Mini-Post: I Can’t Quite Grasp It

While I was on my forced sabbatical (due to my desktop needing to in for repairs), I still had some internet via my old broken laptop. One of the frontpage posts on World of Warcraft was showcasing some of their TCG art over the years. The first card in the series as well as the header for the post was this:

Trading card game art of night elf woman in skimpy armor fighting off vines.

Art by John Bolidora, ©Blizzard Entertainment

Anyone else see some really weird, glaring issues with this? Not only is it a more skimpy version of the vanilla box art, but the fact is the vines are like three seconds away from turning into some gross porn scene. There’s even a tendril wrapped lovingly around her barely-supported boobs. C’mon now. There’s nothing about this that suggests that she’s struggling either, but is placidly confused, vapidly so. She looks like she just wandered into this mess of vines and is now slightly befuddled by this. She looks like a posed mannequin, rather than a warrior wanting to charge out of this trap. Her face is also nearly devoid of any emotion, other than a slight lip snarl.

This is apparently the “Immobilize” card from the Drums of War set. The art itself is from 2008, the set came out roughly around that time as well. And yet it’s just turning up on the front page now because they are featuring all the art of the trading card games and it has been around a long time. I was merely going to pass by this without much complaining because it’s tiring attacking every single piece of shitty fantasy art that does this but I happened to see cards from the new decks that my boyfriend purchased at Target:

An orc trapped in thick woody vines, lifting him off the ground.

Art by Christopher Mueller, ©Blizzard Entertainment

This is art of quite a different order. Granted, the orc is wearing about as much armor as the elf but it isn’t sexualized in the same way. He also looks actively upset and the vines are trying to wrestle his weapon away from him. Nothing about the trap suggests the same level of sexual powerlessness and his body isn’t being manipulated in that way either. He’s a strong orc being caught off guard by a trap! It’s pretty basic to see the level of difference between the two.

It might be a more contemporary piece of art, or at least better art direction with this series, but the fact that people at Blizzard are still wishing to highlight the older, more gross art from the trading card game front and center makes me believe that no one feels that the elf up there is problematic. There’s been several other times art from fans (Dragon vore *NSFW* or “Loyalty Level Six” comes to mind) or official artists have gone up on the front page that no one seemed to look over before okaying, and this feels like more of the same, except this was licensed and pushed to their card game.

Sigh.

One Response

  1. I will admit, I haven’t played the WoW TCG but, I have played Magic for quite awhile. (Since it launched in 93, and now I feel old) and I quite remember things like this http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=1288
    that got it banned from my high school during my senior year.

    Or a piece a friend sent me on the art of Innistrad, http://www.gatheringmagic.com/jessemason-042312-liliana-and-garruk/

    This TCG is hardly innocent, but I think it speaks to a wider trend in these games. I don’t understand why it seems like they want to aim to a narrower audience by either over-sexualising their characters. I understand you have a target of teens, but perhaps if you didn’t make everyone look she stepped out of a Frazetta painting into a hentai scene like that night elf up there mayhaps you might get a more diverse audience.

    Just saying.

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