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Armor (Silliness) In Comics


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#1 RJMooreII

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 09:44 PM

Most comic book illustrations of armor are really, really unrealistic and weird. This is maybe because most comic artists come from either a modern or superhero background, which doesn't involve a lot of practice illustrating convincing half-plate.

Are there any comic books or artists out there that do show pretty good illustrations of armor?

Joseph Michael Linsner (Dawn) does a good set of scale mail and decent chain. He shows it has having substance and rigidity without making it look 6" thick like D&D illustrations.

Dark Horse's Kull had decent plate armor.

Edited by RJMooreII, 25 April 2012 - 09:47 PM.

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#2 Ironhand

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 02:37 AM

What I despise is seeing a warrior with naked chest and belly exposed while wearing complex articulated plate armor on shoulders and hips.

The only thing I despise as much is Conan protecting his shield with his head and neck.

Edited by Ironhand, 26 April 2012 - 02:38 AM.

"Did you deem yourself strong, because you were able to twist the heads off civilized folk, poor weaklings with muscles like rotten string? Hell! Break the neck of a wild Cimmerian bull before you call yourself strong. I did that, before I was a full-grown man...!" - Conan, in "Shadows in Zamboula", by Robert E. Howard
"... you speak of Venarium familiarly. Perhaps you were there?"
"I was," grunted [Conan]. "I was one of the horde that swarmed over the hills. I hadn't yet seen fifteen snows, but already my name was repeated about the council fires." - "Beyond the Black River", by Robert E. Howard

Read my Conan screenplays at The Scrolls of Ironhand (in particular my transcription of THE FROST GIANT'S DAUGHTER in Act II of "The Snow Devil") at
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#3 RJMooreII

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 02:44 AM

What I despise is seeing a warrior with naked chest and belly exposed while wearing complex articulated plate armor on shoulders and hips.

I hate that crap. Another reason I can not stand anime.

The only thing I despise as much is Conan protecting his shield with his head and neck.

Reminds me of 300 "Let's fight in a narrow pass so we can instantly lose all formation or order and run around like we're playing football". Hated that movie, too.

There are so many things in fiction/media where people who don't know any better just go 'hunh, that looks cool!' and people with actual knowledge of it roll their eyes. Personally, I'd rather be on the cranky-eye-rolling side, anyway. Most movies suck even aside from their terribly inaccuracies.

Edited by RJMooreII, 26 April 2012 - 02:46 AM.

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#4 EM Erdelac

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 12:35 AM

I gotta defend 300's depictions.

They were wildly inaccurate because they were told from the point of view of Dilios, who was trying to whip the Spartans into action by telling a whopper. 300 is an exaggerated Greek heroic fantasy. It's an ancient propaganda tale. The monsters, the explosions, the wild kung fu heroics....all part of Dilios selling it. The whole movie is narrated by him, whom Leonidas selects to tell their tale because of his singular talent for embellishment (coincidentally, I just wrote review for this movie on my blog - http://emerdelac.wor...se-reviews-300/ ).

As to the phenomenon of armored limbs and naked chests...yeah isn't that a gladiator thing? They armored the limbs but left the torsos unprotected to encourage bloodshed?

Edited by EM Erdelac, 27 April 2012 - 12:41 AM.


#5 amster

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 03:52 AM

Reminds me of 300 "Let's fight in a narrow pass so we can instantly lose all formation or order and run around like we're playing football". Hated that movie, too.


If 300's battle scenes had been an accurate depiction of the Battle of Thermopylae (in other words, the Spartans consistently maintaining the phalanx formation throughout the duration of the films's battle scenes), it would have been the most boring action film ever made. "300 was awesome! Did you see that part where the Persians were pushing up against the Spartan phalanx? And did you see that other part where the Immortals were pushing up against the Spartan phalanx? And how about that awesome scene where the Persians were pushing up against the Spartan phalanx?" Yawn. I agree with EM Erdelac's post (though I haven't read his review yet). I would add that the point of 300 (both the comic and the film it was based on) wasn't to give an accurate account of history. The point was to use an historical event to tell a story that was both entertaining and inspirational, and on that level it was a complete success. Nothing in the film prevents someone from studying the real history if they're inclined to.
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#6 amster

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 04:04 AM


What I despise is seeing a warrior with naked chest and belly exposed while wearing complex articulated plate armor on shoulders and hips.

I hate that crap. Another reason I can not stand anime.


