Home Publishers Marvel Will this Heroes for Hire thing never end?

Will this Heroes for Hire thing never end?

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Speaking of Newsarama, in last week’s Joe Fridays, there’s yet more about the Heroes for Hentai cover:

NRAMA: Ahem…

So to quickly follow-up on last week’s pot-stirring topic…

Despite your (Marvel’s) intentions or lack thereof in regards to the now infamous Heroes for Hire #13 cover, which last week you made clear was not or intended to suggest “tentacle rape” [groan], when something like this is created that some people can and obviously have interrupted it as suggesting or too close for comfort to something like that, do you ever consider making a change in acknowledgement of those who are upset by it, even if it wasn’t your intention?

Is that too slippery a slope to go down, to give in to public protest even when it wasn’t intended to be what they’re protesting?

JQ: That’s a great question. With regards to it becoming a slippery slope, well, the answer is simply yes it can become a slippery slope if you allow it to. But before I get into that, let me reiterate what I said last week and try to clarify it. While I understand how some can see what they see and while I do acknowledge the validity of what they’re seeing based on this Hentai stuff, in no way was this our intent or the artist’s. I certainly wasn’t aware of any small sub genre of Manga porn, but obviously there are folks much more verse in Manga than I’ll ever be and I can certainly see why they would see what they see, so to them I apologize if it struck a chord that it was completely unintended to strike.


You’ve got to admire both Matt Brady and Joe Quesada’s dedication to their new moonlighting careers in gravedigging here, whether it’s Brady’s performance as Ed McMahon or Quesada’s “While I understand how some can see what they see and while I do acknowledge the validity of what they’re seeing based on this Hentai stuff, in no way was this our intent or the artist’s.” While one can understand Quesada not being aware of the complete works of all of the artists working for Marvel, one look at Sana Takeda’s website shows that she’s very much aware of all KINDS of Japanese art traditions, and DRAIN shows she’s not afraid to be sexy, and anyone who thinks she wasn’t cognitively working within what she knew was a well-established genre is deluded.

Anyway you can read the whole thing for yourself — Quesada quickly spins off into the whole “All heroes are jeopardized!” thing which was never the point. IF ALL HEROES ARE JEOPARDIZED, why didn’t Takeda show more of Shang Chi than his arm? Maybe everyone really is just too busy editing giant crossovers to pay attention to the world of comics outside their doors. We ran into a few Marvel types on the street the other day, and they seemed to genuinely think that the cover wasn’t intended to be hentai. Maybe a lack of awareness is the answer.

Frankly, we’re more concerned by Matt Brady here. We don’t generally read any of the weekly interviews on Newsarama because we’re not that interested in Countdown or Civil War and so on. But Brady’s tone in this interview goes well beyond friendly questioning to near-syncophantic enabling. As someone who set the standard for comics journalism for a decade or so, it’s sad to see Brady sailing down his very own slippery slope.

  1. I don’t think that any parents, who are taken into comic book stores by their kids, know what hentai is ether. Comics are comics to them, and if that’s what comic book stores are presenting to their kids, then maybe they won’t let their kids go back. Stuff like this is costing us long term money, but chasing away future readers. END OF STORY.

  2. Joe Quesada can tell Newsarama each and every week that the cover was never intended to show rape. The problem is that he told Newsarama last week that the creature molesting the women was the Brood. I’ll be honest. I didn’t know what the Brood was. I do know how to use Wikipedia though. This is what it says about the Brood:

    “The Brood possess wings, fanged teeth and a stinging tail. They have a hive mentality and mindlessly follow a queen. To reproduce, they must infect other races with their eggs.”

    So there you have it. This isn’t rape. This is forcible reproduction by means of tentacle infection.

  3. The Manstream Society talked to a well-known packager of comics over the weekend. When we shared with them that Quesada denied he’d ever seen hentai, they actually started to guffaw in disbelief. They are also well-acquainted with hentai and adult comics, and have a rhino’s hide for the stuff, and THEY thought the cover was over the line.
    That makes TWO porn pros who think the cover’s too much.

