Oh dear

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Pink Raygun on a new Playboy Pictorial:

So, Wonder Woman finally gets a female writer after sixty years in existence (and manages to get some favorable real-world press as well) and Playboy follows up on that meme by painting a naked chick who couldn’t survive more than a week on The Celebrity Apprentice. Wonder how Gail Simone feels about that. And I wonder where DC/Warner stands on the issue, or are we to expect a naked, body-painted Batman on Playgirl in the months leading up to this Summer’s Dark Knight?

  1. I think there is an appropriate marriage between the fantasy world of Playboy, where the girls are chosen, arranged and airbrushed; and comics, which illustrate fantasy sequences and where the mostly male artists hire female models from which to draw their imaginative poses.

    Yes, I understand the irony of WW having a female writer, and whether portraying ex-pat Amazon WW as a painted lady is appropriate.

    But all this mass market promotion coexists, overlaps and panders to the mostly male audience fantasy market.

    The interviews I have read with Simone suggest that she is probably savvy enough to work this all to her advantage and would get amusement from it all the while.

  2. Come on, we’re talking about Playboy. Playboy is a set designated place for naked women. It’s not like there was a naked painted Wonder Woman on the Today show talking girls into pre-marital sex and working in nudie booths. I gotta say that this is a total zero, non-issue.

  3. are we to expect a naked, body-painted Batman on Playgirl in the months leading up to this Summer’s Dark Knight?

    God, I hope so… I would totallly buy that.

  4. I’d rather Wonder Woman not be on the cover of Playboy. If a girl in a Snow White outfit was on the cover, Disney would go ape shit. Yes? DC should do more to protect their properties.

    I may sound old fashioned, but I still like the idea of superheroes being rolemodels. Being the father of a daughter, I need some heroes for her.

  5. Sorry guys, but it steams me up when men say it’s “a total zero, non-issue”. The iconic comic represtation of strength in Wonder Woman as a painted naked woman on Playboy? I know it’s Playboy, that’s the nature, but the constant objectivity, catering to the mostly male fantasy market, is just makes it a drag to be woman who likes comics.

    And you know that playmate doesn’t know one thing about the Justice League or Cheetah!

  6. Playboy is trading on DC’s copyright in order to sell magazines. I think it might be less of an issue if the woman were, you know, actually WEARING a Wonder Woman costume, rather than being nude from the knees up and covered in WW bodypaint.

    Does Playboy have a license from DC to do this? And if not, does this now mean that we can use naked male models covered in Batman and Superman bodypaint in order to sell our own products without any fear of reprisal from Warner Bros. Legal?

  7. This is definitely a total zero, non-issue.

    PLAYBOY is intended for readers (men and yes, even some women) who are interested in things of a graphic sexual nature. A cover featuring a sexual depiction of Wonder Woman is no different from featuring sexual depictions of women in cheerleader outfits, cop uniforms, nurse uniforms or what have you. It’s a turn-on, nothing more, and just because some may personally find the picture offensive doesn’t mean it should suddenly be turned into an “issue.”

    War, famine, genocide…those are things that should become issues to address. A woman dressed as Wonder Woman on the cover of PLAYBOY? Not even close.

  8. Sex = Power
    Would this be an issue if the image was drawn and not a photo? Most, (not all) fans commisioning Adam Hughs at a con is looking for this type of image.

  9. How is the live model in body paint very much different from the drawn Wonder Woman? The way she’s usually drawn, she might as well be in body paint. The only real difference I can see is the vaguely visible butt crack, but some comic book artists have been known to draw that in, too.

    I can think of a few things to get upset about, but the costume and the fact that it’s body paint are incidental:

    – As above, we can argue the merits of WW’s costume in general. Why do Batman and Superman get full bodysuits while WW has to run around in a glorified swimsuit? I have never, ever seen Batman’s trunks drawn as butt floss as WW’s bottoms have.

    Lots of over-defensive male comic book fans will say that male superheroes are as objectified as female superheroes in their skin-tight costumes, but despite the fetishization of the body that kind of comes with the typical superhero gig, no male superhero ever gets explicitly associated with sex in the public eye. Pink Raygun’s point that a body-painted Batman or Spidey would never be on the cover of a national magazine is true.

    – On that line, I definitely don’t like the fact that WW is being so explicitly associated with Sex. It makes all her other qualities completely secondary to her sexual allure, which is NEVER EVER a problem that Superman, Spider-Man, or Batman are subjected to. The only examples I can think of is ONE LINE in the first Spidey movie with the woman who loves Spider-Man for “his tight costume and his tight little…”, and one line in the Superman the Animated Series premiere when Lois comments, “Nice ‘S’.” Some commented about the S&M nature of the Burton-era Batman costumes, but that’s about perceived sexual deviancy rather than the titillation and cheap thrills of this thing.

