Commentariat, Fat

The Scariest Thing You’ll See Today


Our own Shapeletarian (yeah still working on a nickname) apricotmuffins — a.k.a. Maria Sumpter — was inspired by Fillyjonk’s Halloween costume suggestion to create this FUCKING BRILLIANT illustration for an article on theobesityepidemicboogaboogabooga. (Edited to add: specifically, it was Patrick Basham’s recent Independent article on how people need to quit freaking out about teh fat — which, unfortunately, I can’t link to at the moment, ’cause the Independent website is being a bitch. Maria’s doing an illustration degree and had an assignment to illustrate an existing article, so that’s what this refers to — not an article arguing that obesity really is scary.)

This makes us want to start a real publication just so we can hire Maria to illustrate everything. Any venture capitalists in the audience…? No?

Happy Halloween, everyone!

33 thoughts on “The Scariest Thing You’ll See Today”

  1. Goddamn our commentariat is talented. Words cannot express how much I love this picture. The texture on the bottom of the belly, the hard cartoon edge on the running people, the fact that you can’t initially tell it’s a woman and not just a Fat Balloon… it’s so good. I hope you get an A, Maria! Er… rather shamefully, I don’t know if the grading system is the same in the UK.

    Now I’m looking at the other art on her livejournal… hot DAMN this woman is good!!

  2. Excellent!

    I was watching the morning news and of course they’re reporting how any little amount of fat on your belly greatly increases your risk of cancer. So BEWARE!

  3. I DO want to start a publication so Maria can illustrate all of it.

    Plus, I was standing in the supermarket yesterday reading the headlines on the magazines in the rack. (I usually get peapod, so I am probably more insulated than most people from this blather.)

    I was almost physically struck with how focused every magazine was on weight. I saw one, whose cover showed photos of famous actresses (Reese Witherspoon being the only one I remember) There was one photo of each of their heads, and then under it a photo of their asses, with just the TINIEST bit of fat on their upper thights. The headline was essentially “These actresses beat cellulite using the cellulite diet, and you can to!”

    I nearly vomited.

    I think the only magazine that didnt have a headline about weight loss was the enquirer (Learn about Angelina Jolie’s LIES).

    We need a magazine, just one, that doesn’t make women feel like shit because of how they look.

  4. Omigod, it’s AMAZING! That’s fantastic!

    And btw? I simply love that The Obesity Epidemic has laser eyes. Like, seriously, that does my geeky little heart so much good, I can’t even say.

  5. That is seriously brilliant work!

    I love how my first thought was “holy crap…is the obesity epidemic headless?!!?!” Then I realized it has a head…and freakin’ awesome LASER EYES.

    I want LASER EYES.

  6. Hmmm…. laser eyes….

    Just imagine if all fat people had laser eyes. The damage we could do to all the fat haters out there.



    Sorry ’bout that. I try to keep the evil inside me under control, but y’know…. it IS Halloween and all. ;)

  7. Beautiful work! Great linework, great use of color, great composition. Wow. And then, there’s the humor and the message. This makes me want to go try to draw something.

  8. Kudos to Maria – brilliant! Sums up the whole recent mood of hysteria. (Yep, even more of the same today – Kate, I was going to send you a link re the weight and cancer thing, but I’m sure others already have…)

  9. That *is* artistically brilliant.

    But my initial reaction… when I glanced down the page at it, before I read the surrounding text, I thought it was being done straight, not satire. That Kate was pointing out for us a new fat-hating article or book that had this illustration. Made me feel a little sick, before I read the actual post and understood what it was about. I still feel a little shaken.

    Not sure what that means. Maria’s work here is satirizing fat hatred… but would we be that surprised to see something like this, for real, in one of the magazines or newspapers that run the headless-fatty shots and the usual headlines? I suppose a non-satirical picture wouldn’t feature laser eyes. ;-)

  10. Yeah, it’s a little disturbing that many people’s real-life position is so over-the-top that even deliberate grotesquerie can’t really parody it.

  11. aaah, thank you guys for all the praise, youre making me blush!

    jaed, i just wanted to say that when i’d finished this I realised that it could be taken the wrong way. That in itself is disturbing, because i wanted to get across the sheer absurdness of obesity being ‘a bigger threat than weapons of mass destruction, global warming, etc’. and for me, the only way to do that was to have some monstrous thing that wasnt real – the stitches and the strings (which can be hard to make out, i realise) are meant to indicate that its somekind of fabricated thing instead of a reality, but i could have done more to that point. earlier sketches involved people controlling it in someway, puppetry or a guy dressed up in a costume. they didnt get across the hysteria enough so i went for subtlety instead. im not a natural political cartoonist, or i would have had a raging government official’s face in there somewhere too.

  12. the monstrous thing that wasnt real also had to look fairly realistic, which is why it doesnt have tentacles and 18 eyes.


  13. the monstrous thing that wasnt real also had to look fairly realistic, which is why it doesnt have tentacles and 18 eyes.

    DUDE!! The Cthulhu Obesity Epidemic!!

  14. Apricotmuffins, that is spendid work.
    I love that the figure is stitched together — Frankenstein’s monster-like, rather than a whole human being.
    If someone out there has the $$ to start a ‘zine, I volunteer to sell advertising for no commission.
    I do have a little bit of experience that could be brought to bear in such an endeavor (about 10 years or so of a variety of media-related work).


    I can totally imagine role-playing Cthulu and having to make an (in)sanity check because of a huge blob of flesh that had tentacles and 18 eyes….

    “Oh my god, the fat!” *gibbers*

  16. Charli – Wow. How sad is it when the mainstream reaction to ZOMG Teh FATZ! is so closely analogous to Sanity Checks in Call of Cthulhu? Because seriously… my first reaction was, “OMG, maybe you’re onto something there!” And then I remembered – oh right, except Cthulhu is fictional. grin.

  17. That is an awesome illustration. I agree with everyone else, you are incredibly talented. I love how the more you look at it, the more features you can make out. Like how in real life a lot of people never really SEE fat people either, they just see headless Obesity Epidemic monsters thanks to all the media coverage.

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