    The Manstream’s spies have heard that Marvel is going to bend and replace the cover. True? Not true?

    A last thought: do you really think anyone at Marvel is going to go, “Yeah, totally intended to be hentai, and we woulda gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those meddling kids!”

  4. I’d also argue that it’s irrelevant whether or not anyone at Marvel intended for the cover to reference hentai tentacle rape or even knows what that is: The cover is offensive no matter what you call it.

  5. It’s been many years since i read a brood story, and i don’t remember exactly how they get their eggs in people, but they’re much more like the aliens in the movie “Alien” than the Japanese tentacled monsters this cover evokes.

  6. Wait, Matt Brady has “set the standard for comic journalism for a decade or so”? Is that a joke? Nothing against Brady or anyone else at Newsarama, but I think Hyacinth summed it up best last week when he said something along the lines of “Newsarama is the Wizard of online comics websites”; I don’t think he’s that’s far off with his comparison.

    I’ve always assumed that Newsarama wants/needs to stay on the Big Two’s good side, which is why one sees so much “near-syncophantic enabling”, instead of, y’know, journalism.

  7. ” I certainly wasn’t aware of any small sub genre of Manga porn, but obviously there are folks much more verse in Manga than I’ll ever be and I can certainly see why they would see what they see,”

    I’m sorry, but this is either worrisome or untrue.

    Has he not been into a comics shop in the past fifteen years? LEGEND OF THE OVERFIEND. BONDAGE FAIRIES, and any number of other books have been widely available in NYC for ages.

    I don’t even follow the stuff, but I was aware of it long before I worked in retail…. If the EIC of a major publisher is missing this stuff, that’s a bad sign. One would think he would make it his business to have an example of every possible form of comics in a pile somewhere, just out of a love of/interest in the medium, if nothing else…

  8. >A last thought: do you really think anyone at Marvel is going to go, “Yeah, totally intended to be hentai, and we woulda gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those meddling kids!”

  9. Frankly, I think “I apologize if it struck a chord that it was completely unintended to strike” is a healthy step forward from the last implication that anyone who was offended didn’t know what they were talking about.

  10. Joe basicly said “It wasnt meant to imply any form of Rape, tentacles or not, but if anybody was offended i apologise”

    What more does anybody want?

  11. Clearly i don’t know how to do quotes in this thing. Anyway, my point was, Marvel could just change the cover out of simple consideration for others’ feelings, the same way we all do little things like not blasting the stereo at 3 a.m. out of consideration of our neighbors. It doesn’t have to be an antogonistic thing, with one side giving in and the other side winning.

  12. Howabout…

    “Sorry for being a total jerk about this, and we’re replacing the cover and swear we’ll never pull stunts like this again, and mabye respect our readers intelligence”

    that’d be nice….

  13. “anyone who thinks she wasn’t cognitively working within what she knew was a well-established genre is deluded”

    Did the artist actually admit to this anyplace? Because if she didn’t, wow, your ability to read her mind is pretty amazing. Quick, what number am I thinking of?

  14. I’m no more of a mind-reader than Joe is. The fact is NO ONE KNOWS what was going through Takeda-san’s mind. Joe or me. As CB, who works with her has stated, she is not a hentai artist. She is a very talented concept artist working in a field that has many genres and conventions. is it like she’s familiar with many of them? Based on some of the art samples on her website, I would guess yes. Do I know for sure? No. Just making an educated guess.

  15. Hmmmmm. I didn’t know that there was such a thing as tentacle rape, and I’m kinda shocked that some people didn’t know about The Brood, but maybe that’s cause I’m a Marvel fan.

