Stupid Marvel Cover Turns Out To Be Secretly Horrifying

Stupid Marvel Cover Turns Out To Be Secretly Horrifying

Earlier this month, Marvel approved a cover (above, drawn by Milo Manara) for an upcoming issue of Spider-Woman that was so stupid that the stupidity overran the offensiveness. Like, really? You're just going to stick her arse up in the air like that? She climbs buildings like a porno shoot?

The thing is, while the silliness of the pose was argued (Manara being a guy whom likes to dabble in the erotic), a more (ahem) serious exploration of the cover's anatomical accuracy was lacking. Enter redditor dinoignacio, who built a 3D model of the cover so we could see what was really going on when you pan the camera around and see how her neck could turn on an angle like that.

Stupid Marvel Cover Turns Out To Be Secretly Horrifying

So far so good. They look pretty similar! Now, what about the side...

Stupid Marvel Cover Turns Out To Be Secretly Horrifying

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa *runs*

UPDATE: Here's a different attempt that "translates" the pose into something the human body could actually pull off.

Stupid Marvel Cover Turns Out To Be Secretly Horrifying


    I saw that. Really shows how little thought goes into sexualising women.

      Actually pretty tame for Marvel
      Do you recall what happened when they decided to turn Starfire in to a "strong and independent" woman?
      Shit wrong franchise, and now I cant recall who I was thinking about

      Last edited 01/09/14 11:04 pm

        Yeah even worse they published it under DC's name

          Lol, yeah I literally went back to Ps4 and thought....wait, starfires the orange one from DC and came back for the awaiting mockery.

          Worse part is I forgot who I meant in the first place, similar event to the Starfire controversy.

        Yeah, she had sex with Robin after he quit being Batmans sidekick. Probably because he kept bagging Superman while getting hit on by Wonder Woman. Flash made fun of him for that, but he never went out of his way to insult Green Lantern for dating Hawkgirl.

    Yeah, that first interpretation isn't particularly inspired. The second one shows that it isn't a completely ridiculous pose. Which doesn't absolve the blatantly voyeuristic choice of perspective in the original piece, of course. So... pervy art is pervy.

    That reminds me.. brb I gotta go to the store:

    *smack head with hand* ahem spiderwoman has 99% climbed up a wall using her spider powers, with her other 1% still climbing up said wall & she hasn't got a chance to stand up yet. Plus as someone who has watched videos on another famous female heroine with amazing dexterity, spiderwoman, with the powers of a spider is able to pull off this feat. Also both women have been criticised for their looks.

      It may be a pose that can be rationalised away, doesn't mean it's not an awful, over-sexualised piece of art that marvel really should have known better about.

    Honestly the first thing that strikes me every time I see this pose is actually that it's just so dull...

    That huge expanse of plain red just explains to me exactly why almost all superhero costumes have a big logo on the chest. Without that it's just a dull amorphous form.

    Hell the second model even looks better because the texture and shading in her skin adds... Something.

    It's annoying enough that it's absurdly sexist, but if you want to try make sexist art can it at least be good?

    Way to be well out in front of the 'story'...

    The second figure is obviously exactly what the cover image is portraying. She's pretty clearly sneaking up over the edge of a building, for whatever reason. Anyone who thought her right leg was bent at the knee, or that the ledge put her hands a foot apart height-wise is blind.

    Now, none of that absolves Marvel of hiring a famous erotic artist to create a cover, and then being dense enough to actually approve it to go out in to the wild, but you could at least stick to the actual issues instead of trying to create them.

    They're superheroes. They tend to have rather exaggerated features which are considered desirable. Like how male superheroes are shown to have unrealistically-bulging muscles, female heroes tend to have disproportionately sized buttock's.

    Aside from that however, the art itself is quite dull.

      Do want to quickly point out that is what's known as a false equivalency.

      The exaggerated male features tend to be more of a male power fantasy, something for guys to imagine they are whereas the female forms are more what is considered attractive to guys.

      They are issues with both, but they are different issues.

        True, especially as the target audience of these types of comic books are teenagers and men. Though I still don't find the artwork to be particularly offensive.

        Sexualisation, whether we accept it or not, is perhaps one of the most effective advertising methods and therefore will never go away.

          Whilst I do think this cover is in bad taste and just a bad drawing it's not the best example of sexualisation, I think it's just so much more noticeable because it's missing any other redeeming qualities.

          Though maybe we should be referring more to objectification rather than sexualisation, since there is a difference.

    So much drama over an alternate art cover, something that is in smaller quantity than the mass printed cover that'll be more widely available.

