Robot 6

Cartoon Network pulls ‘sexualized’ ‘Powerpuff Girls’ variant

powerpuff girls6Cartoon Network has withdrawn a variant cover for IDW Publishing’s The Powerpuff Girls #6 following criticism that the art sexualizes the comic’s young protagonists.

ICv2.com reports that Dennis Barger Jr., owner Wonderworld Comics in Detroit, singled out the cover on Monday, writing on his Facebook page, “Are we seriously sexualizing pre-teen girls like perverted writing fan fiction writers on the internet???? is that what this shit has gotten to? DISGUSTED.”

The illustration, by Mimi Yoon, depicts Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup as teenagers dressed in short, skintight dresses and thigh-high stockings. When asked by a commenter why their outfits are shiny, Barger replied, “Because they are wearing latex bondage wear mini dresses, which on an adult would be fine but on the effigies of children is very wrong.”

Dirk Wood, IDW’s vice president of marketing, explained the cover was actually “mandated” by Cartoon Network, using an artist of its choosing. “I think they were thinking of it more along the lines of ‘female empowerment’ than the kind of thing you guys are talking about,” he wrote in the lengthy comments thread, “but certainly, we’re sensitive to the issues here.”

When contacted by ICv2, the network’s licensing division noted that the variant cover, drawn in the artist’s signature style, was intended to be released as a “collectible item” to the direct market. However, “We recognize some fans’ reaction to the cover and, as such, will no longer be releasing it at comic book shops.”

Yoon appeared  to acknowledge the controversy last night on her own Facebook page, writing, “one opinionated dog barks (i’m fine with that) … and the rest of the pack barks ‘pretending’ to know what they’re barking about (hate those idiots) … tsk tsk tsk.” In the comments, she followed with, ” i’m keeping my silence (for now) … refuse to deal with the ignorance.”

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62 Comments

That’s a fantastic cover, and I don’t see anything all that sexual about those outfits. They look like pretty normal super-heroine type suits; even tame than a lot of the costumes out there. It’s not like she drew the 8yr old PPG in short skirts. Some people are, as the artist wrote, idiots. Hopefully she still got paid.

I’d be more concerned with the fact that they have faces like Bratz dolls. Not for any sexual connotations, but because Bratz dolls are fugly.

Waiting for Cartoon Network to basically call the retailer stupid for not bothering to contact them since they’re the ones who requested the cover instead of badgering IDW for simply doing what their licensor asked them to do. It’s called following the orders of your boss.

The Powerpuff Girls are little girls, like kindergartners. Why sexualize them like that? Who is that cover for, or do I even want to know?

Nice, and the secondary market value just went through the roof!

Had these been any other characters, it’d have been fine. But yeah, it’s not right for characters that have always been portrayed as kindgartners to be shown this way. Gross.

This is stupid, because the PPG were originally inspired by Margaret Keane’s art, and this is clearly just a reference to that.

These are obviously NOT the “pre-teen” PPG because of the development of the bodies. Surely anyone with half a brain and a shred of common sense can see that. When I saw this I thought “grown-up” PPG which is what I believe the artist had in mind when drawing it. Shame they pulled it, it’s a great cover.

Divorced of context, I don’t mind the art. It’s cute. But on a tie-in comic to a cartoon aimed at little girls? It’s a little much. And by “much” I mean yet one more thing that throws an image of female prettiness/sexiness at little girls via one of the few pieces of media that usually doesn’t.

Now, as has been pointed out, this was a subscription variant cover.

Meaning its target audience is almost certainly grown men.

As Paul Dini recently informed us, CN doesn’t think much of the female audience. PPG is the only show they currently have aimed at girls. I’ve already watched grown men take My Little Pony from little girls. I’ll be damned if I’m going to watch CN court the Bronies without a word of protest.

Mimi Yoon is a fantastic artist, and I wish her all the success in the world. She’d be an excellent fit for something like Fables.

Laughing.

Mostly because the cover was shown in solicits since November and I was wondering if CN even allowed this.

Oh no!!! Someone imagined that they MIGHT have grown up!!! The HORROR!!!!

If you see that and get ‘sexual’ feelings, it says more about YOU than the art.

“I don’t see anything wrong with this” say the males, as if they’re experts on sexism

It was drawn by a WOMAN!!!!!

