Marvel’s Bright Idea: Get An Erotic Artist To Create Spider-Woman Cover
Marvel is a little like BioWare, if you think about it. They’re out there making an active and admirable effort to diversify, increase representation and be fresh in ways that their competitors are not (female Thor anyone?), yet now and then they do something really awkward that is questionable on so many levels. We’re looking at one of the latter moments, again. As much as we love Marvel for the good they do, just like BioWare now and then we have to punch them in the gonads to shock their system enough and remind them that they’re decent folk, not cretins.
The story here is that Marvel Comic’s Spider-Woman #1 variant cover has come under intense scrutiny for being overly erotic. Hilariously, the variant image was drawn by Milo Manara, an artist legitimately known for his pornographic (you can’t make this up) comics Click, Butterscotch and Hidden Camera. Clearly, he’s a great artist, and the criticism is not to do with quality. It’s more about who in the hell over at Marvel thought it was a good idea to hire an erotic artist and furthermore proceed to use the image knowing full-well that backlash was highly possible. You know, on the internet.
Check out the sexualised Spider-Woman cover in question.
This led to a fair amount of backlash. Criticisms from fans of it being “sexist” and “offensive” are flooding social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and there are a number of sites reporting on the public outrage and offering opinions, including THR, The Mary Sue, Time, The Guardian, Slate and more.
Some would maybe try to rationalise that Spider-Woman is merely adopting a spider-like position, and that would be fair to say, but in that case it’s been pointed out that another drawing from Manara of a lady in a similar pose shows that the intentions weren’t wholly innocent. I tried finding that image, but gave up due to lack of interest. I apologise, but if you want to see a naked ass I’m pretty sure Google has you covered.
I’m just kidding. We all know I’d get hated on for bad jurnalizms if I don’t post the picture. And we all know you want to see it anyway. Here it is:
If I have to be honest, I don’t share the outrage expressed by a large portion of the internet voices. I really don’t mind the cover too much, except for the costume not really being a costume, but looking like a second skin. It looks good, quality wise, and I’d rather pick up the comic and see if the characterisation and actual story content is of a high standard as opposed to a still image that arguably isn’t terrible.
However, the reason for all my fun claims in the beginning was because I seriously just find it hilarious that Marvel hires an erotic artist. Maybe it’s Friday and my sense of humour is fucked along with my head, but truly, it’s just too funny for me for some reason.
Marvel senior vice president of publishing Tom Brevoort did end up responding to the rampant criticism though, and did so via his Tumblr:
“I think that the people who are upset about that cover have a point, at least in how the image relates to them,” Brevoort wrote. “By that same token, Milo Manara has been working as a cartoonist since 1969, and what he does hasn’t materially changed in all that time. So when we say ‘Manara cover,’ his body of work indicates what sort of thing he’s going to do.”
Brevoort also expressed his opinion that the “Spider-Woman” #1 cover is “one of the less sexualized ones” Marvel has published by Manara. “Given that the character is covered head-to-toe, and is crouched in a spider-like pose, it seems far less exploitative to me than other Manara pieces we’ve run in previous months and years.”
“I think a conversation about how women are depicted in comics is relevant at this point, and definitely seems to be bubbling up from the zeitgeist,” Brevoort concluded. “That too is fine. Nothing gets better unless ideas are communicated.”
I suppose it’s made less funny in light of the fact that Marvel has used Manara pieces before in potentially more contentious ways, but what the heck I’ll laugh anyway.
And that’s the off-topic Friday thing you’re getting from me. Away with you. Enjoy your weekends, minions.