Marvel Comics is currently enjoying a wave of popularity, thanks to the success of Guardians of the Galaxy and movies and TV shows from the universe of SHIELD. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t make mistakes now and then. This week it ignited a controversy over some of the artwork for its new Spider Woman series when it chose to hire Milo Manara, an artist known for erotic comics, to draw the cover.
The variant cover depicts Spider Woman on all fours in what Slate called an outfit that “looks more like a colonoscopy than a costume”. Time was equally offended, writing “I get it: superheroes wear spandex and a lot of excitable teenage boys read these comic books. But this cover takes the sex-factor to a new extreme … A male hero would never be placed in the same physical position.” Marvel executive Tom Breevort excused the artwork, stating that it was “less sexualized” than other series the comics company has run. “It seems far less exploitative to me than other Manara pieces we’ve run in previous months and years.” Breevort did acknowledge that “a conversation about how women are depicted in comics is relevant at this point, and definitely seems to be bubbling up from the zeitgeist. That too is fine. Nothing gets better unless ideas are communicated.”