In a quiet move, Marvel Comics and MidTown Comics have removed an item for sale that was on their page for approximately one day without any announced or fanfare. Site patrons noticed it was “no longer available” and the purchase link deactivated.
What was it?
It was a J. Scott Campbell exclusive cover for Invincible Iron Man Volume 3 # 1. There were two versions of this exclusive cover, an “armored” version (still available) that features Riri Williams in her full Iron Man armor and an “unarmored” version (no longer available) that showed her in her normal clothing seemingly in preparation to don the armored suit and become Iron Heart.
Apparently, there was enough flak drawn from Twitter and social media directed at J. Scott Campbell and Midtown Comics regarding the portrayal of the fifteen year old hero and the idea that she was “sexualized” and in somewhat provocative clothing, showing her midriff, but not atypical of her modern day peers.
Was it a sexualization of a minor or gross negligence for what some have called “age-inappropriate objectification”? Perhaps, however both Marvel Comics and Midtown Comics (the latter of which has contracted with J. Scott Campbell numerous times) had to be fully aware of Campbell’s art style and his distinct method of drawing the female form. This cover was true to his style and perfectly in line with all the work that he has done in the past.
Brian Michael Bendis said; he is “very glad they are not going forward with the cover”.
J. Scott Campbell, while choosing to sit this new case in a long line of outcries said, simply; ” I simply attempted to draw a sassy, coming-of-age young woman” He further tweeted “I gave her a sassy ‘attitude’ … ‘sexualising’ was not intended. This reaction is odd.” He says he has received a lot of support from his fans and greatly appreciates it. As a J. Scott Campbell fan myself, I support him and his artistic stylings and I also accept what he said about this particular image. It was not objectification, it was a fun, sassy Riri.
We also have to ask ourselves what will happen if Marvel Comics starts to cater to everyone who complains, all the naysayers, and warriors out there on social media fighting for things that they don’t truly care about. Should Marvel let these people influence their creative direction? Should they let these people stifle the artistic nature of their artists and writers?
What will happen next and where will the line in the sand be drawn?