5.28.2007

Silly Quesada, hentai is for adults!

Warning: some portions of this entry are decidedly NSFW.

Okay, so I lied.

But only a little bit.

I said I wasn't going to say anything about Heroes for Hire #13, and I didn't intend on doing so.

I've also avoided talking about the now-infamous "Mary Jane doin' laundry" Comicquette statue because, like the Heroes for Hire cover, I really don't feel I've much to bring to the table that hasn't been said by others in a more articulate fashion than I could muster.

And even now, this post really isn't about that. It's more about Marvel Editor in Chief Joe Quesada and his crazy antics.

The Fortress Keeper wrote an interesting response to Quesada's comments on Heroes for Hire #13. I threw in my two cents over there, but really, I went along my merry after that. It wasn't until I found the latest New Joe Fridays column from Newsarama that I was reminded of what a ridiculous huckster Joseph Quesada is.

First I'll begin with Quesada's response to the Mary Jane statue, the least offensive of the two:

When fans saw the statue was exactly the same time I was made aware of it, I have no involvement in that stuff and haven’t kept up with the brouhaha. It kind of floors me in a way because Adam Hughes is brilliant and is known for his amazingly sexy portrayal of strong women, so I’m not quite sure what people are up in arms about? Seriously, fill me in because I’ve literally been out of town and out of the loop.
Quesada avoids the issue here by referring not to the statue itself, but to the art that the statue is based off of. My understanding is that the original Adam Hughes art wasn't seen as all that bad, and have seen some even refer to it using the word "cute." My understanding is that the issue people have with the statue is the slightly overexaggerated anatomy (Tom Foss used the term "terribly stretched-out," which I think is fitting), the well-placed rips in the jeans, and the ridiculously high thong peeking out from underneath the low-rider jeans.

I might be able to buy that Joe wasn't really aware of the statue until it was actually finished and ready to be solicited, but he's not really responding to the issue. By referring to the art the statue is based on as opposed to the statue itself, he's kind of misleading people. The Adam Hughes art is a bit sexist in the way that pin-up girls of the 1950's were, but it's not really that bad (in my estimation). It's the statue that people are up in arms about, Joe. The statue.

Immediately following that response, Newsarama asked him to respond to the Heroes for Hire controversy:

First, I think people are reading way too much into that cover than was ever intended. I heard terms such as “tentacle rape” being thrown around when that in no way is what’s happening, nor does it happen in the book. Those tentacles are the arms of the Brood who appears in the issue and is a major story point, the Brood have tentacles, sorry about that.

Secondly, the concept for that cover, soup to nuts came from a female artist. Thirdly, not being a deep follower of manga, I have no idea what recurring theme people are referring to or concerned with. While I appreciate the sentiment and the feelings that some may have about this, I honestly feel that there is way too much being read into this cover.

Also, HFH is a book that features two strong, lead female protagonist who kick major ass; somehow folks have forgotten to focus on that.

There is so much wrong with this response that I don't really even know where to begin.

Firstly, I don't buy the fact that Joe Quesada has never encountered "tentacle rape." I'm not saying that in any kind of derogatory slight against his character; just that, as the gatekeeper of the Marvel Universe and therefore each and every pop-culture icon contained therein, whose stories are told in a medium that's often associated or at least connected with anime and manga, I find it hard to believe that he's never once come across any instances of the tentacle rape phenomenon.

I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and accept that it's possible, though - but in that case, when he heard of the fan outcry, why didn't he take any steps to actually find out what tentacle rape actually is? His stance is, essentially, "I've never really encountered this, so I don't really get why people are so upset." This is your readership, Joe. You should take it upon yourself to figure out why the fuck people are so upset and respond adequately.

So what is your response, Mr. Quesada? "Well, um, the tentacles belong to the Brood! And no actual rape takes place in the book! And these girls are kick ass!"

Ridiculous. Firstly, does the fact that the tentacles belong to the Brood even matter? Would it be more offensive if it were some anonymous monster or perhaps an octopus? The issue people have is not to whom the tentacles actually belong; rather, the issue is with what it seems blatantly obvious the tentacles are doing and not who they belong to.

And doesn't the fact that these girls are supposed to be "kick ass" make this cover all the more appalling? Sure, these girls kick ass left and right, but as has been explored ad infinitum, they, like many comic book heroines, find themselves in a compromising position that no self-respecting male character would find himself in (which opens the door for an entirely different kind of exploitation that I'm not prepared to discuss in this particular post).

Seriously, Quesada. How can you look at this...


...and then compare it to stuff like this...


...and NOT see the problem that people are having with this particular comic book cover?

