Part of me wants to believe the painstakingly detailed shots of male genitalia — shown from the front and from the rear (and slightly below) — in War Heroes #2 serve as some kind of statement on the double standard applied in popular entertainment to the depiction of the nude form. Women are frequently shown completely naked, while men rarely are.
But the more cynical part of me realizes they’re probably designed to draw an “OMG! WTF! Wang!” response from a (somewhat) shocked readership unaccustomed to seeing a penis and scrotum looming large in its comics.
If that wasn’t the intent of writer Mark Millar and artist Tony Harris, it seems to be the result — at least if the War Heroes #2 thread at Millarworld is any indication: More than half of the comments focus on the genitalia in question, and not all of them favorably.
“I kind of thought it was unnecessary, and by being so blatant it actually undercut the comedy of the scene, for me,” forum member Dave Wallace writes. “Imagine the same sequence, but shot from behind the guy who has had his pants burned off (with his bare cheeks in the foreground, and the shocked faces of the new recruits in the background). I think it’d be funnier – but wouldn’t be as shocking, and probably wouldn’t get the book talked about as much.”
Bruno dubbed it “a Millarism”: “… LOOK, BIG PENIS IN MY BOOK! LOOK WHAT I CAN GET AWAY WITH!!! PENIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIS! It was completely unnecessary.”
But Richard Brunelle III didn’t understand what the fuss was about.
“Everyone at my shop kept freaking out about it,” he wrote.”Yup, it’s a dick, it’s a chuckle moment, let’s move on.
However, my favorite comment to date comes in the form of Chris Sims’ not-so-subtle review of the issue.
On a related note, somebody at Scans Daily is asleep at the wheel. I had to scour the Internet for shots from the book.