    I don't normally comment on the issue, but I really fail to understand why art that shows a human body in a suggestive form is "sexist".

    To my understanding Sexism is discriminating against a person for no reason aside from their gender. I really don't however, see how presenting a human body in a way that is (supposedly) sexually appealing is sexist.

    Is this sexist because it was drawn by a male?
    Because I see myriad of women who proudly display their bodies for the purpose of attracting men. Is this sexist? If the answer to this question is yes, then I'd be concerned we're mixing our modern sensibilities with biological functions and simply over concerning ourselves and seeing an issue where there isn't one.

    Women should have equal rights as men, they should be represented equally as a result, but this is no different than calvin klein models or Superman's proportions, so i would imagine that (while perhaps the female side is more discussed due to historical treatment of women) both sexes are equally represented as sexual icons.
    Which while possibly misrepresenting healthy perportions, isn't a gender issue, but a health (and possibly a mental health) issue.

    I mean, does it mean an animal is being sexist when it performs a mating ritual, bringing out its best features to attract a mate or something?

    The art may be in bad taste for its purpose, but I dunno, I just don't see it as somehow discriminating women.

    Last edited 01/09/14 9:58 pm

      I want to quickly clarify that I'm not having a go at anyone or anything, but legitimately asking the questions I pose to gather some insight as to why people consider this sexist.

      I'm more than happy to be wrong :D

        I think the issue of sexism comes up because of the scenario. Many women do try to make themselves sexually appealing. It seems pretty unlikely, however, that a hero in the middle of scaling a building and about to thwart some baddies is going to be worrying about getting the perfect booty-shot.

        Poses like this aren't really the exception, they seem to be the norm. Physically impossible poses make the artist able to display as many erogenous female areas as possible short of a Picasso painting. Sexy? Maybe. Believable? Probably not.
        I think the complaint then arises: how are readers supposed to feel credibility for these female heroes when their poses do little to reinforce their professionalism and independence? Would you see a Tai Kwan Do blackbelt trying to shake that money-maker in the middle of a title bout?

        Mating rituals are one thing, but having hypersexual moments at a time where it makes little to no logical sense is kind of grating.

        As for the proportions, it's been argued that the masculine figures in comics are actually more aligned with male ideals than female desires. Many comic book heroes are regarded as almost grotesquely muscular by a lot of female readers.
        Some people propose that it is actually a male power fantasy rather than equal sexualizing. Whether or not that's true, I can't really say.

        Also not trying to have a go, just trying to clarify where the outrage seems to stem from.

        Last edited 01/09/14 10:27 pm

      It basically boils down to diminishing a female character into an overtly sexualised object.

      (This cover is not really the best example to be honest, but it does seem to eschew taste for an attempted erotic pose. Hiring someone famed for creating erotic art to make a suggestive cover is arguably a worse example.)

      Turning a strong female character into a sexual object for the titillation of male readers is a sexist act, it undermines the character and those who look up to her.

      This is exacerbated by the fact a fictional character by definition has no free agency, so some people will see it as a further violation.

      In short, objectification is sexism.

      Of course how that applies to this piece is much more open to debate. Some people are rightly pointing out that the second pose isn't actually outside the realm of possibility and makes sense. Personally I'd agree with that, if the angle was different, but since it's not I maintain my opinion it's poorly drawn and in bad taste.

      I'm not here to preach, or change your mind, I rather like the cover, but I'll explain it

      This is one of those instances where you have to look at a wider culture, rather than one image. This one image is actually rather tame, doesn't look too sexual to me and seems alright. However, we as people, especially when it comes to games and comics, tend to treat women as sexual objects. Female superheroes, for example, are almost always big breasted and in very very tight outfits.

      Each one depiction of a female superhero as a hot woman with big breasts and a skimpy outfit can be excused. If you look at Ms. Marvel alone, you can see what I mean, but you can explain it away. But if you take into account how we show women in general when it comes to comics, it becomes a bit clearer that there's a pattern there.

      And you're right, men are shown as muscle bound and strong and devilishly handsome (I would kill to look like any of them), but there are three issues to that. The first being that there's a lot more *variety* in how men are portrayed (A can name more than a few off of the top of my head that don't make the six-pack obvious), the second being that men being muscle bound is more of a male fantasy. They look like that because it empowers men, and we want to *be* them, as opposed to us objectifying women, turning them into basically something we can just drool over.

      The third issue is how we treat women in general in comics. Look up the whole Ms. Marvel thing. Look at how we talk about Thor becoming female. Look at how there's yet to be a single female led Marvel movie. There are a couple in the team ups, but you'll notice they're overshaddowed by their their male counter parts.

