Marvel VP Speaks Mind on Manara Spider Woman Butt Cover

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Este... Milo Manara is best known as the guy that made all those "Click" porn comics. If you know anything about the guy, is that he draws porn. What would Marvel expect by hiring him to do some cover art? That's like hiring AC/DC for the soundtrack and complain they're too noisy.

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:
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And probably my favorite heroine of all time:
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(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:
image

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.

First, I'm glad to see a female (that doesn't seem like they have a chip on their shoulder) weigh in on this.

Next, before I make my point, I do basically agree with the underlying sentimental...more relatable characters and the way they are portrayed for female audiences. I think it's a great idea.

However, here are my two cents

This silly Spiderwoman cover doesn't set back the movement to get more relatable characters. It's a variant cover that I honestly don't think has generated outrage outside of a few hardcore feminists, white males looking to be pretentious, and geek journalism, that just loves to start flame wars among their readers for comments and views. (side note: the fact that this was on the Time and Guardian websites doesn't really mean much, as they have staff writers to just fill content spaces.... its not like it made the front page of the paper or the cover of the magazine)

More sexy/traditional stuff can exist ALONGSIDE the new/relatable material. The elimination of sex appeal would hurt the readership among both male and female lines. The stat about 46% of comic audience being women seem to like the current product enough to buy it and read it. I see cosplayers (actual ones, not sexual attention seekers)gladly dawn the Power Girl costume or Black Widow's tight uniform.

Also, I think it's disingenuous to just say "we need a female/minority lead movie", just to have a female/minority lead movie. This reminds me of when every late 70s and early 80s cartoon had the stereotypical, under thought versions of minority character and "the wheelchair kid".

To include someone just to check an item off a list does a disservice to everyone. You need to adapt or create a character that is compelling and interesting to truly make it a great movie that doesn't pander or make things worse.

The good thing about Marvel and DC is they have several good choices: The female version of Capt. Marvel (As you mentioned), Wonder Woman, She Hulk, Power Girl, Super Girl, Spider Woman, Bat Girl and Bat Woman. (Yes, I left out Black Widow... her movie needs to be a team up with Hawkeye b/c of her lack of powers and the great chemistry they have...it would make a better and enjoyable film.

Don't forget as well that Marvel pushed for the Agent Carter series on ABC next year. While it will be a short series (Atwell being a movie star and all), the fact they found a great character to make a series around.

In conclusion, I get the need for more realistic female characters, but attacking this stupid comic book cover, or the pose Black Widow had in the Avengers poster doesn't achieve that goal. In fact, I think it weakens your argument. Focus on what can be done to make things better, and allow men and women who enjoy the current characters while organically growing new, interesting, nuanced, strong, and awesome charachters people can relate too and cheer for, not just to fill a quota like Apache Chief.

Brockyman:

In conclusion, I get the need for more realistic female characters, but attacking this stupid comic book cover, or the pose Black Widow had in the Avengers poster doesn't achieve that goal. In fact, I think it weakens your argument. Focus on what can be done to make things better, and allow men and women who enjoy the current characters while organically growing new, interesting, nuanced, strong, and awesome charachters people can relate too and cheer for, not just to fill a quota like Apache Chief.

I 100% agree... but I also think this article brought up the fact that this pose, with this character, isn't exactly the end-all, be-all of the argument. I actually laughed it off as "yet another Escher Girl":
http://eschergirls.tumblr.com/

But the point was, in isolation, there's nothing wrong with sex or being sexy. But that's if a work doesn't exist in a vacuum. The point was that this cover exists in the context where, currently, at this very moment, there is still a LOT wrong with the industry, with even many female writers and artists openly talking about how much of a struggle it is to just stand on even footing with the boys (in the work place and heroines in the comics). It's basically, for many, a small straw that broke a camel's back, and I understand that and I see that. Me, honestly... that back broke a LONG time ago (again, Ms. Marvel's 80's era was one giant embarrassment for everyone).

The character can still be great while being a "minority" (even though women make up over half the population), and a character who is black, female, fat, gay, or disabled shouldn't be defined by a "minority quota", which is an easy label to slap them with, when they're great characters. Hell, even if they were created for a minority quota, as was the case with the original second-team of X-men (intentionally created for the sole purpose of being more diverse), great things were done with the African Storm, German Catholic Nightcrawler, Jewish Kitty Pryde, Russian Colossus, Native American Warpath, Irish Banshee, and so many others. Even Professor X is a "disabled" character not defined by his wheelchair but by his intellect, leadership, and fatherly roles in the lives of others. Barbara Gordon as Oracle was a heroine that overcame disabilities to be defined as the greatest information broker in the DC universe, the founder of the Birds of Prey, and the mentor to countless younger heroines.

