Spider-Woman’s Butt: unfortunate but unforgettable

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Spiderwomancrop 3022870c Spider Womans Butt: unfortunate but unforgettable

I know I promised that I would never write about Spider-Woman’s butt again, but the topic has proven incredibly durable. The Telegraph was only the latest mainstream entity to look at the overall semiotics of it, and referred to many experiments in the captivating pose imagined by Italian erotic master Milo Manara. For instance, this Reddit user rendered the pose in 3D and the result was a hideously deformed freak that will haunt all our nightmares. “Crouching like a Jaguar” indeed.

Another intrepid YouTuber got her friends to attempt the pose with disappointing results.

The Oatmeal’s Matthew Inman gave us a memorable MALE version of the pose, which is actually NSFW.

Finally, and most importantly, just as we were heading off to the long holiday weekend, Marvel’s editor in chief Axel Alonso finally addressed the crisis and admitted that under the circumstances—i.e. launching a female led book to a far more diverse readership—maybe this male-centric variant wasn’t the greatest idea ever.

While opinions on the actual piece vary, we realize that the message this cover sent was not the one we meant to send. And we understand — and respect — the concerns of those who expressed a negative reaction to the cover, I want that to be clear.

And Alonso was also forced to bring out the “We have women on staff!” card

We’re far from perfect, but we’re trying. It’s been a priority for me as EIC to make our line and our publishing team more inclusive. We’re at an industry high of around 30 percent female in editorial group, about 20 percent of our line is comics starring women, and our Senior Manager of Talent, Jeanine Schaefer, actively looks to bring more female writers and artists into the fold each month. In fact, very soon we’ll be announcing new series and creators that I’m very excited about.

He also mentioned that Manara would be considered for future variant covers. Hopefully they will be for series that are more appropriate, such as Naked Superheroics, Marvel Big Juggs Spectacular, and I Never thought It Would Happen To Me: The Pool Guy Cometh.

Comments

  1. Can’t keep a great story down!!!

    Someone who knows more about 3D modeling might want to step in here, but in the comments to that Telegraph article, one Ian B posted links to two other 3D renderings that “prove” something quite different about the anatomical feasibility of that pose.

    Remember Cameron Stewart’s willfully misconstrued comedic turnaround of the infamous Guillem March Catwoman cover? It’s an artistic cheap shot that can be leveled at literally any 2D representation of a foreshortened human figure.

  2. I find the whole idiocy surrounding the Manara cover to be disheartening, to say the least.
    On one hand, that some would presume to judge the work of an Italian master, as they understood anything about art.
    One the other, the ridiculous notion a cartoon character is supposed to represent anything remotely real.
    But then again, on the internet, everybody holds their opinions in high regard, but at the end of the day, when all this nonsense blows over, Milo Manara’s work will remain.

  3. The worst thing about this cover is the seemingly endless licence to scold some people think it has given them. Bored now. Unsubscribing from The Beat’s feed.

  4. Joe S. Walker says:

    Next: somebody plays the “but all you commenters are men” card.

  5. The best thing about this admittedly silly cover is its innate ability to out narrow-minded bigots.

  6. The link for “Axel Alonso finally addressed the crisis” should probably go to http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=55190

  7. Bob McGurk says:
  8. McGurk:

    I will when I see it in sideways mode, which the author avoided.

    BTW, this argument was always about marketing, but it’s all the irrational bleating about “feminazis” and “censorship” that has led down so many mostly ridiculous pathways.

  9. Bob McGurk says:

    Seriously? Do you think if that render was rotated 30 more degrees it would resemble the image posted above?

  10. The rendering at top puts the knees and hands on a flat plane, which the image clearly does not, and makes the hip joint less flexible than a lithe, acrobatic figure could actually fold it. Even I can fold my leg all the way to my chest. It also arches the neck far more than Manara’s drawing. McGurk’s link looks more accurate to me.

  11. That said, the accuracy of the drawing is not really relevant as this has obviously touched a raw nerve.

  12. @Heidi MacDonald says, “BTW, this argument was always about marketing…”

    An argument about marketing would be fair, Heidi. So why post inaccurate, forced attacks on Manara’s drawing ability?

    1 – The 3D artist whose picture you posted didn’t even bother to look at Manara’s drawing all that closely. The pose isn’t the same.

    2 – Those girls in the video clearly aren’t trying all that hard — nor do they have remotely the same lean, flexible body type as the character.

    3 – The joke drawing in the Oatmeal that you linked to is another example of forcing the point. Unlike the Spider-Man picture, I don’t see the slightest hint of genitalia on Spider-Woman. Not that it hasn’t been done — you yourself posted about the Spider-Man-with-a-boner statue that hung (no pun intended) overlooking a children’s playground in South Korea:

    http://comicsbeat.com/massively-excited-spider-man-statue-removed-from-childrens-playground/

    So, it’s not like Spidey’s never gotten this treatment (though again, this WAS South Korea).