    Mainly because this uproar apparently won’t die but I guess I’m questioning the very nature of people being offended. I’m all for even-handedness and setting good role models, and not indoctrinating/brainwashing young minds, and all that good stuff. But I can’t remember a single time in my life that I’ve been “offended” by something. Maybe that says more about me than about those that are offended, but I can’t really understand it. Conceptually it’s such a wasted emotion. It’s like letting somebody else ruin your day because they cut you off. He’s the dickhead for being a rude driver, so why do I let it get me mad? I can’t arrest him. I can’t sue him in court. If somebody’s art “offends” me then what can I do about it?

    I guess the counterpoint to my own would be that just because an ostrich sticks its head in the sand doesn’t mean the offending comic book cover isn’t still there. However, if people would quit writing day-to-day updates on Paris Hilton’s jail sentence, then I wouldn’t have to even know it was going on. There’s no such thing as bad publicity after all, right?

    I’m too rambling to make a cogent point here, but I just don’t *get* being offended.

  16. Jonathan, i think i get what you’re saying. There’s a lot of it that i don’t get, either. But i also don’t get people being very defensive about this stuff, either. Well, take that back, i do if the message they’re getting is “this offends me, so you must be a horrible person.” But it isn’t always that. Were i publishing this comic, and a sizeable portion of my consumers didn’t like it, i’d change it, just like i’d change a book if a certain character proved unpopular, or a certain creator wasn’t working out, etc. So…yeah…i don’t know why this topic interests me so much when i don’t have really strong feelings about it.

  17. Well, i agree that this is a step forward from last week’s “bwah-hah-ha! what the hell are these perverts talking about? seeing too much on this cover, you jerks!” bs. Taking people protesting against the degrading nature of the cover as fools and going “duh! no offensive material here, next question please..” was borderline insulting.. I would be glad if the cover is finally altered out of respect for all the issues raised against it. If not, at least clean up the semen on black cat’s chest for the love of pete!

    On the issue of cover, when i first saw it on the solicits, i had my stomach go up and down and thought that it was going too far. But this is the Marvel comics which have been publishing horrendous covers by Greg Horn and after all the child-like erotic poses the Emma Frost series had and all the other t&a stuff shoved trough our necks (including the “hot” frank cho stuff) i just moved along with my life and simply ignored it like i usually do with all the marvel stuff that i get upset with.

    Although i did not participate in the uproar of protest going around together with the controversial MJ statue, i have been vividly following it and it fills me with hope. This really seems to be dawn of the age of mass participation and discussion and together with the feminist sci-fi fans carnival this whole event has finally brought me close to starting my own feminist blogging. Score another one for the women’s liberation. :D

    Anyways, back on my feelings about the cover itself. During the weeks of this debate i have thought about the image and the right position which should be taken in face of it. First of all, all should admit that it is an image produced to evoke sexual interest and pleasure. It is also an image in which the three women protagonists are bonded and hurt and depicted as hopeless victims. The tentacles have an obvious reference whether you call it rape or not or the act of forceful penetration is depicted or not. And the slimy stuff dripping from the tentacles is just the final point in this picture to suggest what every body is raving about. This is a borderline pornographic image which thrives on the subjugated position of the exposed women. I think if Quesada is made to respond on this issue again, he should be asked to address it as such since the hypothetical arguments about the artist’s intention is beside the point.

    While i know that porn are made and widely followed in which women are degraded and victimized, i don’t generally advocate censorship against this stuff as long as they remain fictional and no woman (or human being or any living being) is hurt. This does not mean that i consider it normal or simply regard it as some people’s thing so we might turn our heads. I really think that people who enjoy hurting, degrading or diminishing others or watching these acts should follow therapy which could provide them an opportunity for seeing themselves or others as full and equal beings. But holding a higher moral ground and asking for censoring of such fictional material could lead into a hypocritical position since the shameful treatment of other human beings and especially women are the product of the culture that we live in and participate everyday as much as the individual who actually create and follow them.