Seriously. I mean, at the very least, that hentai DVD cover at least has a warning label: "Guess what, Mom? Don't buy this for your fucking twelve-year-old!" And yet, Marvel continues to label Heroes for Hire #13 as a teen (13+) book. Perhaps the content itself is more than suitable for any Little Johnny or Sally to pick up and read, but you wouldn't know it looking at that cover.

Seriously! Look at it. It's like publishing an issue of Amazing Spider-Man featuring Mary Jane or the Black Cat with a big, cheesy grin and a face covered in sticky white fluid on the cover, and then going public and saying "Come on, guys! It's obviously web fluid! What's the big deal?!"

These two little comments say a lot about where the head of Quesada and therefore Marvel is at these days. Firstly, it's a boys club. Sure, they're fully willing to put out quirkly little titles like Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane in order to draw in the tween girl crowd, but when it comes to a mainstream title rooted in the proper Marvel Universe, there's little, if anything, on the surface that would or should appeal to any female reader. Secondly, the fact that Quesada is completely unwilling to do anything but defend, defend, defend, and sell, sell, sell, as opposed to actually taking the time to address the issue at hand does nothing more than enrage intelligent readers - male and female - and show everyone exactly why he's qualified for little more than hype. Thirdly, that he's unwilling to do anything about it whether or not he actually gets it - change the cover, slap a "mature readers only" label on that one issue - shows that he's only looking at the dollar signs - because as we've seen various times in modern comic book history, hype sells and so does controversy. Add those sales to the sales you were already guaranteed with the regular readership and the misinformed teenage hormone bomb, and you've got an issue of Heroes for Hire that's poised to sell a hell of a lot more copies than originally anticipated.

I just wish that, for once in his career, Quesada would address the readers intelligently. As opposed to deflection, what about actual conversation? Then you might get to the root of the issue and figure out exactly what people are so up in arms about. And be willing to concede, dammit! When you or your company is in the wrong, fucking admit it. By constantly putting a positive spin on the negative or refusing to acknowledge it altogether, you prove to your readership that you're stupid, stubborn, or both. And when you wonder why it's so hard to obtain new readers, especially female ones, you really don't do anything but promote that idea in the minds of the readers.

Whew. That kind of took on a life of its own there.

I'm done ranting. I'm glad I decided to post about this after all - I feel better now that I've gotten all of that unbridled rage off of my chest...

-M

5 comments:

SallyP said...

When it comes to tap-dancing around a question, there is no doubt that Quesada can out-do Fred Astaire. Because he doesn't REALLY want to address the meat of the question anyway, so he somehow manages to deflect the original idea, and gets into different issues.

It IS annoying. I don't think that he's going to change anytime in the near future either, because his first loyalty seems to be to the shareholders, rather than the READERS.

Between the MJ statue and the Heroes for Hire cover, I am rather nervously awaiting what Marvel will be throwing our way next.

Anonymous said...

The really horrible thing is, I find the H4H cover *worse* than the La Blue Girl cover, because at least the women on the lBG cover are *active*. Two of them are posed in defensive fighting stances, one is running to (presumably) try to rescue the other girl from the tentacles, and even the tentacle-bound girl is screaming. They're not submissive. The H4H women are just hanging there in defeat, resigned to their fate.

Ami Angelwings said...

Quesada would make a politician or sports manager proud with how he evades questions >.>;;;

And I find his defense that oh the brood have tentacles, sorry, is hilarious xD

Men have penises... so it's okay to show them too, b/c oh sorry, they have them? >.>;;;

The Mutt said...

The pose of the MJ statue doesn't bug me much because it is in character. It's just ugly and useless, is all.

Without the text, I couldn't have begun to guess who those women on the HforH cover are. I'd have never have guessed bad-ass fighters who star in their own comic.

Joel Phillips said...

IT IS TIME TO ELIMINATE ISLAM
by Joel Phillips
publisher: www.religiousfreedomwatch.org
owner: American Coast Title www.actfortitle.com

Just watching the news from London is a reminder that we’re living in an age of terrorism. And, sad to say, almost all terrorism has something to do with Islam and Muslims, you just won’t find much of it that is not in some way connected.

Just look at a few:

First World Trade Center Attack: a blind Egyptian guy was behind it. No one contests it.

Oklahoma City: don’t forget that McVeigh served in the first Gulf War. There is good reason to think he was recruited by jihadists in Iraq who were active at the time.

9/11: Islamic suicide extremists, forget the other theories. They were Taliban zealots hoping for 172 virgins and palaces in Islamic heaven.

Spanish train bombs: more Jihad extremists, basically the same bunch as the 9/11.

London train bombs: not the same 9/11 and Spain guys, but more British Muslims from Pakistan.

Virginia Tech: This one is so sad. Psychiatry started Cho out. Then Islamic recruiters told Cho he would get infinite sex in Muslim heaven from the 172 virgins so he converted. By trying to destroy Virginia Tech he thought he was attacking Bush’s aggression in Afghanistan.

