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Eric: On the other hand, Black Scorpion did get made into a television show briefly... maybe that's where they're taking this brand!

The Statue of Doom!

(Image number one of this article originated -- for some value of Originated -- over at the Newsarama article where Adam Hughes discusses all this. Which isn't really what I'm talking about here, but you should know where it came frome. Credit. It's what's for dinner. So, you know, have a big lunch.)

So let's have a conversation about brand management, shall we?

I know there's been a lot -- I mean a lot -- of discussion on a recent Sideshow Collectibles Mary Jane Watson Comiquette statue designed by Adam Hughes. A statue where Mary Jane is wearing a stripper thong, is in the full on "presenting" bent-over pose, and who seems sexily servile. There's been significant 'discussion' on the intent of the statue, on the apparent sexism and/or misogyny of the statue, of the almost absurdly 'skanky' dimension of the statue. About the anatomy of the statue -- hell, lots of discussion. Pretty much all of it deserved. I was stunned at the sheer blatentness of the statue.

But I wasn't surprised by all of it, mind. I mean, the collectibles market is laden down with sexualized depictions of comics characters. This was a particularly egregious example of the form, but it's hardly unique. I mean, this market's what made Todd McFarlane a millionaire -- toys of grotesques and of hot chicks (and of hot chick-grotesque hybrids) are big business, and plenty of comic book stores are laden down with them. This was just one more on the pile, as sad as that pile was. The outrage was heartening, as it's outrage that leads inexorably to change, but that's still not what I'm here to talk about today.

No, today I'm here to talk, as I said at the top, about brand management.

Brand management is a key component to success in the comics industry today -- particularly at the big two publishers. At DC and Marvel, comic books don't really pay the bills. They don't sell nearly enough comics to do that, these days. This ain't the eighties any more. Instead, brand exploitation pays the bills. Options by studios to produce properties based on your intellectual property. The actual licensing fees paid as part of those produced television, theatrical or other adaptations. Licensed merchandise -- from the statue we see at the top of the page to the girls' backpacks with the hot pink and sparkly Superman/girl symbol on the back. Tee shirts. Action figures. DVD sales. The characters at DC and Marvel bring in the long green, and more often than not they're not bringing it in sequential art form.

So, when one's brand makes the money, one needs that brand to be out in the public eye. They need it to appeal broadly. And they need to manage that brand. They need to carefully ensure that the brand isn't damaged, that it's not inappropriately applied. They want it to continue to make money for decades to come.

That's brand management. It's not just ensuring the brands are known and available for sale in many forms, bringing in cash. It's ensuring that the brands aren't significantly damaged by those sales and licensing, thus killing the goose that laid the golden eggs. And part of brand management is timing.

Let's be blunt -- overly sexualized and even misogynistic depictions of Mary Jane Watson Parker are themselves a brand, and they have been for a long time. Mary Jane originated as Peter's new supermodel hot girlfriend. She was a media figure. Hell, she first appeared in the comics with the phrase "face it tiger, you just hit the jackpot!" In fact, the original dichotomy Mary Jane's presence set up was between herself -- aggressive, sexual, superhot -- and Gwen Stacy, who was more passive, more virginal, more 'girl next door' (despite the fact that Mary Jane actually lived next door to Peter). It was Betty and Veronica, with our man Pete as Archie. And, you know, a complete absence of the Lodge millions. So it was almost certain, when Marvel began licensing Series eight hundred and sixty four thousand of "our hot comics characters done in pressure treated plastic," that one of them would be of Mary Jane and would pay particular attention to the fact that her breasts are made out of solidified helium. We might not like that fact, but it was still true, and from a purely cynical capitalistic standpoint, it makes economic sense. Mary Jane is a brand, her sexuality is part of that brand, and people will buy it. Ergo -- it will be made available for them to buy at a hundred twenty-five bucks a pop. Face it Tiger, the brand management team just hit the jackpot.

But the timing of the announcement... was horrible brand management. I mean it couldn't have been worse. Because all of this hit right as Spider-Man 3 hit the theaters.

Spider-Man 3 is also the leveraging of a brand for money, pure and simple. The intellectual property has been adapted and packaged so that millions of people can shell out hundreds of millions of dollars to watch Tobey Maguire beat the living Hell out of Topher Grace. And it worked. As of today, according to our friends at Box Office Mojo, Spider-Man 3 has taken in $286,385,002 domestically and $466,984,781 in non-American markets. That's over three quarters of a billion dollars, or almost half a billion dollars more than the reported production costs of the movie.

Stop and consider this for a moment. After paying for the movie's production costs, Spider-Man 3 has taken in half a billion dollars of profit.

At the moment, Spider-Man 3 -- and the other movies in the series -- are by far the most important expressions of the brand on the market. Vastly more important, in brand management terms, than the comics. And the people going in and shelling out three quarters of a billion dollars to see the movie are vastly, vastly, vastly more important to the brand right now than the few hundred or thousand who might buy the statue we're talking about. To the overall health of the brand, the Kirsten Dunst depiction of Mary Jane Watson is vastly more important and more strongly perceived than any of the Supermodel versions of the character.

I saw Spider-Man 3. Unlike a lot of my peers, I actually enjoyed it a lot. And I was surprised at how much I liked Kirsten Dunst and the evolution of Mary Jane in it. She was very real, very human in a superhuman world. I found her story compelling.

And she mostly wore stylish clothing. I can't remember any examples of her wearing clothes that didn't involve a full dress. (EDIT: I've been reminded that for a while, she also wears a white blouse buttoned up to the neck, plus a short black skirt and very conservative black hose, a la an upscale waitstaff uniform. Oh baby. Oh baby. Oh.) I know she didn't wear any brown midriff baring scoop neck babydoll tee, jeans with strategic tears in them, and the kind of thong that only strippers wear (for the record? "Sexy" thongs in today's fashion market at most barely peek over the edge of the jeans. They don't wrap above the hips like some kind of harness for parachutes that anchor on the crotch.) And she sure as Hell doesn't have 44FF breasts displayed like cantaloupe.

