Let's Talk About Marvel Comics And Spider Woman's Ass

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Let's Talk About Marvel Comics And Spider Woman's Ass

A rare instance in which both sides are right, the variant cover by Milo Manara is provocative and a provocation all at once.

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I'd like to think that Marvel isn't so witless to tread the same path that DC did with the New 52. I don't see an issue with a sexy variant cover (within reason) and the main problem with DC hasn't been the covers, but what's inside, as the New 52 has become synonymous with the sexing up and dumbing down of multiple female characters, from Catwoman and Starfire to Harley Quinn and Amanda Waller.

So yeah - sexy variant cover by an interesting artist, I can live with that, so long as what's inside doesn't come across as having been written and drawn, one handed, by a sexually frustrated teenage boy.

It really is a shame. It's gotten to the point that any sex in comics is associated with low-brow pandering to the male gaze. Usually because it is. The bigwigs at the comics industry seriously need to put on the brakes and reevaluate what decade this is. They keep saying how important their female audience is, yet when the solutions to the problem of maintaining them are clear and easy to remedy, they balk because they fear any kind of change. I just imagine a bunch of old dudes in suits cowering at the thought of not "staying the course".

Wow. That doesn't look so much like "butt cleavage" as it does "had her coccyx surgically removed". I mean seriously, it's borderline uncanny valley.

A lot of these artists need some female input; it'd be nice to see some "powerful sexy" rather than "submissive sexy".

Mcoffey:
It really is a shame. It's gotten to the point that any sex in comics is associated with low-brow pandering to the male gaze. Usually because it is. The bigwigs at the comics industry seriously need to put on the brakes and reevaluate what decade this is. They keep saying how important their female audience is, yet when the solutions to the problem of maintaining them are clear and easy to remedy, they balk because they fear any kind of change. I just imagine a bunch of old dudes in suits cowering at the thought of not "staying the course".

You see here's the problem. It goes both ways.

People use covers like these which are limited and unseen by most to stereotype the industry and end up not showing up. Marvel tries, but the books underperform, in many cases badly. With the July sales up, let's see how the books with female leads sell (We'll stick to Marvel)

Highest ranking is Storm #1 placing 46th (since it's a #1, expect that to drop next month

after that

#86 Ms Marvel
#121 Black Widow
#126 Captain Marvel
#127 She Hulk
#152 Elektra

Yeah, it's only 6 titles, but when you see where they place (all but one in cancellation risk high territory), it's not hard to see Marvel rationalizing female leads don't sell well because, really, they don't seem to. Joe Quesada once said in response to why he kept writer Chuck Austin around despite how much he was hated (guy had women issues second to Frank Miller) he replied that if he ran his business by the internet, he'd be out of business. AKA yeah you bitch, but it's what you buy, and I doubt his opinion changed much in 10 years.

The market will change when the demand shows it can sustain itself in that change, and that isn't helped by acting like cheesecake is all Marvel (or any other company) knows. This applies to DC too. All the crap about what they got wrong, yet no appreciation for that Power Girl/ Huntress book.

Eh, this has basically been covered in previous social justice warrior columns. It doesn't hurt anyone to have a variant cover like that. You don't have to not buy the book to avoid it, you simply buy one of the alternate covers. I find complaints about this kind of thing to be ridiculous. I don't know what the fascination with this kind of thing is for people like the social justice warriors of the world. There are actual naked people on the covers of magazines that exist to objectify women, but lets complain about comicbook covers.

While I don't have any strong feelings either way for the review of that Teen Titans cover done by Janelle Asselin, I do question her choice of complaints. That cover is tame compared to just about every single issue of comics like Witchblade (or any image comic with females from it's inception). I don't find her idea about what does and does not make for good art compelling in reference to the what she is actually criticizing. Also, she noticeably speaks for every woman when she says no one with large breast would ever where what I'm assuming is meant to be a "strapless" top. Only, that is not the truth. I see large breasted women wearing strapless tops pretty regularly (weather permitting of course). It all depends on the style of the time more so than the want or need to see breasts. I routinely see this without any kind of breast support as well. I don't think they look like they are about to burst out either. If anything, the artistic reference was probably someone wearing a sports bra, which is what that looks like.

This is my one complaint about comics being mainstream. No one who actually reads comics really cares about the cover. It's there basically to let you know what you are picking up at a glance. I've seen few covers really show off anything about the contents of the issue, so it feels like an invented complaint when it's brought to bare against he Teen Titans cover.

I have just about had it with the Red Herring that is some jackasses actually threatened her with rape. It's terrible that it happened, but that doesn't actually have anything to do with her review, more about a few individuals fear of what they think she is capable of (ie. destroying their precious comic industry). No one is going to sit here and defend that attitude or justify it happening. But it's not really the issue we are talking about here and all it does is emotionally push you towards the conclusion of the author without offering you any empirical data.

