Marvel has sparked an online backlash after releasing what's been called a sexualized Spider-Woman on a variant cover for an upcoming comic book.
And a senior vice-president says critics have a point.
On Monday, Marvel released a series of covers that will hit stores in November exclusively to Comic Book Resources.
Among them was a variant cover for "Spider-Woman #1," which was drawn by Milo Manara, an artist who is known for his erotic drawings.
The cover drew heated criticism on Twitter and elsewhere this week.
The Spider Woman Cover is just all around bad. pic.twitter.com/vz40Eh0wSF— Attack On Terrence (@Nerd_Sage) August 19, 2014
This new “Spider-Woman” variant cover looks like a certain Nicki Minaj videoAugust 20, 2014
Glamour writer Megan Angelo looped the cover and Minaj together into a comment piece titled, "Um, Ladies, What's With All the Butts in the Air?"
Speaking about Spider-Woman's pose, she asked:
"What's the plan here: Is she trying to distract her enemies using her behind? Is the butt signal her version of the Bat Signal?"
Minaj herself posted a photo on her Instagram that showed her superimposed on Spider-Woman's body.
Blastr's Carol Pinchefsky asked why Marvel would hire a specialist in erotica to draw the cover.
"It's straining credulity to suppose that this particular pose wasn't intentional. And that intention was to turn Spider-Woman into an object of sexual gratification," she wrote.
Fans have been calling for more female representation in the comic book world for years, and with Sony finally agreeing to make a movie based on one of the women in the Spider-Man Universe, it looked like equality was starting to creep into that male-dominated world. This cover, however, calls that back into question.
For Marvel's part, Tom Brevoort, senior vice-president of publishing wrote on his Tumblr Thursday: "I think that the people who are upset about that cover have a point, at least in how the image relates to them."
He said that the cover by Manara is one of his "less sexualized" works, and that it is "less exploitative" than Marvel drawings he has done in the past.
"But all that said, it’s the right of every reader not to like something," Brevoort wrote.
He went on to say that the cover is just a variant, and that people would have to search for the drawing if they wanted to see it.
Meanwhile, DC Comics unveiled a First Nations superhero named Equinox in March. She features in the Justice League United series, which takes place in Canada.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated that Marvel had come out with the superhero Equinox. It was, in fact, DC Comics.
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