All right, I admit it: Comiquette-gate has far more legs than I’d thought possible.
Yesterday, the New York Post checked in with an article about the Mary Jane and her laundry. It’s not terribly articulate, and I’m not convinced the writer actually knows what the internet is, as he says things like “on the site Livejournal.com”. It reads like someone said “Hey, write an article about this thing. I need it in ten minutes.” But still – Real media!
Today, the Toronto Star checks in with a more comprehensive article that manages to wrangle a perfunctory statement from Marvel:
“The Mary Jane statuette is the latest release in a limited edition collectibles line. The item is aimed at adults that have been long-time fans of the Marvel Universe. It is intended only for mature collectors and sold in specialty, trend, collectible and comic shops – not mass retail.”
I find the use of the words “adult” and “mature” in conjunction with this sort of statue fairly ridiculous. And incidentally, how many of Marvel’s products are sold outside of “specialty, trend, collectible and comic shops”? Not that it particularly matters: It’s pretty much a non-statement, used in conjunction with the strategy generally known as “Ignoring It and Hoping it Goes Away.”
The interesting question, then, is where does it go from here? Is this an “Internet Comic Nerds are Funny” story, or is there more to it? This is, to some, an unusual story, and it’s at least got a high-profile tie-in to a blockbuster film. It’s certainly got more mass appeal than “Bad Artist Turns Power Girl Into Sex Doll.” And will the comic press, such as it is, pick up on at all? Will CBR or Newsarama, with their relatively easy access the higher-ups at Marvel, pursue it any way, or will it be a one-off question to Joe Quesada with no followup?
Incidentally, Sideshow Toys, the company at the heart (kind of) of the storm has fallen behind in purging political commentary from the statue’s page. (Which, let’s face it, is perfectly understandable: How many companies are going to let people use their website to denigrate their product?) At this point, pretty much everyone posting there seems to have some sort of psychological dysfunction pulling them to one extreme or another: The person who says “This has got to be one of the most sexist statuettes I’ve ever seen” has clearly not seen very many statuettes based on comic book women.
On the other hand, poster after poster maintains that there’s nothing wrong with the statue, it’s not sexist, and that it’s perfectly plausible and in-character. Guys, seriously: The statue is a short walk down the hall from being softcore porn. It’s pure cheesecake, and it’s cheesecake that doesn’t even have most of the charm of the original Adam Hughes drawing. Just admit it: The statue is all about sexual titillation. It makes no sense on any level beyond that. If you’re into that sort of thing, just come clean. You’re still kind of creepy, but at least you don’t seem like you’re in desperate denial about it.
Also, “There are more important things to worry about” may be strictly true, but it’s hardly a defence for anything. If it were, it would be okay for me to beat you into unconciousness with the statue, since there are more important things – like murder, and war – than petty, if enthusiastic, assault.