Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Censorship and Drinking the Cool aide.

I am reminded constantly that even though I am getting older and am approaching my forties, I still have lessons to learn and can still screw up royally when I speak before thinking first. Part of me was reluctant to write about this but one lesson that I have learned about is that in order to make some peace when you screw up, it is best to admit that mistake and take whatever shit is coming your way.

Yes, I was one of the many people who saw the variant cover of the new "Iron Man" and took issue with it because in part of what appeared to me to be a sexy fifteen-year-old girl. I also did not like it as it was another example of Marvel doing a race & gender swap of a popular character, I ended up mixing the two together and voiced a strong opposition to it along with a few other people out there. I took a look at my tweets about it much later and realized how much I had sounded like the crazies from The Mary Sue when they published a piece on it and that made me feel worse. A friend of mine told me that weekend when we spoke about it that jumping on the bandwagon was way too easy to do and he was so right about it; my god he was so right.

When I learned that the cover had been pulled, I suddenly felt so stupid and also a little guilty that I may have contributed to that fuss, Campbell is a man who's art I have enjoyed for some time since the days of Danger Girl and even Gen 13, his main fault in my eyes was that he became known for not being able to stick to a deadline. In my defense, I was not one of the people who directed abuse and so on in Campbell's direction on Twitter and a lot of people were. He handled it well and eventually the situation has died down since then but I did have something pointed out to me that did make me wonder: Campbell has been known for drawing sexy women, it was pretty much his trademark. I remember when I was collecting Danger Girl there were stories of readers crying out for him to draw nudity because of the way he drew the characters, it made me chuckle when I remembered it. Further thinking made me wonder why he was hired to do the Iron Man cover, it was almost like he had been set up to fail as a way to draw attention and possibly generate future sales for the comic. It does sound far-fetched I know, but it was something that Marvel did with the new Captain America series and the whole "Hail Hydra" storyline. It was some success as it has outsold the previous volumes but in my mind, it has done so purely on controversy and this has obviously occurred to the readers as its sales have since dropped.

Frank Cho had been through a tough time with his variant covers for Wonder Woman, the above Image was the variant for issue three, can you spot the difference? The series writer, Greg Rucka, exercised some editorial control and had the cover cropped to one side to hide the small line that was her underwear (at least he showed she was wearing some) as he apparently thought it was "vulgar and showed too much skin" and as a result of this, Cho quit. It was a sad situation but not one without some irony, particularly with Rucka himself as he once left behind Marvel and DC because of the way he and others like him had been treated by the big two. I can only wonder if he realizes that he has now become the very thing he appeared to hate so much a long time ago, the reason I say "I can only wonder" is because I discovered a while back that he has me blocked even though we have never spoken. Sadly it is the apparent case of him using a blocking program so as a result, I will buy nothing with his name on it now.
Your loss Greg.

Cho came under attack again after he was presented with a gift from Milo Manara for his fight against censorship. It was an original watercolored painting of Spider-Woman in a provocative pose and of course, it once again drew criticism from those who appear to want to see Frank Cho silenced, such as small time artists like Scott Kurtz who viewed the situation as everything that was wrong with comics.

It amuses me to think back when male frontal nudity has been drawn in the likes of Sin City, Watchmen, Tokyo Ghost and even been shown in TV programs like Spartacus but not much has been mentioned because as said, it was male. I am thankful that whilst we have people out there like Frank Cho there will be a push back against this PC attitude some people take with art, I was stupid to drink the cool aide once and I do not plan on doing it again anytime soon.

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