Why The Russos Are The Best Thing to Happen to the MCU Since Joss Whedon
Marvel has provided Robot 6 with an exclusive preview of Spider-Woman #5 by Dennis Hopeless and Javier Rodriguez. The issue – the first after the conclusion of Spider-Verse – marks the debut of a new costume for Jessica Drew. Designed by Kris Anka, the new costume was announced in December and is the first time the character’s look has dramatically shifted since her first appearance, and according to Marvel, it has a lot to do with how Spider-Verse concludes.
“Jess comes out of this event with a very different point of view on herself and her place in the world,” Marvel editor Nick Lowe told CBR in December. “[The costume] represents a big change for her moving forward.”
Spider-Woman #5 hits stores in March.
Sideshow Collectibles, best known for its premium figures, has expanded into limited-edition art prints featuring Marvel and DC Comics properties, and its own Court of the Dead.
Its Premium Art Print line debuts with Gotham Sirens: Poison Ivy by Stanley “Artgerm” Lau, Spider-Woman by Scott Forbes, and Kier: Call of the Forsaken Valkyrie by David Palumbo, with upcoming work promised from the likes of Ariel Olivetti, Kris Anka and Fabian Schlaga.
Priced at $79.99, each 18-inch by 24-inch print is hand-numbered, and includes a penciled artist signature and embossed seal of authenticity.
As a huge Jason Latour fan I give him credit on the marketing front; he successfully pumped many folks (including myself) to be quite enthused about Edge of Spider-Verse #2 featuring another universe’s Gwen Stacy as Spider-Woman.
But when I finally got the issue, what surprised me is the aspect I loved most about the series. Despite the fact it is a universe where Gwen’s father is very much alive (and many other engaging narrative aspects–including a potentially very different kind of Matt Murdock)–it is the eyes of the Spider-Woman costume that really proved to be my favorite part. This may surprise, but let me explain.
Just when it seemed Milo Manara’s controversial variant cover for Spider-Woman #1 had been thoroughly scrutinized, criticized, defended and lampooned, two more critiques emerged that will likely lead you to rethink the image, and then wash your eyes out with industrial cleaner.
Note: Perhaps needless to say, neither of these is particularly safe for work.
[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]
I was pleased to see Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso acknowledge concerns over the variant cover by Milo Manara for Spider-Woman #1, and even go so far as to explicitly apologize for the mixed message the cover caused.
“We always listen to fans’ concerns so we can do better by them,” Alonso stated to CBR for Friday’s installment of the weekly Axel-in-Charge interview column. “We want everyone — the widest breadth of fans — to feel welcome to read Spider-Woman. We apologize — I apologize — for the mixed messaging that this variant caused.”
He went on to note that it is not the official cover for the series, and is equally not as representative of the title as a pet variant by Skottie Young might be. That’s a fair point. However, I would argue that there is a difference between a Milo Manara variant and any other random variant. That cover exists within the context of the title character of the comic and the historical depiction of women in comics, if not media in general, juxtaposed with a cartoonist known for erotica being commissioned to provide material for a comic with a T+ rating (13 and above).
“We always listen to fans’ concerns so we can do better by them. We want everyone — the widest breadth of fans — to feel welcome to read Spider-Woman. We apologize — I apologize — for the mixed messaging that this variant caused.
And that’s what this cover is. It’s a limited edition variant that is aimed at collectors. While we would not have published this as the main cover to the book, we were comfortable publishing this as a variant that represented one artist’s vision of the character — a world-renowned artist whose oeuvre is well-known to us, and to collectors. It is not the official cover for the issue. It is a collector’s item that is set aside or special ordered by completists — and it doesn’t reflect the sensibility or tone of the series any more than the Skottie Young variant or Rocket and Groot Spider-Woman variants. If you open up the book, you’ll see that this series has everything in common with recent launches we’ve done, like Black Widow and Ms. Marvel and She-Hulk and Captain Marvel. It’s about the adventures of two women that have complete agency over their lives, and that are defined by what they do, not how they look.
We’re far from perfect, but we’re trying. It’s been a priority for me as EIC to make our line and our publishing team more inclusive. We’re at an industry high of around 30 percent female in editorial group, about 20 percent of our line is comics starring women, and our Senior Manager of Talent, Jeanine Schaefer, actively looks to bring more female writers and artists into the fold each month. In fact, very soon we’ll be announcing new series and creators that I’m very excited about.”
– Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso, addressing criticism of the Milo Manara variant cover for Spider-Woman #1, in this week’s “Axel-in-Charge” on CBR
It surprised me to see Jimmy Palmiotti pursuing yet another Kickstarter in 2014, considering he had successfully completed one earlier in the year for Denver. This new one, launched this week, focuses on Sex and Violence Vol. 2.
My decision to interview the veteran writer wasn’t based on aiming to help him achieve his Kickstarter goal; he’s days, if not hours, away from achieving that. Instead, I hoped to tap into some of the knowledge that allows him to so effectively operate crowdfunding campaigns (many of the completed projects can be bought at the PaperFilms shop).
Not only did the creator offer some of the lessons learned from his past Kickstarters (hint: avoid the shipping costs from hardcover), but he also proved quite candid about the challenges of swimming in creator-owned waters. Palmiotti also was willing to elaborate about his perspective on last week’s controversy about Milo Manara Spider-Woman #1 variant cover.