      Personally, I don't agree with this image being sexist in particular. Nor do I agree that male superheroes being musclebound is all too different from female ones having big breasts. However, there is a very clear pattern of how we see women in comics, how we treat them, and how they interact with their universe.

      When it comes right down to it, this particular outrage isn't over this one image. It's not over this pose, or this character. It's become an outlet, a symbol, momentarily for the whole broader image. It's become something people can point at and say "this is what I'm talking about". If you consider the image standalone, it doesn't make any sense. If you consider the culture as a whole, it starts to make a bit more

    Not Milo Manara best work but the guy has always done art like this. No one cared about spider woman till seeing this. Who cares.

      Hey! I care about Jessica Drew a lot! And Gwen Stacy!

    Sadly, almost all the commentary on this image fails to focus on the most important issue: the horrible two-point perspective on the buildings behind. This artwork is just terrible.

    That's Spiderman in a somewhat similar pose, perhaps one could argue it's drawn better with more focus on an achievable pose. If it wasn't for her clearly defined butt you could do a head swap and draw Spidey's outfit on her and nobody would be saying it's sexist.

    I swear this is a common pose for Spiderman as well as Spiderwoman, the only difference is Spiderman isn't going for the sex sells concept.

      I briefly hinted at it elsewhere, but the issue is more with the viewing angle than the pose.

      This article actually proves that the pose isn't that ridiculous and you're right about it too. But the difference between that cover and the one you posted is the angle, the higher angle sacrifices almost everything visually stimulating except for one thing....

      Her ass.

      It has issues and releasing it was a poor choice in judgement, there's just nothing really there to defend except saying "It's not that bad.." which honestly shouldn't be enough to justify it.

      Sure, but Spider Man's pants stretch across his crevice.

      Spider Woman apparently stopped just below the ledge to give herself a wedgie.

      Or after a few seconds of searching...

      That Spiderman sure loves to shove his groin right in your eyeballs. Alright, mate, we know where your damn genitals are! Imagine if those were pics of Spiderwoman instead. The Internet would explode with the sound of thousands of amateur bloggers pounding nonsense into their keyboards.

      Last edited 02/09/14 8:57 am

    Call me what you like in making this point... but I have a real feeling like Kotaku goes OUT OF ITS WAY to sensationalise these minor points just so it can reinforce that its site is open for all. 'Horrifying', 'stupid'... come on guys, stop trying so hard to prove to the female readership of the site that you're 'not like the rest of them perverts'.

    I'm not arguing that women aren't sexualised in our media, especially in gaming, comics and movies... they are... but time and time again i've seen articles that create a huge 'hoo-ha' over something that really isn't.

    There have been a lot of sexually-suggestive poses in comics. But really although this is too, there's nothing wrong with this one. If this were a real human posing naked, you could post it on facebook and get away with it I'm sure, because you're not showing any naughty bits. Also, the "spider" superheroes are renowned for crawling... which like doggy-style, is something that pretty much comes compulsory on all fours. So yeah it's a bit TOO sexy, but it's still respectful to the character.

    Another thing, is that there are artists and there are colourists. There's probably a good chance that the colourist added/accentuated all of her back muscles and such with the shading. I like the result. The background buildings do look a bit shallow, but if you notice the background buildings first, then I have some news for you...

    This drawing makes her butt look like an apple. Bodies aren't fruit.

    A social justice warrior crying about literally nothing. An artwork.

    From now on, we'll draw everyone in niqab, sitting on a couch. Scratch that, we'll have a government approved template sent out to everyone. A colourless blob to represent every single human.

    Fuck you and your shitty article. Stop trying to censor art because it clashes with the "philosophies" you've read about on tumblr.

    If you find this offensive, you need to open your eyes and have a look at the current state of the world. There are millions of women being oppressed, but it sure as shit ain't these first world broads, and it's certainly not due to a singular comic book artwork.

    I think the Oatmeal did it pretty well:

    Reminds me of this fan art cover:

    OMG! I'm tired of all this feminist stuff, post stuff about games for once...

    Dorkly had a fun article pointing out what's really wrong with this picture. Firstly, the buildings in the background have an oddly distorted perspective, like they're poking out of the ground at different angles. Also, her nose is shockingly small.

    Also, I'm not sure this artist knows how lycra works.

    Last edited 02/09/14 8:22 am

    Milo Manara is just not a very good artist, in my opinion. And Marvel cannot really be surprised that this is the result when they get someone who mostly draws porn to do their cover.

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