Whether or not this kind of sexist depiction is ever appropriate, it's certainly lucrative and therefore Marvel is going to license it. However, in an era where Mary Jane Watson's brand is vastly more lucrative when it ties back to what the people who shelled out three quarters of a billion dollars in the last twenty days have seen, this aggressively sexist depiction isn't cute and it isn't pin-up art -- it's confusion in the marketplace. People who seek out examples of Mary Jane based on the movie will run into it and be turned off. It hurts the overall brand of Mary Jane Watson. And it damages the potential profit that brand can make.

That is a catastrophic failure of brand management. In the wake of these millions of movie dollars being spent, the absolute last thing you want on the mainstream media is a debate about the inappropriateness of your pissant limited edition sex statue. Sure, it's good advertising for the sex statue. And indeed, the statue has sold out in preorder. But the damage isn't to the statue or its sales, it is to the brand, and is of the variety that causes highly paid brand managers to lose their jobs. Saucy Mary Janes would be fine in this climate. Naughty, coy Mary Janes wouldn't hurt the brand even if they annoyed some of the fans. This thing? Hurts the brand.

And it underscores the thing Marvel is worst at right now. Stop and consider. On June 17 of this year, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer will be released. And yet, the past year's comics have depicted Reed as a particularly weak supervillain whose actions, directly or indirectly, led to Captain America getting shot. We can debate the quality of the comics (and we have), but from a brand management standpoint they're horrible. You don't poison core fanbases of your franchise just before releasing a movie that cost a hundred and thirty million dollars to make. That's just stupid. Next year, they're going to try to launch a new Iron Man movie and franchise, and that same year of comic books put Tony Stark not only into a supervillain's position, but conflated him with the Bush administration and Halliburton.

See also: a future Spider-Man killing Mary-Jane with horrific cancer caused by his radioactive sperm two months before his movie comes out.

Now, as a writer and a fan of superheroes (though admittedly not a fan of what Marvel's done to superheroes in the last few years), I wouldn't want to have storylines dictated by the brand management team either. But this is the business that Marvel is in now. This is the business they've been in for years, and it's vastly better business than the comics side stuff. And in corporate America, you follow where the money's flowing. And right now Marvel's doing a terrible job at that.

Heroes for Hire... if you know what I mean, wink wink

As one last example, I give you the cover to Heroes for Hire #13, a comic rated by Marvel for teenagers. This would seem to be something entirely different than what I was talking about -- there are no burgeoning merchandise deals for this new version of the Heroes for Hire. There are no movie deals in the offing. One could debate whether or not they really want teenagers to pick up comics featuring highly sexualized victimized women on the cover (including one who apparently had her costume unzipped nearly to her bellybutton by a tentacle creature), but does it really belong here in my nice cynical essay about brand management?

In short? You bet it does. Heroes for Hire is clearly designed to go after a specific market segment. From the promotion it's received and most of the cover art to date, that market segment is clear: Birds of Prey fans. Over at DC, there's a highly acclaimed and clearly successful comic book series starring several strong women who do the superhero thing. It's smart, fun writing in an excellent comic book that manages to prove that you can have (mostly) equal -- even feminist -- takes on superheroes and make them really good superhero stories.

The comics were successful enough, in fact, that they got their own WB series. Now, the television show failed, but that doesn't change the fact that Birds of Prey is a successful comic with enough penetration in culture that they successfully optioned it. Brand Management 101 says there's money to be made off of Oracle, Huntress, Power Girl, Black Canary and Other.

Marvel, of course, can't make money off those characters. They don't own them. But they can assemble their own thematic versions and build a brand based on them. Comics 101 -- if Superman is successful, here's twelve guys just like him at other companies!

So. They're after the Birds of Prey audience, both for short term comics sales and for longer term critical acclaim and brand building.

The Birds of Prey audience is, to be blunt, feminist. At the very least, they're comfortable with superheroines being depicted in a strong, well defined character way. At most, they're solidly feminist, believing in all that "superheroines should be strong figures who aren't needlessly sexualized for male readers." A significant portion of the Birds' audience is female, at least judging by the commentary around it.

So. Brand Management is simple in this case: strong women. They can be attractive and even sexual, but they have to be strong and capable.

Here, we have a cover with five people bound, about to be... er... attacked by tentacles. One of them is male. That's Shang Chi, and he's aggressive, fighting the horror, not giving in.

The rest are female, and they're docile, almost drugged, not resisting at all. With... er... evidence of arousal. And Colleen's being apparently partially stripped by an octopus.

If your brand management plan was to go after Femforce's demographic, you're well on your way. But if you're going after the Birds of Prey audience you just failed your brand management skill roll critically. It will be many, many issues before a lot of Birds of Prey fans will even consider picking up your comic. They sure as Hell won't be blogging about it in a positive way. They sure as Hell won't be extolling it or pushing it to their friends.

In other words, it won't be penetrating the culture as anything more than another example of comics-for-35-year-old-guys-check-out-Misty-Knight's-Rack.

That's a failure of brand management. Oh, and for those who have pointed out that a woman was the cover artist who depicted it? Sorry, the point remains -- this cover will alienate the market segment the comic was designed to appeal to.

Bad brand manager. No paycheck.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at May 24, 2007 11:32 AM

Comments

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 24, 2007 12:12 PM

Oh, and for those who have pointed out that a woman was the cover artist who depicted it? Sorry, the point remains -- this cover will alienate the market segment the comic was designed to appeal to.

I'm but an egg myself in the feminism department, yet I know But women do it too is one of the stock responses by the not-necessarily-malicious clueless that genuine feminists quickly tire of debunking. Others include Aren't there more important problems you could be putting that energy to?, But we all know comics are for men, and You must be fat and ugly (okay, that one only comes from the malicious). Karen Healey provides debunking for these and others here.

Comment from: Benor [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 24, 2007 12:49 PM

Yeesh. That cover is just disturbing. Then again, I've never had a thing for tentacles.

Anyway, back to the main point of this essay, the statue-to be honest, I've never had an interest in them. Whether it was for an American comic or a Japanese one, they all just seem too...aggressive. As though they were designed to confirm a dysfunctional obsession with a particular character.

But I'm not sure that this statue will hurt the Spiderman Movie brand that much, and I think part of it is the timing. It might have gotten more attention if it had been released leading up to the Spiderman movie, as part of the Spiderman 3 merchandise...but it seems (and perhaps I'm not as solid on the facts here as I think I am) to be unrelated, hoping to draw in people after they've seen the movie.

