When the male audience sees a comic book figure of a woman, how well realized the face is drawn, such that the viewer, seeing her picture would recognize what individual personality she was transfigured by and for whom and whatnot, and how feared or loved she might be by mankind, might be an accurate guide to the art of said comic, and also a credit to the character of any woman.
A symbolist interpretation of a woman’s face and features can reveal details about character such as those that surmise emotions and drives of the male audience. I think the goal of the art of a comic book, as well as that of the writing, is to elevate the character of a woman above that of a graphic depiction of her drives and emotions, to an appreciation of her role and status in the civilization being depicted in the work.
How to interpret cartoon pictures of women, is to invite contrast with the other arts. Seeing women how the church sees them, and how feminists see them, regarding not beauty, drive, or emotion, but truth and substantial character involvement in a role that is not determined by such things as the qualities of her beauty, her emotions and drives. Instead a woman’s role in a comic should be defined by such things as her character development in terms of personality types and traits, her role within the drama, the extent to the depth that her substantial role is crucial to plot development, and not as an adornment or ornament to a male role.
The strong female protagonist gives a predominantly male audience a likable reason to buy the book, but not a really valid reason to read comics as literature for a purpose that is moral and has lasting conceptual and moral merit aside from its visual spectacle of world-building, scenery, costume, and backdrop.
Is the character of women in morality similar to or different from the figure of a woman as a personality with conceptual and moral merit? Is there a rationale for a woman’s “look?” Or is there a merit to drawing logic of the form and aesthetic of images that show not exact depictions, or photo-real impressions, or even surreal or abstract caricatures? What guides do women give the artist in terms of aesthetic philosophy regarding the woman in artistic works?
Women might be satisfied with a less than depictive strategy, citing references such as the Islamic ban on representations of people in the artwork, or the Bible’s references to the commandment prohibiting graven images. Can a woman’s image be other than a graven image then, or other than an abstract shape that only signifies the mathematical beauty of the color and pattern used, not the real or the figurative aspects of who women are perceived by men to be, transfigured as they are, mostly through the use of graphic depictions that show men that women are only objects of lust?
My rule of thumb is, if God is displeased with the depiction of a woman in a comic book or work of art, then it is for a logical reason. And my thesis then depends upon the fact that the Catholic and Protestant churches, do in fact have sacred depictions of women. Then, the question of whether any depiction of a woman’s figure is absolutely a graven image is possibly already decided by our traditions and historical precedent. And for another example, there is the example of the obvious hypocrisy of watching movies and loathing anything else, especially material that one finds objectionable because of the culture of admirers or fans surrounding its production and display, such as is evident at comic book conventions, swirling with people of questionable interests in the promotion and sales of such works.
So if a comic book woman is drawn crudely, in a lewd or suggestive manner, and this reflects poorly upon women, or upon the creators of the work in question, perhaps it should not be proscribed against by the whole community against the whole medium and all creators of all works. This would be issuing a blanket statement, an over-generalization, and a grave injustice to the maturity of some who might be questioned instead of other merits to their works, such as their private views on women, or how the women are treated in their works, than as an example of what men should be imitating, as acting out their fantasy prone, and yet, unavoidable biological drives, instincts, and emotions.