Dick Hates Your Blog is a bit of an enigma. The title promises snark, but it delivers mostly thoughtful commentary. Talk about the bait and switch. Yesterday Dick Hyacinth talked about the recent phenomenon of people scouring the solicitations to find covers to be offended by.

This is kind of an interesting phenomenon in and of itself, but I wonder what the eventual impact will be on future covers. We’re at the point where there’s an interminable parade of outrages, a new one every week. Surely cover artists and editors have noticed this. How will they react? Will the stakes be raised? Will tentacles become a staple of Marvel/DC covers, to the point where we grow numb to their presence? If so, what will replace them? Giant metal phalli? Erotic gas masks? Erotic cannibalism? (Someone at Marvel/DC needs to rent some Ruggero Deodato.) Or, against all odds, will cover artists and their editors try to take things down a notch? I’m betting on the former. Legal experts–is it possible to trademark the concept of erotic eye trauma? I’m trying to seek out tomorrow’s trends today.


We’re no strangers to being second-guessed and scrutinized. It comes with the territory in the Information Era. But information does not necessarily impart knowledge. As far as the covers go, the real outrage over things like the Heroes for Hentai cover has now been completely diluted by minor outrages that don’t amount to a hill of Beanie Babies. It does seem that a lot of bloggers are just trying to get their own moment of glory by discovering the latest outrage, but the results are as usual very low signal to noise.

Which reminds us of a timeline we’ve been trying to assemble for the evolution of “comic book news.”

1985: On a panel at San Diego, Heidi MacDonald says she really doesn’t like Scott McCloud and has just been being nice to his face all these years. Some 80 people are in attendance, and someone 10 years later mentions in a post on Usenet that Heidi MacDonald may have problems with Scott McCloud, but no one ever gets to the bottom of it.

1995: On a panel at San Diego, Heidi MacDonald says she really doesn’t like Scott McCloud and has just been being nice to his face all these years. Someone recounts it on Usenet, and five years later Scott finds it while ego surfing. Once every two years someone asks Heidi why she really doesn’t like Scott.

2000: On a panel at San Diego, Heidi MacDonald says she really doesn’t like Scott McCloud and has just been being nice to his face all these years. Newsarama reports it and people on the Warren Ellis forum discuss it for two days.

2003: On a panel at San Diego, Heidi MacDonald says she really doesn’t like Scott McCloud and has just been being nice to his face all these years. Wizard, CBR, the Pulse and Newsarama post the news from the panel within the hour. The next day Scott comes over to Heidi’s booth and punches her in the face.

2006: On a panel at San Diego that is podcast, people hear Heidi MacDonald say she really doesn’t like Scott McCloud and has just been being nice to his face all these years. Scott retaliates with a podcast on his blog saying that Heidi MacDonald listens to show tunes, and the blogosphere cross posts about it for the next three days. A live debate is set up to benefit the CBLDF and settle the score. The debate will be podcast.

2007: On a live video broadcast of a San Diego panel, people see Heidi MacDonald say she really doesn’t like Scott McCloud and has just been being nice to his face all these years. Bloggers point out that she looks fat and is wearing the same dress she was wearing last year.

2008: On a panel at San Diego, Heidi MacDonald says she really doesn’t like Scott McCloud and has just been being nice to his face all these years. Luckily, since there are 10,000 blogs, podcasts, video blogs and movies about the show, no one ever really notices.

1 COMMENT

  1. I think the whole phenomena- whatsit about the covers has been brewing for years, and now that people have got the ball rolling they’re letting out some steam. Sure, some “outrages” are like Tabasco sauce in an Indian restaurant (in other words, redundant???) but it’s asituation wherein a lot of people have been pissed off at comics for years and will find any reason to vent. I still remember the sad, sad day when I stopped discerning any sense from comic “*********” because I was always being distracted by the impossible wedgies on the characters’ butts. I moved on to other comics, but I still get a wiff of nostalgia and sense of betrayal from “**********”. ‘I remember the time you had panties that covered your pubic thatch,’ and so on.

    I personally think the glut of feminist outrage will neither hurt nor improve the current industry climate, to be honest; I don’t think the covers or the images will change. But bringing them up gets people talking, communities forming, and covens bubbling, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

  2. I’m also pretty sure that every would-be cartoonist secretly hates Scott McCloud at this point. And if they don’t, just say “royalties from three bestsellers.” The mere mention of it will instantly have their envious and hidden-heart-of-hearts calling for McCloud’s head
    Then again, that could just be me.

    I kid, of course.

  3. Great evolutionary timeline, Heidi! (BTW, dreamt last night about hanging with you at a con, and of course you looked fabulous, so now I’m looking foward to seeing you this weekend that much more!)

    The thing about cover complaints is, yes, sometimes when you’re approaching everything from a certain viewpoint you’ll always find the exact offense you’re looking for. But by and large I don’t think feminist comic book readers go out of their way to find this stuff. It’s still way too prevalent (and of course not only in comics but in just about every other aspect of American culture — I didn’t ask to say “eww” to the sexism in at least four ads during Studio 60 last night — but in comics fora one expects comics to be the main subject matter) that it’s hard to get away from, it’s so “in your face”! I like to think I approach any chosen entertainment WANTING to like it, so it’s even more disappointing when I’m turned off right from the start by, for instance, a cover image specifically and consciously designed to elicit an emotional reaction that is often positive for the male gaze and negative for the female one.

  4. great post, heidi!While reading, i was thinking ” I wonder what is she going to write about 2007″… I laughed out loud ! I hope to see more posts like this.

  5. Which bloggers? Names! Names!

    I’m with Tinpan. The rage has been building for a loooong time, and now that women (and men) who have hated this shit for years actually have other people saying, “No, I do, too,” and they are finally venting. These people do LOVE comics! They want to stop seeing their favorite characters killed, manhandled and reduced. They want comics to be better. More power to them.
    The Big Two are pissing in the pool that is comics’ reputation and they need to stop.

    The outrage now is far better than the alternative: being shouted down, being told you’re crazy, being told the women or woman sleazily depicted really kick ass so the cover’s okay, and on and on.