    – There’s no clearly visible reason to put WW on the cover in the first place. I really hope it’s not for that “Stripper” article, but that’s the most logical connection. But really — they have something inside about Irish McCalla. Playboy couldn’t find a big busted strawberry blonde to put on a leopard-skin bikini to dress as Sheena instead?

    – We can argue for days about the merits of Playboy as a magazine and as porn, and what it means to put ANY woman in body paint on a cover of any magazine. I don’t think it would be any less salacious if she were just in a painted-on red bathing suit in a parody of the SI Swimsuit Issue cover. I’m not sure this is the time or the place, though I expect it’ll happen sooner or later anyway.

    – They forgot the tiara, unless this is supposed to be the “Royal No More” WW from Phil Jimenez’s run. Care they NOTHING for CONTINUITY??!?!!??!?!111~!?!1

  10. John, it doesn’t really matter. I’m sure they checked with their lawyers, if not actually purchasing their rights from DC. Even if not, it’s Playboy. They have the monetary ability to handle such a blow.

    I would not recommend your second idea unless you are very wealthy, stupid and like to throw your money and ideas away.

  11. There’s no way DC authorized it — and I’m sure Playboy checked with their lawyers, but I still think DC should make an issue of this. Even if it’s only a public letter stated their disapproval.

  12. Ladies and gentlemen –

    – this is a national MEN’S magazine and as such doesn’t get the wide “oh my god my kid is going to see this” distribution you think. It will also be plastic-wrapped thus blunting the effect many seem outraged over.

    – It’s a PARODY. You may not like it, but it IS a parody. Comics swipe covers of magazines and characters from films all the time – do you think they paid for the rights to do so? Parody is protected. Playboy has not violated DC’s trademark because clearly, that’s NOT the WW costume we know from the comics.

    – Any CONTROVERSY that arises out of this and incites publicity in the mainstream press (TIME, NEWSWEEK, CNN) will only be A GOOD THING for the Wonder Woman comic itself. Then DC and/or Gail can go on camera and say “The Wonder Woman comic is actually about an exciting, strong, yet compassionate and committed character that may be a good role model for girls AND boys. Yes, WW is sexy and we think that comes from the character’s confidence, but that’s not the sum total of what she’s about. She wouldn’t have been around for over 60 years if that was the case.”

    And maybe, just maybe somebody listening will go and check out the comic for their kid.

    Make lemonade folks.

  13. Playboy isn’t the financial juggernaut it was in the 60’s and 70’s – in a battle of bank accounts, I think Warner might have the edge. And like Heidi said, there’s no way that DC would have sold a license for this. Maybe, if it was a costumed cover image, and DC/Warner were desperate for cash, and they had totally given up on even trying to protect the likeness of their characters…

    And it’s not like this is an issue of free speech, or editorial fair-use, either. Playboy is trading on the recognition of Wonder Woman for financial gain. Nowhere in this issue of Playboy is there an article or pictorial on WW or DC superheroines that they need to promote. Nope, this is purely a case of pandering to the geek-dollar. Hell, if Playboy wanted a relevant cover, they could have painted up their cover model in a Sheena, Queen of the Jungle costume and promoted the Irish McCalla photos inside.

    The way I see it is that it’s the February issue, they want to go with a red cover for Valentine’s Day (how romantic), and Wonder Woman has been a bit more prominent in the media lately with her Justice League movie casting and Gail Simone taking on the writing chores on the monthly title.

  14. I think Playboy skated the visuals enough away from the official version of Wonder Woman to avoid a direct clash with Warner. Note there’s no WW logo or magic lasso…..so it’s probably not worth DC’s time to pursue it.

  15. Most of the DC and Marvel artists draw their male and female figures naked with painted on costumes (minus the genetalia) anyway, so I don’t see how this cover is much of a stretch of what you’d find in an average Wonder Woman comic. At least she isn’t being tied up by a woman painted up as a cheetah.

  16. Mark – Ahhh, but they explicitly state inside the magazine (where they give details on the cover image) that “…we recast her as that champion of truth, justice and American sensuality, Wonder Woman.” So it’s not like they’re skating around anything.

  17. Two seconds on google reveals cover model Tiffany Fallon to be a huge WW fan, so it doesn’t take much imagination to think maybe she suggested the shoot herself. She was lobbying for the movie role as late as July.

    So it’s probably not heartless pandering, and more like shrewd positioning.

  18. “Playboy couldn’t find a big busted strawberry blonde to put on a leopard-skin bikini to dress as Sheena instead?”

    God I would so totally buy that.