    But there is still a point to be made against HfH #13 cover. I think the publisher should agree that there should be no place for this sort of image in an environment which supposedly include under-aged people. This is sexual content and although there is no nipple depicted (it seems ironic that the naked body of a woman showing it in its wholesome is considered somehow ‘filthy’ and inappropriate while over emphasis over the exposed parts should be ok) it is an strong image strikingly illustrating three women as objects of desire under violence and victimized to a point that they could not have any control over the actions which could be taken over their bodies in the presence of a threat of such a hurtful action, whose shape strongly suggest that action would be penetration. Still, this image is presented in order to invoke pleasure.

    Now under-aged people may still not be in perfect terms with the social environment that they face and they still may have to learn and live more in order to fully appreciate the decency and worth of every other human being, leave alone their discovery of sexual life and pleasures to the fullest extend. An image like this might disrupt the healthy growth of this process and we as grown ups have a responsibility to protect this from happening no matter what different forms of desire (that sometimes we may not be able to control) we nurture ourselves. That’s why Marvel should not have included this (and similar) image together with all the other promotional images directed at different demographic in media that is supposedly aimed at all these people. Furthermore the publisher should take necessary precautions in order to insure this cover and similar images should not be showcased together with other material aimed at different demographics in retail floor, perhaps putting it under MAX banner.

    Phew! Sorry for all this rant. I should get that blog running and i’ll post this thing over there as my first entry.

    While i really don’t awfully mind Queseda’s rather ignorant attempts at trying to put this thing under the rug, I think that the real loser here is Matt Brady. I have been following Newsarama for years and years now (like 5 or something) and while i can understand his habit of constant flattering of the big bosses he has acted like a great jerk in these interviews trying to make fun of the issue all together. I can take an impartial “some people have raised few protest against the cover, what do you think” but you “brouhou-ha” and “groan” my @SS mister! Gosh, talk about loosing credibility way too fast.

    And the winner on this issue is the BEAT as far as i’m concerned. Excellent reporting Heidi, thanks alot! I usually looked around your blog every once in a month to check out those month-to-month comparisons (they rule big by the way!) but over the last couple of weeks i just couldn’t keep my clicks away from here. It has become one of the first places i check every day. Thanks again sister. Keep up the good work.

    Regards,
    Dreamer

  18. it seems funny how it sounds like Joe has not even talked to the artist yet, it just sounds like he’s assuming her intentions and putting her thought process into his agenda.

    This is beginning to sound more and more like what politicians feed us on a daily basis, complete and utter crap instead of simply taking responsibility for their actions and apologizing, like what the head of Seven Seas publishing did that you reported on.

    As for matt’s history, I have no idea.

  19. “NRAMA: Despite your (Marvel’s) intentions or lack thereof in regards to the now infamous Heroes for Hire #13 cover, which last week you made clear was not or intended to suggest “tentacle rape” [groan], when something like this is created that some people can and obviously have interrupted it as suggesting or too close for comfort to something like that, do you ever consider making a change in acknowledgement of those who are upset by it, even if it wasn’t your intention?

    Is that too slippery a slope to go down, to give in to public protest even when it wasn’t intended to be what they’re protesting?

    JQ: That’s a great question.”

    Hahaha. No it wasn’t. It was a horrible question! I’m just wondering if it could possibly have been anymore more confusing and overworded. And that’s not even counting the big ol’ “interrupted” typo. Proofread Matt! This is your frakkin’ job man.

    And I’m not sure why Quesada went off on some tangent about how people were always complaining about how minorities and gays were being treated poorly and he was Hispanic so he was like feeling their pain. Wha?

    It’s a long way to go to not just admit one of your books stepped over the line and you’ll fix it. Had he simply done that instead of trying to Bush his way through it I don’t believe we’d still be talking about it now.

  20. ‘Is that too slippery a slope to go down, to give in to public protest even when it wasn’t intended to be what they’re protesting?’

    Well, yah know what the road to hell is paved with of course…

    This is amazing to see when DC is revamping thier Supergirl character.

  21. Heidi “reported” on this? I’m sorry; she cut and pasted, then made comments that no one in their right mind would consider objective. That’s not imparital; that’s setting two parties in a row to be beaten up.