But while I understand brand management, I'm not experienced with it. Maybe I'm not looking forward enough to see the negative consequences-or I might be subconsciously undervaluing the number of female comic readers who might be turned off by merchandise like this, even if I don't consciously think about how many female comic readers there are.

I don't know. Glad to see you're posting a little more, though.

Comment from: Montykins [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 24, 2007 12:52 PM

I think the movie versions of Mary Jane and Gwen Stacy have been flipped. Mary Jane is now the girl next door (especially since they changed their minds about her starring on Broadway) and Gwen appears to be a supermodel. This makes the statue even more off-brand from a movie point of view.

Comment from: aaronbourque [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 24, 2007 1:04 PM

I, too, enjoyed Spider-man 3.

Although not as much as 2. 2 was epic in its scope and presentation. 3 was teasing in its scope and presentation.

Comment from: Inverarity [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 24, 2007 1:09 PM

Oh boy, I suspect you've stepping in it here.

Countdown 'til the arrival of squealing fanbois defending their right to be provided comic-nerd stroke material: 10...9...8...

(Btw, your comments are spot on, except I doubt the MJ statuette will significantly affect Marvel's overall sales or the "brand." Even with the blog furor having made enough of a ripple to get the story on TV, most people just won't notice or care about a pricey comic-nerd collector's item.)

Comment from: Ununnilium [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 24, 2007 1:22 PM

I agree with all your points, but more importantly, when you mentioned "Oracle, Huntress, Power Girl, Black Canary and Other", I imagined a Gilligan's Island-style Birds of Prey theme song, with Big Barda, Manhunter, and Judomaster as "And The Rest".

Comment from: rikchik [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 24, 2007 1:23 PM

Well, I'm considering dropping my Powers subscription at my local comic store because of this stuff. I'm not happy with my money going to these people.

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 24, 2007 1:32 PM

Countdown 'til the arrival of squealing fanbois defending their right to be provided comic-nerd stroke material: 10...9...8...

*shrug* They're going to be provided it, one way or another. And when they're the significant market for brand exploitation, they're the ones who're going to drive it. Vampirella merchandise is going to be marketed to people who like mostly naked sexy vampires, period. That's the brand.

The problem is, that's not the most important current Mary Jane Watson interpretation. While this won't hurt the movie, it will cause people who venture into the comics store or merchandise outlet looking consciously or not for 'stuff' to turn right around and go elsewhere. And that's bad for long term monetary policy.

And brand management is all about making money in the long haul.

Comment from: Ford Dent [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 24, 2007 2:04 PM

You know, I was just sort of disgusted by the sheer stupidity of Marvel in the past few years.

Now I can see that they aren't just crapping all over the fans (I despise the whole Civil War arc, because it had the chance to do something cool and they pansied out), but they are very literally shooting themselves in their feet.

Not just with shotguns, either. We're talking guns that are made to take down charging elephants. Or rockets.

Apropos of nothing, I really kind of enjoy Birds of Prey, and would totally check out Heroes for Hire, if not for the fact that there is tentacle rape on the cover.

"No tentacle rape" is one of my cardinal rules for comics that I read, so I suppose I'll keep reading Runaways and nothing else.

Friggin' Marvel.

Comment from: wedge [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 24, 2007 2:10 PM

While this won't hurt the movie, it will cause people who venture into the comics store or merchandise outlet looking consciously or not for 'stuff' to turn right around and go elsewhere. And that's bad for long term monetary policy.

That statue isn't going to be anywhere other than the web and comic shops, is the thing. It's cheesecake, a grand comics tradition, and anywhere it's going to be displayed it's going to be lost in the pile of similarly themed merchandise. It's not even on the radar for 90% of the people who put cash down to see SM3. Totally different market. They don't care about that stuff.

They care about Kirsten Dunst in a wet blouse. And, really, this isn't any better or worse than that.

Comment from: SeanH [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 24, 2007 2:16 PM

And let's not forget the viscous white slime dripping onto Felicia Hardy's bust. Thanks, Marvel. Strongly considering a complete boycott now.

Comment from: LurkerWithout [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 24, 2007 2:25 PM

Another point on the H4H cover. Thanks to Kevin Smith, Black Cat had being a rape survivor retconned into her backstory. Which her depiction in that cover all the more fucking icky. That there are actual comics fans who DEFEND this comic disgusts me. It makes me ashamed to be part of comics fandom. Porn has its place, and the cover of a book meant for 9+/13+ (Marvel's stated rating system is inconsistant on ages) IS NOT THE FUCKING PLACE FOR IT...

And this is from the guy who actually *squeed* to learn that Coleen Coover was working on another issue of Small Favors or that the Foglio's were hoping to rerelease the Xxxenophile ccg...

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 24, 2007 2:32 PM

That statue isn't going to be anywhere other than the web and comic shops, is the thing. It's cheesecake, a grand comics tradition, and anywhere it's going to be displayed it's going to be lost in the pile of similarly themed merchandise.

Dude, it made CNN.

And MSNBC.

I'm afraid it's already leapt boldly outside the pile of similarly themed merchandise to take its place as the Queen and Poster Child of similarly themed merchandise.

And honestly, the argument that it's going to just fade into the background of similar stuff doesn't discount my point. See above "three quarters of a billion dollars." Brand Management 514 says "these people spent a lot of money on this movie. They're willing to spend more." Anything that makes them snort in disgust when they see a thing on the TV about the cheesecake statue keeps their money in their wallets at the same time.

The pile of cheesecake in said comic book store keeps a segment of money paying Spider-Man 3 ticket holders out of said comic book store. In the leagues they're playing, that's just stupid.

Comment from: Denyer [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 24, 2007 2:40 PM

"The Birds of Prey audience is, to be blunt, feminist."

It is? By this point I'm struggling to even remember the names of many feminist lit critics. But I suppose everyone has their own definitions of 'feminist', which is why so few people actively embrace the term.

Comment from: Denyer [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 24, 2007 2:43 PM

Great essay, BTW. But you knew that. =)

Fingers crossed Ghastly's comic will start back up again this year or next... that's as much tentacoo wape as I'm looking for...

