Marvel has been placed in the hot seat this week after the release of Milo Manara’s “Spider-Woman” #1 variant cover. The cover received myriad criticism across numerous online outlets – with mainstream sites and genre-focused sites – complaining about the ill timing of sexualising the portrayal of the character at a time when there has been a growing focus and growing critique on the comic book industry’s treatment of female characters, and how it has spilled out to the creators and fans.
Bleeding Cool noted the similarity in the pose between the Spider-Woman cover and the overly sexual pose on the cover of Manara’s comic “click. Some of the more commercial outlets (The Mary Sue) scribed an article suggesting that when an artist proposes a front cover like Manara’s, Marvel should have sent the artist back to the drawing board, suggesting the cover “does not instill confidence, nor does it tell women this is a comic they should spending money on.”
More outlets expressed their opinion on the choice of Manara to illustrate the cover including:
io9 (“perhaps asking an erotic artist to draw one of your most popular superheroines for a mass-market cover wasn’t quite a good idea”), Vox (“this is not what readers were expecting from a company that has made the effort to show that it’s being thoughtful about its female readership and female characters”), Slate (“it looks more like a colonoscopy than a costume”), Elle (“imagine Spider-Man in that position instead, and the concept would have never gotten this far”) and Bustle (“it’s just plain lewd and irresponsible on the part of the minds at Marvel”).
There have been some defenders of the artist, including the current “Amazing Spider-Man” writer Dan Slott, suggesting on twitter that if you are going to ask somebody like Manara to design the front cover of a comic, then you shouldn’t be too surprised with the final outcome. He also stated he wasn’t defending the use of the cover but was more skeptical at the criticisms aimed at Manara’s actual work.
Marvel has worked regularly with Manara in recent years. He’s illustrated a number of variant covers, predominantly featuring female characters (along with a Nightcrawler variant cover for “Amazing X-Men” #1). In 2010, Marvel published a long-in-the-works one-shot titled “X-Women,” drawn by Manara and written by legendary X-Scribe Chris Claremont. This is what Chris Claremont had to say about Manara’s talents:
“And the utterly intriguing, amusing thing is how close he comes throughout the book in terms of presenting the character how he just gets as close as he can to crossing over Marvel’s line of disapproval but not quite, and at the same time, he gets away with presenting the characters in all the glory Milo loves to do so. And I think it’s wonderful.”
Just to put things into perspective here. Would we mind seeing Spider-man on the front cover in the same position? I’ll leave you to ponder on that one, …
Source: Comicbook Resources