Why does every painting /film/cartoon have to be historically accurate? Maybe the artists drew them that way because they were inspired and wanted to draw them that way. Have you guys ever heard of Romanticism? Apparently it was this huge artistic movement that happened during the first half of the 19th century that emphasized inspiration and strong emotion over realism, and it spawed some of the greatest works of art that the world has ever seen. Seriously. I'm not making it up. I've even heard there's this famous art museum called the Louvre where many of these paintings are housed. And apparently many modern artists are still being inspired by this movement and making paintings in the tradition of it. It sounds crazy, I know.
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Money and muscle, that's what I want; to be able to do any damned thing I want and get away with it. Money won't do that altogether, because if a man is a weakling, all the money in the world won't enable him to soak an enemy himself; on the other hand, unless he has money he may not be able to get away with it.
--Robert E. Howard to Harold Preece, ca. June 1928--

#7 Almuric

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 04:36 AM

Indeed, Frank Miller has stated in interviews that the reason he depicted the Spartans as armorless was deliberate. He cited the "heroic nude" concept embodied in ancient Greek artwork as the basis. He did the research and knew what he was changing for his version of the story. The filmmakers just followed suit.
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Turlogh shook his head. "Not so long as the race lasts."


--- The Dark Man, by Robert E. Howard

#8 Ironhand

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 07:32 AM

I'm trying to follow your argument, but I keep getting distracted by the sound of my disbelief crashing to the floor.
"Did you deem yourself strong, because you were able to twist the heads off civilized folk, poor weaklings with muscles like rotten string? Hell! Break the neck of a wild Cimmerian bull before you call yourself strong. I did that, before I was a full-grown man...!" - Conan, in "Shadows in Zamboula", by Robert E. Howard
"... you speak of Venarium familiarly. Perhaps you were there?"
"I was," grunted [Conan]. "I was one of the horde that swarmed over the hills. I hadn't yet seen fifteen snows, but already my name was repeated about the council fires." - "Beyond the Black River", by Robert E. Howard

Read my Conan screenplays at The Scrolls of Ironhand (in particular my transcription of THE FROST GIANT'S DAUGHTER in Act II of "The Snow Devil") at
http://www.scrollsof...d.us/index.html or at
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#9 witchfire

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 01:56 PM

What I despise is seeing a warrior with naked chest and belly exposed while wearing complex articulated plate armor on shoulders


maybe they just like the gladiator look
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many i'll send into the ground, laughing as they die"

#10 Kortoso

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 04:38 PM

He means "it looks cool" and I guess that's what sells comics. I doubt that historical accuracy matters to most of the readers.

#11 deuce

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 06:20 PM

Most comic book illustrations of armor are really, really unrealistic and weird. This is maybe because most comic artists come from either a modern or superhero background, which doesn't involve a lot of practice illustrating convincing half-plate.

Are there any comic books or artists out there that do show pretty good illustrations of armor?

Joseph Michael Linsner (Dawn) does a good set of scale mail and decent chain. He shows it has having substance and rigidity without making it look 6" thick like D&D illustrations.

Dark Horse's Kull had decent plate armor.


John Bolton's armour always looked great. Too bad he's out of biz (more or less).

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#12 ZackDavisson

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 05:38 AM

I'm with amster on this one. Historical accuracy isn't something I expect out of movies or comics. The Rule of Cool works just fine with me.

I give you Cracked.com's take on the issue:

11 Movies Saved by Historical Inaccuracy
http://www.cracked.c...inaccuracy.html

#13 Ironhand

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 09:16 AM

I'm not talking about historical authenticity. I'm talking about flat out disbelief at warriors exposing their naked torsoes to sharp pointy things while carefully protecting their shoulders, hips, and ankles.

Yes, there were warriors in history who fought naked, but they tended to be people who didn't have armor available anyway. All I know is that if I had been a naked warrior, and armor had become available, I would be wearing it, the better to be consoling the widows of my naked comrades.

Edited by Ironhand, 28 April 2012 - 09:19 AM.

"Did you deem yourself strong, because you were able to twist the heads off civilized folk, poor weaklings with muscles like rotten string? Hell! Break the neck of a wild Cimmerian bull before you call yourself strong. I did that, before I was a full-grown man...!" - Conan, in "Shadows in Zamboula", by Robert E. Howard
"... you speak of Venarium familiarly. Perhaps you were there?"
"I was," grunted [Conan]. "I was one of the horde that swarmed over the hills. I hadn't yet seen fifteen snows, but already my name was repeated about the council fires." - "Beyond the Black River", by Robert E. Howard

Read my Conan screenplays at The Scrolls of Ironhand (in particular my transcription of THE FROST GIANT'S DAUGHTER in Act II of "The Snow Devil") at
http://www.scrollsof...d.us/index.html or at
http://www.delicious...ic=ConanProject

#14 RJMooreII

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 11:04 AM

I don't buy the 'rule of cool'. I think that's BS made up by lazy writers and/or people who don't care about problems in the story. It's your business whether or not you care, but I still don't think it gets them out of it.

It's not an issue or 'realism' or 'accuracy' as it is simple competent story telling. If things are being accomplished in ways that should not work (even given the logic of the story) or doing things that don't make sense then that is a plot hole; and plot holes are objectively bad writing.

And, frankly, I think realistic battles look a lot cooler. I think high-flying shaky-cam looks terrible and is extremely repetitive.

Edited by RJMooreII, 28 April 2012 - 11:05 AM.