Comment from: Bo Lindbergh [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 24, 2007 2:47 PM

s/blatent/blatant/

Comment from: Nentuaby [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 24, 2007 3:51 PM

My first comics were an enormous stack of New Mutants, the '80s run, that a High School friend of mine had. So I grew up on the Marvel style of storytelling. I loved Marvel, I ate it up. I wouldn't read DC, because I just don't like their storytelling style half as much.

Then came House of M. Then Civil War... Ugh. Everything about Marvel suddenly went sour, and with 52 running DC-side, I jumped ship. But I still read a couple Marvel titles, Runaways and some of the Ultimates, the stuff that's good still and not too strongly (if at all) in the broken 616 continuity.

... but then this came along, and I was introduced to Greg Land and his pornface style of tracing. Now? No more Marvel. At ALL.

Ugh.

Comment from: djcoffman [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 24, 2007 6:08 PM

There's no doubt that THIS is one of the big problems in comics right now. Not one that anyone making zillions wants to address.

Also, the people who actually bought this thing, you'll never hear them defend it, because deep down they're a little ashamed that it's like 3d porn or whack off material to them.

God that is sad.

We need another Jack Kirby to come along and set comics right again. Boy do I long for the day.

Comment from: alschroeder [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 24, 2007 6:17 PM

*Sigh* I could probably get a lot more readers, etc., if I sexualized MINMIDSTRESS, but I can't bring myself to do so. It'd be like giving Sherlock Holmes the sexual ethics of James Bond. It just wouldn't...fit.

The mentally handicapped alter ego would make it doubly distasteful.

Besides, she'd KILL me. (How many other authors are henpecked by their fictional creations. I suspect I'm not alone...)

Maybe I should do a MOODSWING strip. She would have NO problem with sexualizing things to the hilt, as it were.

By the bye, Eric---I know you were also a fan of KILLROY AND TINA...did you catch Killroy's appearance in my comic at here and ending here, along with Jackie of FAANS and the Ram?

Comment from: Usagi Keiichi [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 24, 2007 7:52 PM

At this point, I've prescribed to The Producers Theory of Marvel Management. Someone has the investor's money, and they're trying to tank the business before anyone notices they have a couple billion set aside for themselves in the Cayman Islands. Garden variety incompetence can't explain away this many fuck ups.

Comment from: david_wisdom [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 25, 2007 1:17 AM

I'm going to have to disagree with you on one key point - chasing the market for this thing doesn't qualify as lucrative business.

Stephen Dann of Designated Sidekick has a more in-depth explanation, but in basic numbers this MJ statue brought in (900 sales at $125 a pop) $112,500 of revenue. That's before production costs, before licensing fees, before figuring out Marvel and Sideshow's cut of whatever's left over.

Compare that to half a damn billion from Spider-Man 3 alone, that's chicken feed. I expect Marvel's total profit from the movie alone will be in the tens of millions, and that's low-balling to cover myself. Marvel's profit off this will be what, mid-to-low tens of thousands?

Factor in the damage done to the brand and the loss in potential sales, what you have is bad business, and for what? To quote Death to Smoochy, for ass-wipe money.

Marvel's showing the same kind of business sense that drove the company into bankruptcy ten years ago. If the superhero movies ever dry up, they're going to go straight back in.

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 25, 2007 2:37 AM

I'm going to have to disagree with you on one key point - chasing the market for this thing doesn't qualify as lucrative business.

$112,500 in revenue for what will certainly come down to a couple hundred bucks of resin plus operating costs is, and this is a technical term, a shitload of money. Most businesses don't gross a hundred and ten grand for nine hundred units unless those units include electronics or other significant production cost. If there weren't a movie involved, this would be significant coin for what was essentially a no cost operation. Twenty of these lines at only half the gross of this statue is still a million dollar business, and that's a serious licensing revenue.

The thing is, as both you and I said, we're comparing this to half a billion dollars after production costs in a movie. And a huge audience you want to sell merchandise to hand in hand. Hasbro's making a mint off of Spidey right now, for example.

So I stand by my point that there's money in cheesecake. I also stand by our joint point that the money doesn't compare to the overall brand.

Comment from: Tom Lynch [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 25, 2007 3:33 AM

I loves me my Birds of Prey. I fondly remember the old Luke/Danny/Colleen/Misty dynamic from the old HfH series.

Damn covers.

See, I buy Birds of Prey because it's well-written and fun. I feel a prat buying it because them covers, they be cheesecake.

Not Greg Land-level cheesecake, which gets to annoy me as a She-Hulk fan, but cheesecake.

This, OTOH, gets worse the more of it I look at.

And yet... the cheesecake covers (sans, y'know, tentacle rape) appear to be consistent with the Standard Marketing Plan for magazines; men are more likely to buy with hot women not wearing much on the cover. Women are more likely to buy for contents. Or so the theory goes.

I'm with the women on the logic.

Even if it led to a very, very irritated moment picking up a copy of Exalted: Savant & Sorceror, the cover to which is legendarily bad in the RPG industry

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 25, 2007 9:07 AM

We need another Jack Kirby to come along and set comics right again. Boy do I long for the day.

I nominate you. Seriously, D.J., you're in the best position for it of anyone here.

Comment from: alienpriest [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 25, 2007 10:22 AM

Okay, I've seen the same complaints about Marry J and this comic cover popping up all over the place, and I just have to ask:

Has everyone been reading the same comics as me for the past thirty years??

I mean, this isn't new, in fact, it's the status quoe. Heck, I even got old Conan rags that were collected by my grandfather, and even back in the good old days fantacized about by the wholesome GOP, comics have been all about boobs and helpless sexploited girls in almost porn-like situations.

What's up with the sudden outrage and negativeity around this? I honestly don't care who your target market is-- Boobs will never hurt your brand. Put a pair on the cover of an Algebra textboox, and watch as those books fly off the shelves faster than the Flash can finish a breast cancer marathon.

Seriously, where's all the shock comming from?

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 25, 2007 11:49 AM

What's up with the sudden outrage and negativeity around this?

"Sudden?"

Man, you need to get out on the internet more often.

