Sunday, August 24, 2014

Comics Controversy - Is This Cover Sexist?

Spider-Woman #1, Variant Cover

Is this a sexist piece of art? That’s some of the hubbub on the Internets these days. This is the variant cover of the first issue of the upcoming Spider-Woman series from Marvel Comics. The art is by Milo Manara, an Italian artist who has a long history of erotic stories and cheesecake art, an artist whose work I enjoy quite a bit. He has also drawn some incredible historical and fantasy stories as well.

From a story on Comic Book Resources, Marvel Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort has responded to the rampant criticism surrounding Milo Manara's Spider-Woman variant cover 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."

No kidding. I know Brevoort is just trying not to step on anyone’s toes, but I also think it is stupid to commission and publish that cover, then say people have a point about being upset about it. To me, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it, it’s a beautiful piece of art. Yes, the character is naked with some color painted on. So what? Comic books are fantasy stories, where the men are as idealized as the women. Characters like Marvel’s Hercules and Namor the Submariner give as much beefcake as Spider-Woman and Emma Frost give cheesecake.
Marvel's Hercules
Here is part of artist Manara’s analysis of the uproar:

“On the erotic side, instead, I found it pretty surprising. That said, I should like to add a premise: it seems to me that both in the United States and around the world, there are things much more important and serious to worry about. What’s happened in Ferguson, or Ebola’s dramatic rise, for example. The fact that some people take this so seriously … Unless the point is that, in these days, a sort of hypersensitivity to erotic images is spreading, maybe due to the ongoing discussions we are facing related to Islam. We know that censorship on woman’s body should not be a Western trait. That too, is quite surprising to me.”

How offended you are by that is definitely a personal thing. My offense meter sits at zero. Perhaps anyone with their offense meters set at such a low threshold should read Amish Housewives Monthly instead of Spider-Woman. I hear it’s zucchini bread month in AHM.

No comments:

Post a Comment