    Elle Magazine (yes everyone is getting into the act) ran a story about it under the stupid headline, “This Is What Happens When Men Try to Draw a Female Superhero.”

    http://www.elle.com/news/culture/spider-woman-comic-book

    Would you support a headline that read, “This Is What Happens When Women Try to Draw a Male Superhero?” I wouldn’t.

    By the way — much of your post is about how a “real” woman couldn’t move like that. Leaving aside the fact that Spider-Woman is a fictional character who is supposed to have agility far beyond that of an ordinary woman — how about Catherine Zeta-Jones in Entrapment? You must have seen it. That scene ran in every single trailer and commercial for that movie for weeks. Ms. Zeta-Jones moved EXACTLY like Manara’s drawing — and I believe she’s “real”, but maybe not.

  13. The Spanish Inquisition says:

    You already undermined any outrage about the pose by offering up the Peter Parker cover that also puts his butt and well-defined ass-crack on display. You’re better off sticking with the argument that it’s just a poor decision to offer that variant when you’re actively trying to court the female demographic. There’s really nothing objectionable about the Manara cover, but people will find insult wherever they choose to look for one.

  14. Ireland says:

    “let it go; let it go…!”

  15. Ireland says:

    Heeey, why no comment section here: “It was a rotten week to be a woman on the internet”?

    I was just going to post “I love women.”

  16. Here’s the Reddit 3D pose, and the two 3D poses linked to by Telegraph article commenter Ian B:

    http://s1270.photobucket.com/user/TheGeneHa/media/Spider-Woman_zps53a75940.jpg.html

    Original Telegraph comment by Ian B:
    “Okay, one more comment. Somebody else did a much better render-
    http://tintachinaceluloide.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/spider-woman-referencia-anatomia-digital.jpg?w=560&h=488

    And here’s another-
    http://i.imgur.com/AIKelBj.jpg

    In other words, the basic complaint is totally wrong. I’d like to see Alice Vincent post a retraction and apology to Milo Manara.”

  17. That posted, I totally agree with this and have been making similar comments on my Facebook. Heidi MacDonald:

    “BTW, this argument was always about marketing, but it’s all the irrational bleating about “feminazis” and “censorship” that has led down so many mostly ridiculous pathways.”

  18. It would have been nice if this topic had been about marketing, but so far it’s mostly been about Manara’s drawing ability — which we can be pretty sure is vastly superior to that of his critics.

    The mainstream media LOVED this opportunity to mock comic books and a comic book artist — with the willing and eager help of comics blogs.

    Pathetic.

  19. brain says:
  20. Ireland says:

    Maybe all the complainers would be convinced if someone actually included the buildings at the background and the ledge where Spiderwoman’s right arm is resting in 3d. At all angles.
    That is one tough neck though.

  21. It’s a tight neck curve, but far from the limits of human flexibility.

    http://i.ytimg.com/vi/MJRJ7kf7ge8/0.jpg

    Again, the real problem is creating a “Do Me” cover for a book marketed to new female readers at San Diego. The specific twists of the muscles and bones are a distraction.

  22. Ireland says:

    At least, the comic did get attention.
    If the regular internet reader, not immersed in the geek culture, would just look at the cover and not read the headlines, maybe a different opinion would be formed.
    Maybe show it with the rest of the months covers and see if it would stand out among the crowd.

  23. I think Maddoxx sums up the whole thing beautifully:

    http://thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=spiderwomans_ass

  24. Actually, Marvel thinks Spiderman is capable of that pose too:-

    http://oi59.tinypic.com/8vy9zb.jpg

  25. Anonymous says:

    No one has approached this topic from a more reasonable angle than Maddox. Yes, that Maddox. You can take down this link if you want, hide it, delete, whatever… that’s usually what seems to happen in my experience when angry feminist commentary meets an inconvenient dose of rationality but at least do me a favor and watch this video from beginning to end before you do. I know the reasoning behind why mainstream publications are picking up and running with stories that support radical feminist ideology… it’s become a huge talking point, makes them seem on top of current trends, and gets them “look how progressive we are guize!!!” points all in the same time but why some people are favoring this kid of knee-jerk reactionary crap over rationality is beyond me. I suspect the guilt tactics and shaming feminists like to throw at any “bigot” who dares suggest that their perception of or reaction to something may not be justifiable or appropriate. I support civil liberties for people in general from all genders in between and all races and walks of life and I believe in fairness and equality and rationality. What I don’t believe in is screaming like poo-flinging baboons every time someone make artwork or media content that seems the slightest bit sexual in nature. You can argue that sex shouldn’t be used as a marketing tool all you want, and that’s fine. I don’t agree with many things that marketing entities do… they exploit many things they shouldn’t, but they aren’t exactly promoting the sex trade, then are they. They’re just using something that gets attention and that something is sex. “but sexual objectification is wrong when it concerns anyone at all and should never be used in marketing”, I can hear some of you say. Okay… so where is the outcry and the angry blogs and the magazine articles when it is? If “but that isn’t a feminist issue” is your reply, then you are less concerned about civil liberties and exploiting people in general and more concerned about a reactionary agenda. I personally don’t have a problem with sex in marketing because I don’t see sex as degrading and bad, for women or men or anyone in between so long as it involves consenting adults and isn’t aimed at children. As long as there is fair representation and willing participants, then have at it, as far as I am concerned. There are far scummier marketing tactics for me to rally my cries against. Feel free to call me an insensitive bigot all you want but as I said, just watch the video.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CB6TiRJNI-Q

