Friday, February 06, 2009

Urban Fantasy Vs. Brutal Women

Though often annoyed, I've been trying to resolve myself to getting a sex kitten urban fantasy cover for God's War (complete with moon, over the shoulder glance, and back tattoo). I wasn't sure how to sell "Brutal ass kicking woman" on the cover who isn't all sex-kittened up. They all want to draw a sex kitten.

Then, this morning, I saw this:



And I went, "Oh hells yes!"

I like what this cover does. It's gritty and dark and the main character isn't looking off to the side or over her shoulder in that stupidly flirty, useless way you see on the urban fantasy covers. You're not being invited to oogle her. She's not being presented as an object. She's staring straight at you, just the way somebody who can fuck some shit up would. Add in the blood with that full on stance and oh yeah... this isn't a half bad portrayal of a brutal woman.

Granted, I'd prefer my heroine a little more physically imposing, and less pretty (she's got the face and body of a runway model, not a warrior).

This is how I prefer my book heroines. I don't want her in skin tight clothes (they did go with leather here - you can't win em all), I don't want her to flirt with me. I have no interest in seeing her half-clothed and "vulnerable" to "make up" for her supposed toughness. I'm sorry, but showing a half-clothed woman on your cover doesn't convince me you've got a strong, complex heroine. I want her to be SCARY. I want to believe she's going to fuck shit up. Those are the heroines I'm interested in (and interested in writing).

If I see one more vampire fucking novel cover, I might die. I really have no interest in reading another novel about the protagonist's deep personal angst about whether she should go to bed with the vampire, the werewolf, or both.

I want higher stakes, more complex characters, and heroines that don't all read the same. And I want that reflected on book covers. Because let me tell you, there's a half ton of books out there on the SF/F shelves I'm just not picking up... based entirely on the cover. So sad.

For discussions about what led them to finally pick this cover (and oh yeah is this the best of the bunch), go here.

2 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

mothwentbad said...

Whatever happened to your comics geeks friends? I remember a while back that you said that you had coworkers who drew, and you were going to find out whether it was possible to keep them on task and off of the sexualization long enough to make a comic recognizable as something that came out of your head.

David Moles said...

"Betrayed, thrown down a mountain, and left for dead, Murcatto arises with a broken body and a burning hunger for vengeance..."

It's like he's READING your MIND!