What I'm getting at is that a character can be created for mundane or even bad reasons (She-Hulk and Spider-Woman solely existed to keep TV moguls from making them and claiming ownership), but can through great talent become some of the most interesting, funny, exciting, and well-crafted characters in the industry ("Single Green Female" is a great She-Hulk run everyone should read).

But the struggle has been, and will continue to be, having the impression of these women changed from hot sex objects into likable characters. Obviously, as a woman, I didn't care about She-Hulk having the biggest boobs in Marvel... I cared about her because she was a hilarious witty giant green lawyer trying to have a career, a superhero identity, a love life, a social life, and openly calling out the hypocrisy of the world around her ("Tony, why is it that when you sleep around, you're a player and a stud, but when I do it, I'm a slut?").

Jessica Drew in particular, while sexy, is a very damaged character with a very dark past with lots of drama, issues, and troubles, a fascinating character worth study and introspection... if people can see past her giant spandex-clad butt. She once had some truly stunning covers back in the day:
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Heroic, artistic, engaging in life-or-death action... like you'd expect a hero to do, a snapshot of her life.

Anyway, I doubt this will "ruin" her, but it's not the best first impression for a new #1 cover, even as a variant. Now, for something different; Hulk making her a sandwich.
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"It's also, for a Manara piece, one of the less sexualized ones, at least to my eye."

Then he should be drawing porn.

"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."

So where's my variant cover of Captain America fucking Tony Stark?

Wait, are people assuming that the article picture is the cover we're talking about? That one was drawn by Greg Land, and is less bad (but still bad because it doesn't understand how anatomy works and it's willfully doing so in order to show her ass anyway). The one being discussed is the other one, the spiderbutt where the focal point is her butt, according to my art classes about composition.

There's no redeeming feature to this picture besides "well, it's not the mainstream one, we're acknowledging that by putting a still sexualized but not as obviously sexualized photo for the main cover, and it's still for no apparent reason but we're trying! We think your discussion is important but not enough to actually address beyond what we can get away with to keep selling more comics without passing the threshold of realization for our readers (hint: it's pretty low)." If you go to the Escher Girls tumblr, you'll even see a NSFW picture by the same artist of the same pose for another comic, where the only difference is that the butt is skin colored to indicate that it is bare.

Reminds me a lot of this Amazing SPider-Man vol 2 #30's cover
http://www.spiderfan.org/comics/images/spiderman_amazing_v2/030.jpg

I find it hilarious how some cry out for Spider-Man to also run around in an unrealistically skintight costume, so you've never seen or read Spider-Man have you?

Pro tip, most Superhero drawings of both genders are just naked people without genitals and nipples in different colours and colour combinations, with a crease or two here and there.

Yeah, female Superheroes are predominantly more sexualized these days, or "prettified" prior to the late 80s, in that they annoyingly don't cover their faces to hide their identity but display their faces, makeup, and hair for everyone to marvel at. I hate that too, but to act as if this silly rare variant cover, you'll actually have to actively seek out to be able to get is the worst thing ever is completely ridicules.

And on a side note, Spider-Girl was not written out of existence by One More Day, the May Parker alias Spider Girl was always in an alternate future, as in the future of an alternate universe and not the actual future of the classic universe. So she still exists.

Trishbot:
image
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:
image
image
image
image

And probably my favorite heroine of all time:
image
(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:
image

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.

Hahahahahahahahaha! That is one of the funniest images I have seen in quite a while! The cherry is without a doubt the look on Black Widows face ^^

So we're supposed to give an artist a pass because they've just always drawn sexist stuff like that? That's cool. While we're at it, let's just allow old, white politicians to pass anti-LGBT legislation. You know, since that's the way they've always been. Let's just allow racist cops to shoot unarmed black men because they were raised in a different time.

I know these are extreme examples, but the point is valid. We shouldn't excuse backwards thinking and harmful actions just because people are set in their ways and don't like to change. I don't care if this particular artist has always drawn these kinds of things, or even if this one is tame compared to the rest of their body of work. It doesn't make it not sexist.

