Monday, May 21, 2007

Mary Jane Statue Provokes Outrage

It seems that Marvel is looking dumb again by releasing a Mary Jane statue that is a cheesecake, washer-woman right out of the 40s.

It is an old, school representation of the subservient female comic character that in 1942 gave us Wonder Woman as "secretary" of the JSA and not a full member until years later. You would think that this kind of sexism in comics has been left behind in the 1940s but I guess Marvel is bringing it back.

On the other hand DC Comics has been toiling for years to bring us female characters that aren't just the fantasy servants of male nerds who live in their parents' basements. Some stuff from DC like Birds of Prey (incidentally written by a woman, Gail Simone) show female superheroes as desirable, smart, and bad-assed at the same time.

They really don't need male super heroes in order to stop the menaces that they do. In fact most of the DC heroes actually rely on Oracle to provide them with intel, help them defeat their enemies, and even save their lives. Also Birds of Prey doesn't try to make the women all butch and mannish with tons of muscles popping out all over. These women are smart, sexy and get the job done all at the same time.

There seems to be nothing comparable at Marvel. Even their publisher doesn't give much thought to their female fans. This guy is basically saying that if women happen to pick up a Spider-man book then Marvel needs to funnel them toward comics meant for them like Spider-man Loves Mary Jane. He doesn't say that Marvel wants to make Mary Jane a stronger or smarter character in order to appeal to female fans that pick up Amazing Spider-man. I guess Marvel is still for the "He-man woman haters club" while DC is actually becoming the big tent of comics. It's any wonder why the only Marvel book I read is Amazing Spider-man (and I may drop the book after this Mary Jane fiasco.)

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