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Ugh, Not Again: Spider-Woman #1 Controversy


Earlier this year we had a fake controversy over an innocent variant cover for the Powerpuff Girls. A cover I liked and when I heard the complaints of ONE MAN got it pulled I decided to speak out on it. The fall out was interesting, I was threatened with a lawsuit over… who knows, voicing MY opinion? I also lost a ‘Facebook friend’ over it. It was the guy who complained. Go figure.

Well, as much as I’d hoped that was a one time thing it appears that some people have learned the wrong lesson from that situation. The lesson: If I don’t like a cover I can complain and hopefully get it pulled so no one can enjoy it. Yeah, loud mouthed crybabies are like that.

Okay, before I go further I have to put the usual disclaimer here because, well, if there is going to be heat for this then I want it to be known that this entire column is my opinion and mine alone. No one associated with Comic Booked, from fellow writers to editors to advertisers, share in this column. You have beef? Bring it to me.

So, this month saw the release of the variant cover for Spider-Woman #1. I admit when I saw the cover the only thought in my mind was I liked it more than the regular cover because, well, I can’t stand Greg Land’s tracing… oops, I mean ‘art style’ (my opinion, folks). So, since I was going to have to get this book due to it being a part of the massive Spider-Verse event I decided I was going to get the variant rather than the standard cover. That was my only thought. I saw it, liked it, didn’t give it a second thought and moved on.

Imagine my shock when I heard some group I’ve never heard of called The Mary Sue raised a stink over this cover.

Oh, I’m sorry, let me share with you this supposedly offensive cover. Be warned, if you are thin skinned or for some reason look at comic book characters in a sexual way (if you do that you can just stop reading now, you freak) then, well, if you look you can’t be offended:


Looks like Spider-Woman crawling up to the roof of a building to me.

Now, how these people at The Mary Sue thought this cover “is what we talk about when we ask comic publishers not to actively offend their paying (or potentially paying) customers” is beyond me. I don’t find anything offensive about this cover because, well… there is NOTHING offensive about it. The fact that this unknown group of busy bodies has made a name for itself by complaining about a common pose is offensive.

What? You want to see examples of how this is common? Okay, and if you, The Mary Sue people, read this, I take great pleasure in schooling you on common Spider-Poses:

Spider-Woman Spider-Woman Spider-Woman

And not ONE person complained about these covers. It makes me wonder about people, though. They don’t like seeing a strong female character in a popular pose yet have no problem seeing a male character in the exact same pose with as much detail on the butt. If you ask me, that makes people like those at The Mary Sue the real sexists here. Honestly, they are complaining about nothing and I would invite them to kindly shut up and stop trying to raise a fuss over something that simply isn’t wrong or offensive. Please!

But the artist at the center of this insanity, Milo Manara, has responded by basically saying it’s not a big deal: “around the world there are things much more important and serious to worry about.” And, he’s right. He does a great job defending himself and his art on this site here. I recommend reading it.

Look, the bottom line here is it’s a VARIANT cover. For those who don’t know that means it’s not the main cover and generally you have to request or special order it in order to get it. I’m planning to get it because I happen to like it. If people like The Mary Sue’s Jill Pantozzi don’t like it, I’m alright with it. You aren’t required to like it but to get on a public forum and say something as maddening as “Anyone familiar with pornography knows this pose Spider-Woman Jessica Drew is positioned in is ripped straight from the fantasy medium” is uncalled for. Obviously it’s ripped from the fantasy medium. I shared THREE Spider-Man covers that had the exact same pose. 

It’s time for these people to grow up. If you don’t like something fine, say you don’t like it and move on. But to unjustly attack and insult the cover, artist, and people who like it is arrogant, stupid, and wrong. It also shows either a double standard or a level of ignorance that should be considered criminal. It also brings to mind the question of how do these people want women to be portrayed in comics? As strong female leads or…? Honestly, I don’t get it. These people complain that there aren’t enough women in comics, a complaint I find little truth in, and when we do get more female leads they complaint about how they are drawn. The reality is comics have an established archetype for both the male and female form. It’s odd that these people take issue with the female archetype yet seem to have no problem with the male one. Apparently in today’s world women are too stupid to separate the fantasy of comic books from the reality of the human form while men are smart enough to know the difference. That’s the message I’m getting here.

In closing: There are no laws or rules protecting you from being offended. If you don’t like a comic book cover then don’t buy it. I mean it’s alright to post your OPINION about why you don’t like it, but when you say outrageously stupid things like calling it misogynistic it calls into question your true cause. I also find it odd that they are raising a stink over a cover that isn’t intended for anyone but adult collectors yet have no problem with a cover (also variant, but apparently this no longer matters) of a CHILDREN’S comic that shows the main characters dressed as old west style hookers and giving come-hither looks to the reader. 

My “Slutty” Pony?

Yeah, the double standard is astounding.

It’s also interesting that on the very same page where The Mary Sue is complaining about the Spider-Woman cover they have a link to pictures of Body Paint Cosplay. Body paint cosplay is pretty much what it sounds like. You have a woman who is basically naked with body paint made to look like a costume. Kind of negates their whole argument, doesn’t it?

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