If you think that sexually charged is in and of itself, sexist, then no, you're not required to give Manara a pass. But if you think Marvel picked him out of a hat not knowing that overt fetishism is kind of the only thing Manara's famous for, you're kidding yourself. They wanted a provocative alternate cover, and lo, they got one... despite the fact that, as Dead Metal pointed out, it's not substantially different than Peter Parker showing us his tight, perky boy buns, other than said cover understanding that skin tight and "skin" aren't the same thing.

Comparing Marvel choosing to hire an infamous pornographer with a politician limiting the rights of any one group of people is a little extreme, I think.

Faith Meade:
So we're supposed to give an artist a pass because they've just always drawn sexist stuff like that? That's cool. While we're at it, let's just allow old, white politicians to pass anti-LGBT legislation. You know, since that's the way they've always been. Let's just allow racist cops to shoot unarmed black men because they were raised in a different time.

I know these are extreme examples, but the point is valid. We shouldn't excuse backwards thinking and harmful actions just because people are set in their ways and don't like to change. I don't care if this particular artist has always drawn these kinds of things, or even if this one is tame compared to the rest of their body of work. It doesn't make it not sexist.

I'm pretty sure a comic book cover won't have as much impact as a bill denying a group of people their rights. But, good try dude.

Gorrath:

zinho73:
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.

I think some inkers and colorists saved a lot of his work. And I think he is better than Liefeld. And that's all I got. Your post is full of win, sir.

Meh. My issue is not with the cover being sexualized as much as it being poorly drawn.

Trishbot:

Brockyman:

In conclusion, I get the need for more realistic female characters, but attacking this stupid comic book cover, or the pose Black Widow had in the Avengers poster doesn't achieve that goal. In fact, I think it weakens your argument. Focus on what can be done to make things better, and allow men and women who enjoy the current characters while organically growing new, interesting, nuanced, strong, and awesome charachters people can relate too and cheer for, not just to fill a quota like Apache Chief.

/snip for large content, but go to the original post and check it out :)

We really aren't that far off in opinion. I'm glad the "quota" X-Men turned out to be something! I still stand by the point that "quota" characters shouldn't be the starting point in today's society....Oracle wasn't created to be a "disabled" hero, it was a natural progression of Barbra Gordon getting injured and facing an adverstiy, and same with Professor X in the recent "First Class", struggling with his powers, and gladly trading them to walk.

Same goes with turning Heimdall, Nick Fury and John Storm black... it doesn't affect the story, and I think that it was more based on the casting of talented actors more so than "hey, we need a black dude". John and Sue just b/c adopted into a mixed family, and it's pretty neat.

Also, I know women aren't the minority, that's why i did the women/minority to separate the two

Also, I didn't investigate that link you sent very much, but I am baffled someone has that kind of time to pick apart the drawings like that. I maybe have an hour or two to write in forums a week

Lastly, I think part of the issue is the way this argument is presented by others. You take a calm, rational approach, add pics, humor and footnotes, and make a good case. The way the writer for this article and the ones at IGN, Time and the Guardian wrote it more like a witch hunt/hardcore/"this is the worst thing in the world" tone, which doesn't sit well with many people

I love my comics, movies, and TV, and do get irritated when creators make bad decisions or drop the ball, but I really can't get worked up about it like so many people in geek culture can. I used to, but I learned that just writing a few posts, then smiling and going on with life/friends/family is much more fun than obsessing or worrying. I'm not saying you do that, but I would ask anyone reading this to step back from any nerd issue of the day, and go outside, call your friends/family, and just have some fun :)

Like I said in the other thread, the real crime is the main artist for the series, Greg "These are clearly traced from porn images and I have no idea how pelvic bones works" Land.

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.

I'm curious, where do you stand on the use of cheese and beefcake to make a satirical statement about comics then evolving into a high concept superhero drama about life and death with a focus on the humanity of the characters?

I other words: What's your opinion on Adam Warrens Empowered?

It's a comic I would recommend everyone in this thread read, as what started out as TnA Bondage one shots for a commission turned into one of the best superhero comics I've read in a long time.

Rellik San:
I'm curious, where do you stand on the use of cheese and beefcake to make a satirical statement about comics then evolving into a high concept superhero drama about life and death with a focus on the humanity of the characters?

I other words: What's your opinion on Adam Warrens Empowered?