@Alexa, you realize both grown men AND women watch MLP, right? There’s nothing wrong with it at all e.e It’s so annoying how Bronies are thought of as fat, basement-dwelling perverted men just for liking a show that was originally for girls. Just more proof that society refuses to allow boys and girls out of their respective gender roles. If a girl wants to watch a boy cartoon, go ahead. If a boy wants to watch MLP, he should be allowed to.

@matthew, because it’s impossible for men to know anything on the subject of sexism?

Vember Judgement

January 24, 2014 at 8:27 am

Anyone see the irony in the fact that the artist who drew it is female and the guy who threw in the complaint is male?

I think Dennis Barger Jr. should stop assuming to know what Mimi Yoon intended by her cover. Ask Mimi Yoon, instead of assuming they’re wearing PVC fetish skirts.

Really? There’s not enough words that can express how completely and totally idiotic this is. Do we live in the 1930s or something? I don’t see any sexualization in this cover. So, you see them as teenagers and not as children, so what? Wearing skintight dresses and long stockings makes it seem like they are in porn all of a sudden? You will see sexualization if Buttercup was smooching Blossom’s nipple, while Bubbles stood above them with her legs open, or something. What a bunch of retards. It’s embarrassing to see how uptight today’s society is.

this whole drama is ridiculous. but whatever. hope everyone is happy.

What the hell? What’s sexual in that image?

The characters on the cover are portrayed as young adults, not sexualized kindergarteners, so what’s the problem? The outfits, short sleeves and skirt lengths, are pretty much the same as what you get with the regular versions. A little lowering of the stocking is not a big deal and the shiny outfit is comparable to what you find with any superhero outfit. The owner of a comic book store should know better, and this one in particular should probably take down his cosplay photos and scantily clad women in the ads on his home page, if he’s so concerned: http://wonderworldcomics.com/

As far as worry over this content aimed at little girls, he should have spoken up years ago. I don’t know about the comics, but Ms Sara Bellum has been around from the beginning: http://static3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20120504212940/cartoonnetwork/images/e/ea/Sara-bellum.jpg . And better to see on the cover what you’re getting into than be surprised between them.

If anyone is actually worried that little girls will see this cover and be offended, I think this begs to question how many actual “little girls” read this comic and how many are teenage or older people who read it because they want to reminisce about their youth when they watched this on TV as kids.

This is ridiculous. It’s grown-up versions of kid characters. Women have boobs.

This is definitely a problem and I’m glad they pulled it. The characters are little girls right? Preteen age or younger right? I’m leaning towards younger actually. Think about that before you get up in arms about the fact that it was pulled. Last time I checked most girls that age aren’t that busty.

@Taylor

And most aren’t that tall either….because they are older in the artwork.

Oh thank god.
Little girls everywhere are protected from the fact that they might someday grow up and become teenagers.
I guess some people would rather their innocent role models remain perpetually childish and untouched.
I love how the thought of the Powerpuff Girls being reimagined as teenagers completely short-circuits some folks minds and makes them yell “BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN. OMG. THE CHILDREN.” I wonder how they dealt with the existence of the Powerpuff Girls Z anime, where they were all 13 or so.

It’s a variant cover aimed at adult fans, that probably never even would have been seen by kids unless they were in the comic book store, where they’re surrounded by far, far worse examples of idealized, sexualized, superheroine imagery.

People have too much free time on their hands.

Is THAT what the see as female empowerment?

*epic facepalm*

*Contusion*

Well, there goes my hopes for a nude Mojo Jojo variant cover.

Dennis Barger needs to STFU and sell comics. Thanks for ruining it for everyone.

@J X: Honestly, when a storeowner points out to the public that his wares contain objectionable content, that can’t be good for business. Hope this nimrod goes out of business in a month and I hope his customers have local options.

TriniKing, do your research: Cartoon Network are the ones who asked for this particular cover.

So latex dresses equate to bondage, interesting.

So glad Barger has the time to morally crusade on behalf of the rest of us.

I’m guessing those that are offended haven’t seen what some young ladies are wearing nowadays when they can get away with it.
I guess we can all bet that if any of these made it out into the public, they will be worth a little bit in the future.

