A superheroine who keeps finding herself in bondage or with her magical costume torn apart, dealing with self-confidence and body issues with the help of her supervillain henchman boyfriend? That would be Adam Warren's Empowered, a cult-favorite "sexy superhero" comic that parodies and embodies the whole "damsel in distress" fetish at the same time. Gags of both kind await you under the jump.
Empowered gets her powers from her costume and her body issues from a lifetime of hanging out with superheroines with perfect physiques. Her continual ability to find herself tied up and gagged by whatever villain happens to be around at the time? That would be down to her initial audience, according to Marvel and DC veteran Warren:
Two years ago, I was plowing my way through a bunch of commissioned sketches for various folks, and hit a streak of, shall we say, "distressed damsel" requests. (Welcome to the exciting world of not having a regular gig in comics or elsewhere, BTW! Gotta earn that cash somehow, baby) Nothing too graphic or very "extreme" about them, but these latter commissions become very tiresome very quickly... So, in place of boringly static sketches of "Wonder Woman runs afoul of her frickin' golden lasso yet again" and the like, I started drawing a series of very short, theoretically humorous "continuity pieces" about a plucky but oft-distressed superheroine, under the obviously ironic title of Empowered... I ended up playing down some of the original version's more "Good Girl" elements, though some of that stuff's still in there... (After all, I still owe those fellas their "distressed damsel" commissions) For the most part, the focus drifted into broader degrees of ribaldry and sex comedy, not to mention general-purpose hammering on the goofier tropes and implications of the superheroic experience.
The third volume in the series hit stores this week, and somewhere, Bettie Page would be proud.
Empowered preview [Dark Horse Comics]