I said I was going to be happy and puppies today, but I feel I should note that Marvel’s executive editor Tom Brevoort responded to the whole Milo Manara thing on his formspring:
Q: Mr. Brevoort, what is your opinion on the debate over M. Manara’s variant cover of Spider Woman? A similar quarrel happened few months back for one cover on DC’s Teen Titans #1. Personally, I agree that women in comics are often “over-sexualized”. However, I am wondering whether this criticism is going too far. It is sort of becoming more like a form of conservatism. It almost seems like some people want to completely remove sexual thematics from comics.
I think that the people who are upset about that cover have a point, at least in how the image relates to them.
By that same token, Milo Manara has been working as a cartoonist since 1969, and what he does hasn’t materially changed in all that time. So when we say “Manara cover”, his body of work indicates what sort of thing he’s going to do.
It’s also, for a Manara piece, one of the less sexualized ones, at least to my eye. Maybe others feel differently. But given that the character is covered head-to-toe, and is crouched in a spider-like pose, it seems far less exploitative to me than other Manara pieces we’ve run in previous months and years.
But all that said, it’s the right of every reader not to like something.
And fortunately, it’s a variant cover, so people will likely need to seek it out if they want it, rather than it being the display piece for the book.
I think a conversation about how women are depicted in comics is relevant at this point, and definitely seems to be bubbling up from the zeitgeist. That too is fine. Nothing gets better unless ideas are communicated.
Ya hear that internet? NOTHING GETS BETTER UNLESS IDEAS ARE COMMUNICATED. As in IT’S OKAY TO TALK ABOUT THIS. Drops mic.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.