Marvel VP Speaks Mind on Manara Spider Woman Butt Cover

Karloff

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Marvel VP Speaks Mind on Manara Spider Woman Butt Cover



Tom Brevoort figures if you hire someone like Milo Manara, you know what to expect. But was Marvel paying attention to its readership?

Spider Woman recently garnered Marvel a lot of negative publicity, thanks to a Milo Manara variant cover [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/comicsandcosplay/columns/socialjusticewarrior/12140-Why-Marvel-s-Spider-Woman-Variant-Cover-By-Milo-Manara-Is-So-Con] that many regarded as less than suitable. Marvel VP Tom Brevoort took a question on his Tumblr on this issue. Wasn't this negative reaction a form of conservatism, the questioner asked, evidently afraid that sexual thematics would be removed from comics.

Tom Brevoort's response in full is:

Well, I think a couple of things.

I think that the people who are upset about that cover have a point, at least in how the image relates to them.

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.

It's also, for a Manara piece, one of the less sexualized ones, at least to my eye. Maybe others feel differently. But 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.

But all that said, it's the right of every reader not to like something.

And fortunately, it's a variant cover, so people will likely need to seek it out if they want it, rather than it being the display piece for the book.

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. That too is fine. Nothing gets better unless ideas are communicated.

In previous years, if Marvel took flak on an issue it could count on the usual internet suspects weighing in. This time it's getting attention from the likes of Guardian [http://time.com/3153866/spider-woman-marvel-comic-butt/], news outlets that until relatively recently wouldn't have bothered about what happens in comic books.

Then Marvel had a string of Spider-Man spin-off movie [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/136591-Friday-Box-Office-Guardians-of-The-Galaxy-Is-a-Record-Breaking-Smash], and with good reason.

"If you go to conventions and comic book stores, more and more female readers are emerging," said Marvel's Axel Alonso. "They are starved for content and looking for content they can relate to." Market research indicates that, of the 24 million comic fans in the US, 46.67% are women [http://comicsbeat.com/market-research-says-46-female-comic-fans/]. That's 11.2 million readers, looking for characters whose adventures they can enjoy.

Given the increased number of female readers, and given the attention Marvel's been getting from major news outlets thanks to its movie hits, maybe now wasn't the best time for a Manara variant cover. But at least the conversation's happening; after all, nothing gets better unless ideas are communicated.

Source: Brevoort Tumblr [http://brevoortformspring.tumblr.com/]



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Lono Shrugged

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In this situation, it's less a matter of sexism and more that of terrible art. There have been much much more sexist covers than this. (Heros for hire 13 I am looking at you) But this is by far the worst. It's offensive to the eye. It's sexist objectification done bad.
 

Something Amyss

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I'm not sure if it's "Spider-like," but I find the post on the cover kind of disturbing.

If that's supposed to be hot, sexualised, well...Ummm...I don't know.
 

Lightknight

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Whatever you do, don't tell them about the back room of the comic book store! Please, everyone tell them that the boxes named "adult" are really just Archie Comics.

Sorry, but not only is this a rare cover which should make this entirely meaningless, but sexy isn't evil. Even nude drawings isn't evil. Hell, Marvel should consider an adult line of marvel comics. Call it universe XXX or whatever.
 

Story

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That cover made me chuckle. I too, think it's bad art, but it is bad because it wants to be cheesecake too.
Kinda reminds me of this Catwomen cover and it's surrounding controversy.
 

Lightknight

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Story said:
That cover made me chuckle. I too, think it's bad art, but it is bad because it wants to be cheesecake too.
Kinda reminds me of this Catwomen cover and it's surrounding controversy.
Ugh, they put her breast where her butt should be and vice versa...
 

Thaluikhain

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So...they got a guy that always does that sort of stuff, and the defense is it's not as bad as some of his other stuff?

Why not hire someone who isn't him and avoid the issue?

Lightknight said:
Ugh, they put her breast where her boobs should be and vice versa...
Ah-huh.
 

rbstewart7263

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Im gonna say it plain. Feminism and sexy stuff like this can exist in harmony if people have the mind to see it that way.
 

Baresark

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thaluikhain said:
So...they got a guy that always does that sort of stuff, and the defense is it's not as bad as some of his other stuff?

Why not hire someone who isn't him and avoid the issue?

Lightknight said:
Ugh, they put her breast where her boobs should be and vice versa...
Ah-huh.
The same reason why it doesn't ultimately matter, it's a variant cover. Only some comic shops will have it and it will run on a much more limited run than the standard cover.