London night club bombs: Good for the Brit cops, they have caught some of the guys and it is more of these Pakistan guys and doctors at that, some of them were even psychiatrists. Maybe it is time to have a serious think about what to do about Pakistan. Mixing up Islam, Muslims, psychiatry and Pakistan is a recipe for mass murder and terrorism. Trust me on this one.

It is no accident or coincidence the bigots who oppose religious freedom are inspired by Islamic thought.

Just look at some of the fine people on www.religiousfreedomwatch.org. EVERY SINGLE PERSON on there is a zealot, bigot or extremist and you will find that most of them have extensive criminal records. Take a look at these criminal records and you will find the influence of Islam.

Charlotte Kates: this young woman is a card-carrying member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization. They are kind of the poster child for Muslim terrorists and an inspiration to Islamic murderers all over the world. What is her problem?

Peter Alexander: this man makes hate films. He is also building some kind of an amusement park in the Arab Gulf. Is is clearly doing the bidding of Islamist extremist jihad promoting masters all the way around.

Patricia Greenway: this woman is Alexander’s business partner and lover. She likes to live the high life and Arab money helps out there. Word in Ybor City is that she has her eye on an Enzo.

Kristi Wachter: she puts out a daily hate newsletter. She has paid for the theft of materials from churches. She says she used to run a record company but how much money could it make? It seems to me she is getting her money from bin Laden and his friends.

David Touretzky: don’t be fooled. This man is not a mouse brain researcher, he is a bomb expert. Who is really paying for his research? Could it be the same bomb makers loose in Iraq?

Keith Henson: first, don’t forget that but for www.religiousfreedomwatch.org this man would still be on the loose. He’s not just a bomb expert but a proved bomb maker. And who wants to pay for bombs? Jihad extremists! Who is paying for him to be able to buy toothpaste in jail? Could it be a guy called Osama?

Tory Bezazian: she walked away from her husband of many years to engage in hate activities. Where does she get money? The answer is Islam. She is a directly funded agent of the Los Angeles Koranic Council.

Andreas Heldal-Lund: the man is proud to support Lars Gule who was behind bombings in the Middle East. That sort of speaks for itself now doesn’t it?

As to the site, www.religiousfreedomwatch.org, it is paid for 100% by my company, American Coast Title. I am one of the owners. The other two owners, Frank Berriz and Linda Blood are 100% behind what I am doing as is our parent underwriter Stewart Title. We also get pretty good support from our employees although it would be illegal of me to impose my political beliefs on them.

Does it surprise you that I am being attacked by Indonesians? Not a coincidence that Indonesia is an Islamic country. The company is willing to pay a nice reward to the person who will stand up and help me stop them. Please look at my site for details.

Speaking of my employees, props to George Ramirez. A real man. When people came around to make trouble George Ramirez took care of them. Yes he may of talked like a truck driver but sometimes it takes what it takes. Were they Islamic zealots? Well none of them left there ID or Koran laying around but the truth will come out. It always does and of course you could always check www.religiousfreedomwatch.org for the latest details!

Expect without doubt a lot of trouble in Glendale. That’s where American Coast Title is located as well as a dense population of Armenians. The Armenians don’t like Arab Muslims so the area is getting very tense as the clock ticks down for Islamic terrorism.

So I am calling for the total elimination of Islam. Many other religious choices are available to those currently in Islam. Islam must go and no Muslim can be allowed to remain anywhere in the world.

All Mosques must either be destroyed or made into something else. The other day we did a title for one that was converted into a shopping center, now that’s a good use for one!

All copies of the Koran must be rounded up and burned or otherwise destroyed. If libraries insist on keeping them for historical reasons they have to be under lock and key and they have to post a guard to make sure no one copies them.

Conversion to another validated religion or acceptance of atheism are the only options I see. No other religion is associated with state sponsored terror as documented by the US State Department Report on Terrorism.

One thing that has to happen after is that women have to wear normal clothes. No more of these Islamic things. I mean local clothes are fine and kind of cute but no symbol of Islam can remain as it will just get cause restimulation of what started out as the worship of a giant magnetic stone by savage nomads. So get rid of all those crescent moons and so on!

This is a strong statement but it is time to end these attacks with bombs full of nails and gas. No other group does this. It is all and always back to Islam, Muslims, the Koran and groups like the Taliban and various sleeper cells.

Stand up with me on this one. Stand tall with me against Muslims who kill in the name of jihad and Islam and the false words of the Koran hoping for 172 virgins in a palace. Stand shoulder to shoulder with me to stop the next bunch of suicidal bigots and zealots from burning down your city.

Proud to be an American and a Scientologist

Joel Phillips