  19. The cover is probably under the “fair use” of parody. I’m sure if we start scouring the back-issue bins, we’ll find many DC covers as “homages” to films. A JUSTICE LEAGUE cover mocked up the famous Jame Bond pose painted by Robert McGuiness, with our hero uttering the line, “Wayne. Bruce Wayne.” I’m sure Cubby Bruccoli could have made an issue of that, if he wanted to.

    And there are many others. If DC/Warner wants to take action, they better check their back-issues to make certain there hasn’t been a past “homage” to Playboy or Hefner.

  20. Is this really any worse than when, for example, Olivia Munn on Attack of the Show, dressed up like WW or Princess Leia, to both spoof and titilate the fanboys watching?

  21. 1. Sports Illustrated recently published a book of painted on swimsuits.
    2. This cover nicely bookends the Ms. cover, given the philosophies of each magazine and the fact that Ms Steinem worked undercover at a Playboy Club.
    3. If memory serves, Playboy once printed a foldout painting of Batgirl by Vargas. The other side had a funny cartoon of Carrie Nation visiting a Playboy Club!
    4. Remember the Penthouse Comics Batman controversy? Similar case, especially with the sexy batgirlish cover.
    5. Where was the bunnyhead hidden on the cover?
    6. Remember the Amazing Heroes Swimsuit specials? male and female heroes in revealing garb! And Marvel used to do the same thing! and many other publishers…like wildstorm… as well. Slippery slope if DC protests.

  22. To follow up:

    If camera-time on CNN, Fox does occur and I were DC Comics…

    – I would go on camera and NOT attack Playboy.

    – I would direct people to the DC website where they could read a 10 page PDF printable WW preview for free and decide for themselves.

    – I would load the back of the preview with ads for other DC comics and an ad for the forthcoming Batman movie.

    – I would have a coupon available so that the reader could go to their LCS and get a “Buck Off” any DC comic they choose.

    But that’s only if this tempest in a teapot goes further.

  23. Wonder Woman is sexy – sexy isn’t objectionable (and I love the way Adam Hughes draws her, BTW). I also don’t see the need to separate a woman’s strong from her sexy. If Playboy ran a feature in this issue about Wonder Woman as a strong and sexy babe and this cover was part of a tribute to the character that launched millions of puberties, that would change things.

    Also, I’ve read these arguments about the body paint quite a bit:

    “The way Wonder Woman is drawn, she might as well be wearing body paint.” “Comic books are drawn that way.” “This isn’t much different than what you’d see in a comic.” Etc.

    But, Wonder Woman ISN’T wearing body paint whether she’s drawn that way or not. She is fighting in a tight and revealing costume – she is not naked.

  24. At least this Wonder Woman has internal organs. That’s more than can be said of some of the Turner covers featuring WW over the last coupla years.

  25. Torsten: The hidden bunny is in the creases of the right boot.

    I feel pretty okay about this. It’s (mostly) tastefully done. She’s not a coathanger, nor is she out of proportion.

    So they used a sexy thing that’s “ours” to promote sexy things of “theirs.” ::shrug::

    As far as I’m concerned, it’s a further example of the Geek Inheriting the Earth.

  26. Steve Lieber – the cover you posted with the girl as Superman clearly, to my eye, falls completely in the realm of parody/satire, specifically in the logo as I don’t believe Superman ever appeared with a bunny logo in his chest emblem. Not only that, but they were promoting Valerie Perrine’s appearance in the magazine, so there’s sound editorial reasoning for the cover. Hell, they even completed the theme with a (badly done) Superman-style logo for the magazine’s title.

    The WW cover – not so much.

  27. Rory–In regards to your comment with Bilson and Wonder Woman on The OC…The OC was produced by Warner Bros. When shows do things like that, they do seek permission from DC/WB. Another good example is all of the DC Product Placement in The Big Bang Theory sitcom on CBS. (also produced by WB)

  28. Got that Tyler.

    My post was about why a WW cover might well grace an issue with an interview with Ms. Bilson. Besides sales of course.

    DC and the WB may not like it, but I suspect it is fair use.

  29. Given that Hugh Hefner is sent up pretty blatantly in that Demon episode of JLU, I think DC would have a problem or two making anything stick.

    Besides, Wonder Woman is pretty standard fetish stuff, and cape porn’s easy enough to find online.

    As are naked lady pictures of Lynda Carter, for that matter.

    So, one more storm in a teacup, then.

  30. Yeah, see, usually, I’m totally with the feminist movement’s criticisms of the exploitation of female characters in superhero comics, but … this?

    I’m sorry, but in the words of Dustin Hoffman in Wag the Dog, “This? This is nothing.”

    I mean, I’m sorry, but all I can assume is that whoever wrote this article has obviously not seen any pornography that’s been produced in the past two decades, because if they had, they’d know that Playboy is quite possibly the last adult magazine in existence to finally feature a model undressed as Wonder Woman.

