Thursday, August 28, 2014

12019: Uncle Ben—Invisible Man.

Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO created a video to launch Ben’s Beginners for Uncle Ben’s in the U.K. Oddly enough, Uncle Ben is nowhere to be seen—and the video only features a couple of token Black kids. The YouTube cooking show is hosted by DJ BBQ. Gee, how did the iconic brand go from depicting Uncle Ben as the company CEO to presenting a dude named DJ BBQ who is Whiter than rice?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

12018: Always Abnormal.

This Always Discreet video shows two women talking about the product “like normal”—but the end result is about as abnormal as it gets. Who the hell is responsible for this shit?

12017: Always A Chance Stereotype.

Not too sure about this campaign for Always A Chance in the U.K. For starters, the website is so predominately White. And why is Leon the Black dude the only one packing a “gun” in the scary darkness of night?

From Ads of the World.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

12016: You Da Spider-Man.

From USA TODAY…

Spider-Man ‘can be anybody’ — and now he’s Donald Glover

By Brian Truitt, USA TODAY

Donald Glover grew up with Spider-Man as his No. 1 superhero, and while he doesn’t get to wear web-shooters or red and blue tights, at least he’s getting to voice a precocious version of Marvel Comics’ iconic wall-crawler.

The new season of Disney XD’s animated series Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors will take Peter Parker through various parallel worlds, including one where he meets Miles Morales, his half-Hispanic, half-black counterpart, voiced by Glover. The season premieres Sunday (9 a.m. ET/PT), and the “Spider-Verse” arc of episodes airs next year.

In 2011, Miles was introduced to comic-book readers in Marvel Comics’ Ultimate Spider-Man series by Brian Michael Bendis, after the writer saw Glover’s Twitter campaign to play Spidey in a live-action movie — and witnessed Glover dressed up in Spidey pajamas on the NBC sitcom Community.

“I don’t think it’s hit me necessarily yet how big of a deal that is,” Glover, 30, says. “I’m very grateful for that, and it’s cool to read the comic now.”

The cartoon Miles is very close to the comic-book version: The 13-year-old is still getting used to being a superhero when he meets the dimension-hopping Peter (Drake Bell), who’s trying to stop his old nemesis the Green Goblin from collecting the DNA of various Spider-Men — from Spider-Man Noir to the porcine hero Spider-Ham — for nefarious reasons.

It’s an emotional moment for Miles, though, because in his world, Peter is dead.

“He meets someone who is his hero, and that comes across completely in Donald’s performance,” says Stephen Wacker, a former Spider-Man editor at Marvel Comics who’s now vice president of Marvel Television’s animation division. “He’s got a real warmth that suits the character really, really well.

“If you’ve read Miles Morales comics, Donald’s voice nails what you’ve been reading.”

Miles is also a character cut from the exact same cloth as the original Spidey, Wacker adds. “He’s a kid you can root for, who you want good things for, who suffered some loss of his own, and we’re seeing him come to terms with his new powers and how to use them.”

Miles is a high school student who tries to balance a family life with moonlighting as Spider-Man, Glover says, “and it’s a lot of pressure for a kid to be yourself and have all this responsibility. Miles is really brave, and that’s a cool attribute to have when you’re that young.

“I admire anybody who allows themselves to be themselves. Especially a kid.”

Glover, who has a high voice, didn’t have to pitch it up too much to play a teenager with a heap of youthful optimism. Actually, there wasn’t a whole lot of pretending to be someone else needed.

“That’s the great part about the Spider-Man costume: He can be anybody,” Glover says. “Spider-Man could be a girl. Spider-Man could be an old man. You don’t know. So I just tried to be as me as possible, because you’re always just going to bring it back to yourself when you watch the show.”

Kids come up to Glover at his Childish Gambino concerts asking him to sign their Miles Morales comics. The actor can relate since he, too, was a Spider-fan from way back.

