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She Has No Head! Archives - Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources

She Has No Head! – The Manara Variant Isn’t The Problem

Milo Manara Spider-Woman #001 2014 Variant

Milo Manara’s variant cover for Spider-Woman #1

So, much to everyone’s shock (I’m guessing), I have very little problem with the Milo Manara Spider-Woman #1 variant cover. Surprising to nobody, I do have some issues with the information we have thus far for the forthcoming Spider-Woman book.

So let’s get into it.

Milo Manara is a well-known creator/writer/artist primarily of porn and erotica, perhaps mostly notably a series called Click! (which, full disclosure, I own). So, when you hire Milo Manara to draw a variant, you are hiring him to get a very specific thing: titillating erotic imagery that is at the very least reminiscent of porn and generally of women.

This is exactly what he delivered. It seems ridiculous to criticize Manara for delivering exactly what he does and what was surely expected of him. Though his response to the Spider-Woman cover controversy is depressing and predictable it’s not particularly surprising. Yes, it’s practically a bingo card of alarming statements we see all the time when people try justify portrayals of women in media: the “there’s other ‘real’ problems in the world to worry about” “all superheroes are basically naked with colors on them anyway” “women are just built this way, I draw what I see” “it’s not my fault this how women are/look” “women wear less than this/are more provocative than this in real life” etc. and of course the artist describing the character/his work as “beautiful, nice, attractive, seductive” all of which have to do only with how Spider-Woman looks to him/should look to him and nothing to do with who she is or what she does. Pretty depressing stuff.

But again, as sad as it is to hear these statements, this is a European (Manara is Italian) man that draws Erotica for a living and has for decades. None of this is terribly surprising and anyone surprised by it is not paying attention. The question shouldn’t be why does Manara draw a Spider-Woman that looks more like a porn star than a superhero, the question also shouldn’t be why didn’t Marvel send Manara back to the drawing board when he turned in his work. The question should be why is this what Marvel wanted in the first place?

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She Has No Head! – Sony Makes Their Move

Spider-Woman Gwen Stacy Mash Up

Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy as Spider-Woman (or something similarly Spider-y)

Just an hour before my column about the ladies of the Marvel Studio movies went up, a column that in part lamented our lack of announcements on female-led films, we got an announcement about a female-led superhero film being developed.

UTTER JOY!!!

But that announcement came not from Marvel Studios but Sony.

MUCH MORE RESTRAINED JOY. :(

It’s not rocket science. While Marvel Studios have been killing it with their films – and they seem to be getting better and better – The Avengers (2012), Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014), and Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) are their three best films (except perhaps Iron Man (2008) which set us off on this incredible superhero resurgence in the first place) – Sony has been kind of the opposite of killing it.

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She Has No Head – The 11 Women Of The Marvel Studios Films

So, obviously this is spurred by Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy, which came out last weekend, which demolished all August film openings, which I saw this weekend, and which was, as everyone has already been telling you, pretty much awesome.

But you don’t need another post about that, you’ve seen it all before, there’s nothing new I can tell you. This movie is like pure joy, bottled and delivered directly into your soul. It’s not perfect but it’s fun, funny, and a great example of how super complicated ideas and utterly bizarre characters and concepts can be made “new viewer” friendly and yet still appeal to fans. It’s a success all around.

MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD

SHNH Ranking Marvel Movie Ladies

Click to Embiggen! From Left: Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Emily VanCamp as Agent 13, Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill, Jamie Alexander as Sif, Liv Tyler as Betty Ross, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis, Hayley Atwell as Agent Carter, Karen Gillan as Nebula, and Natalie Portman as Dr. Jane Foster

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She Has No Head! – I Was Wrong, THIS Marks The Destruction of Feminism at DC Comics

David Finch Wonder Woman and White Rabbit

A promotional image from Finch’s Wonder Woman and Finch’s White Rabbit from his book The Dark Knight. Not nearly as different as they should be.

How do you top turning a matriarchal female society historically depicted as honorable in your comics into absolute monsters? For starters, you assign creators that either don’t know what feminism means, or worse, do know and are still afraid to use that word to describe the preeminent female hero in the world. In 2012 I thought feminism had been destroyed at DC Comics but I was wrong, because there were further lows to which we could descend.

We have found new depths as a creator (David Finch) assigned to the most important woman in comics doesn’t know what the word feminist means, or much much worse, knows what it means and doesn’t think that Wonder Woman is a feminist, in other words, he doesn’t believe that Wonder Woman believes in equality of the sexes.