You don't have to sit there and stare at it. Most covers are not eye catching (which is what I would say about that Spider Woman comic). That horrendous Catwoman cover is hard on the eyes, no matter how much T&A may be present. I quite like the Teen Titans cover because the work itself is extremely solid, though it makes it feel like perhaps the team may revolve around Wonder Girl in that issue(didn't read that, perhaps she is extremely central to that issue). That is reinforced by that strap that comes from her and encircles the whole team.

I do notice, as an artist myself, that a great many comic artists have just about everyone in skin tight outfits. This is an artistic shortcut. You know your anatomy, and that is just about enough to be a proficient character artist for comics. I mean, comics are the hardest commercial artistic endeavor to enter into these days, so that is no small feat. You don't see too many artists that add sufficient texture to their work for it to be really good (there is lots of texture on the Teen Titans cover). The Spider Woman cover is less so.

But, I do recognize that this column exists to point out things like this, so I do always appreciate that. If anything, as I have stated before, it makes me think about how I feel when I approach things. I have tried seeing it from the perspective that the author seems to take (ie. things like this are little more the sexploitation of women to attract men). Girls in comics are intentionally sexy, as are the men. Few people walking the earth fit the ideals laid down by comic figures, regardless of the sex involved. Comics are full of ideals. The heroes are powerful who use their abilities for good. Part of the ideal is huge chests and arms on men, powerful women of varying chest size who are as good as any man (if not better in many cases) and have petite little wastes and are too busy fighting evil to worry about what anyone actually thinks of them.

Hm. Sincerely, I actually didn't notice Wonder Girl's "huge breasts" until you pointed them out. The first thing that jumped my eyes was how pleasant the whole art (DAT HAIR) was to my eyes. Maybe I'm too used to big boobs from manga and anime, but it really didn't stand out as much as the whole picture.

Who is this artist by the way? I think I'm love with that cover.

Ruisu:
Hm. Sincerely, I actually didn't notice Wonder Girl's "huge breasts" until you pointed them out. The first thing that jumped my eyes was how pleasant the whole art (DAT HAIR) was to my eyes. Maybe I'm too used to big boobs from manga and anime, but it really didn't stand out as much as the whole picture.

Who is this artist by the way? I think I'm love with that cover.

I wouldn't have noticed them if I hadn't read the article and knew what to look for. Like you, I think I've spent too much time in manga and anime.
You know what I see when I see that cover? Raven. Because I love Raven. Raven is awesome. Not too sure about her new appearance though...

Sniper Team 4:

Ruisu:
Hm. Sincerely, I actually didn't notice Wonder Girl's "huge breasts" until you pointed them out. The first thing that jumped my eyes was how pleasant the whole art (DAT HAIR) was to my eyes. Maybe I'm too used to big boobs from manga and anime, but it really didn't stand out as much as the whole picture.

Who is this artist by the way? I think I'm love with that cover.

I wouldn't have noticed them if I hadn't read the article and knew what to look for. Like you, I think I've spent too much time in manga and anime.
You know what I see when I see that cover? Raven. Because I love Raven. Raven is awesome. Not too sure about her new appearance though...

That cover's by Kenneth Roccafort, the guy to either thank (or blame) for how Starfire is dressed now (barely) in Red Hood and the Outlaws.
Not that I'm complaining; she comes from a different planet and culture and has a different set of values and attitudes about sex and relationships.

The thing I first noticed was Jessicas (this is Jessica Drew Spiderwoman?) Hands. They are beautiful. Then I got the butt.

The cover is a publicity stunt plain and simple. Cat Woman waa jus horrible. I didnt lime the composition on the TT cover.

I'm not against sexually charged variant covers in any way, but I can't seem to find the sexy in this one. People really look at that and think 'I'd tap that'? She barely looks human, let alone sexy. And that's my biggest problem with such covers: The female form is sexy, why are you mangling it? It just looks... Broken, at worst. Uncomfortable, at best. Why?

Is Spider-woman giraffe in this comic?

The cover is nowhere near as bad as the interior art by Greg Land is going to be. Porn tracing, here we come!

Neon Jackal:
The cover is nowhere near as bad as the interior art by Greg Land is going to be. Porn tracing, here we come!

Ok, good. I am glad I am not the only one wondering about that? I mean I don't think I have ever seen a woman drawn by Greg Land that isn't doing the stripper / porn star "O" face. It's kind of creepy. His "pole dancer" interpretations of some of the X-Mens younger teenaged characters has always struck me as in poor taste.

