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Victims for Hire

bad day kitten
I originally posted this pretty far down in the discussion of misogynists and daughters, and decided I wanted it right up where folks could see it, in case anyone was in doubt of my feelings on the subject. They are violent because Colleen Wing and Misty Knight are personal icons of mine. In the 1970s they were the first female heroes I found anywhere who satisfied my desires for female heroes: strong, funny, active, straight (sorry, gay and bi friends, but at the time there was a wealth of gay female warriors out there, thanks to Marion Zimmer Bradley and her sisterhood, and no straight ones), independent, fierce, into martial arts. I didn't discover Lessa of Pern until after Misty and Colleen had me cheering with a comic book in my hands.

I'm talking now about Paul Goggle's post that includes the Heroes for Hire #13 cover. There's a good discussion of it going on there, too. Rabican in the Misogynists Don't Have Daughters thread here pointed it out. Here's what I think, re-posted and modified from my thread:

I've had mixed feelings about this incarnation [the current Heroes for Hire magazine] of Colleen and Misty from the beginning, though Tim loves the comic. Originally Colleen was a dark, doom-seeking, driven fighter--here she is far more subdued, keeping to the background. And the art has been making me daffy, not to mention the part in Misty's `fro. Yes, they are an estrogen-laden team of butt-kickers, but their outfits are painted on, and their scenes are drawn cheesecake.

And it's silly of me, but it bugs the hell out of me that Shang-Chi is made negligible. The point is f*****g equality. NOBODY has to be the lesser party.

I hated it, in the beginning, that they were against the rebels of Civil War.

Enough. They weren't the Colleen and Misty I knew. I get that. I can live with it.

This cover makes me INSANE. It is nasty. It is degrading. It is everything I fight and write against.

Three supposedly strong, war-like women, strung up by their wrists, in chains, the emblem of the slave (paging John Norman...); dazed and helpless (someone on scans_daily said it would be hilarious if they were awake and mad; I think it would be powerful and redemptive); bared practically to their navels (but no nipple showing because nurturing organs would be dirty in this screwed-up pervo-catering censorship universe) as nameless Things with glowing eyes (and probably elongated barbed dicks) slaver in the background--and phallic tentacles reach up to their crotches. Misty's clothes are ripped; she's bleeding. Do her eyes and Colleen's glimmer with tears? Colleen's mouth hangs open--to receive a tentacle?

It's not right that we have these powerful women. Let's humiliate them publicly, on the cover. Let's strip them of their power, wit, and rage, and show them off to everyone who walks by, to show what powerful women can expect, even when we've showed them being powerful. This is what happens when women strut along, kicking butt. This is what they can expect. Savor and learn!

The worst? It was drawn by a woman.

Now Marvel can say, see? We have women working for us, and moreover, she had no problem giving us the kind of cover you whiners have been squealing about. Real women give real men what they want.

I feel sick. I hope they paid her well for this. And I hope she and those at Marvel who approved and wrote this never have another decent night's sleep for the dreams of bold women who spit on them.

These women were something bold and bright to me, but that doesn't matter, not when put up against the publisher's frantic need to cater to the shrinking audience of fanboys with one hand in their laps. It doesn't even occur to them that with each egregious slap in the face to women and girl readers of pride like this, they cost themselves more members of an audience that might replenish that shrinking one, or if it occurs to them, they dismiss it with the flap of a hand, because--wait for it--to them

WOMEN JUST DON'T MATTER EXCEPT AS TOYS.

And that goes for their quisling artists. I hope the quislings don't think work like this means they really matter in the long run. They'll be dubbed "crazy bitches" and dumped the moment they start to stand on their own hind legs.

Comments

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4ti3k4t35
May. 24th, 2007 12:32 am (UTC)
The best part? It's rated T (13+).

flambeau was metaquoted for "Rated T for tentacles, yes?".
tammy212
May. 26th, 2007 11:48 pm (UTC)
Yes, because we want teens to absorb the fate that waits for strong women, or, perhaps, we want them to get a faceful of how men prefer to see their strong women.