You know what I can’t believe? That this kind of thing can still happen in the year 2014.

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She Has No Head! – 12 Birthday Wishes Round 3!

Four years ago my birthday fell on a Monday and so I decided to make 12 Birthday Wishes…and now Wonder Woman Cakeevery year Sue asks me if I’m doing it again. Though my birthday is not until Saturday, I felt like doing it again this year –apparently I am only interested in doing every two years. Like I did last time I’m going to first recap what I asked for in 2012 and see how we did. Last time the rack up was a pathetic 2.25/12 points…I KNOW we did better this time!

Here goes.

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She Has No Head! – Revisiting ‘No, It’s Not Equal’

acuna cover - rogue

A bizarrely unzipped Rogue kicked us off last time, so only fitting that a zipped up version should kick us off this time.

Back in early 2012 I wrote a piece that became easily my most talked about and commented on, in both good and bad ways. It was called “No it’s Not Equal” and it was all about breaking down the ways that visually, women are not presented equally to men in comics. The piece was born of getting very tired of hearing people say ridiculous things related to female representation in superhero comics – stuff like “all superheroes wear skintight clothes, not just women!” and “it’s comics! nobody has realistic bodies!” I wanted to break down why those arguments are so flawed and how the representation is/has been unbalanced when it comes to men and women. It’s been about 28 months since I posted that piece and I started wondering if anything significant had changed when it comes to mainstream superhero comics.

For me the answer is both yes and no, specifically if we look to the big two, who still do lead the pack when it comes to sales and content as well as spreading their IP to larger markets. And as the leaders who SHOULD be leading us, setting a great example and changing the face of comics.

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She Has No Head! – DC Dream Comics

blackbat

Cassandra Cain by Ross Campbell

A couple weeks ago, Girls Gone Geek was running a hashtag on twitter called #DreamComics asking people to pitch their character and creative team that would make up their dream comics at DC and Marvel. There were some great suggestions. Because I was a bit busy I simply gave them a link to my Marvel “Dreamy Lady Team Ups” column from late 2013 instead of coming up with new ideas, but it got me thinking about DC books, which I never did a similar piece for. In truth, I never did a “Dreamy Lady Team Ups” piece (or similar) for DC because it’s just a rough place for me right now. There are so many characters I love there, but – as many of you are well aware – it’s just not a very welcoming place to me right now. I find the treatment of female characters to be pretty appalling and even beyond that the tone is incredibly dark and gritty throughout the universe, and honestly, I don’t understand the universe very well anymore – the ages of characters, what was retconned and what was kept, it’s kind of a mess in my head. However, as I was thinking about it, DC not being a great/welcoming places these days is the best possible reason to come up with a list of what I’d love to see. And so here we are.

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She Has No Head! – The Disturbing Heart of DC’s Bombshell Covers

Ever since DC announced these covers, like many, I’ve had a wary eye on them. It seemed Bombshells Headerdisturbing that all the teasers we saw featured only women but part of me could not believe that in the year 2014 an entire company could be so magnificently tone deaf that they would create sexy variant “bombshell” covers featuring ONLY women.

And yet here we are.

All the covers have been released and all of them are sexy lady covers. Of course they are. Why do I even bother to hope?

This painfully reaffirms – in fact it screams from the rooftops – how DC views both men and women as characters and as people. Their message is clear – men can’t be “sexy bombshells” and women are and MUST be sexy bombshells. Their comics are for straight white males, full stop.

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She Has No Head! – The Art of Silencing

So I wanted to tackle this concept today for three reasons.

1. Because there was an aggressive attempt at a really classic form of silencing early on this comments to the excellent CSBG guest post Let Girls Take The Lead by Barbara Slate.

2. Because I, like many out there, AM working hard to create, and I thought it might be beneficial to some people that don’t create (or don’t yet) to understand exactly what is involved in “creating” and why it’s particularly annoying for people to assume we’re not doing that very thing. And—

3. Because I am swamped with work doing that exact thing (creating/running a business) and so this was a timely moment for me to talk about this issue and I’m too busy to think much about actual comics right now, so this felt right.

I got your creation right here, buddy.

I got your creation right here, buddy.

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She Has No Head! – Comics Domination!