Comment from: Mazlynn [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 25, 2007 12:47 PM

"I mean, this isn't new, in fact, it's the status quoe."

Just because it's always been that way doesn't mean it's right, or should continue that way. If that were the case, we'd still have legal slavery and women wouldn't have the right to vote.

"Seriously, where's all the shock comming from?"

I wouldn't say it's so much shock as on-going slow burning rage that flares up when another log is tossed on the fire. It's always there, but certain incidents bring it out more.

Comment from: Mazlynn [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 25, 2007 12:52 PM

http://www.girl-wonder.org/girlsreadcomics/ is an interesting blog on the subject of comic portrayal of women. Lots of rage, but lots of interesting points as well.

Comment from: Archon Divinus [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 26, 2007 2:46 AM

Honestly, I think people are mostly able to keep comic continuity seperate from movie continuity. People aren't going to look at Iron Man and say "Iron man is a villian now, and it's really all his fault that Captain America is dead (and that the Runaways had to have a crossover with the Young Avengers. That thing read like a bad fanfic and actually managed to make the Runaways as lame as the Young Avengers, and nothing is as lame as the Young Avengers), I'm not going to watch the Iron Man movie." No, most people are going to say, "Iron Man has pretty cool armor. I'm going to see that movie." Hell, I'm going to see Iron Man next year, and I didn't like him even when he was a hero.

Comment from: Alexandra Erin [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 26, 2007 7:38 AM

The seemingly "sudden" outrage in response to what's been business as usual for the past several decades is mostly a function of it no longer being the past several decades.

A comic book movie just made half a billion dollars with its depiction of the sweet, vulnerable, but still strong/not-a-passive-accessory-for-the-hero's-arm love interest. It's not odd that people would feel miffed to see the character's visibility being capitalized with a depiction of her as the hero's porn star laundry service.

The new Heroes For Hire is, as Burns said, Marvel's attempt to bottle the magic that's made Birds of Prey so awesome... so their cover is not just offensive, it's stupid. It shows that they're missing the point, and are simply pandering to their established base instead of doing something to reach out to a loyal but underrepresented market niche.

As for the general state of mainstream superhero comics... I'm as turned off by everybody else by all the big massive mash up criss-cross crises done to death by the big two, but I'm finding that DC's stuff following the "one year later" jump are surprisingly fun and readable.

Comment from: Tom Lynch [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 26, 2007 8:44 AM

Archon: I think the issue is that, while very few folks hop from movie to comic anyway, this makes it that much less appetising.

Comment from: 32_footsteps [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 26, 2007 9:23 AM

I'll approach this one from a slightly different direction.

When I went to see Spider-Man 3 (if it makes you feel any better, Eric, I thought much the same thing about it), I went with my wife and two other friends, both female. There were actually two other women who wanted to see it, but they had to cancel. I nearly went to a movie about a comic book in a group of *five women*. Such is the power of Tobey, sure, but that doesn't change the fact that based on gender alone this movie is reaching well beyond the comics niche.

Now on the way back from the movie, I was immediately tapped to answer questions about the movie, as well as for the upcoming Fantastic Four movie that was advertised. These were people who said up front that they aren't comics fans at all - and they were suddenly interested in comics because of this movie. Not a ton, but certainly enough that they were interested in a few stories.

Now, as we all know, interest in one story can lead to interest in more along the same lines. In other words, the movies do work as advertisements for the comics. But the thing is, the hold is still tenuous. If they walk into a comic store to think about getting a Spider-Man trade and see MJ's Stripperific Laundry Service (man, that brings back memories from college), they're probably going to get a bit creeped out and leave.

In other words, Eric's completely right - because I've seen the people about whom he talks about, the ones that like the movie and would be all about getting into other things with the character because of it (I mean, my wife went out and bought a Spider-Man Lego set because she liked the first two so much). I get the sense that Marvel's people are just babes in the woods on this one - because anyone with some marketing experience should have been able to see this forest for the trees.

Comment from: Tom Lynch [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 26, 2007 7:14 PM

Just want to link to this - Lea Thompson's reworking of the HfH cover, with notes:

http://divalea.livejournal.com/456637.html

Comment from: Tom Lynch [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 26, 2007 7:19 PM

HERNANDEZ. Lea HERNANDEZ.

I'm an eedjit.

Comment from: miyaa [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 26, 2007 10:19 PM

I'm sure you've touched on this, Eric, but Starfire Hodge of Candi fame hit it home when she basically asked, "Why are you having this (the chained girls awaiting the tentacles cover) on the cover theoretically suited for nine to thirteen-year old boys?" Obviously, the answer is, they've abandoned the teen-age market. And really so has D.C. and most print comic media. They're only saving hope is now the movies and video game tie-ins. In a world where darn near every corporation known to man wants to tie in to the children, teen-ager and 18-34 male categories more than anything else in the world (only could explain the baby driving sketch commercials that British Petroleum is running, eh?), the comic book industry seems to be going away from them, and I'm not even sure if they know why.

What I think is also interesting is how newer comic book companies such as Top Cow and Image, because we now assume that comics are geared for a more mature (or at the very least an adult immature) audience, we aren't gawking or gaping over similar cheese-cake art we find in such comics as Witchblade and Lara Croft (which granted, was first a cheese-cake video game, but I digress). How many Liberty Meadow covers involved bikini-dressed women?

Also interesting: very, very, very rarely does the cover pin-up match to whatever actually happens in the comic book. So it seems to me to be a tiff over nothing, and yet has a very important impact in terms of sales and stuff, since no one reads magazines anymore to figure out if they're any good. Just front cover, back, index, and la-de-da.

At least that's what I think Wizards of the Coast is doing by possibly turning Dungeons and Dragon magazines into pdfs. But that's another post for a whole other time.

Comment from: alienpriest [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 27, 2007 2:34 AM

Alright, I get where you all are coming from here, but let me play devils’ advocate a little while longer here.

From a marketing standpoint, I still don’t believe you can say they don’t know what their doing. If it’s society as a whole that decides what is acceptable, than society as a whole has spoken, time and again, and in all venues on the issue. We, as consumers have been the ones to speak with our money and say that peddling any product via a woman’s sexy is a-okay. The context doesn’t have to even make sense, and it usually doesn’t when it occurs. It’s worked for years and still does when it comes to bringing in cash, so why change a sure bet?