  22. Chuck Says:
    “Were i publishing this comic, and a sizeable portion of my consumers didn’t like it, i’d change it, just like i’d change a book if a certain character proved unpopular, or a certain creator wasn’t working out, etc.”

    I tried to stay away from this topic, and yet here I am again. In this case I think Joe is not worried about this because there is not a “sizeable” group of people angry about this.

    This is a great example of the mega-phone effect of the internet. Some bloggers start going after a topic, it spreads from one like minded blog to another until you have a handful of very vocal people writing about a topic. I mean look at how many posts there are on this thread, twenty four (if you count multiple posts it is even less.) Chances are these are twenty four people who were not reading the book anyway.

    It always seems like more when you are reading the blog regularly and getting caught up in the passion folks bring to things. But from a company standpoint this is not a lot of people.

    This is not to say that there are not a lot of readers that do not post. Or that blogs are not effective. They can amplify the voices of people that need to be heard, and increasingly the mainstream media is looking to them for stories. I am sure Marvel is listening to this but they are also probably betting that this will not effect sales on the book or any others.

  23. I thought this debate had run its course, and honestly I wasn’t going to comment on it again because it seemed like everyone had said their piece and was just arguing in circles now.

    I honestly don’t see how anyone could look at that cover and NOT think it’s gross, sexist, and exploitive, but I guess lots of people just don’t see it.

    I don’t read hentai – in fact I’ve hardly read any manga at all – but even I see the hentai influences. But all these other people who read and post on comics blogs have apparently never even heard of hentai or “tentacle rape,” so I guess I’m just a perv for seeing it.

    I also honestly don’t understand the way Quesada handled this little tempest. Just from a P.R. standpoint, I would think he would have said something like, “We didn’t intend this sort of implication, we’re sorry if we offended anyone,” without the rationalizations or qualifications. Other businesses have done bigger mea culpas over smaller faux pas.

    The only thing I still wonder, which I haven’t seen anyone mention, is why a few years ago Marvel ixnayed this cover for being too racy: http://www.comicartcommunity.com/gallery/details.php?image_id=4702 This cover was too much, but not this Heroes 4 Hire cover? Alright …

  24. Heidi, I think an effective post would be to compare the HFH cover to other, less offensive, covers that depict females in peril. a lot of people defending the HFH cover keep saying that it’s no different from other covers where a heroine is placed in jeopardy

  25. M. Lusk Says:

    “I’m sure this crap is exactly what Stan and Jack had in mind. R.I.P. House of Ideas.”

    Wait. Let me get this straight. _This_ is what made you think the House of Ideas — if it ever existed in the first place — is gone? It wasn’t anything else that they’ve published in, oh, the last couple of decades?

    Igaf Says:

    “Does Marvel not see that this is part of its road to bankruptcy!? Bah!”

    Because sex and sexual themes have never, ever made money for anyone, and certainly not in comics.

    CBrown Says:

    “I don’t read hentai – in fact I’ve hardly read any manga at all – but even I see the hentai influences.”

    You’ve never read hentai. But you see the hentai influence. Okay.

    This entire thread — and entire discussion — has essentially turned into a “I’m against pedophilia and misogyny, too!” mutual admiration fest. So allow me to state that I, too, am also against pedophilia and misogyny, and yet still own copies of “Lost Girls,” “Tin Drum,” and “Romeo and Juliet.”

  26. “You’ve never read hentai. But you see the hentai influence. Okay.”

    Yep. Never read Donald Duck comics either, but I recognize Carl Barks influences when I see ’em. Never read those ’90s-era Liefeld Image comics, but I recognize the style. Don’t listen to country music, but know it when I hear it. And I don’t read manga, but know the manga style when I see it, and I don’t read hentai, but have come across enough images of it on these here internets and in the comic book stores to have an idea of what it’s all about.

  27. You know, I thought that this might be a good place to post that I just read the Plain Janes, and oh my lord, it was good. If anyone would like to focus a little more on solutions, then on the problem for a moment, go spend your money on that book. You’ll feel a little better about everything after you’ve had a read.

