Saturday, August 23, 2014

All Kinds of Wrong Going on Here, Part Two

Doug: Back on July 5, we had a little fun with a pure 1990s Fantastic Four cover. Well, kids, the media and many comics fans aren't having fun with the image you see below on the left. Italian erotica artist Milo Manara was commissioned to do the variant cover to Spider-Woman #1. Hmmm... Seems to me you ask an erotica artist to do a piece for the company, there should be no surprise at what comes back. So is Marvel basking in the attention they are getting out of this? Remember this simple principle -- there is no such thing as bad advertising. And what of Spider-Woman? Why her? Oh yeah -- because it was Bendis who told us back in New Avengers that while being held by HYDRA, more than Jessica Drew's powers were augmented. You know what I'm saying.

Doug: So what's going on here? Is this the over-sexualization of women in general, or is this specific to this one cover? Is it truly Marvel just trying to grab headlines, or did they really err here on the public's sensibilities? And what of Disney Co.? And why did I picture Spider-Man to the lower right? Because Jazzy Johnny Romita could do the same pose, albeit on a dude, and keep everything classy. That's why.


William Preston said...

As a friend of mine said, they had to know what they'd be getting when they hired this guy (um, NSFW):

Anonymous said...

Haha well you get what you paid for! First off, Jazzy John Romita's drawing of Spidey in no way emphasizes his butt like Manara's does for Spider-Woman. Yeah, if you hire an artist known for erotica, well you ain't gonna get aunt Petunia!

Hmm looking at it reminds me of a heart shape, dunno if that's what he was aiming for. The bigger issue is of course the objectification of women in comics and other media. To be quite honest, I've seen worse.

- Mike 'you should see what the women wear for Carnival down here' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Garett said...

Bill Sienkiewicz had an interesting story to tell on his facebook page today about drawing with Milo Manara, Dave Stevens and Liberatore at a comic festival in Italy. I think Manara is a great artist, better than most working in comics today. He actually drew an X-Men story in 2009 written by Chris Claremont--haven't read it yet, but it looked nice. If this kind of image causes controversy, comics are way too uptight.

Edo Bosnar said...

I'm glad Doug posted the image of Spidey for compare and contrast. The reason this and several other recent images (I think there was a Teen Titans cover a few months ago that raised similar concerns) have sparked controversy is simple: the male characterrs in super-hero comics are never drawn in such over-sexualized poses.
And Mike from T&T, unfortunately, I've seen worse, too.

Gary said...

How is this really any different than the way women are drawn in super hero comics? Most of the women seem to have porn star bodies and skin tight (or non existent) clothing.

That being said, yes people need to lighten up. Don't like it? Don't buy it. That's what I do.

Steve said...

While both male and female bodies in superhero comics are idealized, only one is sexualized.

Anonymous said...

Eschergirls has an interesting examination of this cover:

On another note, I think I may take my next vacation in Trinidad & Tobago :)

Mike W.

david_b said...

Mike W., you and me BOTH.

It's much ado about nothing.., not to say NSFW is palatable in this media nor worthy of discussion, but this is just the type of conversation that feeds the hype of this comic cover.

What is this that Red Sonja wasn't some 40yrs ago..?, or around the same time, any of the black & white 'mature readers' format stuff we snuck a peek to glimpse what's inside??

Really nothing to see here, move along.

david_b said...

Mike W., just read your Eshergirls and it's very insightful.

I'd get more out of reflection from an articulate artist's point of view like that...

dbutler16 said...

Like Doug said, if you hire an erotica artist to do a cover, you can't be surprised by this.
However, i'll say that making sex objects of women is nothing new to comics. I believe even Stan Lee asked for sexy attire for female characters, though he also had the good sense not to cross the line into erotica.

Edo Bosnar said...

Mike W., thanks for that link. Short, sweet and to the point, love it!

Anonymous said...

Tom Brevoort and Dan Slott have both been using the "If you hire Manara, you get Manara" defense. Slott's tweets have accused "certain gossip sites" (Bleeding Cool? The Mary Sue?) of hypocritically stirring up a "false controversy."

But the issue was never really about an artist doing the type of artwork for which he already has a reputation. It's about why Marvel would hire such an artist in the first place.

And any claims that the comic is aimed at women are ridiculous. That variant cover is designed to appeal to adolescent fanboys.

Marvel must have known that there would be controversy. And controversy means free publicity. And "all publicity is good publicity."

Bart said...

I'm surprised people are more worried about sex in comics, than super heroes solving their problems (even between themselves ) thru violence. It's a fantasy world where men are big, tall and blond and women are sexy, and it is not new.

Vintage Bob said...

This is typical of why I stopped reading (i.e. supporting) comics many long years ago. The sensationalism, titillation tendencies, and outright depravity has ruined comics. I stick with the good vintage stuff.

Not only has this sort of thing been going on for a long time now, it's also been directed at both male and female characters. God knows how many times I'll be at the store and see an issue of Spiderman where he's swinging an obviously and massively bulging crotch in my face right there on the cover. Good lord. Really?

And I remember years back when they turned Yellowjacket into a wife beater (this was during Perez's run on the late 90's with that Ultron saga where he wipes out an entire country or something). Wasp whines about being abused and being in a co-dependent relationship. Who wants that sort of real-world abusiveness in comics?

Or how about years back, someone sent me a scan from an issue of X-Men where the Beast, who was traditionally (and tactfully!) always portrayed as a cool ladies' man, is having a discussion with someone and stating that perhaps he's gay or maybe should get into bestiality since he's sort of an animal. Kid you not, I still have the scan of that.

Or some of the alternative comics that graphically portray rape, extreme murder, etc? It's not just the portrayal, because EC comics back in the day could be pretty extreme. But back then it wasn't GLORIFIED the way it is today.

So yeah, this image, this cover, is just one tiny blip in an otherwise huge universe full of smut and depravity that has destroyed comics as an art form.

William said...

You see what happens when you eliminate the comics code. OMG! Wertham was right!!!

But seriously, it seems like much ado about nothing to me.

Anonymous said...

I remember just the other day, I was thinking.

The Prowler (in case of emergency, always wears his swim suit under his clothes).

Anonymous said...

The Spider-Man picture is problematic, and makes one wonder what the artist is repressing by NOT depicting a healthy male posterior. Say what you will about Manara, but he draws what he likes. More artists should.

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