brown_betty asked for examples "to illustrate the exactly how and why female comic characters are illustrated differently than the male." And I thought, really, what's better to illustrate these things than the books teaching the style in the first place?
A while ago I posted some scans from Wizard How To Draw series on drawing female superheroes (here and here), and I thought I'd post a bunch more from the first book of the series on "How To Draw: Heroic Anatomy".
As everything, it starts with the basics, i.e. proportions. First the male superhero
The female example is similar, but slightly different, notice how he stands firm and straight, wheras she stands with her hips cocked a little and the leg thrust forward?
Also notice in the direct torso comparison below, how the male one is ramrod straight, but she curves and leans just a little bit in the same pose?
Now onwards to the chapter "Sultry Women". It even cautions you against overposing! Yes, it's not as if Wizard wasn't aware of the problems! (Their definition and mine of which poses are already overposed might differ slightly though, heh.)
Next, Michael Turner explains "Sex Appeal". (Or what he thinks sex appeal is.) Incidentally it also illustrates the meaning of "overposed" that was brought up in the previous chapter very effectively...
Finally for compare and contrast purpuses the chapters on "Superheroic Men" and "Superheroic Women". For the male superhero it is all about more or less ridiculously enlarged muscles as we learn:
Female superheroes don't have it that easy, they need to worry about tilting their shoulder, nipple and pubic lines attractively at all times, not to mention legs, breast size, eye make-up and hair:
ETA (11 April 2010): Thanks to LJ's new comment option I can now freeze the post without deleting previous comments. I'm sorry I'll be missing out on some interesting comments, but I'm sick of getting offensive, sexist drivel dumped in my journal in a years old post.