From the standpoints of our sensibilities, as they stand independently from our spending habits, the general attitude can make me a little nervous if I look at it with my libertarian spectacles. The common reaction seems too similar to other current events, such as the Don Imus fiasco—where the money did speak in favor of better taste, but only all of a sudden, out of the blue, and ignoring that it’s what he’s been paid to do for years. The way I see it, we can be a society that would prefer to limit someone (a speaker, or a sculptor, or a cartoonist) in the area of their chief form of expression. That attitude is only a slip-n-slide away from a society that would be willing to lock perceived criminals away on an island facility and then deny them such

Comment from: alienpriest [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 27, 2007 2:39 AM

.. er ..

.. such liberties as habeas corpus.

(sorry, don't understand why it cut off there, perhaps I have gotten too long winded. Totaly ruined my dramatic punchline ;)

Comment from: Merus [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 27, 2007 10:39 PM

I am amused by the similarities and differences between video games and comic books these days. For the video game industry, comic books seem like a 'there but for the grace of Doug Lowenstein go I' scenario.

Of course, video games have flirted with the mainstream for some time, while comics have further to go; in addition, it's a lot easier to change the direction of the market when there are the five or six major publishers and many independent creators of note in the game industry, as opposed to the comics industry where there's two major publishers, a couple of smaller ones and independent creators who for all their accolades can't turn them into sales. DC deciding it was going to start pushing the mainstream hard would pretty much concede the core market to Marvel, while when Nintendo does it there's still several other publishers to fill the void, none of which has a monopoly.

Comment from: Jetstream [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 27, 2007 11:28 PM

Hrm. While I don't disagree with your comments in general, there is one point I have to consider...

While the statuette doesn't much remind me of Mary Jane from the movie (I really don't like Kirsten Dunst... Personal preference, I guess), it DOES remind me of MJ from the comics.

I've lost touch with Spider-Man of late, of course, but I remember her portrayal from the late 80s and early 90s, and this is spot-on for that. There were many cheesecake shots of her back in that time period. Hell, I remember one time she posed for nude photographs, then burned them when Aunt May found them by accident...


Maybe the character has changed dramatically since then. I dunno. I stopped reading Marvel altogether for over a decade when it really started slipping downhill and I still havn't revived my love for the company. However, this statue doesn't seem incorrect to me... Just dated, perhaps.

Comment from: kellandros [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 28, 2007 2:09 AM

Wait. Someone claims there is a team even more pathetic than the Great Lakes (insert current group name here)?

And from one of the links, apparently there is quite a bit of design work, and back and forth with sculptors to get all the details together for those resin statues. And they are still less over-sexualized than things getting imported from Japan.

Oh, and I thought by this point it was taken for granted that Frank Miller was mostly crazy.

Comment from: Eric the .5b [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 28, 2007 3:57 AM

I completely agree with your remarks here, though I'll throw in one bone of contention on the issue. To wit, things like this statuette or cover are a lot more clearly sexist, and lot easier to argue against, than something like the issue of how Spider-Woman's skintight spandex outfit is somehow worse than Spider-Man's skintight spandex outfit.

Comment from: JNG [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 28, 2007 2:59 PM

"And the people going in and shelling out three quarters of a billion dollars to see the movie are vastly, vastly, vastly more important to the brand right now than the few hundred or thousand who might buy the statue we're talking about. "

Yes, they are. And that's why the statue doesn't matter at all.

The brand isn't the statue. It isn't even the comic book any more. The brand is a heady mix of nostalgia and the movies and that's it.

Amazing Spider-Man #539 sold 137,730 copies.
http://pwbeat.publishersweekly.com/blog/2007/04/24/marvel-month-to-month-sales-march-2007/

Spider-Man 3 has made $806,742,000 so far.
http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=spiderman3.htm

Even being generous and assuming $10 per ticket (which is more than I paid to see the film) that means that at least 80 MILLION seats were filled to see this movie so far. At least. In actuality, it was probably more than that, but we'll go with 80 mil for this example. Just remember that the 80 mil number is probably LOW.

Let's say by way of example that ASM #539 was the worst comic in the world and every single reader of the book refused to go see the movie out of protest.

137,000 / 80,000,000 = 0.0017125

The net effect of the ENTIRE AUDIENCE of Amazing Spider-Man refusing to watch Spider-Man 3 reduces butts in seats by 00.17%. That's right, a fraction of a percentage point. Weather conditions in major cities around the world have more impact on the box office than anything that happens in the comic book anymore.

For that matter, look again at the numbers for Spider-Man 3:
Domestic: $307,642,000 38.1%
Foreign: $499,100,000 61.9%

Three fifths of Spider-Man 3's business was done outside the USA. How many people in China read Civil War? How many movie watchers in Russia could even tell you who Iron Man is? Iron Man, for most of the rest of the world, will live or die with his movie. If the movie sucks, then he's dead. If the movie's a hit, he lives.

That's why it doesn't matter whether Reed Richards sucks in FF these days. And why it doesn't matter if they portray Tony Stark as a fascist in Iron Man. The damage done is insignificant. For that matter, any good that is done by a creative team is equally insignificant. The comic books themselves no longer matter for the brand.

And therefore, the statue means even less.

How many people are even aware of it? A few thousand at the most? Out of those, how many are legitimately offended enough to forswear the movie because of it? How many people are REALLY going to tell their friends "No way, they put a STRIPPER'S THONG on MJ's statue!! I can't see that movie!!" Not many. Certainly not even 137k, and we've already seen that even that number doesn't matter anymore.

Indeed, I'd say the net effect of protesting and commenting about the thing is LESS than zero. Because I'd be willing to bet that there are more people who stumbled upon this discussion who ended up going to the website and ordering that statue or one like it than decided to give up Spidey out of protest. There CERTAINLY weren't 12 people refusing to go see Spider-Man 3 (at $10 a pop) for each guy laying out $125 for a statue that he saw because of the picture and links above.

