A little while ago we received an email from someone at Zenescope wondering why we don’t run more of their PR. In fact we had just received this gem the day before announcing the Zenescope Girl of the Month contest.
Gotm Contest2

… calling all aspiring models, amateur models and fans who are interested in becoming Zenescope Girl of the Month for 2010. The GRAND PRIZE winner receives a trip for 2 to San Diego, CA for Comic Con International in 2011 for 3 days and 2 nights.  Comic Con is the biggest Pop Culture event in the world, where Hollywood invades San Diego for an explosive weekend of the hottest parties and celebrity run-ins!
The winner will also appear for a signing at the Zenescope booth during the convention. 

Not only that, each monthly winner will appear in print in over 20,000 total issues of Zenescope’s popular monthly series and will also be featured online at www.zenescope.com. She will also receive a $100 gift certificate to the Blue Gryphon Comics online store and automatically be entered into the 2010 Girl of the Year voting for her chance win a trip to San Diego and be named Zenescope Girl of 2010!  Visit www.zenescope.com for more details!

Rich and Johanna already got in on this. Johanna’s post was entitled, as is her fashion,
PR: What Not to Do: Exploiting Models

In other words, instead of paying modeling fees, they get free pictures in return for calling it a contest prize. The yearly “Grand Prize” winner gets a free trip to the San Diego Con (for three days and two nights, which is also cheaping out since the show runs five days). While there, they’ll get to “appear for a signing” at the Zenescope booth. Airfare and motel must be cheaper than hiring a professional booth babe. Based on this image from last year, one key factor appears to be the willingness to flash your cleavage for the online “voters” who will be helping with this decision.

So, to answer my correspondent’s question, perhaps the reason we don’t run more of your PR is because, well, it’s icky.

UPDATE: Okay given the brouhaha in the comments we went to check out Zenescope’s web page and found so much really great art and photos that we had to share!

What can we say…onwards and upwards with the arts!


  1. “So, to answer my correspondent’s question, perhaps the reason we don’t run more of your pr is because, well, it’s icky.”

    I laughed.

  2. and no less salacious than last week’s Jill Thompson ‘weaponized word’ -on-‘weaponized word’ cover art.

    And you ran that, too.

  3. >>>and no less salacious than last week’s Jill Thompson ‘weaponized word’ -on-’weaponized word’ cover art.

    >>>And you ran that, too.

    So a woman standing behind another woman is “**** on **** action”?

    You people have dirty minds.

  4. First of all, I love sexy women as much as the next guy… maybe, even more, BUT this sort of thing is everywhere… Far too much everywhere. I’d rather focus on good story telling and art. We don’t need to inject sex into every facet of our existence, no matter what the media tells us. Thank you Heidi, for keeping it real.

  5. >> You people have dirty minds.

    And THE BEAT has a double-standard. If the Thompson cover had been drawn by a man, you would have called, ‘foul!’, or at least, ‘icky.’ Instead it was hailed it as ‘a winner.’

    If you feel the contest is as you describe, then you’ve not only spread the icky, but have smeared yourself with it as well. Congrats.

    This is not to defend their GoTM contest or imply that the above picture is less-than raunchy. (In fact, I concur with the whole deal being icky.) I’m just saying that denouncing drawings by boys while overlooking the same/similar things in drawings by women in the name of (insert preferred gender specifier) Power is disingenuous.

  6. has anyone ever posted a blog about the objectification of male characters with rippling muscles, small heads and big “packages” generally wearing skintight costumes?
    i see these types of blogs concerning women characters all over, and the so called “epidemic of female exploitation” and while i don’t always agree with the costume choices characters have(male and female), thats part of fantastic story telling. If the writers and artists have done their jobs well, otherwise ridiculous costumes or figure proportions tend not to be a factor for most folks.
    Btw the above zenescope girl of the month club girls are all fans of zenescope comics and the characters. the “contest” is merely a reward the company does for the fans that have worked hard to bring certain characters to life. take that as you will

  7. Why are you complaining over something like this? What a waste of reader time. These girls are chosen by the company, if you don’t like it there isn’t much you have to do to avoid it. And I agree ENTIRELY with Christian -“PS – this is still somewhat less detestable than Marvel’s Seige promotion however. And you ran that.”

    Johanna’s whining sounds like that of a girl who’s ticked because she didn’t get picked.

