Marvel came under fire recently after hiring erotic artist Milo Manara to create a variant cover for the first issue of the new Spider-Woman ongoing series. His art was seen by some as a vulgar and sexual representation of the beloved character and one that particularly offended female readers who have been fighting for female comic book heroes to be taken seriously. Although this cover is still going to be made available to customers, his future variants have been cancelled.
Manara had also been commissioned to provide covers for the upcoming Avengers & X-Men: Axis #1 and Thor #2, Diamond comics have however confirmed to comic book retailers that these will no longer be available. Due to the unwanted attention Marvel has drawn from media outlets and outraged fans, its likely they have dropped these to avoid any further fallout. Marvel have not made any official statement at this time and no one has actually seen what the other covers looked like but its likely they would have included the same sexually explicit images as his previous contribution.
This is a very controversial topic as some believe art of any kind should never be censored and since the variants in question are very limited, its unlikely many readers would actually have gotten their hands on them. On the other than, comic books as a medium have always come under fire for the objectification and sexualisation of women, even female superheroes who often still wear skimpy uniforms and pose in provocative ways.
With movies and tv shows based on these properties now becoming big business and potentially drawing in a new generation of fans, female readers do need to feel they are being represented realistically and its up to Marvel and DC as the big two to show that they are up to the task.
What do you think? Have Marvel done the correct thing in listening to concerns and acting appropriately or is this a move back to the hated comic book code forced on the industry all those years ago?