Behold, the Women of Marvel … *Eye roll*

For those of you who visited the shop last week and/or received the newsletter, let me clear up one thing:  Women of Marvel #1 was NOT my pick of the week.  Not even close.  In fact, it was Birds of Prey.  I suppose I can see why whoever it was who chose that book for me in my absence did so—”It’s a book about female heroes, with female creators, and she loves Black Cat.”  That sort of thing.  But I think we’re failing to look at the bigger picture.  And that picture is SO big, I’m not sure at what corner to begin.

Man oh man.  My head is flooded with cheers and jeers.  Firstly, I’m happy Marvel actually released this in print, because I’d heard of the digital versions they were providing online, but I had no intention of looking into them.  I’m very against this whole “digital comics” thing for a number of reasons, but that’s really a topic for another post.  Let’s talk about the comic itself.

Women of Marvel #1

The cover.  I actually don’t mind the cover.  You might be inclined to think I would despise it, right?  I mean, look at that.  It doesn’t exactly cry out any common ground to female readers.  That’s all aimed at horny prepubescent boys—as though that demographic doesn’t get enough.  But I do actually like the cover.  It’s sexy without being disgusting, and while I’m often sick of artists posing female heroes in super-sexualized, “faint-hearted” poses all the time instead of in-charge, powerful poses, I essentially like this one because … a little bit of cheesecake once in a while isn’t a bad thing.  This is gentle.  It’s not in your face.  It’s sexy without being objective or demoralizing.  I have no reason to rampage about the cover—that’s really the least of my worries.  It’s the interiors that are more important, because the interiors are a totally different story.

Here we have three separate mini stories, and they’re each quite a different grade in terms of quality.  The first story involving Medusa and the Inhumans royal family is the strongest in terms of both writing and artwork; the second story involving Black Cat and Satana is average, middle of the sandwich, with some of the most uninspiring art I’ve seen in recent memory; and the third story involving Amora the Enchantress is arguably the weakest in both categories.  I might have bought this for the Medusa story alone—cute, short, clear and to the point.  Black Cat would have hooked me initially, but then completely turned me off of it and, in a fangirl rage, make me want to swear off comics forever (I do that about two or three times a week).  The Enchantress story just plain bored me, which is a shame.

That said, I really need to get to the griping.  I’ve held off long enough, and I have to let out some geek girl rage.  Are you ready?  OH MY GOD, dude—I knew Black Cat had some pretty big ones, but this is getting ridiculous.  The artwork in her story is an absolutely horrifying depiction of the female body and I’m honestly angry about it.  What the …?  You call this book “Women of Marvel,” and THAT’S how you draw it?  That’s how you portray what are meant to be the heroines of your stories?  Enticing people on the cover is one thing; a complete and utter lack of substance on the inside is unforgiveable.  And while I understand that the Black Cat has always had something of a “pin-up” reputation, it was also my understanding that Marvel were trying to shy away from that aspect of her character.  As far as this comic goes, I’d say that was an EPIC FAIL.

As much as I love Felicia, if I were to have based my judgment on the preview pages alone, I wouldn’t have wanted to buy this.  By buying it, am I supporting these great heroes and telling Marvel that I want more of them, or am I supporting this incessantly degrading artwork?  I’m not really sure anymore.  So I’m going to shout what is apparently becoming my battle cry:  WHERE ARE THE EDITORS?!  Where are the editors with the GUTS to give those pages back to the artist and say “Grow up and do it over”?  Where are the family men, the Joe Quesadas of editorial who claim they would be ashamed to try to get their daughters into comics when the industry is continually plagued with garbage like this, yet go on to promote it?  And all in the middle of what Marvel is calling their “Year of Women.”  Disgraceful.  Marvel, you ought to be ashamed.  For every one good step forward (“Girl Comics”), you go on to take two disparaging steps back (“X-Women,” “Women of Marvel”).  Who are we trying to kid, here?

And that Greg Land inside cover?  OH MY GOD.  MY BRAIN.  That guy seriously needs to be fired.

So—is this book worth the four bucks for the tales that supposedly “took by storm”?  On the one hand, we got one story done by a female creator, focusing on female characters (mostly) kicking ass, the spotlight all on them.  On the other hand, it’s the body parts that spotlight was aimed toward that set me raging.  Does the good outweigh the bad?  I’m afraid I’m still mulling it over.

Publisher:  Marvel Comics
Written by Various
Illustrated by Various
Price:  $3.99

5 responses

  1. Gordon Dupuis

    I’m glad you can deal with a LITTLE cheesecake style fanboy art. Consider our position. I bet quite a bit that you’d like to see a comic cover with Wolverine or Gambit in their underwear with a long stemmed rose. You are right that there’s WAY to much female objectification going on.

    11/14/2010 at 7:02 PM

    • You know, I’m not a fan of Gambit or Wolverine in that way, but I do have a soft spot for Captain America. ;-)

      But yeah, “sexy” doesn’t bother me–“slutty” does. I can do the cheesecake from time to time. Terry Dodson is one of my favorites. I just don’t like it when I see stuff like this. And some of the Black Cat panels in this book may as well have been that.

      11/15/2010 at 3:37 PM

      • Gordon Dupuis

        You DO realize that Cap was in his twenties in WWII right? :)

        11/17/2010 at 3:25 AM

  2. I like that “old-timeyness” in a guy! Hahaa. Cap is a gentleman–there aren’t many of those left….

    11/17/2010 at 6:17 PM

  3. Gordon Dupuis

    Your right about the lack of gentlemen in the world. I only know of a few besides myself. By the way, your example of “sluttiness” in comic art is truly horrifying!

    11/17/2010 at 8:32 PM

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