Holyfuck-MjPeople — specifically John Jakala — continue to wonder why this doesn’t bother me. While I can see the “line muddying” issue that some people have with it, quite frankly, I don’t think “zombie horror” and “YA” are completely mutually exclusive. Teens like horror. Everyone likes zombies. Or as I put it in Jakala’s comments,

I guess given all the other controversy, this is a questionable approach, but the covers are BASED on shock value and the upending of iconic images. By that token it’s actually a COMPLIMENT to Mary Jane to elevate her to iconic status.

This is also part of what I call the “Rumble in the Bronx effect.” Bear with me.

When RUMBLE IN THE BRONX came to America it was the first one of Jackie Chan’s HK films to get a wide American release. There was a scene in the original where the late, GREAT Anita Mui got beat up by a (male) gang that was cut out of the American version, I guess on the basis of it wasn’t right to beat up a girl. What the censors didn’t get was that in a later scene, Mui came back and BEAT UP HER TORMENTORS. The scene in the original was okay because the filmmakers knew that Mui’s character was JUST AS DANGEROUS as her opponents – – she had just had a bad outing. You knew she would make her big comeback — she’s a HERO goddamit, not a wimpy girl. (HK movies are filled with heroic women the likes of which American movies have never even come close to.) It’s why in SUPERCOP Michelle Yeoh’s character does all kinds of dumb shit — just like Jackie does. We all KNOW she’s the greatest – like Jackie — and a little humor at her expense doesn’t detract from that. It just makes her human.

The Marvel Zombie book is based, I understand — I haven’t read it — on the shock value of seeing the entire Marvel U turned into FLESH EATING ZOMBIES. Why should MJ, as an iconic character, be spared that? Does it dilute Spider-man’s brand to see him turned into a flesh eating zombie? Maybe a little. But it’s a deliberate satire, based on the power of the original characters. People say the cover is “sexy”…maybe a little, but I don’t get the feeling that it’s the intent of the cover — it’s more of a by-product. It’s the very reversal of expected order that is the hook here.

How does this differ from the MJ statue? Well, as I said above, flesh eating zombies are fun for everyone of all ages. The Sideshow statue appealed to a VERY specific, VERY exclusive demographic. There was no concurrent Peter Parker statue of him in his underwear being given a cavity search by a motorcycle cop.

Now this is not to say that there might not be some kind of political agenda behind that Zombie MJ cover. Jakala even has a very interesting theory:

(If I were conspiracy-minded, I might suggest that Marvel decided to zombify that image because Heidi featured it in her post. But I don’t think Marvel is that organized. Then again, I’m really at a loss for why they picked that cover, since it features a version of the character different from the one in the Zombie-verse and it’s not at all a classic cover, so maybe Marvel did crank this out because they thought it would be funny.)

While I wouldn’t day this is out of the question, I should wish Marvel honchos read this blog that closely! In fact, I know some people there do, but come on. In fact, couldn’t we give Marvel a teensy tinesy bit of CREDIT once in a while? In a now-vanished comment, editor Nicole Boose said she had hired artist Clio Chiang based on seeing her work here on The Beat. Now I give Marvel shit when I think they deserve it, but I wish a few more people had picked up on this. CLIO CHIANG AT MARVEL. And not on a “Wedding” or “Romance” or girl book either…just in a “fun” one shot. I know everyone hates “fun” but…that’s still cool!

Marvel does some incredibly boneheaded things, like the MJ statue and the Heroes for Hentai cover. But as I believe I said in a previous post, they are actually doing and trying a lot of things that don’t get nearly as much attention. I mean, I like controversy as much as the next person, and I like Chris Butcher, but this is just internet outrage at its least productive, in my humble opinion. (Not even Lea was that outraged by the cover, and she’s got a hair trigger outrage!) Pick a stronger battle and stick with it, my sisters. Don’t dilute the attack.