  28. “Never read Donald Duck comics either, but I recognize Carl Barks influences when I see ‘em.”

    You really need to read some Carl barks comics.

    That goes for everybody!

    I don’t ever want to see the above quote anywhere again! It’s unforgivable among comics fans!

  29. Well Manga and Anime have left their mark. Everyone is all up in arms over American Comics and the objectification of women meanwhile manga gets a free pass. Hentai and tentacle porn should be common words to any of us.

  30. Heidi,

    The cynical side of me thinks if Newsarama did do actual journalism Marvel and DC would stop talking to them. Or at the very least, pick another website to give early information to.

  31. “You really need to read some Carl barks comics.

    That goes for everybody!

    I don’t ever want to see the above quote anywhere again! It’s unforgivable among comics fans!”

    I know, I know. Despite the thousands and thousands of comics I’ve read, there are still some embarrassing gaps in my comics experience.

    Heroes For Hire will remain one of those gaps, however.

  32. Joe knows that it’s a legit criticism for someone to make, he’s just covering up. In his defense, the cover is more like a wink and a nod to the hentai stuff than being an explicit tentacle rape scene. The book doesn’t have that in it, and I honestly didn’t make the connection to hentai until it was mentioned. I just don’t get into that stuff (or manga, for the most part). Only those who are “in the know” with adult manga would be likely to make the hentai/tentacle connection, and those people are not the impressionable children we’re looking to protect.

    Comics have done this sort of thing for years. Didn’t Legion of Superheroes famously have every character in the book get drawn naked and provocatively posed, and then the costumes were drawn on later? There’s probably hundreds of examples of artists doing worse than this. This sort of thing has been around a long time. I’m not trying to excuse it, but the kind of “damage” created by it seems very minimal, if any.

    I used to watch Three’s Company all the time when I was little (I’m 32), and never really got the sexual innuendo until I saw it again years and years later. I think we tend to overreact to the impact such things have. That road leads to things like the CCA.

  33. “Well Manga and Anime have left their mark. Everyone is all up in arms over American Comics and the objectification of women meanwhile manga gets a free pass. Hentai and tentacle porn should be common words to any of us.”

    Not really a fair comparison I think. Manga has a separate adult category for hentai and Japanese culture itself has differing views and approaches to both sex and comics. When it is imported here it is as such and sold to those who go looking for it.

    Putting obvious visual elements of hentai on an American mainstream comic and expecting no one to notice is something else entirely. Add a EIC that plays dumb and balks on responsibility for it and that’s what we have here.

    Now if and when parents catch on that their kids are potentially reading smut in the form of manga that will be it’s own separate controversy. :)

  34. I showed this cover to a friend who does not read comics at all to hear her opinion. Within two seconds, she rolled her eyes and said “porn” before walking off on her merry way.

  35. “Putting obvious visual elements of hentai on an American mainstream comic and expecting no one to notice is something else entirely. Add a EIC that plays dumb and balks on responsibility for it and that’s what we have here.

    How did everyone know what hentai was? I had not even heard of that word untill all of this came about. Maybe the bloggers criticizing american comics are themselves reading works of more quesionable content.

  36. Is this the best defense going? All you people who even know what hentai is about are all obviously perverts so you are the problem and not the cover?

    Seriously, if you have any experience with anime or manga at all you probably have encountered it. Sexual themes run through most anime, sometimes it’s more subtle than other times, like say the content that pops up in “Dragonball Z”, and other times it sticks right out like say certain scenes in the well-known “Akira” animated movie.

    If you’ve done any amount of image searching on Google you’ve probably seen it. If you’ve looked around at various fan art forums online there’s a really good chance you’ve seen some. If your local movie rental store has an anime section I can guarantee there are at least a few that carry hentai themes if not just outright hentai. If you’ve been into a comic shop or book store and given the manga/anime sections more than a fleeting glance, there’s a chance you may have seen some material that contains adult content. If you’ve been to a comic convention there’s bound to been some anime and manga there and if you stopped to look it over whatsover it’s a good chance you saw something that contained adult material. If you’ve been read THIS BLOG, THE BEAT, for any amount of time you’ve most likely seen Heidi discuss hentai and some of it’s more popular sub-sections.

