A study on the significance of not-so-subtle imagery.

As you might be aware, there's been controversy over the Heroes for Hire #13 cover, drawn by Sana Takeda. Here's the original, courtesy of Heidi MacDonald and The Beat. I find it highly inappropriate, especially for a publisher who supposedly wants more female readers and to reach a younger audience, but apparently not with this comic. Hey, outrage isn't limited to one gender or demographic, I'm a 30 year old male and I'm offended by this! Especially the semen-like ooze on Black Cat's chest. I mean, seriously, did no one at Marvel think this was a little too much? Joe Quesada's response went like this: (a) If you see something perverse, get your mind out of the gutter! They're fighting slimey aliens. (b) It was drawn by a woman, so how could it be sexist?

Quesada's logic is flawed, but typical of a person trying to save his ass. Point A: Being able to recognize perverse material doesn't make you a pervert. It makes you observant. Point B: The content is the issue here. No matter who drew it, the image is still exploitive.

I'm amused by Lea Hernandez's response (click here). In particular, her remixes of the cover: version 1 -and- version 2. Line up the original with version 1. Small changes make a huge difference.

Is the controversy a double standard on the freedom of expression, i.e. you can do whatever you want as long as it's not sexist or racist? I get the irony. Trust me. Though it's more about acting responsibly with your readership. Say whatever you want. Do whatever you want. Be responsible with what you say and do.

Maybe this cover says more about the culture of the comic book readers than it does about the mainstream comic book companies? It can be awfully frustrating to a small press guy like myself. Is this what I have to do for people to buy my book? Let's hope my audience is out there, somewhere, and that they have better sensibilities.