Earlier today, Janelle Asselin, a longtime comics editor and critic who currently writes the "Hire This Woman" column at Comics Alliance, published a guest article on popular corporate megasite Comic Book Resources decrying the horrendous cover to Teen Titans #1 by Kenneth Rocafort. Asselin criticized the use of ginormous boob implants on teenaged character Wonder Girl, amongst other crappy design choices. Here's an excerpt:
Let's start with the elephant in the room: Wonder Girl's rack. Perhaps I'm alone in having an issue with an underaged teen girl being drawn with breasts the size of her head (seriously, line that stuff up, each breast is the same size as her face) popping out of her top. Anatomy-wise, there are other issues -- her thigh is bigger around than her waist, for one -- but let's be real. The worst part of this image, by far, are her breasts. The problem is not that she's a teen girl with large breasts, because those certainly exist. The main problem is that this is not the natural chest of a large-breasted woman. Those are implants. On a teenaged superheroine. Natural breasts don't have that round shape (sorry, boys). If you don't believe me, check out this excellent tutorial from artist Meghan Hetrick.
A secondary problem is that no girl with breasts that large is going to wear a strapless top for anything, much less a career that involves a lot of physical activity. In previous New 52 "Teen Titans" covers and issues, we've seen this same costume, but more often than not, WG's breasts are drawn smaller, or the top is pulled up higher. The way Rocafort has drawn her here, we're one bounce away from a nipslip. On a teenager. In case you forgot that entirely relevant point.
It's unusual for CBR, which frequently features full page paid advertisements from Marvel and DC and is frequently the recipient of EXCLUSIVE content deals with the big two, to publish negative commentary on Big Two comics, so the article naturally ruffled some feathers. It didn't take long for DC stock artist Brett Booth to complain about the criticism on Twitter:
I think I just read the most biased nitpick comic article I've very read and THATS saying something. Way to go CBR.— Brett Booth (@Demonpuppy) April 11, 2014
That's right, according to Brett Booth, suggesting that teenagers shouldn't be depicted as surgically enhanced sex objects is both biased and nitpicking. Of course, Booth has a job in comics, so he is naturally followed on social media by dim-witted starfuckers ready to come to his defense at a moment's notice. So it didn't take long for the misogyny to kick in:
Asselin responded, noting her long and well-known career in comics:
To which Booth countered:
Luckily, Booth was happy to explain:
Ah, it's the old Smarm vs. Snark argument. One of our favorites. If you don't have something nice to say, you shouldn't say anything at all - a dangerous and nonsensical platitude.
Here's the cover Asselin took apart:
Go over to CBR (a phrase you rarely hear us utter) and check out her critique. Do you think she's on the money? It'll be interesting to see how CBR responds. Will they continue to publish "negative" criticism, or will they be cowed by the backlash from DC employees? We'll have to see, but hopefully someone over there is listening to our thoughts on comics journalism, and if so, good for them.
UPDATE: The fun went on for a while while Ol' Jude Terror was off cooking dinner (a delicious vegetarian coconut curry with peanuts, potatoes, peppers and onions - thanks for asking), and you can read the whole thread here, but I wanted to highlight this final bit, where it turned into outright paranoia as Booth and his fans decided that this was just part of an ongoing media bias against DC Comics:
@DanielKalban Don't bother. they've closed ranks. They even tried to make it about sexism. Just block them and move on!— Brett Booth (@Demonpuppy) April 12, 2014
@Demonpuppy I can see that. The media is fricking biased against DC now, its disgusting.— Daniel Kalban (@DanielKalban) April 12, 2014
@DanielKalban It's backlash because DC wants to control the interviews more. Newsarama guy had a meltdown about it a fews ago.— Brett Booth (@Demonpuppy) April 12, 2014
@Demonpuppy I know. Wrote an editorial condemning newsarama and BC. Pissed off Rich XD— Daniel Kalban (@DanielKalban) April 12, 2014
@Demonpuppy Who exactly do you think she attacked? She criticized art and marketing decisions and didn't get truly personal.— Megan Is Bossy (@thewherefores) April 12, 2014
@Demonpuppy she did? Talk about disgruntled former employee. A journalist should be more impartial.— Daniel Kalban (@DanielKalban) April 12, 2014
By impartial, they mean kiss corporate ass, of course.
@TiredFairy I can't believe how condescending that industry professional just was to you. So gross.— Jennifer de Guzman (@Jennifer_deG) April 12, 2014
@Jennifer_deG also: I dig how apparently everyone else has an anti DC agenda, but working for them means he's neutral?— Mariah Huehner (@TiredFairy) April 12, 2014
@Jennifer_deG and frankly, if DC can't take some cover criticisms...::shrug::— Mariah Huehner (@TiredFairy) April 12, 2014
@shanedavisart I saw snark and insults. TT worked in the 80s now it's struggling.— Brett Booth (@Demonpuppy) April 12, 2014
@Demonpuppy yep. Right now it's far easier to bash DC for some reason and get away with it; while giving others doing similar actions a pass— Daniel Kalban (@DanielKalban) April 12, 2014
@DanielKalban Yeah, I'm pretty sure I'm now misogynist in her eyes. Was also just called a pedo. People are funny!— Brett Booth (@Demonpuppy) April 12, 2014
@DanielKalban Yeah. And they wonder why DC is keeping things close to their chest.— Brett Booth (@Demonpuppy) April 12, 2014
You see, comics media, if you would just only say nice things about DC, they would give you more exclusive news and access! Why can't you understand the simple concept of payola?!
Remember, this article was posted at CBR, which is normally (overly) positive about Big Two comics. But all of a sudden, they are the love child of Bleeding Cool and The Outhouse.
Oh noes! It's a conspiracy!
A conspiracy involving... stuffy noses?
Apparently they've never read The Outhouse. :)
Look... for us to come to the defense of CBR, who we usually like to make fun of for being TOO NICE to Marvel and DC, you know something has got to be really off the wall. This wasn't a conspiracy to disparage DC because of... sinus problems... for fuck's sake. It was a measured piece that you may agree or disagree with. Trying to silence criticism under the guise of civility is far more insidious than any art critique.
EDIT: In all the hubbub last night, we missed one other comment from Booth. Read it below and chew on it for a bit.
MONDAY UPDATE: Following up on the events of the weekend, Janelle Asselin posted an update on Tumblr, in which she reflects on some of the responses she received, including the old internet standby of rape threats. Nice job being terrible, fanboys. Read that here.