This past year with The Walking Dead continuing its ratings domination, the high profile debut Agent Carter Shortof Agents of Shield, and Arrow getting a good deal of praise as it upped its game, it kind of felt like comics were really taking over TV a little bit, especially with all the gossip about books (and concepts) that were being considered and optioned. But if I’m counting correctly in the next year (or so) we’re looking at about EIGHTEEN NINETEEN ongoing shows adapted from comics (and that doesn’t include three mini-series for Syfy, or the Netflix Defenders mini-series “event”, or the Heroes Reborn nonsense).

That is INSANE. From about three properties to EIGHTEEN NINETEEN?!?

Wow. So very little is known about most these new shows. We’ve seen a trailer for GOTHAM and we got a trailer for CONSTANTINE this week and we’ve seen casting and teasers for a few more shows. Right now, most are big question marks, but based on what we know, let’s take a look at them. To make things more fun, I’ll rate my interest level via the official* Taco Bell Rating System.

SAUCES.

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She Has No Head! – Five by Five

And I mean that title literally. The definition of “five by five” is as follows: Five by five is the best of 25 possible subjective responses used to describe the quality of communications, specifically the signal-to-noise ratio.

Marvel’s “quality of communication” on their interest in female leads right now is FIVE BY FIVE.

It’s also a handy way to talk about the five new female-led books they’ve launched and with the debut of Elektra last week, I can say unequivocally they are all good. And that, is, well, that’s HUGE.

SHNH five by five header  Continue Reading »

She Has No Head! – Zen Has Officially Left The Building

Last week I opted to talk about the awesomeness that was the new Lumberjanes Equal Signcomic instead of the disgusting madness surrounding a well-reasoned critical piece written by former DC Editor Janelle Asselin about a comic book cover. Frequent commenter Dean Hacker called me Zen. We all had a good chuckle.

Apparently you cats DO. NOT. WANT. ME. TO. BE. ZEN.

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She Has No Head! – Absolute Awesomeness

Lumberjanes 1 Cover

Lumberjanes #1 Cover by Noelle Stevenson, Maddie Flores, Lauren Zuke

There’s been a lot of controversy going around with women and comics, driven in large part by a piece former DC Editor Janelle Asselin wrote about the new Teen Titans cover on CBR. It’s sparked a lot of good discussion and as usual, a ton of nightmarish behavior. I thought a lot about writing about it, but I gotta be honest, it’s just not in me right now. Maybe it’s not true for everyone, but for me, to take on these big pieces that you know are likely to be controversial takes not only a lot of literal time but also a ton of mental energy and I just don’t have it in me right now for either of those things. Maybe that will change in the coming weeks and I’ll have something of merit to add to the discussion, but for now, read Asselin’s piece and also this most excellent piece on Comics Alliance by Andy Khouri.

Here we’re just going to talk about the absolute awesomeness that is LUMBERJANES. The kind of comic every young girl should get the opportunity to read – and hell, young boys too. It may be designed with “hardcore lady-types” in mind, but it’s wonderful reading for anyone, in fact, perhaps it should be required reading to broaden minds and generally spread happiness and goodness to the world.

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She Has No Head! – Context, She Is King

One of the first posts I ever wrote for CSBG was all about context, and specifically, how truedetectiveMarvel’s context was showing when it came to their portrayal of women. Since then I’ve frequently talked about context, but never entirely devoted a post to it again. New Yorker writer Emily Nussbaum’s harsh take on critical darling True Detective a few weeks ago though had me thinking a lot about that context post, and about how much context shapes how we process things.

I loved True Detective (though I’ll agree they did not stick the landing in the finale) and I didn’t agree with all of Nussbaum’s points but I couldn’t get away from the value of her argument, less because I related to it from a television perspective and more because I couldn’t help but see the relation from a comics perspective.

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She Has No Head! – Random Thoughts Mash-up #4

Batman Lil Gotham Harley Quinn Figure

Harley Quinn Figure from Dustin Nguyen’s Batman: Li’l Gotham Line

Thanks to the awesome success of the Kickstarter for my new book (and thanks to those of you that helped with that) I find myself with even less time than usual (or believable), but I didn’t want to leave you all hanging a second week in a row, so I thought another Random Thoughts Mash-up might be in order. Besides, the way my thoughts are colliding this is probably the most natural way to get them out there anyway.

Random She Thought: It’s She Has Random Thoughts Time! Get Excited!

Link Thought: 79semifinalist for twitter-y comics stuff, Kelly Thompson on CBR for review-y comics stuff and 1979 Semi-Finalist for everything else. And as always, thanks to Chad Nevett for the column.

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