Offended? Tell Marvel.
I don’t care if I get a rep as a “Feminized Male” for this post, I need to get something off of my chest.
First, go here. I won’t have the image display here because, frankly, I believe it to be offensive (some may consider Not Safe for Work).
I may have found the MJ statue a trifle “off”, but this isn’t a trifle “off”â€¦ this is full-on offensive. This can’t be fobbed off as “playful” or “silly” â€“ this is a cover glorifying the victimization of woman. Even if one does not know that this is in a style reminiscent of “tentacle rape” pornography (why-oh-why did I know that?), the image is far, far from innocent.
Examine it for a moment with me, will you?
First ignore the ridiculously cartoonish body-types (an issue I have with this series to begin with â€“ if the Heroes for Hire are not aliens, then there should be several exposes nipples).
Heck, let’s ignore the long phallus dripping clear liquid onto the Black Cat’s chest.
Discount that this book is rated “ages nine and up”.
Forget the fact that the three women on the cover (Black Cat, Misty Knight, and Colleen Wing), are supposed to be tough-as-nails-don’t-need-no-man-to-rescue-me women and instead of being shown as such are shown as whimpering damsels in distress. Leave alone the leering, glowing-eyed spectators.
You know what my biggest problem with this cover is?
There are male members of Heroes for Hire, You see the arm of one (Shang Chi, Master of Kung Fu) in this shot. Yet you don’t see him playing the victim. He’s in the back, where we can’t see him. The female team members are all twisted and contorted to present their tortured forms for the reader. There’s even a fourth female member whose breasts are showing (with a few wisps of hair, but hey, they managed to get her breasts in the shot! Good job!).
That’s what annoys me. The fact that you would never, ever see Marvel or DC make a cover like this with a male protagonist. Yes, a male hero may be shown in peril, but his face will be defiant. He won’t be shown as submissive. He won’t be shown as a victim. He’ll be shown as a Tough Guy who will Escape Any Minute.
They wouldn’t draw him on the cover as the impending victim of some unnamed torture, his secondary sexual characteristics on display, and covered in an unnamed translucent liquid, as people leer in the background. They just wouldn’t.
But hey, women? Fair game.
I’m reading some fairly weak defenses of this cover already. One person said “Well, mainstream magazines have fairly raunchy covers too.” Really? Find me one mainstream magazine â€“ and no, if you hide it under your mattress it’s not mainstream â€“ that would show an impending rape on their cover. Really. Because depending on how you look at this cover, the ladies are about to become victims or already have been. C’mon, show me. Show me a cover that features a cowering woman with her chest covered in an almost-clear fluid.
In fact, I challenge you to show me a mainstream magazine that shows women being victimized in any way on the cover. Lots of skin? Sure. Highly sexualized? Absolutely? Victimized? No. No magazine that isn’t kept in a black wrapper would have that. Even most “Gentleman’s Magazines” wouldn’t have such covers.
Comics have plenty of victimization of women going on, but this is justâ€¦ blatant. It was bad enough when rape was being used as a throwaway-plot point in Identity Crises. It was worse when we got to hear the same character extolling the virtues of rape. Now we’re basically putting it right on the cover.
I’m not saying all comics have to be kid-friendly. I’m not even saying all super-hero comics do. I’m not saying we all need to bend over backwards so as to not offend someone. However, there’s such a thing as bending over backwards <b>to</b> offend people. There is simply no way that the cover is not offensive. None.
It’s time to say “enough”. Not just on blogs and forums. In the comic store. I ask any of you who would normally buy this comic to not buy this issue. Show Marvel that no, sex doesn’t always sell and yes, there is such a thing as bad publicity.
Marvel has a right to Free Speech, but so do we. Speak with your wallet, folks. Say no to this comic.