Monday, May 28, 2007

The Many Moods of Heroes for Hire

Well, having come late to the Mary Jane wears pearls to do the laundry party, I may as well sound off on the other thing that's got everyone's attention. The comic itself won't be on sale until August 27, so I guess it's early yet.

Of course, I'm in real trouble here, because I don't know what the context of this image is. In fact, I'm not sure I can name everyone on it. There appears to be an extra breast and arm at extreme right. Maybe somebody just figured that if six breasts are good, seven is better.

Now, not having recently fallen off the comic-book delivery truck, I have seen the occasional "tentacle rape" scene. I suspect everyone reading these words knows what that phrase means. In fact, apparently, there is only one person in the English-speaking comics-reading world who does not know what it means. And as incredible as it may seem, that person is Joe Quesada, Editor-in-Chief of one of the largest English-language comics publishers in the world, and the man ultimately responsible for the solicitation (and, presumably, upcoming publication) of the image in question. Of this image, and the attention it has drawn, and most especially the attention it has drawn from female comics readers, Joe said:
First, I think people are reading way too much into that cover than was ever intended. I heard terms such as “tentacle rape” being thrown around when that in no way is what’s happening, nor does it happen in the book. Those tentacles are the arms of the Brood who appears in the issue and is a major story point, the Brood have tentacles, sorry about that.
True, but in the twenty-five years of the characters' presence in the Marvel Universe, every previous depiction has concentrated on their insect-like nature. Previously their tentacles were used as strangling weapons, not mammary palpators. One must also remember that what the Brood want humans for is reproduction (a process fatal to the human egg host), so "rape" is not an inappropriate word for the process.
Secondly, the concept for that cover, soup to nuts came from a female artist.
Whom you've just thrown under the bus, in the process of hiding behind her. What exactly do you do at Marvel, if cover approval isn't it?
Also, HFH is a book that features two strong, lead female protagonist who kick major ass; somehow folks have forgotten to focus on that.
Does anyone on this cover look like they've ever kicked anybody's ass? No. They look like fruit waiting to be plucked from the tree. Out here in the real world (or as real as it gets when middle-aged men read comic books), we call that out of character.

On the left is Sana Takeda's original art. On the right is a "remix" done by Lea Hernandez (a thoughtful and talented creator in her own right) for her own blog, Dangerous Beauty. At this scale, the alterations are trivial, but they support three basic changes:
  1. Misty Knight is supposed to be a black woman.
  2. Costumes now match how they're drawn inside the book.
  3. Misty, Colleen and Felicia are now directly looking at the threat they face.
The situation still isn't appealing, but it's the difference between a PG and R rating, and Heroes for Hire is supposed to be PG (or, as Marvel calls it, T+).

Sunday, May 27, 2007

It was too many years ago today





Friday, May 25, 2007

Meme + Meme = Meme²

Let's see, what would do justice to Schaffenberger's image of Superboy's butt?

I know. Chaykin's Galactic Space Vagina!

I don't know, something is still missing. What do you think, Batman?

Never mind. ("Alfred? Better head down to the cave and intervene. Bruce is getting sweaty again. I mean, in a bad way. What? Who am I? ...A friend.")

(Thanks to Dorian, Devon and Brandon.)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Holy Moley, Mary, what are you wearing?

2007 is clearly, among other things, the year of Mary Marvel. Old farts like me, though, are wondering if this is a good thing.

Ah, for the good old days of ten cent comics. The Mary Marvel I know would never willingly swing over to the dark side...

Boy. If you thought Wonder Woman had a history of bondage, you should check out the Marvel Family.

Well, she would definitely never wear a skirt short enough to display her firm young gluteus maximus...

And she would always leave the rough stuff to the boys...

She would... She... Huh.

Black vinyl, eh?

(All panels from Marvel Family Adventures #89, art by Kurt Shaffenberger.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

"Face it, tiger, you're doing your own laundry."

The pendulum set in motion by the infamous Mary Jane maquette is swinging back towards thoughtful, intelligent commentary. Imagine that.

"To argue that cheesecake imagery is harmful to women is to argue that male desire itself is harmful to women."
--Dirk Deppey, Journalista

"Male desire is not inherently harmful, the male gaze is not inherently pernicious, and to think otherwise is to set yourself up for a lot of frustration and misunderstanding."
--Laura Hudson, Myriad Issues

Fanboys pay $125 a pop for this thing, buying out the production run months before it actually ships, and women feel exploited. I don't get it.

Monday, May 14, 2007

"Cold water wash, right?"

Well, since every red-blooded blogger has had something to say about this (available soon at a comic shop near you, except that they've apparently already sold out their production run, so if you haven't already pre-ordered it, it may be too late), I will too. Here's what I have to say:

If anyone is looking for an overly-expensive birthday present for me, this is it. And no, the Justice League Unlimited Locker Room figures are not an acceptable substitute.

Thank you.

LATER: Note to Sideshow Collectibles: Consider a 6" version. This dang thing is 14" tall! That's huge! Even Barbie is only 12" tall, and that's standing up straight.

I wonder if it's worth pointing out that most artists suck at faces. Most characters, in most books, the only reason we know who they are is by the costumes they wear or the props they carry. There are exceptions, of course, and this MJ statue is so clearly MJ that she doesn't have to be holding a Spider-Man costume for us to know who she is. Part of that is attitude (the pose that has attracted so much criticism is classic hey-look-at-me MJ), but part of it is that the face is right.

Has anyone even looked at the face?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

"Join me in a little disintegration?"

Originally uploaded by dtaylor404.
When Bob Haney creates characters, man, they stay created. Until, that is, their whole premise for existence is turned inside-out by the next writer on the book, in this case Dennis O'Neil.

But that's what it takes to undo what Haney does.

Dorian at PostModernBarney has the details.