When I read an article yesterday morning from The Beat that several of Milo Manara’s upcoming variant covers had been canceled, I did a little happy dance in my chair. You’ll remember the Manara Spider-Woman cover that was heavily criticized a few weeks ago.
Many websites were quick to ridiculous this pose, io9 released images of a grotesque 3D model of the position, Kelly Sue DeConnick commented on it in an interview with TheMindHut, and The Mary Sue absolutely went to town on the image, photoshopping strange images onto Spider-Woman’s butt and featuring a video of women attempting – and failing – to reenact Spider-Woman’s position. And those were just the articles I personally read, a quick Google search will show you dozens more.
In a weekly interview with Comic Book Resources, Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso apologized for the image, saying that they realized that the messages sent in the Milo Manara variant cover were not what was intended. At the same time, Alonso firmly mentioned that Marvel would be commissioning covers from Manara in the future, but that they were “aware of the growing sensitivity to covers like this.” It felt like Marvel was attempting to have its cake and eat it too.
Naturally, when news reached the internet that several of Milo Manara’s upcoming variant covers had been canceled, it appeared as if Marvel was changing their tune. No more grossly sexy covers! No more butts lifted grotesquely in the air! No more weird faces!
Not the case.
The reality, according to Comic Book Resources, is that the canceled covers were just part of bad scheduling, not any indication that Marvel is withdrawing support from Manara’s variant covers. Alonso says,
Clearly, unequivocally, I want to state that this is only a scheduling problem. The Manara covers were recast due to his schedule. He will be doing more covers for us, in fact, he’s working on one right now that will be announced sometime soon.
While many people (myself included, obviously) had their hopes up about this development, a seedier part of the web jumped on the chance to turn the canceled covers into a debate over censorship – attempting to create #ComicGate on the back of the recent #GamerGate movement.
Really? The Milo Manara covers got cancelled. Who's about silencing again? #ComicGate
— Every Fanboy Ever (@fanboy_txt) September 24, 2014
While I was initially sad that the Manara covers hadn’t been cancelled, at this point I’m just wearily thankful that the #ComicGate crowd has no legs to stand on. August and September were rough months for women in gaming, and I’d hate to see that vitriol spread to comics.