“I never liked Superman that much, because I was like, ‘Yo, this dude can’t die. It’s too easy,’” Glover says. “Batman is pretty fly. He’s a close second, just because he doesn’t really have powers. He’s just a justice-driven vigilante.

“Spider-Man is the best because you just don’t know who he is, and he’s funny and he’s poor. I understand Spider-Man a lot on that level. He’s just trying to make it.”

Glover still gets a kick out of how much has come from one comment about wanting to don tights and be Spider-Man. Voicing Miles is not exactly the same thing, he says, “but it’s pretty good. I’m still holding out, though.

“I still have hopes to do something like that one day. I don’t look at this as second place. Spider-Man, he’s such an icon — you have to do something with him.”

12015: Ban Fairness In Advertising.

Digiday reported on “The crazy skin-lightening ads that have been banned in India.” According to the article:

On Tuesday, the Advertising Standards Council of India, a self-regulated advertiser group, issued a new set of guidelines that will ban all ads that depict those with darker skin as being inferior in any way.

For years, advertisers of skin-lightening creams and other products have shown people — mostly women — with dark skin as having problems when it comes to finding jobs, getting married and generally being accepted by society. The makers of these ads include behemoths like Unilever, Johnson & Johnson and P&G. The so-called “fairness” cream industry in India was estimated at $432 million a year and growing by 18 percent annually in 2010, by AC Nielsen.

“Advertising should not communicate any discrimination as a result of skin color,” read the new ASCI guidelines, and the expression of the model in the ads should not be “negative in a way which is widely seen as unattractive, unhappy, depressed or concerned.”

Former ASCI chairman Bharat Patel told business news site Live Mint that all advertisers have to comply with the ASCI rules — both in television and print.

Digiday also posted four classic commercials for skin-lightening products.

Monday, August 25, 2014

12014: Googling Gibson.

Google saluted the 87th birthday of trailblazer Althea Gibson with an animated cartoon. Too bad Google can’t be authentically inspired by Americans who broke barriers to foster diversity.

12013: Gender Jive.

The Drum videotaped Critical Mass CEO Dianne Wilkins and WCRS CEO Matt Edwards discussing if gender makes a difference to running a creative agency. First of all, Critical Mass is not exactly a creative agency. Overall, the conversation is a self-absorbed, navel-gazing waste of time.

At roughly 2:00 into the video, Wilkins said, “Diversity of all kinds is something we’re looking for—from interests to…you know…gender to religion to…whatever…ethnicity—we want it all.”

Yeah, right. Agencies are always looking at candidates’ religious backgrounds. And hey, whatever, ethnicity too. Jesus.

12012: Black-ish History.

From USA TODAY…

Being “Black-ish”: Column

A post-racial society may have benefits, but people risk losing their culture on the way.

By Richard Pierce

Do you ever feel as if you are swimming upstream in a river? How about the feeling that you are running into the wind, uphill? Perhaps you could provide some other cliché that implies that one is working harder than one might and against the prevailing opinion of the crowd.

I often feel that way. I do so because I continue to teach African American history at the university level when there are so many cultural clues that many don’t feel it is important. I was reminded of my predicament when I learned of a television show, “Black-ish” starring Anthony Anderson, which will air for the first time in Fall 2014 on ABC.

The Hollywood Reporter described the show as an “upper-middle class black man who struggles to raise his children with a sense of cultural identity despite constant contradictions and obstacles coming from his liberal wife, old-school father and his own assimilated, color-blind kids.” Anderson plays a successful executive with all the trappings; an enviable address, an expensive automobile, and, perhaps most importantly, a closet reserved solely for his shoes. Yet he wonders what elements of African-American cultural his children must give up in order to “fit in.”

Left unsaid is the dilemma in defining the difference between culture and history or, in fact, if they are one in the same. If so, how does one decide what of their historical past must be forgotten? There is a prevailing pressure to homogenize education, especially history; to round the protruding edges and smooth them into a more aesthetically pleasing whole. Periodically, I hear that there is no need to teach African American history because the teaching of United States history should suffice.

