It wasn’t until I started writing this post that I finally noticed that both the fellas on these facing pages are bald. Nobody’s ever accused me of being especially perceptive. No, really.
Now excuse me while I run to the bathroom mirror to confirm that I haven’t lost all my hair without realizing it.
Okay, I’m back and my head is as shaggy as ever.
Contrary to appearances, this panels were not meant to focus on the locks of the men. Besides the hair styles, these two pieces have something something else in common. Neither one is technically elaborate, but somehow manage to suggest something a little deeper than the models’ good skin.
The first one came into being because I simply really wanted to use the guy in the picture. He came from the same Dolce & Gabbana ad that was used on the previous page. Once I had cut him away from *that* scene, I became obsessed with the thought of using him turned 90 degrees counterclockwise: in the magazine, his back was actually facing the ceiling. The “blast lines” that appeared earlier are re-deployed here, suggest dynamism and power. A sense which is subverted by the text, “can’t let anyone know how truly weak I feel.” Yes, folks, even our heroes feel weak and *are* weak at times.
The quote came from an issue of Spiderman in which he loses his powers. So what was a temporary lament over a physical weakness for the webslinger, hints at a more emotional… dare I say existential… weakness coming from the brooding hunk.
On the other hand, the basketball player seems to exude confidence. He “has worked with the Titans before” and is impressed with them “despite their age”. In the original comic, this quote refers to the Teen Titans, who are impressive despite their youth. They are teens… as suggested by the name of their super group.
Recontextualized here, the age of the player suggests that Titans (now recast as a sport team) are older, but impressive *despite* that. Are our heroes old, wise, and vulnerable, or are they young, strong, and confident?
Furthermore, is this kid’s swagger perhaps concealing a sense of weakness that he “can’t let them know” about?
And how impressive is it that he can hold a basketball in one hand like that?