    Pretty much if you’ve been paying attention to the anime movement that’s been going on in this country for the last 20 YEARS then you are familiar enough with it to know that there is adult content in it and some reoccurring themes in said content. You would really have had to of been going out of your way to avoid this ever-growing phenomenon in pop culture by having your head in the proverbial hole. This is pretty much what the top man in the American comics mainstream is wanting you to believe about himself. Manga has just snuck right past him and taken over the next generation of the comic reading audience and he hasn’t the slightest clue what this wacky “manga” thing is.

    And if that really is true, as sad as it may be considering his station, then I believe it explains a lot about the current state of the comic industry.

  37. I’ve showed that cover to four friends, two men, two women, one of whom is a major anime/manga hound, familiar with most of its aspects. All were appalled. I’ve also posted my own opinion on my own lj, as one of that “small internet group” of protestors, detailing my own violent reaction to this depiction of two women who showed me what three-dimensional female heroes could be, back in the 1970s. There’s been a lot of conversation on my site and others, not from a small group of the same people, either.

    This cover isn’t the same-old same-old, what happens to guy heroes too, to anyone but the hardcore fanboys who like their cheesecake with hard sauce, and even some of them are dropping not only this title, but Marvel itself.

    Yet the concerns of women who would like to read comics without feeling like trash or men who would like to read comics without feeling like dogs are dismissed by publishers and their core fans alike. Not just dismissed–mocked, trashed, derided, insulted, and reviled. Very few are willing to consider a dialog or the possibility the other side has a point. And this is why superhero comics are bleeding market share like an anemic vampire victim.

  38. With regard to cheesecake and its power to seel, PW’s own Paul O’Brien, in his summary of Marvel’s April 2007 sales, had this to say:

    >>This raises, in passing, the controversial topic of the cover for issue #13. There seems to a common assumption, both among publishers and among their detractors, that T&A sells comics. I wonder whether that’s really true. HEROES FOR HIRE has been distinguished by prominent cheesecake art from day one, and just look at its sales. The bad girl genre is virtually dead. MIGHTY AVENGERS, with Frank Cho’s art, is doing no better than NEW AVENGERS with Leinil Francis Yu – in fact, it’s actually the lowest selling of the three Avengers titles, although not by much. And when did you ever see Greg Horn’s covers on a high-selling title?

    If this sort of thing is genuinely so popular, why doesn’t it sell better? Could it be that in fact, the audience for T&A comics (or at least comics which are quite so blatant about it) is actually quite small, and that chasing them is a waste of time on commercial grounds alone?

  39. Good god, it’s just an illustration. Tied-up girls and flaying tentacles. Well, what if we had a fainted emma frost and a wild-eyed mister sinister? Would people start crying out “zOMG Unconscious rape!” ?
    Is there suggestion in-between the lines? Of course. There always is. Be it the old 1980 covers with spiderman looking like he was going to fall into something hazardous every week, the muder-mysteries of the 1950s with horrible monsters lurking just at the corner of the page or the girls from HFH getting tied up with slimy tentacles squirming, it’s the suggestion that something, be it horrid, enticing, frightening or exciting, that leads us to buy the book.

    Everyone knows that there won’t really be tentacle rape. It’s a Marvel comic. That stuff doesn’t just happen off-camera – it happens off-camera in the distant past background of a character that needs a drama-provider and is never spoken of again until there’s a retcon to produce more plot hooks. I’m with Marvel on this one as they stand behind their artists.

  40. Just as a little addition:

    It is known how the brood reproduce. Even Charles Xavier once succumbed to a brood egg implanted in him in one of his many, countless comic book deaths.
    How do you think the egg got there? Yeah, I didn’t hear anyone moan back then. And there are lots of brutality in comics, Marvel and otherwise. During Civil War, that kid in prision got threatened to be beatened and raped but I guess that was overlooked.