It's a comic I would recommend everyone in this thread read, as what started out as TnA Bondage one shots for a commission turned into one of the best superhero comics I've read in a long time.

In regards to how it handle sexuality, it's very variable.

Sometimes it says something insightful about how the way comics usually works, sometimes it's a silly parody, and sometimes it's just as bad as the stuff it's criticising. A lot of parody wanders into being not much different from what it is parodying, especially dealing with sexism like that.

In regards to the story, I like Ninjette, and Sistah Spooky really developed nicely.

There's a lot wrong with it, some really bad cliches and dodgy bits, but there's good stuff mixed in there as well.

I get it sexy=wrong.A shame people can not get over themselfs and enjoy simple things rather than over think it and complain.

This cover is pure filth. It should be illegal for women to wear tight clothes. Also they should stop having hips, butts or a waist. Women having hips is disgusting and shameful.

Dead Metal:
Reminds me a lot of this Amazing SPider-Man vol 2 #30's cover
http://www.spiderfan.org/comics/images/spiderman_amazing_v2/030.jpg

I find it hilarious how some cry out for Spider-Man to also run around in an unrealistically skintight costume, so you've never seen or read Spider-Man have you?

Pro tip, most Superhero drawings of both genders are just naked people without genitals and nipples in different colours and colour combinations, with a crease or two here and there.

Yeah, female Superheroes are predominantly more sexualized these days, or "prettified" prior to the late 80s, in that they annoyingly don't cover their faces to hide their identity but display their faces, makeup, and hair for everyone to marvel at. I hate that too, but to act as if this silly rare variant cover, you'll actually have to actively seek out to be able to get is the worst thing ever is completely ridicules.

And on a side note, Spider-Girl was not written out of existence by One More Day, the May Parker alias Spider Girl was always in an alternate future, as in the future of an alternate universe and not the actual future of the classic universe. So she still exists.

main difference between those two covers is that the focal point is where spidey's looking at, on the bottom, where there are more elements to focus on, while his ass is aimed away at the camera towards the background, whereas the other cover pulls her ass closer to the camera and she's not really looking at anything in particular, so there's nothing else for the reader to look at also

COMPOSITION, people

Trishbot:
image
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.

That's the way I wish things were... (Well, besides that Hulk.)
Although, most superheroes, male or female, were skin-tight suits, it's the poses and what's emphasised that's key.

I'm starting to do a fair bit of drawing now for a project of mine, and I hope I never find reason to hold back on the sexualisation of any of my characters. If they can "get away" with what they do, I'm shooting for the same, but for everyone.

Trishbot:

image

How come Hulk is making a sandwich and not Bruce?
I'm not up on my comic canon and I know these things change like the weather, but I thought Hulk was only Hulk when angry.

Milo Manara doing porn isn't relative to the conversation I think. I mean if the difference between art and porn isn't the naked risque posing lady but whether or not there is a penis around her and if she is interacting with it in the art then I don't care about the distinction. Masamune Shiro is one the best artists japan has and he does porn regularly. The difference between Shiro and Milo though is that he's actually good. Milo is simply prolific but his art has never been great or interesting. Even that cover he did for marvel looks half hearted and could of been done better by a different artist. The butt canyon is so freaking strange looking I have no idea why marvel didn't take one look at it and ask "wtf is this shit?". Also her lips look like she just transplanted Rockys lips at the end of the first movie. it just ugly.

EDIT: I will say this though. A company actually standing firmly behind its product and the artist!? Clearly not from the video game or radio industry. I'm happy to see that in this case.

Wait, wut? Did I really just see a major company handle a really really damning PR issue with straightforward answers, grace, and humility all the while trying to be impartial? ON TUMBLER NO LESS!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!??!?!!?!??!!?

...
...
...

image

Kenbo Slice:

Faith Meade:
So we're supposed to give an artist a pass because they've just always drawn sexist stuff like that? That's cool. While we're at it, let's just allow old, white politicians to pass anti-LGBT legislation. You know, since that's the way they've always been. Let's just allow racist cops to shoot unarmed black men because they were raised in a different time.

I know these are extreme examples, but the point is valid. We shouldn't excuse backwards thinking and harmful actions just because people are set in their ways and don't like to change. I don't care if this particular artist has always drawn these kinds of things, or even if this one is tame compared to the rest of their body of work. It doesn't make it not sexist.

