Spiderwoman v Spiderman. Yes, that's apparently how she moves around.
Despite positive attempts by Marvel to inject some diversity into its most recent productions - back in July, the comics giant announced that it'd be re-imagining iconic character Thor as a woman, while its latest cinematic move Guardians Of The Galaxy has been a welcome success with female audiences - sometimes news arrives proving the ol' adage that it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks.
Overnight, the comics giant revealed the cover art for its new Spider-Woman series, and well... just look at it.
Illustrated by Milo Manara, a comics artist famed for his erotic illustrations, the artwork is a strange decision for a mainstream comic series - especially considering recent news of a potential Spider-Woman/Jessica Drew feature film in the works - yet sadly predictable. It's a cover that's ripe for gender-flipping: can you imagine Peter Parker scaling the skyscrapers of New York City in such a suggestive pose?
The Twitter reviews have been predictably humorous and unforgiving:
That Spiderwoman cover reminds me that we're out of apples at home.— Rob Guillory (@Rob_guillory) August 20, 2014
Guys, I'm pretty sure Spider-Woman is just signaling she wants to play with a tennis ball. That's totally the pose my dog does for that.— Ben Towle (@ben_towle) August 20, 2014
Is Nicki Minaj the new Spider-Woman or nah? pic.twitter.com/zEgTgzrR6G— Complex Music (@ComplexMusic) August 20, 2014
While Manara's cover was a specially commissioned variant cover and won't be the actual artwork spotted on most comic shop shelves when it's released in November (here's Greg Land's somewhat less suggestive art), it further suggests that Marvel's recent attempts to reflect its female fans might be mere lip service.
Just this week the company's Guardians Of The Galaxy t-shirt line was widely ridiculed for including every character except Zoe Saldana's Gamora.
Elsewhere fans' push for a female-led superhero film are still being ignored by Marvel head Kevin Feige (“I hope we do it sooner rather than later. But we find ourselves in the very strange position of managing more franchises than most people have -- which is a very, very good thing and we don't take for granted, but is a challenging thing,” he said non-committally in a recent interview).
In the comics industry, the more things change the more they stay the same.