    This only leads me to one conclusion: males getting raped (or just the “premise” of being raped) is funny and just seen as aggression. Females being in a situation where they “might” get raped (because we all know they won’t) by an alien race that everyone knows (it is NOT as if they invented the Brood right NOW and gave them tentacles NOW to go all mangaverse on the girl’s asses), it’s a sin of the highest order.

    It’s not that the situation in which fictional characters are placed that worries me, it’s the massive ammount of double-standards.

  41. I personally find all this ridiculous. First, yes Luis Dragunov, feminest B-S has made a double standard in how sexual violence against woman is somehow different than against men.

    Second, is not the artist of this cover a woman?

    Chances are, not every body knows about hentai. Quesada does NOT need to know about hentai. Did Stan Lee, & Kirby know about hentai back in the day?

    HOH is a third rate title that no one ever knew about before this. I follow Marvel & DC stories online, on wiki, on 3 different message boards, & I never heard of HOH until I saw people bit ching about this cover. & from the stuff I learned about HOH after that, the comic always had hard nips & T&A poses.

    This was done for the target audience who wants a book about hot chicks & T&A, & marvel hoped to get some controversy & therefore maybe some attention to some lousy title that they put people that cant sell their own books.

    And you all just fell for it. Good job there.

    Don’t think I’m insensitive. I’ve got a younger sister. So a small part of me feels pity for how women are portrayed as just sex objects. But its not going to change much. I mean, I like Power Girl solely for her revealing costume & boobs, & I sure as hell didn’t watch Buffy for all the feminest messages. & I don’t want to see Superman or Batman. I want to see wonder woman or Miss Martian, & them to look good & with plenty of panty shots & if it were animated plenty of bouncing.

    The only thing I hate about HOH Cover #13 is that the art inside is probly not as well drawn as the cover. I’d buy this cover as a wall scroll & hang it next to my nude Major from Ghost in the Shell, Rei from Neon Genesis Evangelion in a bikini, Yomiko from Red or Die half undressed, & the main huge-boobed chick from Divergence Eve posing with a half torn off purple uniform. I’d put that MJ statue right below it.

  42. “The only thing I hate about HOH Cover #13 is that the art inside is probly not as well drawn as the cover. I’d buy this cover as a wall scroll & hang it next to my nude Major from Ghost in the Shell, Rei from Neon Genesis Evangelion in a bikini, Yomiko from Red or Die half undressed, & the main huge-boobed chick from Divergence Eve posing with a half torn off purple uniform. I’d put that MJ statue right below it.”

    Thanks for making all male comic book readers look like disgusting pervs. I read comics for good stories not for naked chicks.

    Ps. Marvel should stay far away from Japanese based things due to their extremely sexist, and disturbing sexually laced themes.

  43. And its beyond me how any one can’t see the sexual themes of this comic cover. Cause its the first thing that me and 3 devout marvel comic book fans noticed when we were checking what comics were on sale in an on-line catalouge.

    And for the people who said that the brood don’t appear to be “tentacle raping” the heroes for hire are wrong.
    Please check out ms. marvel #3 done by Frank cho. Shes being attacked by the brood but it doesn’t come across as sexual at all.

    (type in brood at wikipedia to see pic)

  44. “The only thing I hate about HOH Cover #13 is that the art inside is probly not as well drawn as the cover. I’d buy this cover as a wall scroll & hang it next to my nude Major from Ghost in the Shell, Rei from Neon Genesis Evangelion in a bikini, Yomiko from Red or Die half undressed, & the main huge-boobed chick from Divergence Eve posing with a half torn off purple uniform. I’d put that MJ statue right below it.”

    This is the only part of Jake’s post rlq read obviously, haha. Oh how I love ignorance. Funny how people pick out the parts of comments they can use against someone. You should be a lawyer rlq.

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