  8. Wow, so many apologists in these comments for the publisher! Who would’ve figured…perhaps these people are in one of these pictures.

    “And THE BEAT has a double-standard.”

    Congratulations for finally noticing that you’re posting on a PUBLISHER’S BLOG. Now go eat your cake in peace.

  9. How is this different than any other costume contest? Maid cafes? Cosplay? The Village Halloween Parade?

    Was Marvel’s Union Square costume contest less icky?
    (Apparently it was, according to The Beat’s October 30th posting featuring “cute girls dressed as Marvel characters zooming around on Segways”.)

    Now, if you want to use the exploitation angle, of abusing eager fans, well, that’s okay. But even then, if they are adults and read the rules and know what they are doing, go ahead, let their geek flag fly. I read the release form, and it doesn’t seem to be that onerous or evil.

  10. I think this entire rant of the contest is ill-informed and as Sally put it “whining”. Being a professional model myself, I would hardly call their grand prize an exploit of models. Paying gigs are usually few and far between, and you don’t get nearly the benefits of getting to hang out with the comic creators and artists that you look up to, and explore the best convention in this country. (You are usually sitting around for hours bored with less than entertaining people). So I say hoo-ray for Zenescope offering their readers a chance to be their booth girl rather than hiring an over-priced under enthusiastic model to represent them. They allowed for a real fan to be there. Who else cares that much about their fans? They didn’t say these had to be professional pictures, so it didn’t cost these girls anything to throw their hat into the ring to win something that is a once in a lifetime opportunity. And as for cleavage, I see it EVERYDAY. Better not go to the beach, turn on your tv, and buy everyone in the world a turtleneck if you are so offended by it. Being not only a model, but also an artist and art instructor, I have to deal with explaining how admiration of the female body is not objectifying all females, but should be seen as one of the great standards that we strive to reach in our art, even in abstract or non-objective pieces. There are few more things that as are enticing, and sometimes, controversial as the female form and any celebration of that is good. Couple that with an amazing comic company that not only appreciates but creates phenomenal art as well, there really should be no arguments against it. But what is the saying, if you don’t have haters you’re doing something WRONG. People complaining usually means you’re doing something right, otherwise it would fall flat to the curb without a second thought. I am beyond proud to be a Zenescope Girl of the Month, and if I won Girl of the Year, I would wear the crown PROUDLY.
    Goooo Zenescope!

  11. Also, what I find “icky” is the thought that women should be covered up and ashamed of their bodies. Take a lesson from every female comic character and fight that opposition, with your cleavage baring!
    All of these girls that I’ve had the privilege of chatting with have be incredibly kind, witty, down to earth, and massive fans of graphic art. I can’t think of anyone better than those ladies to represent Zenescope at San Diego Comic Con.

  12. “has anyone ever posted a blog about the objectification of male characters with rippling muscles, small heads and big “packages” generally wearing skintight costumes?”

    Outside of Class Comics and such, I have to wonder where you’re seeing “big ‘packages'” in superhero comic books. Even in spandex, most superheroes have the endowments of a Ken doll after a cold shower, and even a modest bulge on a cover tends to unsettle the fanbase somethin’ fierce.

  13. Hooray for empowerment through showing off your body! That is an awesome way to showcase your skills!

    Juliana, I am sure all booth babes, or models or booth workers or whatever are wonderful comics readers. All of the ones I know are really nice — except maybe for that one really bitchy Vampirella model that no one liked back in the day.

    It is fine for people dress up as whoever they like, and prance around. But it’s been suggested to me that these models are cosplayers. I’ve seen cosplayers…and this is not cosplay. This is hot chicks in suggestive poses showing lots of tits and ass. Not quite the same thing as “Cute girls on segways” also.

    A Halloween costume contest has a slightly different connotation than that of a contact for “a girl of the month.” Torsten, I am a little surprised you are so tone deaf.

    Actually I Went to Zenescope’s web page to check it out and found so many great pictures I”m adding them to the post above. So everyone can judge for themselves! Cheescake Friday!

  14. The reactions of real people to pictures of hot women might not be what you expect:

    When we look at magazine ads or watch TV shows, we women feel inadequate – and it’s no wonder, when the average woman model weighs up to 25% less than the typical woman and maintains a weight at about 15 to 20% below what is considered healthy for her age and height. But the 40,000 or so ads the average American is exposed to a year aren’t just affecting the girls. A new study coming out of the University of Missouri found that men react negatively to unrealistic ads, too. What’s interesting is it wasn’t images of hot men that got the guys feeling self conscious – it was images of hot women.

