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In a shocking display of good taste, and stunning acknowledgement that it isn’t the 90s anymore and girls read comics now, Midtown Comics and Marvel jointly decided to pull the J. Scott Campbell cover that presented an overly sexualized version of 15 year old Riri Williams.

As reported yesterday, the cover reveal ignited a firestorm of protest over the inappropriate nature of hiring a pinup artist to depict a teen girl. An armored version of the cover will still be offered. Riri is the star of the upcoming Invincible Iron Man comic, reverse engineering some Iron Man armor to her own use as Ironheart. As for where’s Iron Man…well the delayed final issue of Civil War II reveals that, or this week’s Infamous Iron Man #1, where it turns out…Civil War II didn’t end so good for Tony. So Riri it is inside the armor for the next while.

To show that they are trying to get it right, Marvel also released a bunch of concept art by interior artist Stefano Caselli showing Riri in more appropriate and fashionable – leggings! – garb.

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In a piece for Hitfix’s Harpy site, Jill Pantozzi points out that it’s editorial vision that should drive how a character is portrayed:

Consider this: you don’t see variant covers like this on Ms. Marvel. That probably has a lot to do with editor Sana Amanat who has a strong idea of who that character and her audience is. That’s her job, after all. An editor is meant to make sure the comic puts out a united front to the demographic they’re courting. In this case, Marvel has and always has had the heterosexual male demo. They don’t need a teenage character sexualized into order to lure them into buying the book and they, hopefully, won’t be offended if there’s a lack of sexualized characters because they’re there for the quality story and art, right? But Marvel and others do need to make sure other readers (read: women, new readers, etc.) aren’t actively turned off from buying it.

 

Campbell was unrepentant on twitter:

He also retweeted this flashback to the glory days of the Bad Girl, where Danger Girl roamed free, her midriff unfettered.

Look, cheesecake has a place (cf. Bombshells), and Campbell does a breezy, lighthearted take on it. That place is not on the cover to a book starring an African-American teenaged girl genius. Retailer variant covers are usually commissioned by the store, and they can select the artist. It is not a decision of the creative team on the book, and they are often totally unaware of the content, as writer Brian Michael Bendis was of this cover, or Cameron Stewart was of the inappropriate Batgirl cover that showed her cowering in fear. Midtown made a dated choice, given the current audience for comics, and they quickly realized it when the cover was released into the wild.

I know people are going to cry censorship and SJW and what not, but, really, why are you defending a sleazy depiction of a teenaged girl?

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26 COMMENTS

  1. “In a shocking display of good taste, and stunning acknowledgement that it isn’t the 90s anymore and girls read comics now”

    You know girls were reading comics in the 90’s ?

  2. instead of dismissing the outrage over this, artists like Campbell would do well to reflect on it, as the windows on their careers and employability are closing fast. Editors will take a second look before commissioning him to do another variant cover because of this.

    Demographics change and a new generation who won’t put up with this stuff is becoming the dominant fanbase. If he’s happy being a regional con dude in artist alley doing questionable sketches for weirdos, then don’t change a thing, you just won’t be published or relevant much anymore.

  3. “Demographics change and a new generation who won’t put up with this stuff is becoming the dominant fanbase. If he’s happy being a regional con dude in artist alley doing questionable sketches for weirdos, ”

    Last I check most pop-stars dancing in skimpy outfit are incredibly popular with both teens and adult woman .. so yeah i don’t believe that nonsense for a Second when Tayor Swift Brittney spears Rihanna Beyonce Nicki Minaj Adriana stop being popular with Woman and Teen girls I’ll believe that nonsense. Not to mention the Kimkaradashin Game is one of the best selling games on google . I seriously doubt there much of a market for Riri seem like something someone manfuctured with very little thought to actually selling to a female demographic that very much enjoy talking about “who hot now ” and Sex .

    ” doing question sketches for weridoes ”

    for a group of people who constantly saying where not pushing for censorship*bullshit , basically just threaten his job in that same sentence right here ” as the windows on their careers and employability are closing fast. Editors will take a second look before commissioning him to do another variant cover because of this.”

    And Japanese manga has a far larger audience and are far more “sexual ” and romance themes than anything coming out marvel bland comics

    And you want people to trust your puritan benevolence ?

  4. 11:55 am – Admonishing the wrongdoer while gloating over his imaginary humiliation. I’m sure a psychiatrist would find that interesting.

  5. “Someone using the “SJW” epithet as a put-down (rather than something to be proud of because, you know, social justice is a GOOD thing) is always a red flag.”

    Social justice is synonymous with the victim mentality that plagues many modern heterogenous societies. I refuse to see all women as victims. I refuse to buy the narrative that most women in developed industrialized societies are oppressed, rape victims or battered wives.

  6. “That place is not on the cover to a book starring an African-American teenaged girl genius.”