Anyone who thinks that PPG was meant for little girls is apparently blind and never watched the show before with their undercover adult jokes and references. Unless you know what you’re talking about, you should keep your trap shut. As for this cover, those are OBVIOUSLY not supposed to be kindergarten-aged girls. They were portrayed as teens/adults. It’s funny. Anime does this AND worse CONSTANTLY, yet no one complains about that, do they? I hate this country… hell, this planet. Everyone is so damn stupid and overly-sensitive. Get over yourselves.

By approving this imagery they clearly show themselves to not be “sensitive to the issues here”. Real sensitivity would produce a thoughtful and considered approach to this sort of material, resulting in it never having been produced in this way. A cynical attempt to cash in on a ‘Bronies’ style fan base with hyper sexualised manga-esque stylings. Lame.

This is another classic case of morality vs. freedom of speech. What Dennis Barger Jr wrote on Facebook is no better than what Fredric Wertham did when he wrote Seduction of the Innocent. Still, its a shame Mimi Yoon got caught up in the controversy. She doesn’t deserve that, no one does.

“This is another classic case of morality vs. freedom of speech. What Dennis Barger Jr wrote on Facebook is no better than what Fredric Wertham did when he wrote Seduction of the Innocent.”

Oh, come on.

Why can’t they be depicted as mature women? We all grow up. Does anybody realize how many teenagers wear costumes representing the powerpuff girls for cosplay or Dress-up holidays? How many 20 something year olds have too?

I think it was clever and stylish to take established characters into a different perspective. The artist is not sexualizing children or attempting to lure in pedophiles! The artist is depicting made up characters in a unique way! Sure, they “look” sexy. But this is because they are mature, powerful, and more realistically depicted than the short bobble head original design.

This is a beautiful cover.

-From the view of a female artist, mid-twenties, who has nieces and nephews, and k-12 art education degree

Doesn’t really matter whether a man or woman drew the art–the characters are kindergarten-aged children. This isn’t a comic about “what they’d be like when they grow up” (which, BTW, would be cool!). It’s a story about children for an audience of children.

Now, let’s all talk about something far more important–when are we getting a PPG comic where the girls are grown and still kicking Mojo Jojo’s monkey tail all over Townsville!

Of the 10000 issues that were sold in December, I bet less that 25% were sold to “kids.” My niece has never heard of Powerpuff Girls, mainly because they stopped being popular about 10 years ago.

It’d be interesting to see the demographics on the sales of this book.

There’s also the double irony of him being SO offended he put it on his very own facebook page.

It must really really bug him, right???

Just another tool looking for his 15 miunutes.

Coming from a female perspective, my first thought on seeing the cover art was how cute it was. I mean it think the fact that people are finding sexualities is rather disturbing, like get your mind out of the gutter. Also the fact that the art is an artist signature style, well of course the artist will pretray the characters within their style. I mean if sexualization was a concern it could have been discussed before the art was created, this should never be an assumed case when dealing with children. I think the artist did nothing wrong, though the creative team could have made a more formed of communication on the matter before hand.

Barger’s interpretation of the picture has me worried the most. That’s what he sees when he looks at that? Porn stars and fetish dresses? THAT’S the most disturbing thing about this whole affair…

Wow somebody bitched about this its just the girls shown older and a different art style. Also Power Puff girls aren’t Ben 10 or My Little Pony there franchise has been dead for like ten years any fan that was a kid sure as hell isn’t a child now I doubt there are many if any kids buying this book. So who is it going to offend or cause harm to. Once more stupid people over react once again and we cant have anything nice.

Oh my god girls grow up and get tits censor it! When did so many people get so sexually repressed and if they are why not get some help for it instead of bitching about a cover on the internet.

Clearly most of you understand where I was coming from, but clearly the others just don’t get it.

funny how the lines often drawn based on gender, this is one of those things i guess

Thank you for the ones that have supported me

Dennis

So can you tell me what exactly is ‘sexualized’ about the pic?

Also, don’t you think you’ve done what you wanted, and poor little kids could now go to YOUR page and see the bad bad ungodly image now??

Also, the irony of having deadpool swinging on wrecking ball is delicious.

Do you also feel as strongly about violence in comics and saving the poor poor children? (of course you don’t)

This is so fucking stupid.

What can we do to make CN change their mind and get the cover published?

Gotta love people who need to make decisions for everyone and not just for themselves.

If this was about YOUR daughter you just wouldn’t have ordered it for your store. You can put whatever lipstick you want on it, but it’s extorted censorship.

