Artful Conception #26: Carried (Part 7)

When you go through as much retro stuff as I do, it's hard not to notice certain patterns, certain overly used motifs popping up time and again on magazine covers, movie posters, album artwork, comic books, etc. One such design is the carry - the damsel-in-distress being carried by a monster or hero.  It's a conception we've gone over six times before, but there's simply so much out there, that it deserves even more attention...

Sometimes, it's not so much a "damsel-in-distress" as it is a "damsel-no-longer-alive", with the hero crying "NOOOOOOOOO!" to the heavens.

A dead Wonder Woman is carried by Batman, then a few years later by Hawkman.  Presumably, she came back alive between these issues.... otherwise, that would make Hawkman's decision to carry a long dead Wonder Woman kind of gross.

Wonder Woman is dead yet again, and as is customary upon her death, a man in a costume carries her.  Superman follows suit with his dead girlfriend, Lois - a habit he was all too fond of...

But Batman, Hawkman and Superman were by no means the only DC heros with a predilection for carrying deceased heroines...

Aquaman is pissed.  He's going to start whoopin' some ass... just as soon as he puts down the dead mermaid.

Then again, maybe he'll just hold on to her...

This whole business is starting to get dark.  Let's move on to other sorts of media featuring this well-worn trope...

Of all the perpetrators of the carry - it's the monsters (gorillas included) that do the most heavy lifting.

If you're a slavegirl in a low-budget VHS classic, you can expect to be carried by a monster at some point.  It's just gonna happen.

Sometimes the carrier is both the monster AND the hero.  This whole carrying business can get complicated.

I've said in a previous carry post that it is my firm belief that this entire trope may just be a flimsy excuse to show cleavage.  Don't ever underestimate the B-movie cleavage initiative.

Okay, maybe cleavage isn't the sole reason for the carry phenomenon; I'm sure there's a perfectly reasonable sociological reason behind it.  We've explored it before in our previous carry posts.  Unfortunately, we just haven't arrived at a satisfactory answer.  I do, however, think there's a gender-power subtext at work,

...but I'll leave the armchair psychoanalysis to the professionals for the time being.  I have a feeling that exploring this trope too deep will take us places we wished we'd left well enough alone.

Thank God she's wearing a sheet....because I don't think he's wearing pants.

This creepy girl is a tad disturbing, but no more disturbing than when the gender roles are reversed,...

For some reason, when it's the guy getting carried, something just doesn't seem right.  Maybe I've just been indoctrinated by too many "proper"  traditional carries.

Not sure why James Cagney's evil twin is carrying this chick, but it's a fumetti, so it's probably best not to ask too many questions.

This looks just like a romance cover... except for the fact that she's dead, which sort of colours this whole carrying business in a disturbing necrophile light...

....like I said.  When you analyze this trope too deep, you unleash the Balrog.  Best to just move along.

If there's one thing I've learned from vintage science fiction: in the future, all women will wear hot skimpy clothing.

Let's hope Forbidden Space is all that Captain Future is penetrating.

I could do a whole post just on vampires carrying chicks (and probably will, if you like).  Next to neck biting, this is what they do best.

Yes, vampires are the undisputed carry champions, but Frankenstein monsters and similar freaks of nature were no slouches either.

We've come full circle. We started with Conan cursing the gods for his dead lover, and now we've got a zombie elf (?) doing likewise.  "Damn, you! Damn you to hell!"


  1. I'm not sure what happened, but I suddenly started getting RSS updates for this site. I have a short backlog to comb through. :)

  2. Slowly but surely, the old gang is returning home. Seems like old times.

  3. These made me giggle, because in Afrikaans (my home language), the words "Dra My" (directly translated: "Carry Me") can be used as the equivalent of "Make Me" if you don't feel like getting up and doing something when someone else asks you to, and I just could not get this out of my head while reading your post.
    P.S. On a more serious note - I absolutely love your site!