Oh, I can see I'm not going to be nice! I've just spent an evening trying to be reasonable and rational about this subject on Jinxworld, the Brian Michael Bendis board, and I'm back among people who don't think like they've been taking "I don't see nuthin wrong with it" pills! Hoo-RAY!!!!!!
shadesong
May. 24th, 2007 12:33 am (UTC)
Misty's clothes are ripped; she's bleeding. Do her eyes and Colleen's glimmer with tears? Colleen's mouth hangs open--to receive a tentacle?

And there's the money shot on Felicia Hardy's breasts...
skalja
May. 24th, 2007 02:45 am (UTC)
Every time I look at Felicia Hardy's (out of character, but al too-well rendered) expression, I cringe. I don't expect Ms. Takeda, one-shot cover artist, to necessarily know that as of Dumb Retcon #2,567, Felicia Hardy is a rape survivor, but the editor who approved that cover darn well should.

So, so freaking wrong.
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matociquala
May. 24th, 2007 12:42 am (UTC)
Woman?

You are a thing of beauty.
tammy212
May. 27th, 2007 12:00 am (UTC)
I am so very honored. You know that, right?
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dewline
May. 24th, 2007 01:06 am (UTC)
Hmmm...
I noticed on Heidi's blog that at least one of the writers is none too thrilled with that cover either. He's got his own reasons for that, but...maybe not too far from yours.
tammy212
May. 27th, 2007 12:11 am (UTC)
Re: Hmmm...
>>He's got his own reasons for that, but...maybe not too far from yours.<<

Actually, his reason is the same as mine: he cares about Misty!

A long time ago, a fan told me there was a fanfic out there in which my girl hero Daine was raped. I sat at my computer and cried. This isn't what I wanted for Daine--she'd been through enough hell. Seeing Misty and Colleen like this felt too much like that, though not quite like it was my kid.
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stareyednight
May. 24th, 2007 01:18 am (UTC)
I'm also unimpressed with the cover, though this is the first I'd seen or heard of it (I'm planning to grab my comics on Sunday). I read Heroes For Hire 'cause it's funny, sexy, and well drawn(I'll get to that in a minute) and because it fufills my personal theme: Girls Who Kick Ass.

But that cover looks like crap. I'll let my boyfriend do the important comic history stuff, because I'm a comics n00b, but I know what I like. And that art? Is not it. I'll admit to liking a busty superhero or four and I thought the cheesecake covers were cute, because inside those same girls were ripping it up like nobody's business. I'm almost more insulted that they let a clearly manga artist ruin what had been pretty good art for the past year. The women look like they belong on the cover of a manga teenage girls blushingly buy and share with their girlfriends in whispered huddles at jr high. Not the cool vixens who can do _fucking anything_. Misty has a bionic arm, for heaven's sake. Colleen could slice you into suishi and Tarantula would kill you rather than look at you sometimes. I'm quite disappointed, but on the heels the whole MJ comiquette outrage, I doubt this will be listened to seriously.
drmm
May. 24th, 2007 02:14 am (UTC)
As a huge manga fan, I can honestly say that a title with that kind of cover isn't one I or many women would buy and giggle about. The titles that appeal to teenagers are much more fluffy and romantic than any manga with that kind of cover would be.
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prydera
May. 24th, 2007 01:19 am (UTC)
That cover makes me feel rather ill. Ugh. It reminds me of the posters for Captivity that Joss Whedon ranted about a couple days ago.

And you're certainly right about how it's not doing them any favors when it comes to getting new fans. Most guys I know would be repulsed by that cover. Things like this are why I read very few comics and most things I read, I read because it was specifically recommended to me by someone who knows me and knows what I'm interested in.
tammy212
Jun. 10th, 2007 07:03 pm (UTC)
>>And you're certainly right about how it's not doing them any favors when it comes to getting new fans. Most guys I know would be repulsed by that cover.<<

It's the sort of thing that would make any sane newcomer say, "You're kidding, right?"

curseangel
May. 24th, 2007 01:21 am (UTC)
..oh my..

