Marvel Comics is great at patting itself on the back for temporary stories that put women in the spotlight, but when it comes to variant covers that turn women into sex objects its male readers want to pat on the butt, then the company suddenly has no comment. Luckily, Dan “Go to Christ-land” Slott was willing to weigh in on The Mary Sue’s anger over the Spider-Woman #1 variant by Milo Manara. His verdict: it’s a “false ‘controversy'”.
The Mary Sue disagreed. The self-proclaimed watchdog for female representation in “geek culture” reported:
I mean, there’s art you personally might consider too sexualized in general, but there’s that other level of comic book hell reserved for The Hawkeye Initiative-type stuff or otherwise absurd art.
Yesterday, Comic Book Resources posted exclusive November solicits from Marvel Comics, which included the anticipated Spider-Woman #1. The piece included this variant cover by Milo Manara.
I honestly don’t know what anyone involved was thinking. The series is being written by Dennis Hopeless with art by Greg Land, and although it appears Marvel is attempting to draw in women with a slew of new female-led titles, this does not instill confidence. Nor does it tell women this is a comic they should consider spending money on. In fact, what the variant cover actually says is “Run away. Run far, far away and don’t ever come back.”
That may sound like an exaggeration but it’s really not. This is what we talk about when we ask comic publishers not to actively offend their paying (or potentially paying) customers. …
Marvel has declined comment at this time.
As a conservative comic book fan, I know a thing or two about Marvel going out of its way to offend “paying (or potentially paying)” customers. Welcome to the club, Jill! But I digress. Ms. Pantozzi didn’t take too kindly to The Amazing Spider-Man writer’s assertion that her work was part of a media-orchestrated “false” controversy:
Dan Slott’s favorite go-to weapon, the red herring, was on full display when he tried to frame outrage at Marvel’s decision as some sort of misdirected beef with Mr. Manara’s artistic style. Luckily, Ms. Pantozzi was having none of it. It was never about Mr. Manara’s “style” — it was the fact that an artist who specializes in erotic (some might say “sleazy”) artwork was used for a book geared towards female readers.
Backed even deeper into a corner, Mr. Slott doubled down on the “fake” controversy line of defense. The move was reminiscent of the time he and Marvel used anger to sell the Superior Spider-Man #9, and then tried to pretend like they were doing no such thing.
But here is where it gets interesting, dear readers — the woman who works for a website that considers itself a watchdog for women’s representation then went soft on an ideological ally. Someone like me would be accused of “mansplaining” to Ms. Pantozzi if I delivered exactly the same message as Dan Slott, but she simply “walks away” from Slottian mansplaining. She respects Dan Slott (the guy whose great new female character burst onto the scene by getting super-sexy, super-fast with Peter Parker), too much to take the conversation to its logical conclusion: Dan Slott’s tolerance for other points of view only lasts until you put up a strenuous defense against his straw man arguments, red herrings and personal attacks.
“Nothing is being gained.” That seems to be a pattern with the Marvel scribe. Conservative? Liberal? Apolitical? It doesn’t matter. If you disagree with Dan Slott, your point of view isn’t valid or it’s just a “false” controversy stirred up by the media.
As fate would have it, Twitter user Ryan D entered the fray and rightly called Ms. Pantozzi out just as she did the same to Marvel and Dan Slott earlier in the day.
Dan Slott would be “crucified” if he didn’t say the right thing in his Twitter feed, and he knows it. That’s why he decided to return to “less controversial stuff” (i.e., topics where he could easily put himself up on a moral pedestal and bask in the accolades).
I look forward to the moment that Dan Slott goes back to attacking those who disagree with him politically. When that happens, then all of his Twitter followers can forget about the time he “mansplained” to a feminist about her “false” controversy — and she let him get away with it.
Editor’s note: Hat tip to reader Truthwillwin1 for the story.