    A survey conducted by Harlequin found that women looking for romance consider confidence, intelligence, and a sense of humor important.


  15. I don’t think anyone is objecting to Cheesecake, least of all Heidi. So people complaining about double-standards or whatever don’t seem to have ever read this column before. Heidi has never claimed women can’t be sexy on the covers of comics (nor has anyone else). But when being sexy seems to be the ONLY role they serve, that’s a problem. This contest pretty much plays right into that.

    Juliana: Celebrating individual beauty in an artistic setting and the issue of female objectification are not in the same hemisphere. Studying the female form as an art subject is not quite what this is. Just by virtue of being images of women doesn’t make it positive or helpful or even particularly creative. “Any” celebration is not automatically positive when we’re talking about viewing women as objects first and people second. That’s the problem with objectification. Not acknowledging that we have bodies or that they’re sexual, but ONLY viewing women as sexual objects. It’s a huge cultural problem, the female body as public property. What may be individually empowering is not necessarily empowering to all women. No one’s talking about having body shame or saying women can’t dress however they like. But it’s as ridiculous to claim that women can’t show cleavage and be empowered as it is to claim that just showing it is an act of inherent empowerment.

    As for the rest, I can’t even believe someone brought up how men are drawn. How many times does that have to get discussed? The men in comics are drawn that way so that men, the audience every comics publisher keeps telling us are the main readers, want to be like. They’re drawn that way to look heroic so men can identify with the heroic. The women, meanwhile, are drawn sexily to be sexually appealing. Not heroic. Their function, when they’re depicted that way, is to be sexualized. Not identified with. So while the male characters certainly have idealized forms, it’s for completely different reasons.

    Beyond that, I really can’t even begin to fathom complaining about Jill Thompson’s cover. It’s not suggestive, it’s funny and cute. The one character everyone keeps mentioning is just kneeling. If she were pointing the other way, maybe. But the entire piece is VERY tongue in cheek. That’s kind of the idea. Art is subjective, of course, but that just seems like serious reaching to me. It’s not like other images where everyone woman is making a Sexy Face or pushing her boobs or butt at the reader. It’s playful and taking a poke at some familiar tropes. Isn’t that what we want?

  16. “But it’s been suggested to me that these models are cosplayers. I’ve seen cosplayers…and this is not cosplay. This is hot chicks in suggestive poses showing lots of tits and ass. Not quite the same thing as “Cute girls on segways” also.

    This contest was NEVER advertised as a “Cosplay Contest”. It was introduced as Girl of the Month and was written in the original announcement that they were looking for Zenescope’s “biggest female fans”. Costumes were suggested along with taking “normal” pictures with your collection or wearing a Zenescope t-shirt.

    I am Miss January 2009 and have been cosplaying since 2006: http://www.cosplaygirl.webs.com I have been a fan of Zenescope’s from almost the very begining and when I was told about this contest, I thought it would be a great way to express my love for their product. Naturally I went with the costume suggestion, being a cosplayer myself. I didn’t go into this wanting to show the most ass, although there’s nothing wrong with being sexy (and I do have sexier pics on the way). My goal was to portray Calie Liddle the best I could.


    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4169914753/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4170661710/

    Am I a model? Yes. Do I feel exploited? No. This is great exposure and I couldn’t ask for a better final prize. I have been going to Zenescope functions for YEARS. Sometimes they have booth babes, sometimes they don’t. I don’t feel that I am being taking advantage of when this was something I clearly wanted to do, of my own free will.

  17. Heidi, perhaps some man-on-man covers to satisfy Mel. At least, it seems to me that his complaint is covers with two women.

  18. Zenescope knows its demographic and successfully markets their comics toward them. They have continued to be one of the more successful indie publishers because their stories are actually good and THAT is the real reason people keep buying them… because lets face it, there is no way that many people are buying Zenescope titles each month strictly because of the covers. People aren’t dropping $3 a book if the story sucks.