Your points made sense to me before I saw the cover, and now that I have.. I honestly can't believe that's being published. It's absolutely revolting.


I hope you don't mind that I friended you - I'm a huge fan of your books, especially the Circle of Magic, Circle Opens, and Will of the Empress. ^^;
tammy212
Jun. 10th, 2007 07:05 pm (UTC)
>> I honestly can't believe that's being published. It's absolutely revolting.<<

Worse, there are people who are saying they don't see anything wrong with it, and don't understand why this is different from other covers in which heroes are portrayed tied up. They're also claiming there's something wrong with anyone who criticizes it.


>>I hope you don't mind that I friended you - I'm a huge fan of your books, especially the Circle of Magic, Circle Opens, and Will of the Empress. ^^;<<

You're more than welcome to friend me! Welcome to my little monkey house!
angriest
May. 24th, 2007 01:26 am (UTC)
I'm finding it increasingly difficult to throw Marvel money, the way they are currently going out of their way to offend every woman and feminist-minded (and by feminist-minded, I mean "intelligent, sane and not trapped in the 20th century") man in sight.

I mean, I really like reading The Incredible Hulk and Newuniversal, but do I like them enough to give this mysogynist publisher yet more money?
tammy212
Jun. 10th, 2007 07:13 pm (UTC)
>>I mean, I really like reading The Incredible Hulk and Newuniversal, but do I like them enough to give this mysogynist publisher yet more money?<<

I take the Fifth.
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redpineapple
May. 24th, 2007 01:31 am (UTC)
Speaking of spit, they seem to be dripping with gooey fluids.

You've probably already seen this, but eww: http://girl-wonder.org/girlsreadcomics/index.php?entry=entry060829-224812
tammy212
Jun. 5th, 2007 08:43 pm (UTC)
Oh, yeah, and I agreed one hundred percent. I nearly chipped a tooth on Soraya's get-up, and choked myself to silence because at least she's occasionally allowed to sound like a Moslem. It's nice to have some positive portrayals of Moslems out there, right?
arcana_j
May. 24th, 2007 01:32 am (UTC)
Ah yes, that vile cover. I posted about it on my LJ too. It kills me that this came to light right on the heals of that freakin' Mary Jane statue. Way to go, Marvel.

Way. To. Go.
tammy212
Jun. 10th, 2007 07:20 pm (UTC)
>>Way to go, Marvel.<<

It takes a special kind of talent, don't you think?
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lurkerwithout
May. 24th, 2007 02:06 am (UTC)
I can only hope that this cover gets anywhere near the attention the statue did. I want to see Marvel and Joey Q explain this...
tammy212
Jun. 10th, 2007 07:21 pm (UTC)
>> I want to see Marvel and Joey Q explain this...<<

And he has! To his satisfaction and the fanboys', if to no one else's!
glaurung_quena
May. 24th, 2007 02:28 am (UTC)
Tamora, you are fabulous and you rock.
tammy212
Jun. 10th, 2007 02:16 pm (UTC)
::blush::
iqeret
May. 24th, 2007 02:31 am (UTC)
Looking at the manga-esque style they've chosen, it makes me wonder if this isn't in some way a negative advertisement. There's still a lot of feeling that manga/anime=porn (which, given the number of bondage/tentacle hentai manga/anime, has _some_ justification). Marvel's choosing this style for this cover underlines this opinion. So I'm wondering if it isn't also trying to say, 'Mama, don't let your babies grow up to be porn(manga) readers' and scare them off the growing competition.

Of course, I could be crediting them with too much intelligence and they just chose the artist because she's cheap and can draw helium boobs. ^_^;

(PS — I _am_ amused at the fact that there does seem to be a chained _male_ in the pic, but he's tactfully hiding behind the pillar.)
superfinemind
May. 24th, 2007 03:29 pm (UTC)
(PS — I _am_ amused at the fact that there does seem to be a chained _male_ in the pic, but he's tactfully hiding behind the pillar.)

