Thursday, October 20, 2011

One More Interview with Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan

Sci-fi site io9 has now posted an interview with both Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan about (among other things) their plans for their Dark Horse Comics adaptation of "Queen of the Black Coast."  In the interview, they humorously address the sad sack issue of how to depict Bêlit's nudity.  (Seriously, just put some clothes on the woman--she doesn't need to be nude all the time for the adaptation to be good.  Who cares if the same fanboys who had a snit about Dejah Thoris wearing clothes in the John Carter trailer are upset?)  Cloonan also responds to the charge that her Conan is "Emo Conan."


  1. Why is it a sad sack issue to want Belit to be naked? I'd want Belit to be naked in the adaptation because she was naked in the source material. I also want all the black corsairs to be naked, because they were naked in the source material. But I'm guessing they're not going to do that: if they had a problem with one white chick being naked, I can't imagine how they'd handle eighty black dudes.

    Besides, it's one thing for a PG-13 Disney movie not to depict Dejah Thoris nude; it's quite another for an adult comic which has not shied away from frank depictions of nudity, sexuality, violence and gore in the past. It's commendable that Cloonan & Wood want to treat the source material seriously by not making Belit into mere cheesecake, but nudity does not necessarily have to be depicted as sexual.

    That said, the only time she needs to be topless is any time Howard specifically described her as such. This would be during her introduction, and she only has to be nude in one scene. She isn't depicted as nude in the succeeding chapters, so they have some leeway there. For the 20-odd issues between the first and second halves of "Queen of the Black Coast," they could do what they like, as long as they stick to Howard for the bookends.

  2. We'll just have to disagree on this: with the exception of the scene where she dances for Conan (as you point out in your last paragraph), there's no particular story reason for Bêlit to be nude. If an all-nude Bêlit was the direction Dark Horse and the creators wanted to go, then I'm fine with that--but the clothing status is ultimately as optional an aspect of the source narrative as Dejah Thoris's. The essence of "Queen of the Black Coast" has very little to do with the characters' costumes--I'm far more interested in other dimensions of accuracy and fidelity. It's why I found complaints about Jason Momoa's eye color (not blue) to be misdirected: brown eyes were not the primary problem with the recent Conan film, and I don't considering getting the eyes wrong (or ignoring their actual color) to be a canary in the coal mine where adaptation quality is concerned. The same goes for Bêlit's nudity: it's gravy, not essential.