    In case anyone is wondering, THIS is why people aren’t completely wrong to use SJW as a put down. The publisher, the editor, the artist, the retailer and the comic-buying public don’t get to decide what the cover should be. No, Heidi McDonald and her kind want to make that decision for everyone. But if someone ever complains about something Heidi and company like, are their opinions given the same consideration? No. It’s their world. Everyone else just lives in it.

    And, of course, the fact this is all about the variant cover of a comic book.

    Mike

  7. If the guy doesn’t want to keep his career relevant by thinking about and adapting to changing attitudes towards positive representation of women and children then that’s his career choice. He wouldn’t be the first middle aged artist to scratch his head and wonder where all the mainstream paying work went when the fanbase changed and their work didn’t.

  8. “Look, cheesecake has a place (cf. Bombshells), and Campbell does a breezy, lighthearted take on it. That place is not on the cover to a book starring an African-American teenaged girl genius.”

    “Midtown made a dated choice, ”

    Oh, give me a break… Now if this was going to be the regular cover I might agree it wasn’t the best choice but the fact is it’s an exclusive limited variant cover. Sigh…

  9. I look forward to all of Riri’s problems being blamed on racism from white Cis men….because all white women are naturally empathetic and loving.They are taught racism by the Patriarchy.

    In today’a politically correct world, Bill Cosby would be accused of”hate speech” for being critical of the choices blk people make in black ghettos.

  10. Good idea, commenters! Let’s keep comic shops clubs only for immature men who enjoy sexualized imagery of minors! We’ve lost comic movies, TV shows, and conventions to women, but we can still keep them out of our comic stores!

    Or, I dunno, maybe we can start changing things to open the market up to all their purchasing power?

  11. Because it’s NOT sleazy. It’s also not sexualized. You and the other naysayers ARE overreacting, however.

    I believe he still got paid to draw it even if nobody gets to own it. Sounds like a win to me.

    I don’t enjoy having to defend these covers because I honestly couldn’t give less of a crap about them. I just can’t stand it when people are flipping out over nothing and use inaccurate language to attack things they just don’t like. Save your outrage for a justifiable cause.

    It’s disappointing that midtown and marvel caved. It indicates that they feel guilty of something and they shouldn’t. Nobody did anything wrong here, contrary to the opinion of the peanut gallery. I do, however, think it’s stupid to call the book iron man considering who’s wearing the suit. Sales and business reasons are the obvious conclusion, but given the content of the book it’s ridiculous.

    On a final note, that batgirl cover is fantastic. It’s too bad it was at complete odds with the content and tone of the book itself because it’s a masterful piece of art.

  12. “Good idea, commenters! Let’s keep comic shops clubs only for immature men who enjoy sexualized imagery of minors! ”

    One of the most successful pop stars in recent history made a fortune off of doing that AND appealing inexplicably to a bunch of women who mysteriously identify with her. Her name is Britney.. Maybe you’ve heard of her. Despite the outcries from parents, artists who make material that is deliberately provocative (Miley Cyrus) or offensive (Eminem) have enjoyed massive success, primarily by getting Prudes and Thought Police all worked up.

    The social justice crowd remind me more of the prudish Christian Right more and more everyday.but their calls for censorship reminds me more of the Muslims who were calling for violence against French cartoonists for *Gasp* making fun of the Prophet.

    There’s a way to appeal to a wider audience, without kowtowing to Thought Police.

    SWJ have found in the Direct Market a soft target. They can’t do anything about real oppression in the world, they don’t have the courage to stand up to real rape culture that exists in many parts of the world, like say, Afghanistan or South Africa. They choose a target made up geeky guys who don’t get a lot of approval from society, and beat them over with accusation of racism sexism , rape, you know it.

    SJ is not about justice. It’s a shakedown, in the way frivolous lawsuits are.

    “Gloria Dawn Ironbox[edit]
    In July 2013, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario dismissed a complaint laid by a man posing as Gloria Dawn Ironbox, a fictional feminist attorney on popular television series Family Guy. The claimant alleged that the A&W marketing scheme was “heteronormative”, “phallocentric” and promoted “cross-sectional hegemony.” Citing feelings of distress and alienation over the lack of “LGBT” representation in A&W naming conventions, he demanded $50,000 in damages for injury to dignity and self-respect as well as an order requiring A&W to adopt naming conventions which include non-traditional families. One such product the claimant demanded was the “Pillow Biter”, described by the claimant as “a large, dark slab of meat stuffed firmly between two, white, clenched buns.”[16]”

    SJW do not seek respect or dignity but dominance.
    SJW: The same people who think Riri’s variant by Campbell for an audience of aging collectors is an attack on all women think Fat Acceptance is something we should promote

    Fat acceptance seems like a bizarre tactic by someone morbidly overweight to make themselves more attractive by making non-obese people seem prejudiced or hateful but there it iis –on the sjw bucket list.

    Please, telling me the “justice” in promoting obesity, not just a few pounds.

    SJWs are the kind of people who would take the concerns of this women seriously:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSYVqz7Bjdw

    What is SJW’s contribution to society? All they have contributed is to more social fragmentation, political polarization, and the bourgeoise sense of entitlement that their grievances can be addressed with transfer payments.