  26. Maddox is “rational”…..rrrrrriiiiiggghhhht.

  27. blahdeblah says:

    “If you alter the Manara cover so it doesn’t have the same focus, it doesn’t have the same focus.”

    it’s still a similar pose. that was what the comment was in reference to… the pose. not the entire cover. the conversation about this is all over the place with backpedaling and a field of straw men that it’s difficult to pin down who is taking issue with what. And if you can comprehend the fact that something can be addressed specifically without being considered tacit approval of the whole, then we’ll get along better. Arguments against the pose are weak and have been marginalized thanks to the cover with Spider-Man showing equal opportunity anatomical exaggeration.

    “I expect that seeing the Manara cover as sexualized is a pretty common reaction.”

    Common, however, doesn’t mean correct. Or justified, even.

    “That’s right, Heidi. And all the women this comic was supposedly aimed at — just tap into your inner teenage boy. That’s who it’s for. Blahdeblah has one, so everyone has one.”

    From your snarky reaction, it seems like you’re implying women don’t have inner teenage boys. Many do. Anyone reading this site for a week will notice that Heidi has an inner teenage boy. So do I. So does my girlfriend. Heidi may disagree with this, but I’ll let the archives speak for themselves. If you are a lady and you do not have an inner teenage boy, it’s okay. I wasn’t saying everyone was required to have one. The phrase “in all of us” was for those of us that do have one. I wouldn’t expect the “writer” to have trouble with this, but I suspect Kurt Busiek The Writer has an inner Kurt Busiek The Internet Personality that is quick to jump on perceived slights and overreaction just like all other internet personalities.

    But yes, that is who the cover is for, and it was a bad decision to use it.

    “I think you’re in the minority.”

    The minority isn’t necessarily wrong just because there are fewer of them to voice their opinions. Being something that is subjective means it’s exempt from a “majority rules” type of scrutiny.

    This used to be a great place for conversation about comics and the important issues in and around. It’s stuff like this that has resulted in The Beat becoming a bit of a joke and the boy-who-cried-wolf of comics journalism. CBR is worse, though. I’ll give you that.

    p.s. So it’s a Manara…why does that automatically make it sexy/sexualized? As drawings of Spider-Woman go, it’s very well done, but even my inner teenage boy is kinda “meh” about it being sexy/sexualized. Comments were closed during my response, so I put it here.

  28. Me too, me too!
    I was gonna put my links in the older “Revealed at Last” post but this works just as well.

    http://arche-arc.blogspot.com/2014/09/abjection-apologia-pt-1.html

    http://arche-arc.blogspot.com/2014/09/hide-and-busiek.html

  29. Response to Blahdeblah says:

    ““That’s right, Heidi. And all the women this comic was supposedly aimed at — just tap into your inner teenage boy. That’s who it’s for. Blahdeblah has one, so everyone has one.”

    From your snarky reaction, it seems like you’re implying women don’t have inner teenage boys. Many do. Anyone reading this site for a week will notice that Heidi has an inner teenage boy. So do I. So does my girlfriend. Heidi may disagree with this, but I’ll let the archives speak for themselves. If you are a lady and you do not have an inner teenage boy, it’s okay. I wasn’t saying everyone was required to have one. The phrase “in all of us” was for those of us that do have one. I wouldn’t expect the “writer” to have trouble with this, but I suspect Kurt Busiek The Writer has an inner Kurt Busiek The Internet Personality that is quick to jump on perceived slights and overreaction just like all other internet personalities.

    But yes, that is who the cover is for, and it was a bad decision to use it. ”

    Lord, this is the stupidest thing I have ever read in my entire life. So her opinion is invalid because your girlfriend “has an inner teenage boy?” Wouldn’t that mean that your girlfriend is bisexual in this case? You can’t make an absurd statement, not explain it, and then expect it to be the (moronic) statement to end an entire debate.

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