I'm pretty sure a comic book cover won't have as much impact as a bill denying a group of people their rights. But, good try dude.

I never said it would. In fact, I expressly said these were extreme examples. The point is that "they've always done it that way" isn't a good excuse to let someone continue to be bigoted, misogynistic, homophobic, etc.

Also, not a dude.

I dont get how guys dont give a rats ass how they are portrayed in comic. Its pretty unrealistic but hey what guy does not want to look all ripped or what ever. So why is it this is an issue, aside from the pose being pretty odd, again not seeing the issue. Maybe get that image of what they think a women shuld look like and just let it be ? or OR be the change tyou want and make this realistic female super hero. Shit let hope these ppl bitchin about this never seen any anime or they will explode

I really should prepare a statement for every time this issue comes up.

1: Sexy does not equal disrespected. I don't suffer from some insane mental illness that prevents me from respecting the subject of my lust.

2: A female character is not made any better by the lack of sexualization than she is by the presence of it.

3: If you really think that sexism begins and ends with an ass shot than you've severely underestimated it.

Trishbot:
image
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.

Equality means that you, as a consumer, are 1 vote and that every other consumer is also 1 vote. It does not mean that women consumers are given exactly equal representation even if the consumer demographic leans towards one side rather than the other. Otherwise, that would be inequality with one side being given a voice that is disproportionate to their numbers.

This would be like us demanding equality on the cover of romance novels in which males are often depicted as half naked stud muffins.

Not only that, but this is a non-standard cover. It's a rare limited edition cover that isn't the main one so you're just being critical of art existing at all which is frankly ridiculous.

In any event, men are also sexualized in comics. It's just that the female form has more commonly exaggerated features. The picture you posted above are non-sexy depictions of males because males are generally considered sexier with a toned ass and not a bubble ass like you depicted. That is, however, attractive on females. Sorry if you find that offensive but I'll give you a hint, bubble-assed girl art isn't made for you specifically because you're not the only consumer.

Believe me, if men had a thing like crabs have where a large right-arm is depicted as sexy/attractive. Then our superheros would have absolutely massive ones.

As is, we're culturally attractive by muscle definition whether bulk or toned depending on the viewer. We don't really have anything else. Maybe boyish and then there's entire genres dedicated to you. You can maybe make an argument that rugged vs boyish features in general are there too.

Either way, none of it's as exaggerate-able as breasts, butt, legs, and eyes that are seen as particularly attractive in females. A massively exaggerated male like the Hulk is too much. So the standard but very toned type is the one they go with.

So, sorry, but in a sexually dimorphic species you're just going to have to deal with the fact that we are different.

FYI, Sif is one of my all time favorite badass female heroes. I'm still waiting for them to make her mainstream. Hell, scratch the female part, she's one of my all-time favorite heroes.

garjian:

That's the way I wish things were... (Well, besides that Hulk.)
Although, most superheroes, male or female, were skin-tight suits, it's the poses and what's emphasised that's key.

I'm starting to do a fair bit of drawing now for a project of mine, and I hope I never find reason to hold back on the sexualisation of any of my characters. If they can "get away" with what they do, I'm shooting for the same, but for everyone.

Sure, the poses emphasize features which are deemed particularly attractive culturally. A grown man with a bubble butt would actually be deemed less attractive. Women with large breasts are. To the point that women will actually undergo a medical procedure to look that way. Men with large breasts? Not so much.

So you're exactly right, both sexes are depicted in skin tight clothing. Both are as sexualized as they're going to get. Complaining that men aren't exaggerated in the same way as women is a lot like complaining that society doesn't find neck fat attractive.

Lightknight:
Equality means that you, as a consumer, are 1 vote and that every other consumer is also 1 vote. It does not mean that women consumers are given exactly equal representation even if the consumer demographic leans towards one side rather than the other. Otherwise, that would be inequality with one side being given a voice that is disproportionate to their numbers.

Apologies in advance, but I'm going to disagree strongly with some of your assertions.
The latest study indicated nearly 46% of comic readers are female, yet it remains a vastly male-dominated industry on the creative side. By those numbers, there IS a vast inequality with one side (the male side) being given a voice that is disproportionate to the number of female readers who follow comics.

This would be like us demanding equality on the cover of romance novels in which males are often depicted as half naked stud muffins.