Of course, such a viewpoint brings memories of W.E.B. DuBois’ now seemingly perpetual question of twoness, “One ever feels his two-ness, — an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled [sic] strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body.”

Teaching African American history, evidently, reminds students that the country’s history was not seamless, without conflict or differing results. But understanding that struggle would be helpful in the present day. Helping students understand the long fight for equal access to the ballot box would enable them to appreciate why African Americans are suspicious of efforts to restrict access to the polls today. How does one round that edge?

America seems to wish to rush to the status of a color-blind society. The Roberts court’s recent decision in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action is just the latest evidence that America refuses to accept policies that address historical inequalities when those remedies are based on race. So we find African American families with a 21st Century dilemma that DuBois would hardly recognize: how to preserve a distinct culture when all about you seem to urge a forgetting. The dilemma is most poignantly found when one is involved in raising children and it starts early.

What name do you provide your child when studies have found that ethnic-sounding names can doom your child to the ranks of the unemployed or under-employed. Where do you educate them? How do you explain racial difference to a kindergartner? Elder relatives encountered many of these questions, but with legal constraints removed and political remedies abandoned, what now? Do we sanction the effort of the color-blind advocates by failing to provide any cultural identifiers or historical information?

I do not know the answers to the slew of questions that abound. I do not know how I would have aided Anderson’s mythical character when his son asked for a bar mitzvah even though the family is not Jewish. But I know that I will continue to teach African American history to people of all cultures because I believe in history. I believe that history continues to instruct. I believe that history is constructed. I believe that history has meaning and that the journey of history will always have contours that befuddle and confuse, but that the lessons are no less meaningful. And I believe that whatever artifacts and accouterments adorn my children, they will not be well-dressed if I have failed to share with them their history.

Richard Pierce is the John Cardinal O’Hara Associate Professor of History in the Department of Africana Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

12011: Always Is Always Awful.

This Always Discreet commercial is anything but discreet. The announcer voiceover declares, “Never miss a chance to dance…just because you sprinkle a little tinkle”—while the talent boogies to Peaches & Herb’s Shake Your Groove Thing. The wrap-up line? “Because, hey, pee happens.” Shit does too, when a hackneyed creative team is let loose.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

12010: Comic Culturally Clueless Clowns.

It’s so sad to see the Ferguson incident bringing out the culturally clueless in entertainment and media.

Former Hercules star Kevin Sorbo posted a Herculean asinine Facebook rant:

“Ferguson riots have very little to do with the shooting of the young man. … It is an excuse to be the losers these animals truly are. … It is a tipping point to frustration built up over years of not trying, but blaming everyone else, The Man, for their failures. It’s always someone else’s fault when you give up. … [The event is a] reminder to the African Americans (I always thought we just Americans. Oh, well.) that their President the voted in has only made things worse for them, not better.”

Um, shouldn’t this idiot be competing with Lou Ferrigno to appear at comic book conventions?

Meanwhile, FOX News host Andrea Tantaros called U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder a “race-baiter,” insisting that he runs the Department of Justice “like the Black Panthers would.” Um, would this dimwit even know a Black Panther from the Black Panther? She ought to be joining Sorbo at comic book conventions, perhaps playing the role of Xena.

Next, FOX News host Jeanine Pirro—aka Judge Jeanine—booted two Black lawyers off her program after they charged her with “distracting” from slain teen Michael Brown’s death by getting wrapped up over minor details in witness accounts. Here’s yet another potential comic book convention attraction: stage a wrestling match between Judge Jeanine and Judge Judy—refereed by Judge Dredd.

12009: Jackie Robinson West Bested.

From The Chicago Tribune…

Jackie Robinson West falls 8-4 in Little League final

By Paul Skrbina

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Jackie Robinson West was looking to make history its story Sunday when it faced Seoul, South Korea for the Little League World Series championship.