Internet buzz isn't a big deal for movies yet. "Get those motherfucking snakes off my motherfucking plane" was damn near everywhere online for a while and it didn't save Snakes on a Plane. The army of Browncoats online didn't save Serenity.

And a cheesecake statue, however badly misconceived, won't hurt Spider-Man.

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 28, 2007 9:50 PM

TNG -- it's neither the internet nor the comics audience that's the point here. In fact, that reinforces the point instead of diminishes it.

When Reed Richards and Iron Man did the Civil War thing, it was discussed, among other places, on The Colbert Report.

When this statue hit big, it hit big on mainstream television news outlets.

The comics audience is negligible compared to those millions of audience members. As is the Internet. But a Hell of a lot more people watch MSNBC and Colbert than read the comic -- and many orders of magnitude more watch those than would buy this cheesecake statue.

This is why this is a failure of brand management. When Spider-Man 3 is in the theaters, you don't want mainstream media covering your pissant cheesecake statue, because those are millions of people you do want buying Spider-Man merchandise. Confusion in the marketplace is a bad thing.

When you have a Fantastic Four and Iron Man movie coming out, you don't want the Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics on Colbert defending Iron Man and Mister Fantastic being on the side against Captain America -- especially when he then ends up dead. Like it or not, the characters have a job to do, just like the actors who make the rounds of the talk shows. They're pushing a movie, first and foremost.

This stuff ain't pushing the movie, and it's pissing people off. That's dumb brand management.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 29, 2007 9:51 AM

I completely agree with your remarks here, though I'll throw in one bone of contention on the issue. To wit, things like this statuette or cover are a lot more clearly sexist, and lot easier to argue against, than something like the issue of how Spider-Woman's skintight spandex outfit is somehow worse than Spider-Man's skintight spandex outfit.

Bingo!

The flaw in that argument is, I believe, twofold. First, that men are also transgressed against doesn't mean that women aren't transgressed against. Second, men in skintight suits are generally posed in action stances and women in skintight suits are generally posed in provocative or submissive stances.

Comment from: gwalla [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 29, 2007 2:59 PM

Also, Spider-Man's pants don't usually ride up the crack of his ass.

Comment from: Eric the .5b [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 29, 2007 6:41 PM

Bingo!
Bzzt. Not actually listed, there. Spider-Woman's costume isn't a skirt or revealing - it's a full-body covering. You might be able to make the case that because her hair's visible, it's sexist because Peter Parker's hair isn't visible...But then you're making the same mistake in arguing over things that will make well-meaning people think you're just a crusading zealot not worth listening to, instead of pointing at things that are genuinely offensive and demeaning.
First, that men are also transgressed against doesn't mean that women aren't transgressed against.
Well, for one, arguing the dominant tradition in male superhero costumes is "transgressing" against men is not going to get you taken seriously as anything but someone who hates superhero comics. For two, when you resort to that argument, you're effectively telling people, "No, I agree, it's not a question of sexism, no matter what I say after this point."

It's not simply bad tactics, its counter-productive.

Second, men in skintight suits are generally posed in action stances and women in skintight suits are generally posed in provocative or submissive stances.
That's actually something you can argue, but the problem is that the example that Eric was citing back then was a group shot with everyone in virtually the same pose. It was also a comic that had everyone in action poses, inside.

It was a bad choice of battles in a struggle that should be fought. If people want to change minds, they need to actually try to convince people in good faith instead of trying to score points on and dismiss the views of people who don't already agree with them.


Comment from: Merus [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 29, 2007 9:52 PM

Wait. This is all about some post Eric made way back when about superheroes being sexist?

And you're talking about how it's better to convince people in good faith rather than score points? Because it sure seems like you waited until 'sexism in comics' came up again so you could score points against the earlier post.

Also, I thought they called her Spider-Girl.

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 29, 2007 10:59 PM

Half-bee Eric wasn't directly refuting my old post, I don't think. Just proceeding from the conversation. (Though I disagree. The men in that comic were striding, Spider-Woman was sauntering, hip splayed. Power for men, sex for the (obvious) woman. But I digress.)

Spider-Girl is a different character entirely.

Comment from: Kaychsea [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 30, 2007 12:38 PM

I may be wrong, but isn't the MJ figurine leaning to the French sexy comic book figurine market. There is a similar Japanese figure market but they usually wear knickers.

Comment from: Eric the .5b [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 31, 2007 1:43 PM

No scoring involved, Merus. I agree with Eric on the issue - I just had (and have) serious misgivings with that particular example. To me, the supers comic scene is markedly sexist and pandering, so it makes much more sense to go after unambiguously, inarguably - and particularly - bad stuff. For example, issues like "Female superhero costumes tend to show more skin than males' costumes - what's up with that?" disappear into the larger issue of, "Womens' outfits tend to show more skin than mens' - what's up with that?" It's hard to get someone to think there might might be something there to be concerned about, and he probably will think you're just looking for something to take offense at. Bring up something more like "Why do female supers get their costumes torn up so much more often, and why are the tears always so strategic?", especially with some recent visual aids, and anyone but a complete idiot will acknowledge that you're describing something real.

Or to boil it down, the New Avenger's cover is really arguable to a lot of people, but I can't see any honest guy looking at the Brood Hentai cover and, even if somehow not knowing the hentai and broader porn tropes it's referencing, not recognizing that this is a Hell of a sexually pandering piece. Such a guy may disagree about the appropriateness of such pandering, but the pandering itself is out in the open. Starting from a point of agreement better helps to convince someone than starting from a point where the other person is already balking at your complaint.

Comment from: siwangmu [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 31, 2007 3:54 PM

Okay, Paul is my new best friend. That Bingo card and the accompanying explanation thing are beyond awesome. Although, I'm forced to admit, probably they're at their most useful for laughs and for people like me who already agree with it, as unless you click the more info links they're not the most comprehensive explanations. Though if you're dealing with a hopeless enough case to actually get Bingo, you tend to need a laugh pretty badly. And it reminded me that I get to mind sexism even in comics because hey--sexism, still messed up!

