Comic Book Resources ran an interview with Zenescope with co-founder and Editor in Chief Ralph Tedesco and co-founder Brusha to celebrate Grimm Fairy Tales #100, and since Zenescope doesn't have the money to pay for those sweet full page background ads, CBR had no problems asking the tough questions. In particular, they asked about those sexy covers and variant covers that depict nude or nearly nude female characters in ridiculous poses. Zenescope brushed it off, insisting that they write strong female characters:
"Our point of view was always, we're going to develop badass female characters, badass female protagonists that can take care of themselves," Tedesco said. "If you look at our characters, the way they dress as opposed to other female characters in other comics, we don't see a big difference."
Despite that assertion, he does admit that some of Zenescope's more explicit variants, covers designed with a "specific audience" in mind, are "certainly why we get a lot of flack."
They went on to deny knowing anything about The Hawkeye Initiative, and actually had the brass balls to claim their characters are dressed and posed the way they are on covers to be faithful to the characters' history:
Telling CBR News he couldn't speak to what the Tumblr was trying to accomplish since he was not aware of the existence of The Hawkeye Initiative, Tedesco did profess his belief that "for the most part, we feel pretty strongly that our female characters are portrayed as badass female characters. As far as, should a pose be the same as a male and female, it's hard to say." The pose and outfit of a character should be based off of the character's history, he said. "If it's a female trained in jujitsu, it should look like that."
Oh, well, of course. Jujitsu. It all makes sense now. We took a look at the first page of Zenescope's online shop and pulled a few images of these badass female characters with jujitsu backgrounds, just for reference:
Looks like Ol' Jude Terror needs to take some jujitsu classes.
In any case, the interview isn't sitting well with one longtime Zenescope reader. Arizona resident Kenneth Gittens, who earlier this year took his copy of Zenescope's Clash of Queens #1 out on a romantic Valentines Day date, was shocked to learn that Zenescope's books featured "badass female characters" with jujitsu training. In fact, he was shocked to learn there was anything inside the books at all.
"Wait, you can open these?" Gittens asked The Outhouse after reading the interview. "Mine have always been stuck together.
Kenneth Gittens' ex-girlfriend, Clash of Queens #1
For the past one hundred issues, Gittens has been purchasing every issue of Grimm Fairy Tales, but he's never looked inside a single one. That's because the sole purpose of Zenescope's comics, as far as Gittens understood, was to provide masturbation material to horny, sexless male readers.
"Finally, I thought I had a comic company that understood me," Gittens moped. "I don't want to read about plots and backstories and characters. I want to wank off while looking at an anatomically impossible babe in tiny underwear bending over a rock."
For Gitttens, it doesn't matter that, basically, he's getting a hand job from J. Scott Campbell every month. Jerking off to sexualized fairy tale characters on the covers of $3.99 comic books is his god-given right as an American, and honestly, he's correct. That's his business, and there's absolutely no reason that a comic book company can't cater to that market if they want to. We're all adults here. In the physical sense, at least.
But come on. Jujitsu? Really? Just own it, Zenescope. Own it and we swear to god we'll stop making fun of you for it.
Gittens wasn't sure if he would continue to buy Zenescope comics now that he knows there's actual stories inside them.
"It's like finding out your significant other has been leading a secret life, one where she tells coherent stories and develops as a character," Gittens lamented. "It's heartbreaking."
Heartbreaking indeed. Zenescope's Grimm Fairy Tales #100 hits stores on July 16th. Something that happens in that book (no, really! something happens in it!) leads into an event comic called Realm War: Age of Darkness that will run for twelve issues. But more importantly, here's what you can jerk off to in two weeks:
Holy fuck! This character might actually know jujitsu!
And she can bake, too?! Look out, Kenneth Gittens! She might be the one!