But the team from Chicago's South Side fell short in an 8-4 defeat in front of an announced crowd of 28,671 at Lamade Stadium, which is nestled in the mountains of the Little League capital of the world.

No all-African-American team ever has won the world title. Former Cub Lloyd McClendon and his 1971 Gary, Ind., team finished second to a team from Taiwan, falling 12-3. In 1980, Gary Sheffield and Derek Bell led a team from Tampa to second, losing 4-3 to Taiwan. Bell returned with Tampa in 1981, a 4-2 loss to another team from Taiwan.

Jackie Robinson did its best to become the first in the sixth inning, when it scored three runs to chants of “USA, USA.”

“We’ve always had questions of baseball in the intercity and how to get more African-American kids playing baseball,” said Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard earlier this week, before JRW met a team from Philadelphia in a United States semifinal. “I think this proves it’s working.”

Seoul, South Korea was working Sunday, too.

The Asia-Pacific region champs scored single runs in the first, third and fourth innings before a four-run sixth inning, punctuated by Hae Chan Choi’s home run and a two-run single from Jin Woo Jeon, made it 8-1.

Jae Yeong Hwang doubled in Dong Wan Sin to open the scoring in the first. Choi scored in the third on a fielder’s choice and Jun Ha Yoo singled home Ji Ho Park in the fourth. Sin added a home run to left in the fifth to make it 4-1.

Jackie Robinson West pulled within 2-1 after DJ Butler and Ed Howard led off the inning with the team’s first hits. Butler scored on a shot to shortstop that resulted in a fielder’s choice.

Seoul National (5-0) won its Little League-record third title. It defeated Japan 12-3 in the international final Saturday. Jackie Robinson West (5-2) won four elimination games to the final. It defeated the West regional champion from Las Vegas 7-5 Saturday in the United States final.

12008: Jackie Robinson West Is U.S. Best.

From The Chicago Tribune…

Jackie Robinson West wins U.S. championship at Little League World Series

By Paul Skrbina

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Happy berth day, Jackie Robinson West.

On Saturday afternoon, under a gray Pennsylvania sky, 13 boys from the South Side of Chicago earned a spot in the Little League World Series championship game. Jackie Robinson West sweated out a 7-5 victory in the United States final against Nevada, a team that defeated Jackie Robinson by 11 runs six days earlier.

Jackie Robinson West is the first team from Chicago since North Roseland in 1967 to qualify for the championship and the fourth finalist from Illinois, which doesn’t own a title.

As one emailer wrote, simply: Now it’s soul vs. Seoul.

Jackie Robinson West will face Asia-Pacific champion Seoul, South Korea, a 12-3 winner over Japan in the international final, at 2 p.m. Sunday on ABC-7.

“I don’t like losing,” Jackie Robinson’s Trey Hondras said. “It’s like a girl dumping you and going to your best friend. It really hurt.

“Getting revenge is like getting a better girl and showing her off to your best friend.”

Four batters into Saturday’s game, Jackie Robinson was showing off its bats.

That was all it took for the Great Lakes Region champions to surpass the offensive output — two runs and two hits — they had during a 13-2 loss to Las Vegas on Aug. 17.

That put Jackie Robinson (5-1) in the losers’ bracket — and on a mission.

“They were cocky, so we wanted to play them again,” said Darion Radcliff, who had an RBI and walked twice.

Added Ed Howard, who earned the save for Josh Houston: “Before the game in our dorm we had a talk about how we wanted to get revenge against them.”

Jackie Robinson wasted little time exacting it.

Hondras’ two-run home run to right field highlighted a three-run first. Hondras was at it again in the second, when his single to left scored Cameron Bufford to give Jackie Robinson a 4-3 lead.

“I wasn’t really trying to hit the home run, I just wanted to make contact to get Pierce (Jones) home,” Hondras said. “I just got lucky. Well, not lucky. But I hit the ball over the fence.”