Oh, trust me, female readers HAVE been demanding this, and one reason Marvel movies in particular have a very strong following of female readers is because of the frequent half-naked stud muffins on screen:
image
(Oooh Chris Hemsworth...)
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(Oooh Chris Evans...)
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(Oooh Chris Pratt...)

Marvel is dominating the box office with an army of shirtless Chrises. Keep it up, Marvel!

Not only that, but this is a non-standard cover. It's a rare limited edition cover that isn't the main one so you're just being critical of art existing at all which is frankly ridiculous.

ALL art is open to critique and criticism. Can I not criticize the pose, anatomy, artistic rendering of fabric and skin and muscle and bone? They have full freedom to create whatever they want; and we the readers can totally criticize it. It doesn't have to just be about the implausible butt; I've criticized Greg Land for tracing porn and Rob Liefeld for his bad art. Art is open to criticism, no matter who created it or what it's for. That's what artistic criticism is all about.

In any event, men are also sexualized in comics. It's just that the female form has more commonly exaggerated features. The picture you posted above are non-sexy depictions of males because males are generally considered sexier with a toned ass and not a bubble ass like you depicted. That is, however, attractive on females. Sorry if you find that offensive but I'll give you a hint, bubble-assed girl art isn't made for you specifically because you're not the only consumer.

The point of that comic wasn't to show them with bubble butts... it was to show them sticking out their butts PERIOD. In the original Avengers poster, every male is facing forward triumphantly, while Black Widow was sticking out her butt. The artist had fun with it by doing the reverse and showing how silly it looks when the men do it. Even if men look good with a firm butt, they weren't showing it off on the poster like Black Widow was. Look up "The Hawkeye Initiative" for more info on this pretty funny double standard:
http://thehawkeyeinitiative.com/

As is, we're culturally attractive by muscle definition whether bulk or toned depending on the viewer. We don't really have anything else. Maybe boyish and then there's entire genres dedicated to you. You can maybe make an argument that rugged vs boyish features in general are there too.

The age of Schwarzenegger is pretty long gone, and he was never quite a sex symbol. Women are often depicted for male desire, but male strength and masculinity is depicted as male power fantasy. It's still create by, and for, male audiences. Muscles can be sexy, but it's about the situation... so Arnold flexing isn't sexy, but a scene of Thor pointlessly taking off his shirt with his stunning good looks, humble charm, and naive innocent of his own sexual prowess is attractive to many women (*raises hand*). Marvel executes this well on screen.

You're totally right about "boyish" being a popular thing too. There's a reason Twilight is big with women instead of Conan, a reason even that Peter Parker in the new movies is totally a hot "Edward-lite" supermodel:
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(truly the face of a loveless nerd that struggles to get beautiful women to notice him)

Either way, none of it's as exaggerate-able as breasts, butt, legs, and eyes that are seen as particularly attractive in females. A massively exaggerated male like the Hulk is too much. So the standard but very toned type is the one they go with.

And women don't like the same things? A study of women found that women like "dreamy eyes" and "kissable lips" more than height, muscles, or... other sizes of things. You can have men with smoldering eyes, luscious styled hair, rugged by trimmed facial hair, athletic bodies, etc. Robert Downey Jr. is, what, 5'9" and hardly beefcake material (same for Tom Hiddleston on the build), but they have such charming personalities and dreamy features...

So, sorry, but in a sexually dimorphic species you're just going to have to deal with the fact that we are different.

Being different is hardly the problem. It's being treated differently that's the problem. It's an issue that goes beyond comics to real life situations, where an attractive female co-worker is treated differently than her male co-worker, or, from my own experiences, how a female gamer is treated playing Call of Duty compared to how a male player is treated.

Sure, the poses emphasize features which are deemed particularly attractive culturally. A grown man with a bubble butt would actually be deemed less attractive. Women with large breasts are. To the point that women will actually undergo a medical procedure to look that way. Men with large breasts? Not so much.

You aren't helping. It is a sad, unfortunate, and quite frankly SICKENING "cultural" mindset that makes a woman feel that mutilating her breasts with artificial implants and plastic surgery to "be attractive" and pleasing to men is something is still a problem. The culture is wrong, and I won't apologize for taking a stand against it. So men feel a woman needs bigger breasts? Then men need to change their standards of beauty, not women surgically altering themselves to fit their deranged sexual fantasies.