Riddle me this….. Do you carry Walking Dead/Horror comics? Comics that depict murder and immorality?

Do you think about the poor poor children then????

Did you boycott DC when they put 10 year old Damian Wayne in the BDSM skintight leather Robin outfit?

Or is it only BDSM when women wear it?

Seems to me that they were trying to use sex to sell a Powerpuff Girls comic. Sorry, that’s weird. Yeah, sex is used to sell superhero comics all the time, but come on, it’s the Powerpuff Girls.

What is sexual about the image?

I make all ages comics, and I would not *dream* of putting something like this on any of my covers. Why? Because it’s mini skirts, thigh highs, boobs, and come-hither looks, which is not the kind of stuff you put on a cover of a book that is marketed towards children. Never mind who actually does buy the book. The marketing is aimed *at kids.*

I don’t have any grievance with Mimi Yoon or her work. She was commissioned to draw a bunch of characters in her style. That’s it. Where that image went after that was completely out of her hands. This is not her fault.

However, I hope this makes the culpable parties think twice about pulling this crap again. The fact that they couldn’t see what’s wrong or sexual with this is exactly the problem.

I’m pretty sure those are supposed to be thigh high boots, not stockings.

Also, if you look at that image and immediately think it’s hyper-sexualized, you need to take some time off and re-assess how you interpret artwork. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

ZOMG! The clothes are SHINY! And they’re… uh…. they’re showing some thigh! OH NOES!

The proportions are stylized, yes, but nothing extreme compared to your standard superhero imagery. They’re also fairly decently covered. And also rather tamely posed.

Ha ha ha stupid Puritan Americans! No wonder you are now the laughing stock of the international community.

I really dont understand the problem?
It is a fantastic bit of art that isn’t sexual. They are not naked, fully clothed and their outfits are more tame than the majority of superheroines out there.
I would understand people being annoyed if they were the kid versions of themselves, but they are not, thay have been drawn just a bit older.
I agree with the artist that one person has a problem with it and then suddenly everyone does.
Why is it that in society these days eveything has to do with being ‘sexualised’ because at the same time, if they were drawn with less revealing clothes on then people would say that they are ‘under empowering’ women so you would never be able to win.
They way i look at it, if you have an issue with a cover, THEN JUST DONT BUY IT!

Not to mention this chicken litle has now assured 100 times more people(including little girls) will see it than ever before now that it’s a news story.

Job well done sir. (rolls eyes)

If the cover featured the girls totally naked in a menage a trois, then we would have serious problem. As it is, they aren’t and we don’t. It’s way past time folks quit making up controversy where one should not exist.

Wow, that’s not sexualized one bit. They just look like Bratz.

You know, I’m still a bit pissed off by the ridiculous controversy over Harley Quinn#0′s comic been censored by our hypersensitive society a few months back over some self-righteous poster claiming one of the panels somehow “sexualized suicide.” The fact that someone would even conceive the thought of sexualized suicide to this day creeps me the hell out and says more about the poster than the actual panel in question.

Few months later and now some jerk-off is complaining about how this picture is somehow sexualizing little girls in a cover that’s suppose to be obviously pictured as the version of PPGs growing up and being empowered?

Seriously?…WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH FANS TODAY?!

Are we beginning to be so perverted as a society that we are starting to imagine the concept of sex in situations and concepts that isn’t even the part of the equation, let alone a factor? How did our thought processes get so warped that we have to tell the comic companies themselves to censor the comics we enjoy out of certain situations the fans think is being possibly sexualized because it involves the female gender? This is a problem among fellow fans that needs to be questioned and put in the spotlight.

Awesome cover! Great work, Ms. Yoon! :)

I’ve an idea; in 2018, create a series entitled “Powerpuff Girls: 20 Years Later” (PPG20), then release the cover art.

@ the individuals bothered by the cover – PLEASE get a life…

That artwork is really cool. They should do a special separate licensing line for women/grown up fans with more artwork like this by that artist–like a makeup line or something. Weren’t some cool lines with MAC that featured Wonder Woman and Betty & Veronica? Or some apparel. I love this style!

Interesting to see how many adult men are comic/animation fanboys and are all for the sexualization of young girls. Guys, you can put lipstick on that pig, but it’s still–and you’re still–a pig.

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