Hondras didn’t just show off with his bat. He wisely started a 3-4-1 double play in the second inning that went Hondras to Marquis Jackson to Houston.

Jackie Robinson West answered with three runs in the fifth, when Houston singled home Jackson. Radcliff (walk) and Brandon Green (fielder’s choice) also scored in the inning.

Things looked eerily familiar to Jackie Robinson at the start, though. Last time it was three consecutive walks to the top of Las Vegas’ order in the first that led to a Brad Stone grand slam and an early hole for the Chicagoans. This time the first three hitters singled before Drew Laspaluto cleared the bases with a two-out double.

Stone was at it again Saturday for Vegas, hitting a two-run home run on an 0-2 count with two outs in the fifth to give his team a 5-4 lead.

Houston, who is 4-0 at the Little League World Series, pounded the ground in frustration.

“After that home run I got scared, I got very scared,” Houston said. “I knew at some point something good would happen.”

So it did.

“It’s still unreal,” Jackie Robinson manager Darold Butler said. “I’m still going through the game in my mind, how exciting it was, how intense it was.”

Much more intense than Butler’s Saturday night plans.

“My celebration is going to be sleep,” he said. “To be honest, I don’t even know what time (Sunday’s) game is. I’m going to do my research, but at the same time I love our style of baseball.”

Jackie Robinson came back from two five-run deficits to win the Great Lakes Regional against Indiana just to get to South Williamsport. After losing to Las Vegas, West won four win-or-go-home games to advance.

“It was one of those games that could have gone either way,” Butler said.

Once again, it went Jackie Robinson West’s way.

“They hate to lose. That’s it. They’re horrible losers,” Butler said. “They don’t show it, but they hate it.”

12007: BS From PR.

Campaign published an inane perspective from Andrew McGuinness, an advertising agency wonk who quit to run a PR firm. McGuinness insists that his move is not a dramatic shift, contending that “today’s category-defying creative work” is coming from all sources. “Ideas are ideas, however you categorise them,” declares the author. In short, McGuinness believes great concepts and campaigns can come from traditional advertising agencies, digital agencies, direct marketing agencies, etc.—and PR agencies too! Leave it to a PR guy to push propaganda proclaiming everyone is equal in the quest for the big idea. Too bad McGuinness’ argument completely falls apart upon viewing the website of the place employing him. From a digital angle, it’s an experiential nightmare. In terms of design, it’s ugly. On an advertising and self-promotional tip, it totally sucks. Hell, it doesn’t even manage to sell public relations. The commoditization of the industry certainly makes it easy to think agencies are alike. But commoditization does not translate to capabilities. And there are plenty of examples to prove PR firms have no business hyping services outside of public relations. However, McGuinness and his mates are identical to the typical advertising agency in at least one way: a thorough lack of diversity, as evidenced by the Freuds directors profiles.

Advertising, PR and our obsession with definitions

Andrew McGuinness has quit advertising and is now running a public relations agency. But, he insists, today’s category-defying creative work is beginning to make such labels redundant.

By Andrew McGuinness

For at least a decade, advertising has been trying to escape its own legacy. From the latest big TV commercial and the “agency reel” being a point of pride, agencies have fallen over themselves to say (and, in many cases, prove) they are about more than the 30-second TV ad. Indeed, the ability to execute brilliant TV ads — which, for almost 50 years, was at the heart of an ad agency offering — has become less a reason for pride and more a perceived weakness. The industry will sneer at other, highly successful businesses, saying “they’re still just a TV agency”, while clients frequently cite the disproportionate emphasis placed on TV within agencies as a matter of frustration.

And they’re right. Many ad agencies (and all the very best ones) have adapted to create broader ideas, which can be executed across a variety of platforms. This is reflected in the ideas we celebrate as an industry: in 1999, Guinness “surfer” was universally applauded, but now winning ideas tend to be broader. Dove’s “real beauty” work and “dumb ways to die” for Metro trains are examples of this.