And it's not so much that the covers are "sexy". Most of the women that I know that read comics actually kind of like comic covers with a sort of classic pinup style. My wife always likes some of Greg Horns stuff. She seems to be ok with sexy so long as it isn't too over the top with grossly unrealistic anatomy and posing. And faces, facial expressions and eyes count for a lot with her. She actually likes the slightly sexy pinup style covers far more than more classic action covers which don't grab her attention.

No issues with sexy covers or the likes. I only have issues if it looks like the anatomy got completely and utterly butchered(stylization will also impact what I think about it) like that catwoman cover. Can't say I much liked that spiderwoman cover however. The anatomy just seems to be a bit off to me, but I haven't seen what else the guy has made so I can't comment on the artist himself.

Though some art used for comicbooks makes me wonder why these artists haven't started making porn comics given they look like thats what they want to do sometimes.

That wasn't the conversation about Spider Woman's butt I was hoping for.... =(
Also, that cover looks incredibly strange. Like, to the point of almost being kinda creepy.

Ruisu:
Hm. Sincerely, I actually didn't notice Wonder Girl's "huge breasts" until you pointed them out. The first thing that jumped my eyes was how pleasant the whole art (DAT HAIR) was to my eyes. Maybe I'm too used to big boobs from manga and anime, but it really didn't stand out as much as the whole picture.

Who is this artist by the way? I think I'm love with that cover.

First thing I noticed was Beast Boy. I don't read American comics and am only really familiar with Teen Titans via the TV show, so I gotta ask: has Beasty always been such a... stud...? Makes me feel things a straight man ought not feel.

Anyway, yeah. For as admittedly unfocused as it is (As Janelle Asselin pointed out), the aesthetic of that cover sure does look nice. Something about it... maybe the use of color?

The author got a warning for a low content post!

mistwolf:
I'm not against sexually charged variant covers in any way, but I can't seem to find the sexy in this one. People really look at that and think 'I'd tap that'? She barely looks human, let alone sexy. And that's my biggest problem with such covers: The female form is sexy, why are you mangling it? It just looks... Broken, at worst. Uncomfortable, at best. Why?

mabye its a look into the difference between the male and female mind....because this just looks weird to me

for me "actual" sexyness requires the person to actually look and emote like a person

Maybe it's just me, but I think that going by the general awfulness of some of these covers, the Spier Woman one really isn't half-bad. I mean, instead of needing to twist a character's spine into non-euclidean geometry, the effect is done with a camera angle and the situation itself just makes it looks like she's crawling over a roof.

It's good to compare other comic covers to Manara's, but it was the content of DC's new 52 that offended so many readers. The first issue cover of "Red Hood and the Outlaws" wasn't offensive, but the content, the portrayal of Starfire as a woman who would have sex with men at the drop of a hat, drew ire from many in the community. To me, a mere cover, especially a variant cover, is of much less significance than the content. If Spider Woman was depicted in something other than her normal outfit, I'd could better understand the controversy.

Of course people don't have to like the cover, and can buy whatever variant he/she feels is the best representation of Spider-Woman.

mistwolf:
I'm not against sexually charged variant covers in any way, but I can't seem to find the sexy in this one. People really look at that and think 'I'd tap that'? She barely looks human, let alone sexy. And that's my biggest problem with such covers: The female form is sexy, why are you mangling it? It just looks... Broken, at worst. Uncomfortable, at best. Why?

Because Manara is a bit of a genius. His intention is to be provocative. Itīs kind of sexy, but maybe not really and it is slutty but also spider like. He also ignores that she is wearing clothes (no wrinkles, no extra lines and no texture).

If a beautiful woman walked around like a spider this would probably at the same time be sexy and weird (mostly weird, though).

1)What is she wearing? Bodypaint? Fabric doesn't work that way (unless you glue it to your body)
2)Why would anyone crawl like that? Looks uncomfortable.
Yeah I wonder about such things :D

Redd the Sock:
The market will change when the demand shows it can sustain itself in that change, and that isn't helped by acting like cheesecake is all Marvel (or any other company) knows. This applies to DC too. All the crap about what they got wrong, yet no appreciation for that Power Girl/ Huntress book.

Maybe if they actually would market a damn thing they'd realize sell a few more copies. We're talking about a company who only managed to move a little over 34,420 copies of Captain America the same month his movie sold millions of tickets.

Superheroes are way more popular than ever, but the number of people actually buying comics has remained pretty much steady. I'm not a marketing genius, but I'm pretty sure that there are plenty of ways Marvel or DC could massively increase their sales. Something as simple as making a deal with Wal-Mart so that comic books can be purchased somewhere that people who don't already buy comic books go would be a great start.

Pretty sure the problem isn't that women aren't buying comics even when the comics are available. The problem is that the only people who know the comics are available are people already buying other comics.