So you're exactly right, both sexes are depicted in skin tight clothing. Both are as sexualized as they're going to get. Complaining that men aren't exaggerated in the same way as women is a lot like complaining that society doesn't find neck fat attractive.

That's because "fat" is itself unhealthy, and people are attracted to people who are, in general, healthy. That includes proper dental hygiene, bathing daily, dressing nicely, staying active, and taking care of your body.

But even that's still an insanely narrow view of beauty and what women desire. I mean, Batman to me isn't attractive because of his brooding scowl, for instance...
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(DC should've totally cast a guy named Chris in the upcoming movie and had him take his shirt off...)

Edit: Whoops! Hit "Quote" instead of "Edit". Sorry for the double-post.

weirdee:
main difference between those two covers is that the focal point is where spidey's looking at, on the bottom, where there are more elements to focus on, while his ass is aimed away at the camera towards the background, whereas the other cover pulls her ass closer to the camera and she's not really looking at anything in particular, so there's nothing else for the reader to look at also

COMPOSITION, people

Hey, neat! Someone on the other end of this argument who isn't using the oppression of homosexuals to bolster an argument on basic staging and composition.

I actually agree that the whole Manara piece is posed and framed the same way a porn pin-up would be; there's no distraction, and her "assets" are clearly the focus. But as I've already pointed out, that's... kind of what Manara does. She isn't dry humping a gargoyle, she isn't knocking a villain out with her breasts, and her cameltoe isn't literally in close-up. Manara has behaved himself more than most people will ever realize, but the fact that people are still bristling at the raised bum on the cover proves how easy it is to work in degrees of this sort of thing.

Is the sexualized? Of course it is. It's drawn by a guy who's sole career is based around making women look sexy and sexualizing literally anything he can think of. I just don't see that as an inherently bad thing, particularly when this is an entire art form in which drawing essentially-naked people is the norm to begin with.

If I remember right, Andrew Garfield talked about how he couldn't wear undies in his ASM costume without getting visible panty-lines. It's not a specifically male/female thing, it's just got a lot less baggage with the dudes. I'd argue that the previous Spidey cover is highlighting his arse, too, but there's enough going on to distract from that with the big cocoon thing that it's not the sole focus of the piece. As I've said before, I don't personally care if art is sexualized, but it's absolutely a difference worth being pointed out.

Scorpid:
Milo Manara doing porn isn't relative to the conversation I think. I mean if the difference between art and porn isn't the naked risque posing lady but whether or not there is a penis around her and if she is interacting with it in the art then I don't care about the distinction.

As weirdee pointed out, staging is everything. Fun fact, though: It's far, far easier to find photo references of sexy women crawling around doing soft-porn shoots than it is to find reference books with them looking confident, strong or heroic. There's also very little incentive for a male-centric medium like comics to sexualize male characters simply because they assume the majority of their audience doesn't care about all that.

Is sexualization an inherently a bad thing? I don't think so. Does it subtly limit artists who aren't consciously trying to sexualize female subjects? It just might. When even Naoko Takeuchi (Sailor Moon) admits to using porn magazines as pose-references, it's clear the pool of material to draw from for women has a particular style, and artists trying to use life as the source for their work are inevitably going to be limited to the material that already sells... ie; porn.

Masamune Shiro is one the best artists japan has and he does porn regularly. The difference between Shiro and Milo though is that he's actually good.

I adore Masamune Shirow, but he's got pretty funky anatomy issues. They're just a very specific issue (a generally lanky, lean distortion) that happens to compliment his overall design aesthetic, and as such it's far easier to forgive them than the somewhat more naturalistic Manara style. The closer you try to mirror reality, the more obvious the small problems stand out.

And yeah, Manara does all sorts of distorted, fishy faces and I doubt he's trying to. It bugs me, but hey, we can't all be DaVinci...

It's relevant to point out when a porn artist is doing a non-porn piece because... well, look at this conversation. Porn artists are trained and hone their skills to sexualize everything; it's literally their job. When they do something that isn't supposed to be sexualized, those fetishes and focuses suddenly make sense. I'm not disparaging Shirow or Manara by saying they make porn, I'm simply explaining that his work is what it is... and Marvel knew that. Anyone upset that this is a sexually charged cover should be less upset with Manara for doing what he always does and more upset with Marvel using him specifically to get a rise out of the demographic that they know it upsets in the first place.

Lightknight:
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.