This change is long overdue. Going back to the 60s, Fairfax Cone said: “Advertising’s what you do when you can’t go see somebody. That’s all it is.” This is a definition I’ve always found reassuringly simple and directional. We love to make things complex for ourselves, but the truth is that the majority of the time we have an issue or message we want people to engage with and, at its simplest, our task is to find the most effective means of achieving that goal.

Encouraged by the way clients budget, plus the demand to categorise ideas for awards and even the structure of our trade press, we love to put things into neat boxes: that’s an ad idea, that’s a sales promotion, that’s PR. However, the ideas that excite me most are increasingly those that evade definition. Was “the best job in the world” for Queensland Tourism an inspired advertising idea or a stunning piece of PR? Who cares? It’s a cracking idea of which I wish I’d been part.

It’s for this reason that I love the Cannes Titanium award, which celebrates ideas that defy channel- or discipline-based definitions. From the Nike+ FuelBand to the Barack Obama campaign, “real beauty sketches” to Microsoft Bing’s “decode”, these are ideas that have a fame that extends well beyond the boundaries of our industry.

The quest to become a broader-based communications agency isn’t something that is exclusive to the world of advertising. “Best job…” was produced by Nitro, an agency whose origin was digital; Creative Artists Agency, an agency that itself defies definition, created the stunning Chipotle work; and Red Bull continues to develop ideas that defy convention… and gravity. This new breed of idea can come from, and is coming from, organisations of all backgrounds.

Which brings me to why I was asked to write this article. “Why have you decided to leave advertising to join a PR agency?” The truth is I simply don’t see it like that. Yes, Freuds is a superb PR agency that, over the past 29 years, has built a phenomenal re­putation within the industry — something it will continue to protect and develop. But, alongside that work, it has also created many “Titanium” ideas: “do us a flavour”, created with Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO for Walkers; more than 20 years of collaborating with Richard Curtis on Red Nose Day (something next year we’re hoping to take to the US); and working with Bono on the development of the (Red) brand, a partnership he credited when awarded the LionHeart award in Cannes.

Like all the world’s very best agencies, Freuds combines expertise in a very specific, specialist area with the ability to create and execute ideas that defy categorisation. The chance to work with an incredibly talented and dynamic group of people to help define its next decade, combined with the opportunity to continue the phenomenal growth of Seven Dials, is a rare one indeed. So I don’t mind whether I’m called a PR man or an adman. Ideas are ideas, however you categorise them. 



Andrew McGuinness is the chief executive of Freuds, founder of BMB and chairman of Seven Dials

12006: U.K. Shops Whine Over Pay.

Campaign reported U.K. advertising agencies are whining about clients instituting extended payment terms—yet a measly 5 percent have refused to accept the new deals. It’s a safe bet the rejecters were not AORs for major clients such as Glaxo¬SmithKline and Mondelez International. Similar to their U.S. peers, U.K. ad shops don’t have the guts to earnestly protest pay arrangements. Plus, the advertising Brits are probably just as guilty as the advertising Yanks of already extending payments to vendors and freelancers—as well as dragging their feet on issues like diversity. Imagine if clients were to send payments based on the agency’s diversity record. For example, agencies (not even confident the plural form of the word is appropriate here) displaying deliberate and proactive inclusivity would receive restitution for services within two weeks, while the shops showing systematic exclusivity would have to wait much longer to collect on invoices. Would that type of arrangement lead to change?

Agency unrest at payment terms

By Maisie McCabe

Almost two-thirds of agency executives say they are unhappy with clients’ requests for extended payment terms — but only 5 per cent have refused to accept them, according to a new study.

Kingston Smith W1, the marketing services and media accountants, asked more than 100 managing directors and financial directors about their experience of advertisers wanting to extend the length of time they take to pay their agencies. Of the agency executives surveyed, 91 per cent said they had been asked by a client to extend their payment terms and 65 per cent said they were unhappy with payment-term extensions and associated supplier finance schemes.