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#15 Ironhand

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 11:15 AM

If things are being accomplished in ways that should not work (even given the logic of the story) or doing things that don't make sense then that is a plot hole;

What makes it so irritating is the instinctive (not based on cinematic experience) knowlege that it should lead to gaping holes in the hero's body. Then, when the fight scene is over, and the naked hero is still on his feet and walking and talking, you wonder "How did that happen? How can it be?"

Edited by Ironhand, 28 April 2012 - 11:16 AM.

"Did you deem yourself strong, because you were able to twist the heads off civilized folk, poor weaklings with muscles like rotten string? Hell! Break the neck of a wild Cimmerian bull before you call yourself strong. I did that, before I was a full-grown man...!" - Conan, in "Shadows in Zamboula", by Robert E. Howard
"... you speak of Venarium familiarly. Perhaps you were there?"
"I was," grunted [Conan]. "I was one of the horde that swarmed over the hills. I hadn't yet seen fifteen snows, but already my name was repeated about the council fires." - "Beyond the Black River", by Robert E. Howard

Read my Conan screenplays at The Scrolls of Ironhand (in particular my transcription of THE FROST GIANT'S DAUGHTER in Act II of "The Snow Devil") at
http://www.scrollsof...d.us/index.html or at
http://www.delicious...ic=ConanProject

#16 amster

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 02:20 PM

I don't buy the 'rule of cool'. I think that's BS made up by lazy writers and/or people who don't care about problems in the story. It's your business whether or not you care, but I still don't think it gets them out of it.

It's not an issue or 'realism' or 'accuracy' as it is simple competent story telling. If things are being accomplished in ways that should not work (even given the logic of the story) or doing things that don't make sense then that is a plot hole; and plot holes are objectively bad writing.


I can't think of a single film that would live up to your standards. Not any decent films, anyway, except films like Saving Private Ryan (historical fiction), but certainly no sword films. I suppose I could start by throwing out my entire collection of Asian films and go from there.

And, frankly, I think realistic battles look a lot cooler. I think high-flying shaky-cam looks terrible and is extremely repetitive.


I agree about the shaky cam. I hate it in most films, especially when I can't tell what's happening, but I find your comment puzzling when talking about realism, because shaky cam footage is exactly what you would get if someone were on the battlefield with a handheld camera in the middle of a real battle.
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Money and muscle, that's what I want; to be able to do any damned thing I want and get away with it. Money won't do that altogether, because if a man is a weakling, all the money in the world won't enable him to soak an enemy himself; on the other hand, unless he has money he may not be able to get away with it.
--Robert E. Howard to Harold Preece, ca. June 1928--

#17 TheDarkslayer

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 03:30 PM

I was never that blown away by the 300. It's a movie and movie's do what they must to sell tickets. If you want armor, watch Excalibur. Personally, I like armor, and I would like to see it used more, instead we get all of this sexy abs crap. But, it does give you a better chance to watch a blood and carnage flick with your girlfriend.
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#18 amster

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 03:38 PM

I was never that blown away by the 300. It's a movie and movie's do what they must to sell tickets. If you want armor, watch Excalibur. Personally, I like armor, and I would like to see it used more, instead we get all of this sexy abs crap. But, it does give you a better chance to watch a blood and carnage flick with your girlfriend.


Excalibur? lol! The armor in that film is only off by about 1000 years. Excalibur is a perfect example of sacrificing historical accuracy for coolness.
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--Robert E. Howard to Harold Preece, ca. June 1928--

#19 deuce

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 07:24 PM


I was never that blown away by the 300. It's a movie and movie's do what they must to sell tickets. If you want armor, watch Excalibur. Personally, I like armor, and I would like to see it used more, instead we get all of this sexy abs crap. But, it does give you a better chance to watch a blood and carnage flick with your girlfriend.


Excalibur? lol! The armor in that film is only off by about 1000 years. Excalibur is a perfect example of sacrificing historical accuracy for coolness.


Excalibur was based on Malory's La Morte D'Arthur. Says so at the beginning of the movie. Neither Boorman nor the studio ever claimed to represent the culture or tech of 500AD. All of the late medieval Arthurian tales were told as if they were "contemporary". Hell, even tales of the Trojan War were told in the same way. Boorman's film seems perfectly in line (visually) with how Malory intended it.

However, the armor was quite practical/realistic, which (I think) was RJM's point.

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#20 Lunatic

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 08:24 PM

I always thought that Gladiators wore that kind of armour (halfarmplate and so on) partly because it was a show (cool look) but also because getting disarmed, or wounded in an arm would mean certain death in the arena. Being hacked in the shin, would drop him on one knee, basically dead there too.

Not the same in war, because then they would have backup and get pulled back behind other soldiers to get patched up. A soldier wounded in the chest, would die if not of the hack but from infections and such. So it makes sence to wear a hauberk. A gladiator would also have to fight a long duel without the possibility of rest. Therefore, as little armor as possible would be to prefer. And since he never risked being flanked or shot, why protect the back leg, or back shoulder.

Edited by Lunatic, 28 April 2012 - 08:31 PM.