    Heidi, really? What is the point of posting 4 random images from Zenescope? Are we suppose to believe these 4 images sum up everything Zenescope is about? The first image is one of the contest winners. She is happy with her image and she choose to enter the contest under her own free will. The second image are of two PAID models at a convention. Considering they are paid, I am sure you don’t have a problem with this. The third cover looks no different than half the “comic” stereotype of both women and men. And the fourth cover was done for a specialty market (Spencers Gifts) and I do not see the difference between this and Pinups of the 50’s.

    It just seems like Zenescope is always catching the slack for doing the same thing comics and advertisers have been doing for years. Open one of the books and educate yourself with all of their strong female lead characters or don’t write anything at all.

  19. If the girls didn’t agree to SWAG in exchange for photos, we wouldn’t agree to do it.
    I do “Trade” modelling frequently. My time in exchange for photos, the designers clothes that I am show casing, makeup, of for free just for fun, whatever. We Fo this because it’s fun, we enjoy it, and YES we might get to go to Comic Con.

    If you don’t agree to the terms, don’t apply.

  20. Some of the arguments here are stunningly ridiculous.
    “Male characters are objectified too”? “Jill Thompson’s cover was objectifying women just as much”? Wow. I just…wow.

    I don’t think that this contest is an affront to women, but it does make me roll my eyes. This is not the way to make the medium I love seem less childish or more female-friendly.

  21. >>>Hooray for empowerment through showing off your body! That is an awesome way to showcase your skills!

    Wait… you mean attractive men with rock hard abs and women with cleavage sometimes use that to their advantage? That they supplement their “skills” with flirting and showing some skin? Holy Crap!! When did all this start? Next we’ll be hearing that the crapola in that story that women rate Humor as most important and Intelligence as second most important “must have” trait is actually true, not just something they say so they don’t feel so shallow when checking out the hotties. At least the men are honest enough to admit they’re shallow pigs.

    Cue the “isn’t he bitter” chorus!! lol

  22. What I’m referring to is if you look back on every time a female form was shown with “cleavage” from Leonardo to Warhol to your run of the mill comic, there is always gonna be someone complaining, so where do you draw the line? If the women that are portrayed feel exploited by it? None of the girls who entered that contest felt that way in the least, but rather were proud to be a part of their favorite comic.
    And as people have said on here, their story lines are amazing and addictive. They say “you can’t judge a book by it’s cover”, but the truth is, I have seen people pick up ones with interesting covers before other ones, and if it draws them into their new favorite comic, so be it. It’s not the cover, or the girls, that will keep them coming back, it’s the story line and Zenescope excels at that; and also manages to have fun along the way.

  23. I too was chosen as one of the Girls of the Month.. and I am proud of it. It was a fun contest. The rules did not state you had to be dressed in “cosplay”, but just to express your love for Zenescope. I took a character from a story I really enjoyed, and yes, I vamped her up a bit. No, it is not an “exact” take on it.. but one my own. ok, you got me, I showed some cleavage.. wow..

    When each of us entered the contest, we knew what the prize was. Considering the fact that many of the fans do not live a hop, skip and jump away from California.. the prize is one we are each looking forward to. and even without winning, each of us has gained a little bit of confidence they would not have found anywhere, and and made friendships they otherwise would not have. Exploited, no.. none of us feel that way. If that was a concern to any of us, why would we have entered at all.

    I also want to say, I agree with the poster above.. if zenescope did not actually write a good book, and just throw a pretty cover on it.. would people continue to purchase it?

  24. i do wish comics weren’t dragging along the stigma that their product wasn’t aimed at shut in man-children (and maybe 12 exhibitionist ladies)? i sure do. but sometimes fighting it is like throwing a punch at the ocean.

    that’s not to say that the good people here at The Beat are in the wrong for poking fun. seems to me like they actually sent around some e-mails begging for this to happen.

    also, i suspect “Juliana” is a man.