I'm gonna stop you right there, Lightknight, because while your point about the jogger is valid, it's misleading in this context. Spider-Woman is not a jogger. She is also not real. She did not choose to wear that outfit or to strike that pose. Milo Manara chose for her to strike that pose while wearing that outfit, and he chose those things in order to sell her to us with her ass being the primary selling point. You don't really get to use real female autonomy as justification for sexual objectification that no real, actually existing woman made a choice to participate in.

KingsGambit:
This cover is pure filth. It should be illegal for women to wear tight clothes. Also they should stop having hips, butts or a waist. Women having hips is disgusting and shameful.

As I was saying to Lightknight, KingsGambit, this is not a salient point because Spider-Woman is not a woman. She does not have clothes, hips, a butt, or a waist. She has what a primarily male creative team gives her, and they are at best making a burlesque show of the book by selling us references to sex (as opposed to simply pimping it by selling actual sex). It does not reflect an attitude I can appreciate.

I'm just gonna copy-paste my opinion on the matter from a blog I commented on:

[On the Cover, itself]
This looks like one of those drawings that was originally depicting something very different and was hastily recoloured to become a superhero. If you tweaked the saturation just a tiny bit then suddenly you have a straight up naked woman in matching boots and marigolds.

This might also explain the freaky Castlevania floating medusa head thing she's got going on: I imagine it was originally a woman shrieking in pain as her vertebrae began to compress to breaking point so as to accommodate her arse being straight up in the air like a presenting cat.

[On the artists response to criticism.]
I absolutely hate when people try to distance themselves from controversy by saying, 'ugh, aren't there bigger things to worry about?' If you take that logic to it's natural conclusion, then the stuff going on in Ferguson, Gaza, worldwide poverty and the ever expanding rich-poor divide, LGBT rights and the fight for true equality for all races and gender...none of it matters, because we should all just be worrying about the eventual heat-death of the universe.

That being said, I think he was right about a couple of things and super wrong about others. There's nothing wrong with drawing a sexy picture of a woman, true enough, but context is always important, and it seems ironic that he would complain about sexualising a woman in an advertisement to sell something, when that is exactly what the purpose of a cover is: to draw attention and sell the content inside.

Finally, I simply don't believe his claims that that is a totally natural way to climb something: I read an entire manga about mountain-climbing and not once did any of the (predominantly male) characters ever stick their arse straight up in the air while simultaneously keeping their chest flat to the ground, because it is physically impossible or at the very least wildly impractical.

It's odd considering there's been no shortage of Spider-Woman covers in the past of the exact same nature. Pretty much all the covers of the Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D. series, as I recall.
Was there similar outcry back then? I can't remember. There may have been.
All I remember of Spider-Woman recently (as in, the last few years) was a part in one book where she gets captured by baddies and is rescued by fellow Avengers members, and she's completely naked for some reason. But to be fair... The same thing's happened to Hawk Eye during the whole Dark Reign event.
Come to think of it, Marvel's generally fairly even handed when it comes to full nudity. Like at the end of the whole Spider Island event;D

Shuu:
Was there similar outcry back then?

I am a somewhat cynical person, Shuu, so may I ask you, why do you bring that up? The only reasons I can imagine are either idle curiosity or an attempt to discredit any complaints now by implying there is some minimum length of time a person must complain about comic book covers before his complaints can be taken seriously; but I am aware that cynicism skews my perspective, and if you brought up the question for some other reason I have not yet guessed, I would genuinely appreciate being educated.

JimB:

Shuu:
Was there similar outcry back then?

I am a somewhat cynical person, Shuu, so may I ask you, why do you bring that up? The only reasons I can imagine are either idle curiosity or an attempt to discredit any complaints now by implying there is some minimum length of time a person must complain about comic book covers before his complaints can be taken seriously; but I am aware that cynicism skews my perspective, and if you brought up the question for some other reason I have not yet guessed, I would genuinely appreciate being educated.

Calm down, I was implying no such thing. Just wondering if (since I don't think there was outcry back then) that mabye this is an indication of Superheroes entering the mainstream eye between then and now, that those covers from about 5-10 years ago didn't attract much ire, but this one did. How might comics' new status effect how it carries itself? Only time will tell, but between the shift in visual stlye like Batgirl's new getup and the noticably ethnic new Ms. Marvel, I think we're starting to see comics make more of an effort not to restrict themselves to long time readers who already accept the old ways.

I'll just leave it here
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