OT: Haha, I still have to laugh at this. I personally appreciate their stance because they are being very reasonable. They basically said that if you don't like it, you don't have to buy it since it's a limited variant cover. Articles like this is what happens when something moves into the mainstream. Comics are mostly fine, but occasionally there is a cover like this. Everyone in turn flips their shit. I have to wonder, of that 11.2 Million readers that are female, how many of them actually care. Hell, how many of them maybe even like the cover. I hate to say it, but not all women are afraid of their sexuality and certainly not afraid of it in the comics they may read.
 

Lightknight

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rbstewart7263 said:
Im gonna say it plain. Feminism and sexy stuff like this can exist in harmony if people have the mind to see it that way.
The moment feminists begin to realize that the girl jogging down the street in short juicy boy shorts and sports bra is also a woman should be the moment they realize that some girls want to be sexy and that sexy isn't an evil attribute.

But no, their expression of women is the only one they're going to allow :p
 

Lightknight

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thaluikhain said:
So...they got a guy that always does that sort of stuff, and the defense is it's not as bad as some of his other stuff?

Why not hire someone who isn't him and avoid the issue?
Variant Cover (aka, rare and limited edition). They hired him to do a special limited edition cover that you actually have to look for. They specifically hired him to make the cover in that way.

Someone else made the mainstream cover that everyone gets on shelves.

Also, why would it be wrong of them to specifically want that cover even as mainstream. If they want it that way then it's their IP.
 

Thaluikhain

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Lightknight said:
Variant Cover (aka, rare and limited edition). They hired him to do a special limited edition cover that you actually have to look for. They specifically hired him to make the cover in that way.

Someone else made the mainstream cover that everyone gets on shelves.

Also, why would it be wrong of them to specifically want that cover even as mainstream. If they want it that way then it's their IP.
Sure, they can run that cover as mainstream if they want.

But to say about it "Well, the guy we chose to hire for this is stuck in the 60s, actually this is pretty good for him"...that's terrible PR. Couldn't he have said something about "Having a distinctive, retro style" or something?
 

zinho73

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I liked the cover.
Manara is not just about being sexy, he is about being provocative.
Of course, it is just a variation of hundreds of comic covers that places boobs on offer to the reader. Greg Land has been cutting/paste porno actresses for years now in several covers.
Manara's work is at least original.
I think it is always valid to discuss the portrayal of women in comics, but I don't think sexy and provocative is out of place when it fits the character.
Artistic speaking, the drawing is anatomically correct if she was naked, but Manara ignores the wrinkles and extra lines that a suit would create(on porpoise).
 

Lightknight

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thaluikhain said:
Lightknight said:
Variant Cover (aka, rare and limited edition). They hired him to do a special limited edition cover that you actually have to look for. They specifically hired him to make the cover in that way.

Someone else made the mainstream cover that everyone gets on shelves.

Also, why would it be wrong of them to specifically want that cover even as mainstream. If they want it that way then it's their IP.
Sure, they can run that cover as mainstream if they want.

But to say about it "Well, the guy we chose to hire for this is stuck in the 60s, actually this is pretty good for him"...that's terrible PR. Couldn't he have said something about "Having a distinctive, retro style" or something?
No, what they're saying is that this IS his style. This is in-line with his body of work from back then.

They weren't saying that this is pretty good for an old guy. They're saying that this IS what they knew he would do and what they hired him for specifically that.

So the PR response is, "Yeah, we knew this would be the result. We hired him for it. We knew it could be controversial so we just put it in the variant cover so it's rare, deal with it."

It was them sticking to their guns.
 

blackrave

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I don't care about sexismpatriarchycheckyourprivilegecisscumblablabla
What I care about is
1)The pose looks uncomfortable
2)What is she wearing that it goes inside her but-cheeks as well? Fabric doesn't work that way.
3)Why would anyone need to crawl like that?
Yeah, I wonder about things like that :)
 

synobal

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I don't have a problem with the cover, to my eye it looks like crap so what ever.

I just wish I could convince someone at Marvel to do an Ultimate Spider-woman series, Jessica Drew in the Ultimate universe is so much more interesting.
 

Gorrath

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blackrave said:
I don't care about sexismpatriarchycheckyourprivilegecisscumblablabla
What I care about is
1)The pose looks uncomfortable
2)What is she wearing that it goes inside her but-cheeks as well? Fabric doesn't work that way.
3)Why would anyone need to crawl like that?
Yeah, I wonder about things like that :)
I do too, though I then go on to remind myself that someone in a strange looking pose, or fabric doing bizarre things are hardly the oddest details about a book full of super-powered people from all over the universe fighting things like a giant guy who flies around on a mechanical throne eating planets. One moment I'm all. "Who poses like THAT," and the next I'm all "This guy's power is welding dogs to things..."
 

