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Elliott Serrano Presents:

Y’know…sometimes you’ve just gotta say ‘what the frak.’

It all started last issue with last issue’s Rogue Element that dealt with women in comics. Now, I will go on record and say that I do sympathize with fangirls who read comics and get frustrated with how the female form is depicted, in somewhat unrealistic proportions. Yeah, it’s an image that’s rather impossible to live up to, and really, girls shouldn’t be expected to.

But guess what: guys don’t have it all that easy y’know.

Just this past week, I came across two articles in local papers that told about how guys now have to deal with body image issues. The first article was about the rise of the ‘waif look’ among male models. With male fashion now being about straight lines and slim-fitting jeans, the guys who wear the clothing for the magazines and catalogues are going all Kate Moss now. If you’re 5’ 9” and over 150 lbs, you’re a fatty.

What the frak!?

The second article was about the sudden craze surrounding male girdles called ‘mirdels.’ (Remember that episode of Seinfeld where Kramer and George’s dad invent the man-bra, the ‘Bro’?) This new trend has guys who are getting self-conscious about their flabby midriffs wearing spandex wraps to firm them up. Call ‘em compressions shorts if you want…they’re GIRDLES.

What the frak!?

Then again, should anyone really be surprised? For all the undue influence women have placed upon them and their physical appearance in the media, guys have been getting their fair share as well.

My first instance of self-image dissatisfaction came from reading the old Charles Atlas ads in my favorite comics. ‘HEY SKINNY!‘ The ads would shout. Yeah, in my teens I was pretty thin – waifish in fact – male model material today but damn if the timing never works out for me. Something told me that even if I ‘gambled a stamp’ and got the ‘free book’, I wasn’t going to become the muscular behemoth that men feared and women swooned over. As the years took their toll on my metabolism and my physique, my waistband expanded while my self-image plummeted.

It doesn’t help to have Josh Holloway, AKA Sawyer on Lost, showing off his six-pack abs every week. It’ll be a cold day in Hades when I’ve got a six pack – hell I’d be lucky to get down to a 12-pack from the keg I carry each day.

And it doesn’t help that the guys we used to be able to count on to keep up appearances for the rest of us flabby fanboys – the comic pros – have now started to get all buff. Take a look at Joe Quesada, Marvel Comics EIC, if you don’t believe me. There was once a time when it looked like Cup O’ Joe liked donuts with his coffee in the AM. Now the guy has shed the pounds, put on some muscle and looks more like The Punisher than Comic Book Guy.

What the frak!?!

Well, at least we still have Peter David.


So while fangirls have all my sympathies when it comes to how they feel pressured to look a certain way by the images they get bombarded with in comics, magazines and in television, I just gotta say: girls…I feel ya’ cause I’ve been there myself. And if it turns out to be too much to bear, you can always say:


E. Ruben Serrano is a writer/columnist/graphic artist who just came to terms with his self-image. He had to after watching a whole bunch of video footage of himself in his CWR TV interview with Art Baltazar and on the new Comic Culture Warrior You Tube Channel. Now, he’s not saying he likes it, he’s just learned to accept it, like the uncle in your family that drinks too much at family get-togethers and tries to get you to drive him around and look for hookers. What the frak?

E.R. Serrano

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