Although the majority (64 per cent) had tried to negotiate with clients who had asked them to extend their payment terms, just over a fifth (22 per cent) accepted the new terms.

Over the past two years, conglomerates such as Glaxo¬SmithKline and Mondelez International have extended the length of time they take to pay suppliers. GSK increased its payment terms to 90 days, while Mondelez moved to 120 days.

Paul Bainsfair, the director-general of the IPA, said: “In all agencies, cash flow is critical. If their clients don’t pay on time, then the agencies often have no alternative but to hold off paying their suppliers. These are often the highly talented people who, in our case, help make UK advertising among the best in the world.

“These small suppliers need their money like most people need their monthly salary. When they don’t get paid, the human cost can be devastating.”

The UK government is planning to consult on the issue of payment terms later this year.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

12005: Sexist Spider-Woman…?

From The New York Daily News…

Illustrator’s ‘Spider-Woman #1’ cover features heroine in overtly sexual pose, critics say

The alternate cover by Italian erotica artist Milo Manara will be an option for customers beginning Nov. 19. Some have blasted it as sexist and in poor taste, while other comic fans aren’t offended.

By Ethan Sacks

The curves on this Marvel character make no spidey sense.

An Italian erotica illustrator has spun a tangled web of controversy after drawing an alternative cover for an upcoming Spider-Woman comic that shows the character in a pose that would make Miley Cyrus blush.

Critics have blasted the cover of “Spider-Woman #1” as overly sexual, sexist and in poor taste. But some fans aren’t offended by the image, showing the heroine with her derriere in the air.

It looks more like a Nicki Minaj album cover than the front of a comic.

“I was surprised to see it because of how well Marvel had been doing recently,” says Jill Pantozzi, managing editor of TheMarySue.com, a pop culture news site. “For a variant cover to pop up which is very offensive to many women and men, there seems to be a disconnect there.”

The variant cover, drawn by Milo Manara, will be an option for customers beginning Nov. 19.

Dani Ward, manager of Staten Island’s JHU Comic Books, finds the cover unsurprising in an industry that has catered mainly to adolescent males since long before the character was first created in 1977.

“Not many regular comic readers are offended by this,” she says. “They get more offended if someone draws lips on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”

Still, it’s a particularly surprising KAPOW! for female readers given Marvel’s recent track record. The publisher has been praised for adding a number of new titles centered around female characters for a growing segment of its readership.

The company announced a woman would be taking over the hammer as the new Thor, the character played by Chris Hemsworth in the Marvel movies. Other new Marvel titles have focused on veteran heroines Black Widow, She-Hulk, Captain Marvel and Elektra.

Marvel has also introduced a series around a new Ms. Marvel character, whose alter ego is a Muslim-American teenage girl from Jersey City.

Marvel executive editor Tom Brevoort answered a fan’s question on the sexy spider via his blog.

“I think that the people who are upset about that cover have a point, at least in how the image relates to them,” Brevoort wrote.

He added that Manara’s Spider-Woman art seems “far less exploitative to me than other Manara pieces we’ve run in previous months and years.”

Breevort said “the character is covered head-to-toe, and is crouched in a spider-like pose.”

“But all that said, it’s the right of every reader not to like something,” he added.

12004: Afropunks Assemble!

The New York Times published Afropunks, Come as You Are by Whitney Richardson, featuring portrait photography by Phil Knott.

The Afropunk Festival will be held this weekend at Commodore Barry Park in Brooklyn. Ms. Richardson will be taking portraits of people wearing Afro hairstyles while attending the event.

Friday, August 22, 2014

12003: Kmart’s Gangsta Granny.

Here we go again. Shop Like A Boss from Kmart continues the contrived, culturally clueless clichés while seemingly striving to establish the retailer as the urban and hip hop brand—via the efforts of a White advertising agency, of course.