Gorrath

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zinho73 said:
I liked the cover.
Manara is not just about being sexy, he is about being provocative.
Of course, it is just a variation of hundreds of comic covers that places boobs on offer to the reader. Greg Land has been cutting/paste porno actresses for years now in several covers.
Manara's work is at least original.
I think it is always valid to discuss the portrayal of women in comics, but I don't think sexy and provocative is out of place when it fits the character.
Artistic speaking, the drawing is anatomically correct if she was naked, but Manara ignores the wrinkles and extra lines that a suit would create(on porpoise).
Ugh, Greg Land. He and Liefeld and their ilk are just, ugh... I'll never understand how some people can defend these guys. Yeah, I get their impact on comics was huge and that at one time people were buying the books almost based on nothing more than who the artist was, making them minor celebrities, but still... ugh.
 

Trishbot

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As a female reader, I just want equality with the men. Fine, you want to draw Spider-Woman with a suit that is so tight it MUST be sprayed on latex with her butt cheeks spread so wide you can park a jumbo jet between them, looking like she's presenting herself to the entire city of New York? Sure. But do the same for Spider-man now too.

Even if nearly 45% of comic readers are female, 95% of comic writers and artists are men, and the industry carries a rather unflattering stigma of sexism and chauvinism from decades of pandering to juvenile adolescents obsessed with T&A. Heck, that's practically what put titles like Witchblade on the map.

But times are different, and Marvel is, well, mainstream. When Avengers is the 3rd biggest movie of all time, you can't claim you pander just to a small, male, pre-teen demographic anymore. And, to be fair to Marvel, they have made great strides in improving their use and portrayal of female characters (ESPECIALLY compared to DC, who has gone in the reverse direction of progress).

As a female reader, I'm thrilled to see less cheesecake and pandering and more legitimate heroines that look and act like actual human beings.
Just a few I follow:





And probably my favorite heroine of all time:

(Shame Marvel erased her from existence with One More Day... just one of many reasons to hate One More Day)

From Black Widow to Scarlet Witch to the many great female leaders of the X-men (man, those movies did none of them justice...) to even lesser heroines like Rescue and Jessica Jones, Marvel's gotten much better, but the old stink of the past is still around in some parts, and it's still not quite as inviting to female readers as it probably should be.

Which is a shame. Growing up, I was told girls watched things like Jem, Strawberry Shortcake, Rainbow Bright, and My Little Pony, but I loved excitement, drama, and action, and instead was watching things like She-Ra, Scarlet in G.I. Joe, even April in Ninja Turtles and Cheetara in Thundercats. I was reading those wacky 80's issues of She-Hulk and Spider-Woman (the one in the cool black costume), and Batgirl was a huge role model.

I want young girls to have that same feeling, despite the last vocal gasps of male-driven comics going to the wayside. I saw this first-hand with a young female reader:


Things are improving, bit by bit by agonizing bit, but until Marvel is confident enough to put a Captain Marvel on screen in a leading role and making female-driven action vehicles "mainstream" (as if the one-two-three punch of "Catching Fire", "Frozen", and "Gravity" last year wasn't enough), it's going to remain a petulant problem where more ink is devoted to Spider-Woman's glutes than to her character, personality, heroism, or status as a role model for young girls.

So, hurry up, Marvel. I'm more than eager to pay money for a Captain Marvel film.
 

Makabriel

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Lightknight said:
thaluikhain said:
No, what they're saying is that this IS his style. This is in-line with his body of work from back then.

They weren't saying that this is pretty good for an old guy. They're saying that this IS what they knew he would do and what they hired him for specifically that.

So the PR response is, "Yeah, we knew this would be the result. We hired him for it. We knew it could be controversial so we just put it in the variant cover so it's rare, deal with it."

It was them sticking to their guns.
I can't remember where I read it (think it was even here) but the best reply I heard was "Would be awesome if we got Salvadore Dali to do a variant cover and then everyone would be "Oh my god, why does Spiderwoman have eyes on the same side of her face??"

It's artistic expression. They hired him to create something in his style. They shouldn't have to cover their asses (pun somewhat intended) by saying they are sorry for an artist creating art. I actually like their reply, it's very nonchalant and matter of fact, which is exactly how it should be. You don't have to like it.

It's a shame Frank Frazetta isn't around. Would be awesome to see his take on Marvel heroes..