  25. Okay, I’ll try and keep this short and sweet… if I can. As an art teacher who teaches a lot of young teenage girls, I try to instill in them a strong sense of worth. Worth in what they do, worth as human beings, and the worth of everyone they come into contact with. With media like this (as one example in a sea of examples of sex and violence) it’s hard to convince them sometimes that they don’t have to put themselves out their as a sexpot, bad ass, fowl mouth… take your pick, or put them all together, just so they can get some gratification. The war is on to keep young people from dehumanising themselves just so dumb asses can take advantage of them, use them up, and toss them away for the next batch, just so they can make a buck or have sex with them for a while. Most (not all) of the time, once you do that to yourself, anything else you do, goes ignored. You lose credibility. It shouldn’t have to be that way, but it is. Do these girls and women have a right to feel sexy? Of course they do, but for themselves, or for someone they really love, but not just to “please” those who really only care about themselves to begin with. It’s hard, because everyone is looking for gratification. Instant is always preferred, but when it’s earned for something you really care about, and have worked to achieve, well, isn’t that really what’s worth anyone’s while? Yes, sex and violence have their place in art, but I think we’ve got more than our fill going around already, in their superficial form. If we are to prepare our young people to inherit the future as productive members of society (be it artists or otherwise) we must all be willing to be more responsible. Who’s job is that? Who tells young people that they need to make themselves know as human beings with ideas, feelings, and that they need to stand for them. Who’s going to tell them that they need to aspire to be more than a jack off accessory. Let me introduce you to a novel idea. It’s not just the parents, because we all know that not all parents are good parents. It’s not just our teachers, religious leaders, government, media, because we know that as good as intentions that most of them have, there also lays a treed of corruption and/or incompetence. It’s you and me. In short, it’s every last person on this planet. We have to stop thinking about what gets us off all the time, and start thinking about what’s all around good for everybody; what’s responsible. Of course, no one has the right to make you be this way, so it’s up to you. It starts with you. This is exactly the point I was trying to make with “Kick Ass” and “Hit Girl” but there’s always someone who doesn’t want to buy it. Maybe, in this context I’ll come across better. Am I asking you to be perfect? No. No reasonable person can ask for that, and I’ll be the first to stick up for yo if you’re not. I’m just asking you to slow down and think about these things, the next time they come up. Think about what the consequences are, and then think if that’s what our world really needs. Be as honest with yourself and others as you can, and you can usually see what is needed. So much for me keeping it short.

  26. Now why didn’t EROS Comix have a promotion like this in their heyday??

    It would’ve been fun to see them models next to Dan Clowes! ;)

  27. Having looked at a few reader comments on GRIMM FAIRY TALES VOLUME 1 & 2 and at a description of ESCAPE FROM WONDERLAND, I dunno how one could consider the contents artistic. A reader of GRIMM damns with her praise:

    First of all, the ‘Grimm’ in the title is not a name, but an adjective. A friend gave this to me because she knew I wanted to read Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales; she was misled in an Amazon description and got this for me. A graphic novel loosely based on Brothers Grimm’s tales, the characters seem to undergo the same basic plot points, then ending either or both in bloodshed/nudity. Although predictable, this volume is hilarious. I like to keep it around just to spark conversation.

  28. Give me a break! You selected a comment from a non-comic book reader who accidentally purchased this, but was expecting a children’s fairy tale book? I hardly call that a “reader” of GFT.

    A lot of the fans are women and this was a contest for the fans. You don’t see any of the female fans calling foul. I have no issues with Zenescope running an upfront contest like this. The girls chose what pics to send in and were comfortable with them. As a female Zenescope fan, I am fine with it and thought it was a fun way to involve fans (both male & female).

  29. “Give me a break! You selected a comment from a non-comic book reader who accidentally purchased this”

    A reader is a reader. I think that trying to quantify them as non-comic or comic readers is a big counter productive. It can only serve to alienate potential new readers. Imagine library patrons singling out newcomers to their beloved haunt. I’m only sorry that this is that reads introduction to comics. Not the first impression I would want to leave. I’m not saying they’re good comics or bad comics (just different) but if I was playing music to someone who can hear for the first time, I’d play the Beatles or U2 before I’d play them the Spice Girls or the Pussycat Dolls. It would give them a greater understanding of the mediums possibilities.

  30. Wow! 42 comments. Right up there with Seige DC. We should do this again some time, Heidi.

    And icky? Really?

    I’d think a man having sex with a woman wearing a pig mask in a comic might fit more in that catergory;)

  31. Wow … that’s really all i have to say off the bat. Just … Wow. The double standard that is prevelant in comic “fans” is incredible. You praise an artist for drawing a half naked woman but seeing real ones is “icky”? (oh, and “icky”? Really? Are we still in grade school?)

    … i can’t even argue my point with you any more. Your rampant stupidity is making it difficult for me to single out any one point to debate you on. To put it simply: YOU’VE PISSED ME OFF. And seeing as how I’ve already given too much of my life to addressing the stupidity of you “oppinion”. I’m gone.

