the record for female titles written and artistically-created by women. This is definitely a good thing, as I sense that these two highly successful comic book publishers are finally understanding that a large portion of their audience are not just young randy boys, but also passionately-engaged young girls.

So okay, off my soapbox and onto the sketch challenge.

This time around, I would like to commission drawings of two young-but-strong female comic book heroines.

The first character of choice is Batgirl. But not just any Batgirl … I want the New 52 Barbara Gordon Batgirl in her brand-spankin’-new 2014 Batgirl costume & attitude from the newly-released Batgirl #35. (Geez, can I get more specific?) I like the fact that they re-imagined her as a younger Barbara Gordon and gave her the opportunity to explore life outside of Gotham City. I like that she’ll be trying to find herself and her place in the world outside of the entire Bat-family. And, let’s face it … I just want to see some kick-a** bright yellow Doc Martens, as well!

My second choice is the newest Ms. Marvel … as in the young, Kamala Khan version of Ms. Marvel. There are many things I like about her character, but I have to admit that the one thing that intrigues me is the struggles Kamela deals with in having a dual-identity. I’m not just talking about the conflict she encounters as she balances life as a teenager and a super heroine, either. As a first generation Asian-American, I am completely enthralled in how Kamela strives to find herself amongst her Muslim upbringing, the way the rest of the world sees her, and the way that she wants to be seen. That story hits way to close to home … and I absolutely love it!

Just to emphasize, there is a Commissioner Proviso to this sketch challenge. Both super heroines must be drawn in the latest version of their respective characters; in their respective new costumes. So yeah … since these are both rather young female characters, this does limit the amount of upper body exposure, if you get my drift!

As a reminder to all — and to point out the changes in the Sketch Fury rules — final submissions for this sketch challenge are not due until two weeks from today, at 9 am on October 24th. This gives you at least a week to research the subject and more time to sketch!




Batgirl or Ms. Marvel.

Must be drawn in the latest costume design of the character.

9:00am Friday, October 24, 2014.

Sketch Fury Drawing Challenge



Sketch Fury


%d bloggers like this: