Lines were drawn and sides were taken at Marvel Comics this week when superstar artists Greg Land and Milo Manara both contributed variant covers for the first issue of Land and Dennis Hopeless's new Spider-Woman #1. The dueling covers, which will hit stores with the first issue in November, were revealed in CBR's advance Spider-verse solicits yesterday, and it was clear that neither artist was holding back in drawing, or in land's case, tracing from a porn DVD freeze frame, female characters as ridiculous sex objects.
"It's Burr and Hamilton all over again!" screamed Marvel Editor in Chief Axel Alonso. "Someone needs to stop them before their sexy covers get someone killed!"
It didn't take long before Land and Manara's fellow creators began showing their support for one or artist or the other.
"There's no way Land is losing this one," said Kieron Gillen, who collaborated with Land on both Uncanny X-Men and Iron Man for Marvel. "I once wrote a script that had Pepper Potts tied tied to a chair for an entire scene, and Land locked himself in his office for seventy-two hours doing 'research.' His penis was in a cast for two months after that, but the comic came out great."
"Yeah, but it was really awkward when he asked everyone in the office to sign the cast," added Chris Claremont, who has worked with Manara on his semi-autobiographical work about his sexual fantasies, the 2010 X-Women one shot. "So I'm on Team Milo."
"Me and Bendis have a running bet over who will win," Jason Aaron told the Outhouse. "If Land wins, all of Bendis's dialogue bubbles need to contain sentences of five words or greater. If Manara wins, I have to write a comic in which we aren't reminded that the X-Men all hate Cyclops now."
For some, all this attention on the covers is baffling.
"I don't know why everyone is calling these covers sexist," said Marvel Vice President of Ice Cream Sandwiches Tom Brevoort. "Milo Manara's artwork is great because he brings out a sensual beauty in his female forms. His sense of composition and use of space is inspired."
"You can also masturbate to them," he pointed out, matter-of-factly.
But what about the artists themselves?
"I thought I was going to have the advantage, since my cover features both Spider-Woman and Silkk," admitted Land. "I mean, that's twice the female characters to sexually exploit with my sub-par tracing. But then I saw Milo's cover, with Spider-Woman presenting herself to the the entire city on the ledge of a building, and I thought, 'son of a bitch, that's way hotter than mine.' Then I masturbated furiously."
"It's a-me! Milo Manara!" proclaimed the mustachioed Italian artist in response. "I like to draw'a the spicy comic book-a cover!"
Indeed he does. But in all seriousness, doesn't Marvel realize that treating its female characters as sex objects can be alienating to some fans?
"Of course," explained Axel Alonso. "There's this notion that the comics industry is a sort of boys club, with grown men using their artwork to fulfill the sexual fantasies of socially awkward manchildren, ignoring the growing female audience and making them feel gross and unwelcome."
"Oh, there's no 'but.' I have no counter argument," Alonso admitted.
Spider-Woman #1 is in stores in November.
DENNIS HOPELESS (W) • GREG LAND (A/C)
Variant Cover by MILO MANARA
VARIANT COVER BY SKOTTIE YOUNG
VARIANT COVER BY SIYA OYUM
ROCKET RACCOON & GROOT VARIANT BY TBA
Blank variant ALSO AVAILABLE
New Ongoing Series/Spider-Verse Tie-In! Jessica Drew has been an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., and agent of S.W.O.R.D., an Avenger and so much more. But nothing could prepare her for the multidimensional insanity that is Spider-Verse! A war is brewing, and every spider-character in the multiverse is a target! But being a target is something Jessica Drew just won’t abide. She’s a woman with a mission and with Silk, the newest spider-character on the block at her side, she’ll have to put all her training to the test if she wants to make it out of Spider-Verse alive! SPIDER-VERSE KICKS OFF A NEW ONGOING SERIES!
• Dennis Hopeless (CABLE & X-FORCE, AVENGERS: ARENA) and Greg Land (UNCANNY X-MEN) bring you a universe spanning adventure starring Jessica Drew Spider-Woman and the newest spider-hero, SILK!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99