  32. Wow … that’s really all i have to say off the bat. Just … Wow. The double standard that is prevelant in comic “fans” is incredible. You praise an artist for drawing a half naked woman but seeing real ones is “icky”? (oh, and “icky”? Really? Are we still in grade school?)

    … i can’t even argue my point with you any more. Your rampant stupidity is making it difficult for me to single out any one point to debate you on. To put it simply: YOU’VE PISSED ME OFF. And seeing as how I’ve already given too much of my life to addressing the stupidity of you “oppinion”. I’m gone.

  33. I can’t believe the number of people completely missing the point here. Heidi isn’t trying to say that scantily-clad women is offensive. That’s not the issue. Saying it’s a double-standard because she’ll post and condone some racy pictures but not others is a totally dumbed-down and silly argument. The issue isn’t the nudity (or almost-nudity), it’s the context.

    I’m not trying to take a side here, I’m not quite sure how I feel about this promotion, I’m just getting tired of seeing people completely misunderstand the point trying to be made here, and seeing people try and claim a double-standard exists here when it doesn’t is incredibly frustrating.

  34. I’m one of the Zenescope Girls of the Month, and I barely went without a smile on my face while reading this 4th grade, schoolyard argument. Thank you all for taking the time to put me in a good mood and promote something all 12 of us have worked hard to succeed in. I’m going to return to my law school homework and I wish you all a fantastic day!

  35. Man…er…person, this topic never gets old. Where’s that bingo card? I’m gonna hafta add a “Internet White Knight” square for Mr. Moonlight. You keep protecting those helpless teens’ self esteem.

    /The interwebs, where there’s never a middle of the road opinion to any topic.

  36. Considering there’s a good chance a guy who posed naked for Cosmo will be the next senator from Mass., the “you’ll regret this in 20 years” argument holds less water now.

  37. I just thought your first post sounded way too earnest to be believable. This may be a serious subject, but you came across as a bit full of yourself. Google “internet white knight” to get an idea of what I’m talking about. It’s not the message itself I had a problem with, but rather the delivery. People should be more responsible, but you made it seem as though you’re some sort of “saint” of self worth. I can support the idea of advocating the message that young women can define themselves as being more than just a sex object, but in your response to Shauna you seemed to be putting her down for what is ultimately her choice to model for Zenescope. Look, I salute your willingness to help those that might be denying themselves their full potential by being nothing more than a swearing, kick-ass, sex pot, but don’t swing so far the other way. They’re not all irresponsible, mindless little women in need of your protection. It also makes it sound as though you would blame the young woman for whatever befalls her due to her “irreposnibility”.

    Sorry if this is all over the board, my thoughts aren’t terribly organized at the moment.


  38. Oh, I’m no saint. Faaaaar from it. That’s why I added, “Am I asking you to be perfect? No. No reasonable person can ask for that, and I’ll be the first to stick up for yo if you’re not.” I know that what a person writes and how they are read are can be to different things, so I understand if I came off as full of myself. I’ve just seen two many of my friends (talented and worthy human beings, every one of them) die from drug overdoses, drop out of school to become strippers, or live with abusive people, because they didn’t think they were worth all that much. So, I take a stand. Am I a white knight. I don’t care to even think about it. It sounds like a label, and like they always say, if you can label it, you can dismiss it. It’s like when people say, “Don’t be a hatter.” As for miss Shauna, well, I would have hoped that someone studying for law school could have chimed in with something a little less condescending. I am friends with several lawyers (some of them females who have taken on Enron and won) and I’m sure they could have made a stronger argument than that. If she had, I would have welcomed and respected it.

  39. PS See? Not perfect. I’m dyslexic and my spelling gets strange, even when I read it back to myself. TOO many. Hater, not hatter, and so on. There are those who would use these things to discredit me, just because I dared to put it out their on the line. I know better than to let it get me down, but if I didn’t, I’d sure be vulnerable to some harsh attacks. Would I deserve it?

  40. All,

    Sorry about the late post. But please consider this. As an aspiring graphic novel artist/writer/entrepreneur, I have to say if I’m ever successful enough to have actual fans of my work serve as booth girls at a convention, I think I’d do the same thing as zenoscope because:

    1. It’s a way to connect with a dozen of my fans (the models themselves) in a fun way and in a way that allows me to get feedback on why/how they identify with my characters enough to be willing to dress up as them for a few days.

