Robot 6

Concept art (and a possible story clue?) from Marvel Divas

Firestar character designs, by Tonci Zonjic

Firestar character designs, by Tonci Zonjic

After the uproar triggered last month by the cover art and Sex and the City-inspired pitch for the new Marvel Divas — it’s “sudsy fun”! — it’s only right to point to some subdued, even cute, concept art for the series.

Among an “art avalanche” posted Friday by Marvel Executive Editor Tom Brevoort is Tonci Zonjic‘s design for Angelica Jones (aka Firestar), which is a world away from J. Scott Campbell’s … um … curvy cover for Issue 1.

Zonjic envisions the character as a five-foot-two Vespa-riding woman with a contemporary hairstyle and sensible clothing, not … well, whatever it is Campbell drew. (Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada addressed the cover in his final “MyCup o’ Joe” column.)

However, the sketches do point to one potentially worrisome point — and it’s not Zonjic’s take on the Firestar costume. No, it’s the note at the bottom about the possibility of Angelica riding a Vespa: “… Also would make a good story device, I think. (She can fall and discover the lump then, for the most obvious example).” There’s another note, to the left, about her “boobs,” but I can’t make out what it says.

Is that an indication that the character will be diagnosed with breast cancer?

Marvel Divas, written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, debuts in July.



It looks like it says:

Smallest boobs of the four (might be even _____ ___ that until the ___ ____ Gods ___)

This is nothing new. Angelica had a storyline where her mutant powers (emitting microwave radiation bursts) led her to develop either early stage cancer or a paralyzing fear of developing cancer (can’t remember for sure which it was). I remember in Avengers vol 3, Firestar had to use her powers at a maximum level to power up one of Thor’s dimensional portals (ahhh, the good old days…), and Angelica agonized about doing so (not doing so would have mutated the population of the Earth into Kree, IIRC). Hank Pym theorized that most mutants have a genetic immunity to their own powers (much like Cyclops can’t blow off his own hands when covering his eyes), and that Angelica’s body had simply not fully developed its immunity yet. Hank made Angelica a suit that slowly leeched the radiation building up in her own body while she developed the immunity on her own. After a few issues, she was seemingly “cured.”

If Angelica does in fact develop cancer, it opens the door to many stories (and if handled correctly, some could be great), but I hope they at least address the fact that she believed she was cured. Perhaps this cancer could be completely unrelated to her mutation? The art looks good (much better than the Campbell cover), so I hope this isn’t a wasted opportunity.

I still believe this series is offensive.

I’m gonna wait until the preview for this comes up before deciding to get this.

Wow. When they described the series as SEX IN THE CITY, they weren’t kidding!
I can’t wait till Firestar is branded the next CANCER CHARACTER … she’ll have write ups in all sorts of magazines and papers.

Too bad, i like Firestar, but JoeQ’s article makes me gag.

That design is worlds away from the original promo art & text. But one has to wonder: If they had this design when the cover came out, why wouldn’t they have promoted it then, to quell the minor uproar that happened. So did Marvel have the character designs in hand when promoting the book, or have the designs been changed to combat the comments?

This art was up at Tonci’s blog for a while now (as long or longer than the cover has been released), so this is the original art, and Tonci himself commented about it at some comic fangirl’s blog (can’t remember the site, I just followed a trail of links) so it has been the plan for a while for the comic to look like this. It’s just this is the first that Marvel themselves have released concept art.

I can’t believe they are still going to publish this.

Still highly offensive – as some smug little brat with docs and a vespa could only be…

‘smug little brat with doc and a vespa could only be.’…
yeah, let’s not read it. Let’s not give it even a chance.
Let’s just judge it by what it looks like!
Let’s call her names and and scorn her for her fashion sense.

grow up.

Steven R. Stahl

May 11, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Quesada’s response on MySpace was more notable for what it didn’t say, than for what it did say. He didn’t say a word about the interior artwork, and only briefly mentioned the writing. What he wrote about at length was how “quiet” covers generally don’t promote the products well, and he wrote “Is the cover image provocative, perhaps, but it’s no more or less than any other book we do.”

Quesada stated, in effect, that Marvel uses sexist artwork to promote its comic books — but if the cover artwork is sexist, shouldn’t the readers expect the interior artwork to be the same? Saying “Sexiness sells” is stating the obvious — but it’s not in Marvel’s interests to say that publicly.

And, of course, Quesada focuses on selling the product, telling Ashley that she should read ‘MARVEL DIVAS before she comments on it. It’s also telling that the MySpace column is being converted into a preview piece. Marvel’s relentless focus on previews and promoting products up to the point that they’re on sale, after which they’re old news, unworthy of comment, has become like a store with no return policy, not even a customer service department. Their interest is solely in selling stuff, whether the products work or not.

FWIW, Brevoort labeled the sample “MARVEL VIXENS Sketches.”


Well, that’s the thing, isn’t it? They put this sort of cover on HEROES FOR HIRE, and that crashed and burned in short order. Greg Horn’s covers for SHE-HULK and EMMA FROST never seemed to shift many copies. Frank Cho’s work on MIGHTY AVENGERS sold no better than the other Avengers title. I’m sure there are people who buy books for this stuff, but I don’t think there’s that many of them, and I think they’re cancelled out by other readers who are driven away by the art.

If covers like this sell comics, where are the examples to prove it? Not examples from the nineties, examples from THIS decade. I think it’s an industry myth.

Firestar was scared of her powers making her sterile, not giving herself cancer.

And to jump off what Paul said, the first thing I thought when I read Joey Q’s “quiet covers don’t sell books” thing was, “What about Runaways?” The only Marvel characters to be created in the past 15 years to be in talks for a movie, and their series started off with a VERY quiet Jo Chen cover. The “sexiest” thing about it is the Georgia O’Keeffe motif in the background.

Not to mention, isn’t this only a four-issue mini? Then really, what do first issue sales actually matter? It’s not like the series will get canceled for low sales, and it allows the story to drive the word-of-mouth sales of subsequent issues and the trade. That’s the main thing that bugs me about Joey Q’s response. Because he’s basically saying “we need a sexy gimmick to sell this book”. Well, how about just trusting the story to sell the book. Now it doesn’t help that the writer himself tries to pass this off as a sexy book with maybe a quick nod towards the feminists, but still.

Also, Joey Q totally misses the point of Pink’s album covers, but that’s getting off-topic.

Yeah, while she’s certainly got a risk of breast cancer from being a person with breasts, microwaves are non-ionizing radiation, and thus shouldn’t increase her cancer risk. Unless, of course, they just didn’t do the research. I guess we’ll see.

Hey, maybe they’ll use this personal tragedy as an excuse to make her really depressed and self-loathing, so she’ll start cutting herself and develop tumor-based powers. No, that’s silly, there’s no way Marvel would ever do something so ridiculous to an ex-New Warrior.

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