October being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month — and if you weren’t aware, you are now — I thought it would be appropriate to devote one Comic Art Friday this month to my favorite “breast story” related to my art collection.
About five years ago, artist Geof Isherwood had this gorgeous pinup of Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch, posted for sale on eBay. I fell in love with the piece at first sight. There’s something magical about the expression Geof gave Wanda here that I found compelling — innocent yet wise, inviting yet inscrutable. Geof’s a master at lending his characters depth and humanity, and this depiction of one of my favorite heroes might be among the finest he’s ever drawn.
There was only one issue.
In the artwork as Geof originally drew it, he’d blessed Wanda with Power Girl-sized mammaries — what Otter in National Lampoon’s Animal House famously referred to as “major league yabbos” — barely restrained by an abbreviated bustier that left next to nothing to the imagination.
Impressive, no doubt. But…
I shot Geof an e-mail, commenting on how much I adored his latest creation. Alas, I told him, I was going to pass on putting in a bid, because Wanda’s prominently displayed endowments rendered it a trifle too risque for my collection. (My cardinal rule for evaluating female superheroine art for purchase: If I’d be reluctant to hang it where my daughter would walk past it, it’s not for me. My good friend, artist Bob Almond, thinks I’m a prude, but he loves me anyway.)
Geof, always one of the most accommodating artists I’ve ever commissioned, wrote back, “No problem — if you like it otherwise, buy it, and I’ll tweak the figure and the costume at no extra charge.”
So I did, and he did. Half a decade later, this spectacular item remains one of the true gems in my Scarlet Witch gallery.
The best part of this story is that Geof was comfortable enough with himself as an artist to make the suggested alteration. A lot of artists would simply have said, “Hey, this is how I drew it. Take it or leave it.” It wasn’t a commission, so Geof wasn’t under any obligation to change his original vision to suit my sensibilities. But he did it without complaint. I respected him even more than I did already after that. He really is a terrific guy, in addition to being an awesomely talented drawer of stuff.
Speaking of breasts (and we were)…
If you’ve got ’em, learn to examine them regularly for changes. Stay current on your mammograms, if you’re over 40. Whatever your age, open a frank, no-holds-barred dialogue with your physician about your risk factors for breast cancer.
If you don’t have ’em, half the people you know do. Encourage the women in your life to follow the above program. One in eight of those women will be a target for breast cancer at some point in her life.
Whether you have breasts or don’t, please consider making even a small donation to the breast cancer nonprofit of your choice. Every little bit helps in the fight. Let’s find a cure before we lose more of our wives, lovers, mothers, daughters, grandmothers, aunts, nieces, and friends.
Wanda and I thank you.
And that’s your Comic Art Friday.