Eric the half-bee, we already agree insofar as sexism is a problem, but I'm going to add a few quibbles:

You said
"For two, when you resort to that argument, you're effectively telling people, "No, I agree, it's not a question of sexism, no matter what I say after this point." "

It actually took me a minute to get that untangled in my head, but I think what you're saying is that the "just because men are transgressed against it doesn't mean women aren't" argument is like saying both people got slapped, but I'm going to tend to this one and still claim it's unfair treatment to this one. Which, if that is the implication, you're totally right, it's like ruining your entire point of this being sexism.

I would propose instead that the fuller argument is that both are transgressed against but the women are more seriously, damagingly, and without the accompanying gift basket of good things that sexism tends to afford to men sometimes. So the dude in my weird analogy gets slapped, which, granted, hurts, but the woman gets laid out flat or steel knuckled or something. And no gift basket. So it's still true that the man is transgressed against, but there's still a reason to focus on the effect on the woman.

I don't remember the original thing with costumes that we're all talking about, but it seems like it might be really important if you were to have the "exact same costume" debate that you pay attention to differences like whether Peter's rides up his ass. Even given that spandex costumes are naked people colored in, just how naked? Are the women a little more naked-shaped, a little more often? I'll admit it disturbs the heck out of me when I see that a sexual area somewhat lower than the breasts has been distinguished in detail in a drawing. And even the "same" spandex costume--I don't think I can think of any degree of cling on a guy that equals how improbably spandex molds to and around breasts in comics. (I was a dancer for a few years) And hell, in real life, the exposure of guys' sexual areas by spandex is one of the first things you hear from people who haven't seen adult male ballet dancing in a while! That doesn't tend to make it in as often.

Because no one wants to see Parker's package like they wanna see the exact shape and magical self-perkiness of Spider-Woman's breasts (ass) (other)?

Maybe. And isn't that maybe part of the point here? And does that make it the same costume?

Holy damn, that got long on me. And sadly, here's the part where I say you might be totally right about picking your battles with people not inclined to see sexism. But I wanted to defend the possibility of sexism where it was brought up, under my newly bolstered feeling that I get to care about sexism no matter where or how small because hey--sexism, still messed up.

And, uh, I wish I could extend your faith (that everyone who sees the bondage cover would see the sexual pandering) to a faith that they would be receptive to knowing what exactly is so wrong about that. Which you said, with the possibly disagree about its appropriateness thing, but I guess I'm hoping if they can be convinced it's not appropriate they could also engage in the question of "why do women's clothes not cover as much."

Comment from: Sean Duggan [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at May 31, 2007 5:15 PM

Honestly, I think the impact of all of these things is going to be low because, frankly, most people don't expect the continuities to intersect. There's comic book continuity and there's movie continuity. It's the same as how most people accept that the book and movie of The Exorcist are different, or The Godfather or just about any movie that's based on an existing work. Some purists will complain (often with good reason as with criticisms of Disney's abortion of an adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame) but ultimately, most people simply accept that there are two different universes involved that share some things in common but are ultimately oranges and tangerines.

As for the use of the women in Spiderman 3, I'm personally of the opinion that Gwen Stacey was entirely unnecessary in the movie, only existing as a sop to comic book fans. She could have been replaced with any female character with an interest in Peter. Such as, say, Ursula, the landlord's daughter who was introduced for the movie. ^_^ Frankly, I find her to be more attractive than the other female leads in the movie and there's already have existing history between her and Peter. And, frankly, she's the only female in the series other than Aunt May in the movie who seems to care for Peter as Peter and not for who he is as Spider-man. She could have played the exact same role that Gwen did in the movie. Sure, she's not from the comic books, but this is movie continuity.

Comment from: Tom Lynch [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at June 2, 2007 7:08 AM

Actually, Ursula first shows in Spider-Man 2. She just has an actual role in Spider-Man 3; her massive crush, romantic nature and awkward shyness, set up in 2, are used and manipulated by the darker Peter during that phone sequence. The shyness is, however, a major part of this.

Gwen's role, by contrast, is to be a very public MJ-level rival for Spidey/Peter's affections - the issue with the kiss being that Peter sees there being a divide in that area, while MJ sees SPidey and Peter as the same guy. So for Peter, the kiss is just playing to the crowds in his 'role'; for MJ, it's their kiss, delivered by her guy, to someone else.

Comment from: Sean Duggan [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at June 6, 2007 3:36 PM

Och... I didn't express myself very clearly. Yes, I remember Ursula from Spider-man 2. In my opinion, she served an important humanizing role in that movie too. IIRC, when Peter had lost his powers and was bemoaning his fate, she plied him with cookies then as well. As said before, it's part of my opinion that she is one of the only characters who likes Peter entirely for being Peter (Aunt May aside, of course). ^_^ Och... remember when there was a rumor being spread that she was supposed to be turned into Black Cat for Spider-man 3? I mean, aside from the fact that she's not nearly pneumatic enough (not that I'm conplaining...), it continues the apparent inability of comic book people to recognize the separate continuity. They want everyone in the movie to nicely map up to someone in the comic book so that they can apply their various snarks (no reference to you, Eric) on how such-and-such character in the movie was mischaracterized.

Comment from: The_Prof [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at June 10, 2007 1:46 PM

The problem I have with the whole 'people will recognize they're two separate continuitites' argument is that I still say it's an insider's argument. Sure, fans who have been reading comics (or Hitchhiker's Guide ^_-) for years have no trouble recognizing 'here's A, here's B, they're two separate takes on the same basic idea, each has its own good points, you can't map one on to the other.'

But that's not who Eric's talking about, at least the way I'm reading it. He's talking about J. Q. Public who sees the movie and thinks 'wow, that's cool, I want more of this.' (The same impulse that makes the tie-in universe so lucrative, see Star Wars and especially Star Trek.) So they go to the comic store and see... that statue. Or Reed as a villain in the current Fantastic Four storyline. And they walk away, because they're not used to thinking in terms of different continuities, all they know is 'this isn't the same stuff I enjoyed in the movie.' And Marvel loses the chance to hook a continuing customer.

Comment from: Tangent [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at June 17, 2007 9:22 PM

On the plus side, it appears the new Supergirl by DC Comics is being drawn with realistic proportions and by an author who has some level of respect for women. There's an interview and some artwork (I found the link thanks to Starline of Candi Comics):
http://www.comicon.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=36;t=006315

Rob H., Tangents Reviews

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