    2. For all the fanboys (most convention attendees are male), who will typically come and gawk a little, and flirt a little, it wouldn’t hurt them to talk to another actual FAN when they come to the booth, as opposed to some model who only semi-memorized the character information I provided her and quite honestly will struggle to keep a conversation going about the IP (intellectual property) for the 3 minutes I need her to hold people’s interest while I interact with the fans in-line ahead of the ones she’s talking to. Unfortunately, for many character models, because the fans may know much more about the character the model is supposed to be than she does, she may find herself either being ignored by the hard core fans of the work (which makes my paying for her services a waste of money), or she will yes, in fact be objectified by the mostly male convention attendees because she/they will have no other pop cultural commonality to use as conversation currency.

    As an artist/booth manager, “character-model-objectification” by my fans is actually a distraction from the reason I spent time, money. etc to be showing at the convention… I am doing all of that because I want you to be thinking about MY COMICS for those brief moments you are near my booth before you are drawn to the next one, and the next one, and the next one. I didn’t get there hours before the fans, lugging all of my product for sale and my display stuff to be able to set the booth up and make it attractive, and think about what I want to talk to fans about, and rehearse my sales pitches and all of that… so my fans can be distracted by some random lady in a costume.

    Quite frankly, shiny TnA baubles are used by EVERY other advertising sector to attract eyeballs. Zenescope’s contest, where the first qualification is fandom (aka knowledge & actual appreciation of a product) and the ability to create “visual interest” is a second tier consideration is a totally different approach than what is typical.

    Also let’s consider something else. In order to have have enough female fans to have a fair amount actually enter the contest, then to have enough to have the luxury of picking some attractive ones, then to work with the ones from that population who can actually get to the photo shoot and/or convention (these ladies have lives you know! they’re not just sitting around waiting to be convention models…) and then weeding out those who are not suited to braving the challenges of being a booth girl (intermittent objectification is only ONE of several challenges they will face during a few long days), means that my work has to have quite a few female fans – i.e. it has to actually appeal to women – not the occasional woman – women generally. Which then means that uh, it probably can’t be too weak on women led story lines, and strong female characters and all the other stuff that help a work generate a substantial female audience.

    So Iike I said at the top, should I be so fortunate to have that level of success, where my audience is that balanced, I hope I’d also be ballsy enough to set up a circumstance where I can crow as an author and say “Yeah. As a matter of fact, all the booth girls at the convention are actual fans of the work. They dress up like that and talk about the comics all day because they actually WANT to. My comic is just that daggone good.”

    So please – before we go jumping to conclusions, and off social commentary cliffs regarding what kinds of packages are on covers in what kinds of tights… can we act like this blog is on a trade magazine site.. not a general consumption site? one where we know something about the industry?

    On the proof-read I detect my some of own snarky-ness and I sincerely apologize. That tone flows from my admiration-envy of zenoscope because I appreciate how hard it is to produce the kinds of work they produce. Taking advantage of the fan-models? Ha! More like reveling in the fact that they have a female audience large enough to include some foxes.

    What the successful contest and calendars etc. say to me is:
    “We draw Plenty of TnA AND we still generate a substantial female audience! Take that you big 3! Our stories are doing what yours can’t – they entertain EVERYBODY at the same time – catch us if you can! Moohoo hahahah! (evil laugh)”

    I can only stand in awe for a moment, then sit down and keep drawing.

  41. “Comic Con is the biggest Pop Culture event in the world, where Hollywood invades San Diego for an explosive weekend of the hottest parties and celebrity run-ins!”

    Oh, Comic Con … *sniff* … our little show hjas grown up and grown apart …

  42. It’s not really a tasteful showing off of the female form. It’s tacky and cheap. It’s titilation that doesn’t really titilate. So they fail in my opinion BUT the covers get them the attention…comic book press coverage so the toll on their reputation is a small price to bear because I imagine that attention has translated to sales. No one should be surprised that tacky cheescake is all their comics have going for them. Beyond the covers are really lackluster attempts at retelling classic stories. A part of me would like to believe that Zenescopeis paying Heidi to for this blog entry but comics with similar covers like Jim Balent’s TAROT is pushing the fifty issue mark so there are definately fans out there so there’s no reason to suspect astroturf.