“If you want to know my opinion on Milo Manara’s Spider-woman cover, I’m going to have to disappoint you and say I feel super divided on it. I love Milo Manara!! It’s a variant cover…so it’s sort of an erotica variant! Of course, I’d also like to see Katie Cook do her own version…that’d make Marvel’s choice seem a little less like a systemic problem. And yes, it’s all a different story with context, but without context, it is a bit jarring and I don’t negate that because the Internet really changes our experience these days. And the image itself does remind me a lot of images by artists I DON’T respect…I wish it looked more characteristically Manara instead of a Greg Horn illustration (sorry, Greg Horn! (Not that you care!)). Again, all that said, it’s Milo Manara and if anybody should be able to do things how he wants, it should be him.
“That’s not my point. My point is, it’s not an easy thing to evaluate or explain what is okay and what’s not. Some sexy drawings of women I can get behind, some I can’t. Some of that’s context. But a lot of it is what seemed like a weird intuition that I couldn’t really pinpoint, until recently.
“The word that changes everything for me is ‘personhood.’ Does this woman seem like a person? Do they have life breathed into them? A personality? Or are they an object? Do they feel manufactured or repetitive? Would guys who like this appreciate that I am a living, breathing woman? Or would they complain I talk too much?”
–Rocket Girl artist Amy Reeder, responding to the controversy around erotic comic artist Milo Manara’s variant cover for Spider-Woman #1. She goes on to give examples of women portrayed with and without “personhood” in a long and thoughtful post. Manara has also responded to the controversy.
Proving J. Jonah Jameson right time and again, Spider-Man in the past year alone has stolen $6,000 in cash, fought two Captain Americas, been arrested following a robbery and held up a convenience store. Now it appears the wall-crawler has found an ally: Spider-Woman.
In addition to launching All-New Ghost Rider in March with writer Felipe Smith, Luther Strode artist Tradd Moore supplies the cover for Secret Avengers #1. But first he knocked out some incredible character sketches of Nick Fury Jr., Black Widow, Spider-Woman and M.O.D.O.K., who are all featured in the illustration. Needless to say, they’re pretty awesome.
Check out the cover, and his Black Widow sketch, below. You can find the others on the artist’s blog.
Legal | The Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly is resurrecting a revised bill to tighten regulations on the sexual depictions of minors in manga, anime and video games. An earlier version of the controversial proposal was voted down in mid-June. The new bill removes vague defining terms like “nonexistent youth” and reportedly avoids references to “characters younger than 18,” increasing the likelihood that the proposed legislation will pass. [Anime News Network]
Retailing | As the small independent retail chain Joseph-Beth Booksellers files for bankruptcy protection, its president warns of even tougher times ahead for bookstores. “I think in the next three to five years, you’ll see half the bookstores in this country close,” Neil Van Uum says. [Lexington Herald-Leader, via ICv2.com]
At this weekend’s Emerald City Comicon, Brian Michael Bendis said that this week’s Spider-Woman #7 would be the last issue of the series. Over on his message board forum, he shares a few more details on why the book is ending:
alex did the work of 24 issues just to make this story. it was a lot of concentrated spider-woman for one man. i got to come and go to other projects. this was all he was doing, day in and day out. when we got to 7, he needed a break. i didn’t want to go on with it without him.
meanwhile, we’ve been deving our new icon book for two years. its something different. something bold. it’s time to do that. if you love our work, you’ll love it. it will be announced in chicago.
this was not a matter of sales or interest. we were number one on itunes for weeks.
thank you for digging her as much as i . she will be in every issue of avengers. and when the dust clears marvel has told us to consider returning to it and we might.
After an Origin limited series in 2005, Spider-Woman returned to her own ongoing series last fall, along with a “motion comic” on iTunes. Her previous ongoing last 50 issues before being canceled in 1983.
Very busy writer Brian Michael Bendis became an even busier writer this weekend. With little fanfare — it “happened by accident” — Bendis spent over an hour on Saturday answering reader questions via his Twitter account.
The 125-message micro-interview cost him some followers, irritated Warren Ellis (not really), and was eventually cut off by Twitter, but by the time all was said and done some interesting info had hit the Internet courtesy of his tweets.
First up, Bendis spilled the beans on a trio of upcoming projects with familiar collaborators:
* Bendis and his Daredevil: Wake Up partner David Mack will reunite for a new Hornhead project, Daredevil: End of Days, next summer. The project was first announced in February 2007, with Bendis and Mack as co-writers and art from Alex Maleev, Bill Sienkewicz, and Klaus Janson. (Daredevil will also appear in New Avengers #60.)
* Look for a creator-owned crime project from Bendis and his Daredevil and Spider-Woman collaborator Alex Maleev next summer.
Oh man, I have never been so glad I do this on Friday. Hopefully, Dear Reader, we’re far enough from Monday and the hyperventilating, bad joke-cracking, internet outrage over the Big Announcement has passed the majority of us by. Either you’ve read or listened a little more to those on the inside, fears, doubts and flailing have been soothed or at least put to bed for now as the fallout of this 4 billion dollar purchase of the House of Ideas is going to take years to have any sort of crazy effect on the brand we love.
Then again, some fans may still be unsoothed and are continuing to photoshop Mickey’s head on Marvelman in milking out that one last drop of sneering humor.
We here at the Fifth Color have decided to eschew all ribbing and ranting at the House of Mouse… except for one thing.