    No, really; go ahead and check. Penthouse, Hustler, Club, Score, Swank, Genesis, High Society … literally every single one of them has already used this idea (many of them more than once), and I can guaran-goddamn-tee that every single one of them was far fucking filthier than Playboy‘s layout has any hope of being.

    Now, if you object to seeing an icon of female independence being reduced to a male fantasy, fair enough, but at this point, “Wonder Woman as a porn character” has become such an overused trope, even within the relatively repetitive genre of pornography, that it’s long since become cliche.

    By all means, object to what it represents, but please recognize that what you’re objecting to is not a new thing, and indeed, considering that this latest iteration of it is coming from Playboy, I’d wager that it actually stands a decent chance of treating the character more chastely and respectfully than the actual comics themselves.

    At this point, taking offense at anything done by Playboy is like thinking that the worst problem facing public schools is kids who wear their baseball caps backwards, because even within the realm of degrading portrayals of female comic book characters, this doesn’t even rate. I’d still consider Identity Crisis and “One More Day” way more offensive, from a feminist standpoint.

  31. I thought they’d score some points for being enlightened- she’s not doing the laundry, is she? Oh, and the slam against the model for being knocked off the Apprentice in the first week was a bit much since we ALL know Omarosa CLEARLY deserved to be the one to get fired by Trump!

  32. That magazine sucks I hate playboy just type in MILF in google er suptin.
    Waste of paper I bet that model really got off on some jerky airbrushing her ass.

  33. Looks nice.

    Not that it will “move” issues as the issue is wrapped in blue plastic at the news stands anyways. Frankly it doesnt seem any more offensive than what DC has done to the actual Wonder Woman over the last 50 years or so.

  34. It’s not even Playboy’s first use of a DC character. A few years back Kevin Smith shot a picture with “Superman and Lois” with his wife playing “Lois”

  35. I’m sorry but the arguments that Wonder Woman is an icon, that she’s a role model, that she’s an idol and therefore she should be portrayed only in such a manner is a Western analogy of the (also logically flawed) thought that all representations of the prophet Mohammed are blasphemous.

    I hear your argument that you would like to have role models for your young daughter. I hear the argument that you feel the character is rooted in honor, valor, and strength. I get it, I truly do. But if portraying a character as anything other than YOUR personal conceptualization of them is wrong then you had better plan to blog against Saturday Night Life and Family Guy and Robot Chicken and pretty much every stand-up comedian ever, and so on. And it needn’t be comedy either.

    I wonder how many people here on this comment thread feel that this portrayal of Wonder Woman (in a men’s magazine popularly known for nudity) is “wrong” but also loved Moore’s Lost Girls or even Watchmen for that matter.

    That photo is an artistic expression. You may argue the value of its expression or claim that its being used to advertise, that it might be appealing to some lowest common denominator, or that its intellectually devoid. Even if I grant you those points, its still an artistic expression, whether you value it or not. And here’s the problem: should someone making their own artistic expression be REQUIRED to portray every concept material in the fashion that represents the highest moral and ethical stature?

    And oh by the way, if you are upset merely because she appears nude, then you’re not as enlightened as you think. Nudity making something “wrong” is the same dogma that says “sex is bad.”

  36. I have three things to say:

    1) Playboy has done this sort of thing before, in the 70-80’s there was a comics themed pictorial with “undressed” interpretations of Batgirl, Sheena, The Dragon Lady and Lois Lane. I can’t tell you what the Batgirl picture did for my teenage brain. Recently they had a pictorial called directors fantasies, where known film directors directed a picture shoot, Kevin Smith did a Lois Lane themed picture, with Superman standing behind her fondling her breast. There have also been pictures over the years of parties at Hef’s with models dressed (or undressed) up as Wonder Woman, Catwoman and Mystique from the X-Men, (I know this because I read the magazine for the articles, scouts honor), I don’t remember any controversy over any of these pictures, in fact except for a conversation on the old CompuServe forum, (back in the day), I don’t remember the comics community ever acknowledging them.

    2) I think Tiffany Fallon looks more like Wonder Woman then most of the names that have been thrown around to play her in the proposed movie. If she’s has any acting ability, (I have no idea if she does or not) I say give her a screen test. If she’s good cast her, I’m completely serious about this.

    3) I’m not sure how much of a role model Wonder Woman is to young girls today. Having helped to raise my niece, (now in her teens), I can tell you that characters like Buffy or the Power Puff Girls were more a part of her youth then Wonder Woman ever was. In fact if her Uncle didn’t read comics I don’t think she’d even know who Wonder Woman was. Part of this is because DC hasn’t really successfully marketed her for the new generation, on top of the fact that kids don’t read comics anymore. Anyway the point is, I don’t really see this as harming a role model, at least not a role model for young girls.

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