Sorry about that. I didn't actually intend to leave pseudo-pseudapod porn up for a week, but I left for my sister's wedding this weekend and found blogging in California surprisingly difficult.
So what did I miss?
Okay, so no one was exactly surprised that Joe Quesada's defense of the indefensible Heroes for Hire cover was a one-two punch of denial: "I don't see any rape here, so clearly there can be no rape here" and "A woman drew this picture, so how could it possibly be sexist?" As everyone else has pointed out, it doesn't matter how art is intended, it matters how art is read, and enough people have read that image as rape that Marvel needs to address the issue with something more that a "You're wrong! Now shut up and go away!"
Also, the defense that the objectifying aspect of the cover is necessitated by the plot falls apart fairly quickly once Lea Henandez demonstrates that, with relatively minor alterations (more assertive facial expressions, zip up Colleen's suit, remove the slime on Black Cat's breast), the Heroes for Hire can be tied up and menaced by slimy tentacles and still be portrayed as the "strong, lead female protagonists who kick major ass" Quesada seems to think we've forgotten they are.
It would be nice if Marvel actually made similar adjustments to the cover. They are not completely insensitive to cries of questionable content. When retailers objected to surprise Spider-Dingus in Spider-Man: Reign, Marvel took returns and offered a less objectionable variant edition. Perhaps if enough retailers, like Mike Sterling, explain to Diamond Distributors and Marvel that they'd be more comfortable stocking a less, um, rape-y cover, Marvel would actually take the time they have to produce a cover that won't actively offend a large portion of the comics reading audience.
Or am I pipe dreaming, because selling the rape of super-heroines isn't nearly as offensive to the average fan as a small sketch of a penis in a "Mature Readers" book?
On to other, happier matter:
I've been thinking for awhile that, now that the Vertigo imprint's biggest titles are no longer tied even tangentially to the DC Universe, it's time for the DC characters who helped launch the major mature comics publisher to "come home," especially Swamp Thing. It's just a shame Chris posted about it first.
Shane Bailey might be too modest to link to it in Blog@Newsarama, but his ode to the Hulk demands linkage and response.
Yes, I'm just as happy as everyone else that Supergirl is going to be written and drawn as a teen girl and not a tarted-up nymphet wearing a frilly belt, half a shirt, and no internal organs. Now comes the hard part: assuming the book's any good, you have to buy and get other people to buy the portrayal of Supergirl that we as a comics community demanded. If the sales tank, DC's marketing is going to learn the wrong lesson, and we'll see a lot less Birds of Prey and a lot more, well, Heroes for Hire.
Speaking of Nymphet... you know what? I'd rather not. Someone else can handle this one.
Someone celebrated an anniversary! (image by Kevin)