Along with another woman who seems to have been reduced to what somebody must have thought are her most desirable qualities-- red hair, bound arms, and breasts.

Also, I think you're overcrediting. While it is obviously copped from Japanese splatter tentacle softcore, I'm not getting a vibe of "Keep your clean little paws off this weird shit" as much as "Ho look, we provide a convenient gateway drug!"
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oakenguy
May. 24th, 2007 03:07 am (UTC)
Oh wow.

This needs to go up on a billboard outside the Marvel offices.
tammy212
Jun. 10th, 2007 02:17 pm (UTC)
>>This needs to go up on a billboard outside the Marvel offices.<<

If anything does that, I suspect it'll be my picture, with rings drawn on it, but I doubt they've noticed me even now.
glaurung_quena
May. 24th, 2007 03:28 am (UTC)
I almost forgot about this, but have been reminded of it by my partner: Check out http://spiralsheep.livejournal.com/134967.html (found via whileaway, where she points out that in addition to its rampant sexism, the cover also manages to largely de-racify Misty; instead of a black woman of African heritage, it portrays her as vaguely South Asian.

Just another reason to find the cover offensive, not that we needed one.
pixelfish
May. 24th, 2007 12:46 pm (UTC)
Man. I am not familiar with the characters, so I had no idea that one of them was meant to be black, based on that cover.


Mrfl.
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goldjadeocean
May. 24th, 2007 03:51 am (UTC)
I keep seeing comments like, "When this character (Misty, Vicky Vale, whatever) was in the original 1960s/70s run, she was cool, but now they've turned her into a brainless sex object/whitified her."

Are comics actually getting worse? And why?
flamingly_fey
May. 24th, 2007 04:08 am (UTC)
Here's my theory:

In the earlier run, the characters were being written for the sake of writing them and selling books to anybody. Now, the industry's being run to cater to a specific group of slavering idiots who don't make up much of comics fandom as a whole chauvinist circle-jerk target audience. A target audience with very narrow views, which may not even exist.
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flamingly_fey
May. 24th, 2007 04:04 am (UTC)
...that thing was drawn by a woman? If you're female and living in today's society, how the hell can't you see what's seriously wrong with that image, even if you're being paid for drawing it? Thanks for the heads-up, but my brain hurts now... and not in a good way at all.
dewline
May. 27th, 2007 12:34 am (UTC)
The artist didn't grow up on this side of the Pacific, as has been noted elsewhere. Different hang-ups, and she wasn't going to see what our problems with it were until she was clued in. Whether she agrees once she is clued in...? No idea.
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mechanicaljewel
May. 24th, 2007 04:11 am (UTC)
tammy212
Jun. 1st, 2007 10:57 pm (UTC)
That LJ made me so happy.
supernonamegirl
May. 24th, 2007 04:43 am (UTC)
I do have to wonder though, what is the "target audience's" opinion to something like this. I mean, to *most* people involved in the discussion, this is such over-the-top trash, and so clearly demeaning and terrible, but what about the 13 year old or even the 30 year old who has read since he (and that's an intentional he) was 13?
I might go to a comic discussion this Friday and I'd love to bring it up, but I've never, ever, ever been before so I'll have to wait and see what it's like. I am a wee-but concerned with some of the store's Myspace friends (gah, I can't believe I just wrote that.) but it might just be them trying to get their word out even more.
tammy212
Jun. 5th, 2007 08:50 pm (UTC)
So supernoname, did you go, and did you bring it up?
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skalja
May. 24th, 2007 05:18 am (UTC)
Thought I'd let you know that I linked to this post in a thread about the cover in girl-wonder.org, if that's all right!
tammy212
May. 24th, 2007 12:03 pm (UTC)
That's absolutely fine--I'm honored!
ratesjul
May. 24th, 2007 05:40 am (UTC)
Hmmm...
If I recall correctly, some of the stuff being posted about the time Marvel signed you for White Tiger was hoping that this would help make comics more interesting to the female market. They wanted to capture that part of the readership market that you would bring to them.