The Rogue Wolf:
Wow. That doesn't look so much like "butt cleavage" as it does "had her coccyx surgically removed". I mean seriously, it's borderline uncanny valley.

A lot of these artists need some female input; it'd be nice to see some "powerful sexy" rather than "submissive sexy".

Thing is, Milo Manera has been around a LOOOOOONG time. He isnt some rookie to the medium by any means. However, Marvel had to have known the type of artist they were using for the cover. This kind of artwork is extremely tame when compared to alot of Milos other work.

Halyah:
No issues with sexy covers or the likes. I only have issues if it looks like the anatomy got completely and utterly butchered(stylization will also impact what I think about it) like that catwoman cover. Can't say I much liked that spiderwoman cover however. The anatomy just seems to be a bit off to me, but I haven't seen what else the guy has made so I can't comment on the artist himself.

Though some art used for comicbooks makes me wonder why these artists haven't started making porn comics given they look like thats what they want to do sometimes.

THAT is exactly what Milo is famous for. He has a ton of adult work out there, and has been around for a very long time. So, good eye! :)

Riff Moonraker:

Halyah:
No issues with sexy covers or the likes. I only have issues if it looks like the anatomy got completely and utterly butchered(stylization will also impact what I think about it) like that catwoman cover. Can't say I much liked that spiderwoman cover however. The anatomy just seems to be a bit off to me, but I haven't seen what else the guy has made so I can't comment on the artist himself.

Though some art used for comicbooks makes me wonder why these artists haven't started making porn comics given they look like thats what they want to do sometimes.

THAT is exactly what Milo is famous for. He has a ton of adult work out there, and has been around for a very long time. So, good eye! :)

Yeah I understood that he was famous for such things. The comment was more aimed at other comic artists I've seen that seems to draw like they want to draw porn sometimes. xD

Can we please, Please, find these artists someone to teach them actual anatomy/biology? I ask because Spiderwoman's posterior is impossible. Bluntly, @#$s do not look like that and if they do please seek medical attention. Second, what is going on with Spiderman's leg? It looks like it has been broken off and re-affixed. I just, I... I have nothing against sensuality in art, I just want the characters to look like they're actually sensing something other than agony...

Halyah:

Riff Moonraker:

Halyah:
No issues with sexy covers or the likes. I only have issues if it looks like the anatomy got completely and utterly butchered(stylization will also impact what I think about it) like that catwoman cover. Can't say I much liked that spiderwoman cover however. The anatomy just seems to be a bit off to me, but I haven't seen what else the guy has made so I can't comment on the artist himself.

Though some art used for comicbooks makes me wonder why these artists haven't started making porn comics given they look like thats what they want to do sometimes.

THAT is exactly what Milo is famous for. He has a ton of adult work out there, and has been around for a very long time. So, good eye! :)

Yeah I understood that he was famous for such things. The comment was more aimed at other comic artists I've seen that seems to draw like they want to draw porn sometimes. xD

Oooooh, ok... sorry, I misunderstood you. :)

When I first saw it I kept laughing because her butt crack was deeper than Bill Gates wallet :P

Riff Moonraker:

Oooooh, ok... sorry, I misunderstood you. :)

Don't worry about it. We've all made mistakes like this plenty of times and will do so many times in the future. ;)

Maybe I'm out of the comic book art loop but... isn't this like a super crazy common thing? I thought comics always sexualized their characters constantly whether it be the pages or covers and this seems pretty tame to me.

Also this particular guys work is both not really that impressive and not particularly unique in my opinion and if he's known for porny stuff then Marvel should have known what they were getting. If they didn't want him to overtly sexualize her they should have specified to not do so. That's what you do when you commission someone and you have specific requirements, you give them said requirements.

Redraws of both Spiderwoman covers by fans have already been done. Its amazing how the same pose but with better anatomy changes things.

mecegirl:
Redraws of both Spiderwoman covers by fans have already been done. Its amazing how the same pose but with better anatomy changes things.

Yeah, the original art was pretty atrocious. I mean, if you are going to go to the effort of creating a special fanservice cover is it really that much work to make it not completely awful?

Huh. Wonder if that comic sold especially well or especially poorly, or points to trends in relation to better or worse sales.

Because really, is there anything else the comic book company should care about in relation to this adventure? If people buying Spider Woman comics want to see more ridiculous but well-drawn butts, then they should probably draw more. If not, they should make fewer. It's not rocket science here.

And hey, if you personally don't like it and think it's too much of a boy's club? How about instead of trying to fix this particular company who basically isn't beholden to you except for perceiving you as walking wallets (the point of view of pretty much any big successful company), you patronize independent female comic artists, support those hard-working ladies' patreons, etc.? Seems like that would do a lot more work than posting about this on facebook, complaining about it for a few days and then going back to buying these comics again when the next issue comes out.

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