Get Mad At Marvel Over Milo Manara – Michael Davis, From The Edge

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Michael Davis is an artist, writer, mentor, and entertainment executive. He writes,

I admit I’m a bit of a girly man.

Most of my friends are women. Women raised me, I collect Barbies, and my favorite movie is My Best Friend’s Wedding. I tend to see things from a woman’s point of view, and I’m convinced in another life I was a woman.

I once attended a Barbie convention in—of all places—Georgia, and had the best time. Yuk it up fanboy, and when you’ve had a couple of real good belly laughs, think about this: my Barbie collection is a helluva conversation starter. I have yet to meet a woman who did not think a man who shows a bit of his feminine side was not damn sexy.

Feel free to engage in what for some, will undoubtedly be a jest fest filled with gay, limp dick, and sissy boy witticisms. I’ll spare you the trouble of debating whether or not I’m gay. I am.

I’m a proud lesbian.

As a man who embraces his feminine side, I’ve been watching with mild amusement the Spider-Woman/Milo Manara brouhaha. Here’s my two cents: Milo Manara is going to be Milo Manara, and what you see is what you get. Don’t be mad at Milo for doing what he does, that’s just silly. You want to be mad at something, be mad at Marvel.

I’m convinced being mad at Marvel will make a difference. I’m sure of it because I’m also sure Marvel cares. Marvel cares that without even trying they have usurped any and all post-San Diego Con conversations. They care about the massive amount of press surrounding the book. Press, sure as shit, that will lead to sold out multiple printings and mucho bucks for Mr. Mouse and company.

On Tumblr, Tom Brevoort, the senior vice president of publishing for Marvel Comics, said “the people who are upset about that cover have a point, at least in how the image relates to them.”

I like Tom, but as statements go, that’s pretty lame. It’s the ‘you have a right to be upset over something that upsets you’ line. It’s a non-statement, a safe company line and who could blame Tom for taking it?

Then he added that Manara has been “working as a cartoonist since 1969, and what he does hasn’t materially changed in all that time. So when we say ‘Manara cover,’ his body of work indicates what sort of thing he’s going to do.”

In other words: “Yeah, we knew what we were going to get when we hired him, so deal with it.”

Whoa! Gangsta!

Frankly, I’m impressed that Tom came out like that. You can’t win a war when you’re fighting an army of ‘what I think.’ It’s impossible, so why not just tell the truth and be out?

Everyone’s entitled to his or her opinion and seldom, if ever, will someone’s point of view change on subjects like this. I’m the last person (girl that I am) to reject what any woman sees as offensive but (yeah, but) all this for a drawing?

It’s just another fucking comic book drawing of a woman on all fours with her ass up in the air.

Yeah, it’s wrong for all the reasons women say, and yes, it’s what you expect when you hire Milo Manara, etc, etc. But when all is said and done, it’s a drawing. No woman can get her ass in that position? Well, no woman has spider powers either.

I fully understand that an image like that should be taken to task and taken to task it has been. It’s been taken to task as if Spider-Woman was a real flesh and blood person. You would think so with all the relentless, back and to the left, 24/7 ‘news’ coverage of her ass in the air as if she was someone’s child.

And if she was real? That would result in…in what?

Perhaps a 2-hour Dr. Phil special or a reality show. Maybe a line of clothing that middle American moms will run and buy their middle American daughters where America shops. The same moms who called Spider-Woman a whore will now be swiping their plastic debt to outfit little Spider-Girl.

Whoa there Davis! Slow down boy, you may have just stepped over that edge.

It’s one thing to imagine a fictional character coming to life and profiting from her fantasy ass being up in the air; it’s another to say that America’s mothers will forgive or forget she was a horrible slut role model and then pay to literally put her whore name on the backs of America’s future wives and mothers.

Can you imagine American mothers outfitting their impressionable teen-age daughters in attire representing a woman known all over the world because her ass was up in the air? I can, if that ass was up in the air and a ‘where is he now’ rapper was tapping it. Then I can imagine a line of merchandise sold ‘where America shops,’ a huge television show, and countless other ways millions and millions of dollars would flow to that very ass.

I could imagine it, but that’s just me.

Unless I’m missing something, Marvel is going to make a grip on this, then, like always, the subject will be shelved. That is until the next image of an imaginary character with impossible powers is put into a pose that makes some people upset. Then it’s outrage time again.

I get it.

What I don’t get is where was this level of outrage, this level of media coverage and broadcast saturation was when, not long ago, a woman was threatened with rape because she dared critique an artist’s depiction of some other comic book drawing.

There was a real person involved in that and although there was outrage that outrage didn’t rival this. Not even close and now that outrage has gone away for most. It’s a sure bet the outrage, fear, and real concern every women feels when some man slights, threatens or assaults them does not go away…


Yes, I agree that drawing had all things wrong on some levels. On another level, it was just another comic book drawing among the thousands of comic book drawings that depict women as sex objects. Still, on yet another level, a drawing is all it was.

I’m of the mind there is no ‘lesser of two evils’ when it comes to protecting women from sexual predators. The outrage should be loud, swift and unrelenting.

It also should be sustained longer than the fury against some damn drawing.


About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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