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.