NYCC: Issa Ibrahim's "Love Among the Ruins"

One of the booths at New York Comic Con that caught my eye was the one above, by artist Issa Ibrahim, who specializes in (sometimes risqué) pieces featuring comic book characters. "Love Among the Ruins" is not only a take on one of my favorite pictures ever, "The Kiss" by Alfred Eisenstaedt, it brings together two "warring factions" of pop culture -- Marvel and DC. If there's anything we need in our deeply divided country right now, it's seeing a Marvel character (Captain America) passionately kissing a DC character (Wonder Woman).

What the world needs now is love, superhuman love...



      1.  So she’s pulling her skirt down instead of fighting him off? Her body language tells me she’s somewhat into it..

        1. There are a series of photographs from that moment and it’s pretty clear she is trying to push him away if you view them in series. And also? That’s a really disgusting comment to make. She’s not fighting her assault the right way/enough therefore she must have REALLY be into it is the typical cry of people attacking the credibility of rape victims/sexual harassment accusations.

    1. Yeah, once you understand the context, that head-lock seems particularly sinister and it seems hard to believe it ever looked romantic. 

    2. For easy memeing, from

  1. Greta Zimmer Friedman, the nurse in the photo that is the inspiration for this has said this about the iconic image:
    – “It wasn’t my choice to be kissed. The guy just came over and grabbed!”
    – “I did not see him approaching, and before I knew it, I was in this vice grip. [sic]“
    – “You don’t forget this guy grabbing you.”
    – “That man was very strong. I wasn’t kissing him. He was kissing me.”
    He is what my Nana would have called a “masher”.

  2. His finger(s) is(/are) penetrating her anus through her skirt. Oh wait, that’s HER hand . . . what the? 

  3. Ibrahim’s painting seems to deliberately emphasize the forcible nature of that famous encounter.  The apocalyptic setting, full of damaged bodies; the prominent placement of the foot that he’s using to take her off balance; the tension in his fists; and especially, Ibrahim’s choice to base it on one of the photos where Friedman had her hand up, trying to fend her drunken attacker off.

    Innocent validation of rape culture isn’t what the world needs now, Jamie.

    1. I’d say that the artist was just doing their job as they saw fit, based on what is widely believed. There’s would be nothing wrong with the way the female figure is being held, if both parties were similarly passionate, and it was appropriate for their relationship.

      Still, the veils definitely off for the original photo, and now we all know the context, we should acknowledge the man’s actions for what they are, insulting and demeaning.

      I’m assuming the artist’s intent is based on the assumption that Wonder Woman was a happy participant. Or perhaps it’s one of a series, the second painting showing Wonder Woman totally kicking Captain America’s arse.

  4. Its a creepy pic of a sexual assault in progress. This version of it simply reinforces the view that she should just shut up and take it. Repulsive. I expected better of Boing Boing. 

    1. The thing is, I see a lot of Jamie Frevele posts being similarly messed up, problematic, or misogynistic. BoingBoing doesn’t need any more of that shit. I wish BB would show more interest in being a safe space rather than a place where this shit flies and rape culture apologist comments fly free.

      I mean, you’d think Xeni might say something. I don’t know. Once again, I’m disappointed with BB.

  5. It’s well worth looking at the artist’s other works, to place this painting in a larger context. Some might find it in bad taste, but there does seem to be something else going on in his artwork besides bad taste and misogyny. If one looks at the painting carefully, you will notice that the artist is indeed referencing the first photo in the series, and NOT the iconic second photo. Wonder Woman is holding down her skirt, and trying to push Cap away. So, we can assume, the artist is probably aware of the larger issues surrounding this photo.
    And I hate to be the nerd that points this out, but in the comics world, Wonder Woman is many times more powerful than Captain America. Wonder Woman is an A-list character in the DC universe, capable of holding her own against Superman level powers. Captain America is a slightly above average powered character with the super strength of a Chimpanzee. Looking at his work, the artist is clearly aware of this as well, and seems to be making a statement on the nature of superheroes and sexuality.

  6. Oh, BoingBoing. I know free speech is super important to you, but seriously, don’t support work and thought that isn’t critical of misogyny and sexual assault. 

  7. FWIW I’m kind of glad this post was on BoingBoing because I learned something I actually didn’t know anything about.

  8. i was going to say the same thing about the captain america/wonder woman power dynamic, but was going to add one thing.   I’d like to point out that wonder woman was super into BDSM.  She, and her friends (and her enemies) were constantly tying each other up, forcing each other to submit, subjecting each other to ‘discipline’.  the artist probably would have been aware of this too.  if captain america is accosting her successfully, it could only be because she is allowing it.  they are role playing.  

    Is it possible that Wonder woman redeems the image by consciously and consensually stepping into the role of submissive when she is clearly more powerful?  Perhaps it is a statement about who really has the power? Who wins out in the end? Clearly not the Sailor, and not the photographer either.  It is Greta that has ultimately emerged as the victor. it is her story that gets told, and with her, our sympathies lie.  It is the submissive who has all the power.  Pretty freakin taoist, huh?

    1. @ Zen Kink, yeah the early Wonder Woman stories were pretty kinky.  The man who created Wonder Woman, William Moulten Marsten, was a pretty interesting guy. He invented an important part of the polygraph, and was into women’s issues, BDSM, as well as living in a polyamorous relationship. Pretty advanced/risqué for the 1940’s.

  9. At first I thought it was a remix of the iconic shot in Watchmen when Silhouette is kissing that nurse.

  10. Being in her place I probably would’ve done the same (or laughed as you did it) but that’s not what I was talking about.

  11. I’m the cause of the world that you’re tired of? Why is that? Because I won’t romanticize an image that screams of force and assault? That is the world I created? No sir. That world was created by the kind of men that think it’s perfectly acceptable to just grab a woman walking on the street. And it was created by you because you refuse to think about it critically and wish to dismiss with a sigh anyone that comes along to point out what it really is. But sure, feel free to sigh at me all you like. Why don’t you throw an eye roll in for good measure.

  12. [trigger warning]

    Imagine that every time you try to share even just a kiss with someone you love, you had flashbacks of being taken by someone else, of shouting no! and pushing away and being overpowered.

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