What part of this cover makes a female want to buy a comic?

Maybe that was part of a dream I had, instead.
tammy212
Jun. 10th, 2007 03:36 pm (UTC)
>>What part of this cover makes a female want to buy a comic?<<

Some women (and men) have said they want to see how the women fight their way out of this one. That they don't mind the peril, because they know incside the covers the heroes will kick ass. Looking at their faces, I don't see them in the mood for that, but that's the argument.

>>Maybe that was part of a dream I had, instead.<<

I had that one, too.
thisdaydreamer
May. 24th, 2007 05:40 am (UTC)
Wow.

Thank you for speaking out against this kind of trash. Is it so damn hard to write about women as strong people who aren't sexually objectified or the Damsel in Distress?

And thank you for writing about strong women. I love being able to hand your books to girls as a brilliant alternative to stuff like The Gossip Girls or the Clique series.

Yes, I work in a bookstore.
tammy212
Jun. 5th, 2007 08:54 pm (UTC)
!
>>Thank you for speaking out against this kind of trash. Is it so damn hard to write about women as strong people who aren't sexually objectified or the Damsel in Distress?<<

No, but I think it's hard for Old Boy editors and publishers to loosen their belts and publish them.

>>And thank you for writing about strong women.<<

Thanks! I aims to please!

>> I love being able to hand your books to girls as a brilliant alternative to stuff like The Gossip Girls or the Clique series.

Yes, I work in a bookstore.<<

There's some cool new stuff for this summer. Already out: Holly Black's IRONSIDE and Esther Friesner's NOBODY'S PRINCESS. Soon to arrive: Melissa Marr's WICKED LOVELY (June) and Sarah Durst's INTO THE WILD (June), all four with strong, determined girls who don't take the expected path!
divalea
May. 24th, 2007 05:59 am (UTC)
Hate the cover. It is nasty beyond belief.

I wrote about it here:
http://divalea.livejournal.com/454772.html

In that entry, I referred to this sort of imagery as "manstream" (derived from Marvel a DC being thought of as "mainstream.")
So, now there is a blog dedicated to holding up this...thing and images like it to merciless mocking:
http://manstreamcomics.livejournal.com/

Our goal is to examine comics the way Jon Stewart examines politics: make people laugh and think.


tammy212
Jun. 5th, 2007 08:56 pm (UTC)
And as you see, O Great One, I have finally made my scurrilous way there. It ain't for the faint of heart, but I love it!
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divalea
May. 24th, 2007 06:03 am (UTC)
I totally understand your disappointment over Colleen and Misty: DC did that to me with Amethyst and Barbara Gordon Batgirl. BGBG, especially was a role model for me, that taught me to fight back in a neighborhood where boys sexually harassing girls was "normal."
These myths mean something!
tammy212
Jun. 10th, 2007 02:19 pm (UTC)
>>BGBG, especially was a role model for me, that taught me to fight back in a neighborhood where boys sexually harassing girls was "normal."
These myths mean something!<<

It's a unique betrayal, to see your idols flung down like that. I'm glad I missed it if they did anything of the kind to Black Canary.
chaos386
May. 24th, 2007 02:18 pm (UTC)
I see comic books still haven't gone past the "fat guy who lives in his parents basement and has no chance in hell of ever seeing a real woman" demographic. Seriously, I'm a guy, and I'd never buy something with a cover like this.
tammy212
Jun. 10th, 2007 02:14 pm (UTC)
>>Seriously, I'm a guy, and I'd never buy something with a cover like this. <<

That's what we keep trying to tell the publishers, that's they're losing male readers over material like this, but either they don't care, or they think their core base is unassailable.

Or there's some other thought process going on that I can't begin to fathom, which is certainly more than possible.
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