I’m sure you’ve seen a number of blog posts critiquing Jim Lee’s work, and highlighting the similarity in these two works. Left is from “From Tomorrow” Right Justice League #12
To be honest I think their criticism is largely bogus.
In art two people intimate / kissing look like two people together, in that is there are only so many ways you can arrange heads and limbs, there is language in how people stand and interact that is universal. Just as in art there are classic ways of framing a picture.
That said Lee did choose to use the same overall structure. ie Superman on the right, and right to left rising diagonal for the figures. For this reason he’s accused of self plagiarism, or at least being unimaginative.
While I accept at first glance the overall position of the figures are the same, I think more is going on. Jim acknowledged there are similarities in these pictures in this video - as he was drawing this cover - thus we know that this choice was deliberate, and suggests we should look at the differences, as these must be intentional.
So what is Jim saying.
First look at From Tomorrow: Aside from the lack of a kiss, the position of hands and legs tells us Lois is holding onto Superman, while being supported / suspended by him. She is the passive player, even without the context of the strip we can see both motion and surprise, shock registered in her face, her passivity is further emphasised by the loss of her shoe.
In the second JL#12 image Diana by contrast is clearly self supporting, Superman’s hands are placed in a natural embrace, so not carrying her weight. She in turn holds him likewise, not self supporting but equal. Her leg moves higher, their bodies are much closer emphasizing the greater intimacy of the kiss, while reaffirming she is not hanging from Superman, but pressing herself to him, there is a sense of suspension of time and movement. Lastly she binds Superman to her in her lasso of truth which reinforces the legitimacy of the embrace. [ vs say the cover of Wonder Woman #12, which proves not all kisses are made equal]
Truth be told, some time ago, when I first saw an image out of context from “For Tomorrow” I simply saw a dark haired woman wearing a Greek Chiton, with a golden girdle, seated Queen-like next to Kal, and I thought oh that’s Diana.
Only it’s Lois Lane, and I now know I’m not alone in wondering why stylistically Jim Lee drew Lois so like a the definitive Amazon in this series.
So for me the question was never about the similarity between Lois of From Tomorrow and Diana in Justice League #12, but why did Jim choose to give Lois of From Tomorrow the look of the Amazon Princess in the first place?
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