  1. One possible bit that you don’t realize because you’ve not read the material is that MJ isn’t a zombie in the story; she’s been eaten (along with Aunt May) by Peter and never appears save for being namechecked when Peter suffers a guilt attack. It’s a (somewhat inconsistent) point in the story that normal humans get eaten, metahumans get infected and turned into the zombies (more accurately, anyone who’s been portrayed as a costumed hero or villain gets infected, including non-powered types such as Hawkeye and Shang-Chi). So in addition to it being a different version and not a classic cover, it’s misleading as to her status in the story.

  2. I like the cover. I don’t know anything about the story, being that I am board to tears with zombies. Return of the Living Dead III is the only zombie movie I’ll watch, and that’s because it’s a love story. It also teaches that no mater how mangled or decayed a woman’s body may get, she can still have great boobs, which MJ also seems to have hear. If I were a zombie I would have gone strait for them, but maybe Peter Parker is into sexy abs. What? A girl has a right to look and feel sexy, and a guys got a right to admire a sexy girl… even if she is one of the undead. Am I wrong?

  3. Is it worth noting that Sean McKeever seems to like the cover? (His comment, posted in the discussion forum on his website was: “What a great homage to Tak’s cover to MJ #2!”)

    As far as being a misleading cover, it’s not like that’s anything new for a comic book. (And hey, the first printing cover showed the Thing and the Human Torch, but they don’t appear in the mini-series either.)

    If anything, this could be seen as an improvement over the previous zombie homage cover MJ appeared on, MZ #5 (after the Spidey wedding issue) – there, she’s just a corpse, here, she can still, y’know, shuffle around and eat :)

    Seems like a non-issue, especially compared to the MJ statue and the HfH cover. Aren’t there bigger blunders by Marvel for people to spend their ammunition on?

  4. … Christopher Moonlight … your point might have gone over slightly better if you had spelled more words correctly.
    Bored instead of board.
    Here instead of hear.
    straight instead of strait (and the other two were actually words in their own right, while strait is only applicable if you’re talking about George).
    I happen to like Return of the Living Dead III as well.
    Though I think Zombie (or Zombi 2 as it was originally called) is a better movie.

    I will say this .. I’ve purchased and read every issue of Mary Jane and Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane (including all the digests and even the hardcover collection) … and I may not have necessarily snapped to the cover to this printing of Marvel Zombies as being a reproduction of a Mary Jane cover right off the bat (but then again, I see so many different comics/covers a month, it is hard to keep track).
    The thing that bothers me most is the fact that, while I believe the editors are likely requesting Arthur Suydam to do modified reproductions of existing covers for these Marvel Zombies printings, it still seems like ripping off the original artist(s) of those illustrations.
    Rich Johnston has a section in his columns call the ‘swipe file’ which seems perfectly suited for this situation (though Suydam isn’t trying to be sneaky about it, like most artists in the ‘swipe file’ – his staff is clearly acknowledged .. though they seem to want to call what he is doing as an homage … but I frankly just see it as someone letting another artist do most of the legwork).

  5. Hutch… Right you are. I’m dyslexic and of course spell check won’t help me with those words, although I’m usually pretty good at catching that here and hear one. Still I get by on knowing the difference between wisdom (wisdom being my strong point) and knowledge. I’m working hard on that knowledge bit, as there is so much out there to know.
    As far as your view on the covers, I feel what marvel is doing runs along the lines of parody, rather then swipe. I don’t think any less legwork was done on this cover then if the artist started with a photo of a model.

  6. A) I find it interesting that all the outrage is coming from dudes, while the ladies seem to think it’s fine. I think it speaks to it being a completely non-issue.

    B) It’s a book about zombies.

    C) It’s a book about zombies.

    D) So folks have a problem with a zombie looking at them wantonly, but have no problem with a 15 year old MJ with huge cans looking at them the same way? At least the zombie looks over 21.

    E) Theoretically, according to the wiki it’s been three years since the first book came out, so one could say that Marvel is marketing the zombies book to the girls who were 15-16 when MJ came out and who are 18 now. I doubt it though.

    F) Mr. Hutch, There’s a difference between swipe and parody or homage.

  7. I love all the zombies and love the Mj piece,would love to see more zombified ladies

    maybe an awesome black cat from the marvel masterpieces as a zombie
    sexy and scary,how can it be cooler then that