  13. Many religious groups have a persecution complex, even when they are a majority.

    SJW s have a persecution complex despite the fact that many of them are upper middle class and up. They are some of the most privileged people (who will ever exist)on this planet.

    As we know, privileged people are capable of seeing themselves as victims, even if it’s not true.
    This was true of bankers who compared the hostility that was directed towards them for contributing to almost destroying international trade in 2008 to Nazi Anti-Semitism . Donald Trump frequently sees himself as a victim of conspiracies and people being “mean” to him.

  14. sjw= an army of Fredric Werthams,

    think SJWs would like Fredric Wertham.

  15. “Oh, give me a break… Now if this was going to be the regular cover I might agree it wasn’t the best choice but the fact is it’s an exclusive limited variant cover. Sigh…” Even though it’s an exclusive, limited edition variant cover aimed to lure the Direct Market’s aging group of collectors into spending a lot of money to buy a comic, it was STILL sending the wrong message to women and men. Riri-Rihannn was promoting sexual promiscuity and the degradation of women with that exposed midriff

    A cover promoting rape culture. Can you believe it?!

  16. I knew this post would bring out the immature fanboys and alt-right/Gamergate types who love to rant against “SJW”. They’re so predictable.

    Imagine if Kitty Pryde had been created in 1990 instead of 1980. She would have been drawn with a huge “rack” from the age of 13. The depiction of women was one of the ridiculous excesses that drove me from superhero comics in the ’90s. It reached the point where I was embarrassed to be seen with a Marvel or DC comic.

    The publishers are trying to get away from these adolescent missteps (like that variant cover) and reach a more diverse audience — you know, like movies, TV and novels have. What’s wrong with that?

  17. What exactly does Mr. Campbell need to repent? He drew a picture of a girl. Her body was covered from neck to foot. Her breasts were hidden behind metal.

    If this is “overly sexualized,” Heidi, then your sexuality is broken. There was nothing arousing about that picture, which was far less revealing than your average Target TV ad for Young Misses Swimsuits. Perhaps you were unaware of such perversion, you don’t seem to exist in the real world.

    Or is it that your problem is not with the picture, but the artist? Does Mr. Campbell’s career need to be over by your reckoning?

  18. Please, stop with the strawmen, and the stereotypes, Everyone who disagrees with you is not part of the alt-Right or even Conservative, You SJWs are so predictable.

    “Imagine if Kitty Pryde had been created in 1990 ” Well, since you went into hiding in the 1990s, there was a Kitty Pryde-like character introduced in the X-Men comics. Her name was Jubilee. She did not have huge breasts or was scantily clad.

    “The depiction of women was one of the ridiculous excesses that drove me from superhero comics” The audience and the creators creating the art were teenagers or men barely out of their teenage years. The Image style of art was only tolerated because of the speculator boom,which inflated sales and the popularity of the style. Many readers who enjoyed comics like Spawn and or Liefield’s Glory grew out of it, There were many comics that weren’t infested with t&a from Marvel and DC.

    That said, the buying power of current customers of the Direct Market who were fans of Scott Campbell’s art when he was riding the “Bad Girl” T&A craze must be extremely high otherwise, why would he keep getting cover work at Marvel? Marvel’s long term goal is to become more like Disney and have something for every ethnic group and gender but their short term goal is to make as MUCH MONEY AS POSSIBLE on the monthly comics. If they can get a collector who likes Campbell’s art to shell out extra money for a variant, that is more money in their pockets.

    Like many have noted, Marvel makes more money off their aging immature fanboy audience than newbies who trade-wait, at least, for now. There won’t be an Ironheart TPB if Marvel doesn’t maximize monthly sales and again depend solely on SJ keyboard warriors to support the monthly sales.

    If comics sales everywhere were increasing, there would be no need for this variant cover nonsense, where artists with styles completely different with the tone a comic are commissioned to do a variant cover.

  19. “The audience and the creators creating the art were teenagers or men barely out of their teenage years. ”

    Speak for yourself, pal. There was actually a wide range of ages among the readers and creators in the ’90s. And almost all the mainstream comics from Marvel and DC were unreadable junk. And Image was even worse.

  20. The comments here that the variant cover is not sexualized are on par with Donald Trump’s remark that “No one respects women more than I do.” The best response to such utter obtuseness is laughter.

  21. Being compared to such an awful person almost makes me rethink my position. Almost. But then i realize i have eyes and a brain, and your ridiculous assertion means nothing.

  22. This thread probably has the first mentions of Britney Spears and Eminem that I’ve heard in about a decade. Time to update those cultural touchstones.

  23. Lol. Look at those sales numbers! Looks like all the SJW’s that have the time to push Campbell around on social media didn’t have time to pick up a comic and read it. Changing demographic? Doesn’t resonate with sales numbers does it Marvel? Enjoy bending to bloggers.

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