Okay we just can’t leave this alone! It’s like a missing tooth!

People have variously suggested that this, this, this and this are all equal to the HEROES FOR HIRE cover. Discuss.

MSNBC story on Mary Jane, starring Danny Fingeroth.

Over at Comics in Context historian Peter Sanderson discusses his own taping for MSNBC:

At the end of my segment, the interviewer asserted that comics sales were in decline, and asked me if I thought that Marvel had “sexed up” Mary Jane in order to push the sales up. I detected an edge in her voice when she asked me this, which I interpreted as anger at Marvel for exploiting the character this way for profit. I responded that I didn’t think that the MJ maquette would have any effect on the comics sales, and that this statuette would primarily be sold to people who had already been reading Spider-Man comics for twenty years. (I could have said “horny aging fanboys,” but I restrained myself.) I sensed that my interviewer may have been disappointed in this answer.

Finally, just to show that we have nothing against big boobs in abstract, here is the Smigel/Kupperman TV Funhouse Big Boobed Einstein from SNL



    Anyway, considering what’s in ‘Green Lantern’ with the lady in the purple that scene is more playful than anything else. The Wonder Woman cover is suppoused to be amusingly ironic considering Marston’s philosophies on S&M which he put in the comic, and the fact that its Batman under her boot, the manliest man in the DC Universe, is what makes it work (if it was Superman or even a male villain it would feel kind of bullying or mean). The Superman cover is S&M too, but that’s not necessarilly a bad thing. Heck, it may’ve been unintentional too. The X-Men cover looks pretty bad though. Maybe because the skirt is so ripped and there are so many scratches, but also the facial features look so hopeless. The men on the other covers look like they’re fighting it, she looks like she’s too horrified to move. The Heroes for Hire cover is still the most offensive, and I think its also the expressions which really put it there.

  2. I dunno, all those covers seem kind of the same. It seems unfair to make excuses and rationalize why the DC covers “work”, but condemn all the Marvel ones, and I hate Marvel.
    If you want to go digging for sexually subversive or violent comic covers, you don’t have to dig too far, and they go back to the dawn of the art form.
    It’s not about “has this happened before?”
    I think what some of the people upset about the MJ statuette are saying is, “enough already.” And that this represents a setback at a time when comics as a whole are receiving the kind of attention people in the biz have always said they wanted.
    If they want to play in the larger cultural mainstream, they have to grow up a little. I don’t think there was any harm intended with that statuette, but I do think that some people who’ve been in the comics biz for a couple decades or whatever do things habitually without really thinking about them. Some of these things are not acceptable outside the relatively small pond of the direct market. If it’s true that there’s increased attention from outside this market, it stands to reason that those people are going to call “bullsh*t” when they see it.

  3. I suppose a foot fetishist could make the case that a stiletto in a guy’s face is as titillating as tentacle porn, but in a much different way. True, even if she’s technically “on top” it’s still the woman being objectified and reduced to body parts (her foot, her octopus-caressed whatevers), and I wouldn’t want any of those covers on a comic that wasn’t strictly for adults… but you still get the feeling the stiletto stuff is temporary and almost consensual. I didn’t think the old X-Men cover was that bad, in that case the imminent danger is represented by distance, and “imminent danger” is more in keeping with action-adventure stuff than “octopus-caressed whatevers.”

    As you say, of course, this all might have been avoided if the artist had chosen to show a couple men tied up alongside the women.

  4. “The Wonder Woman cover is supposed to be amusingly ironic considering Marston’s philosophies on S&M…”

    It is SUPPOSED to be ironic? Or it merely is?

    I never saw anything suggesting S&M in that cover. I took it at face value (yuk yuk) that the Bat was being given a time-out. How long can he actually push Superman and/or Wonder Woman or give them attitude before they finally haul off …?

  5. What has to be considered when viewing those cover images is the figure not seen: the intended audience. Whose fantasy is it fulfilling? A man’s or a woman’s?

  6. It may not be fulfilling anyone’s fantasy … Maybe it’s just dramatic/humorous on its own terms. Someone finally gives the Bat a taste of his own medicine.

  7. Save for the X-men one, I’d say they all show women being strong and sexy. Do we now have a problem with women being sexy? My wife if a very strong woman (has to be, she’s married to me) and she talks about feeling sexy, as if it’s a good thing. I think it is. People can be sexy without being objects. Let’s not forget that.

  8. It’s interesting that in the Superman cover, the main image is Superman on his knees before a female character, but he still flies high above the title. So that title image acts as a reassurance that what’s going on below isn’t anything to worry about. Despite prostrating himself in the main image, the powerful, flying, muscular Superman is still ‘on top’.

  9. “Despite prostrating himself in the main image, the powerful, flying, muscular Superman is still ‘on top’.”

    No, that was part of the logo. I bought Superman often in those days — well, my mom and dad bought them for me. The image of him flying was, I suppose, meant to enhance the logo — and provide visual ID on the newsstand, in the same way as the “cover portrait” in the upper left-hand corner of Marvel Comics covers. Just like the Batman glaring at readers was part of the “Batman” logo.

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