If you’re wondering what the fate’s become during the Covid19 crisis for a Spider-Man related title, one written by a woman too, at that, Newsarama/Games Radar’s reported that the Amazing Mary Jane was cancelled:
Marvel Comics’ ongoing title Amazing Mary Jane is one of several titles that remain on hiatus following the distribution shutdown in April and May due to COVID-19. While other titles have since been rescheduled, this spin-off to Amazing Spider-Man has been on stand-by – but the series’ cover artist says it has been canceled. […]
The last released issue of Amazing Mary Jane was #6, back on March 18. Prior to the COVID-19-influenced distribution shutdown, Marvel had advance solicited the next three issues to go on-sale April 29, May 20, and June 24. […]
The ongoing status of Amazing Mary Jane has been confusing – announced by Marvel in July 2019 as an ongoing, series writer Leah Williams said in both a July 2019 tweet and an October 2019 Marvel.com interview that it was a five-issue limited series. At the time, Marvel re-affirmed to Newsarama that it was indeed ongoing and not a limited series.
No doubt, some will be disappointed if only because such an iconic leading lady in the MCU’s now lost her own title. But what’s decidedly worse is the continuing omission of the Spider-marriage, something from the Quesada era of editorial that needs to be reversed. And by all means, MJ’s marriage with Peter Parker should be brought back.
Since we’re on the subject, I also came upon this review on Women Write About Comics from last April, focusing on the 6th issue, which most unfortunately is coming from somebody who appears to take up a sex-negative stance on MJ’s good looks:
Remember when, all of a sudden, Mary Jane Watson was showing up on every random Marvel comic cover, without it meaning anything about the book inside? Remember how weird that was, and sort of creepy, like, “Look, a babe. For no reason!”? Well it turns out that was a marketing campaign, for Mary Jane’s solo series Amazing Mary Jane. I hope it worked for some. […]
So it didn’t work for for the reviewer? This sounds mighty tasteless to insinuate there’s something wrong with a babe appearing on the covers. Does that mean if Bethany Cabe from Iron Man turned up in a similar marketing strategy, that would be bad too? Only to those with a phony stance on independent women.
The review also says the following about Psylocke of the X-Men:
Previous examples of Williams’ Marvel work I’ve read have been bubble-worlds—a What If?, a oneshot, an AU limited series. They’ve all been good, sometimes great, but uneven. The pacing has been just slightly off, like a favourite song played on a guitar with a string just slightly slack. Weird pace has been forgivable for obvious reasons alone—”one issue isn’t long to redux a thirty year history,” or “nobody ever gets these books, where they stall for time in an alternate universe while the real Event book is readied, quite right”—and that forgiveness is desirable thanks to the strength she has applying character history to character present, forming complex psychology out of accidents of canon and speaking and realising previously unspoken and unrealised aspects of, in particular, women characters’ plots and experiences. For example making new depth for Betsy Braddock out of her Kwannon-body years, and without ramming into the big bell marked WEIRD RACISM that this particular narrative thread comes stitched to, is the kind of monthly comics work that should win medals.
I think it’s regrettable how science fiction concepts like body-swapping have come under attack by SJWs who believe it’s “racist” for a white character to be transferred into a POC’s body, and vice versa (Kwannon, after ending up in Betsy Braddock’s body, took up the codename Revanche). This is no improvement.
Now about the reviewer’s insecurity with sex-positivity. Early in the review, the writer says:
My interest in appraising The Amazing Mary Jane was entirely down to its writer. Leah Williams has impressed me as a Marvel writer and as a person—I want to know how she’s doing, when she’s doing things. I want to know that the great fiasco that is “the Marvel universe (comics ver.)” is in, at least, some good hands, even if I don’t live there any more. And I’m fond of Mary Jane as a character—she’s been written and drawn strikingly enough, and well enough, and with enough congruent continuity, by others down the ages, that she feels like a person I know. You hope people who go to your old school now are coping fine, or that the person who you helped you on the bus had a nice day. And I think it is solid, overall. I think this is a book you could spend your money on.
That does seem like high praise, doesn’t it? Trouble is, later in the review, she says:
Back to the boobs issue. Reading this twenty-page comic book, I became confident in the notion that series lead-artist Carlos Gomez is really interested in breasts. He draws them well, realistically within pretty narrow parameters of idealism, but he draws them more often and more dominantly in panels than he needs to and he seems to prefer to create outfits that allow for the greatest amount of visibility and swing. It makes me feel uneasy because it feels like placing an artist with these preoccupations on a book about a mainstay female character, written by a rising female creator, is disingenuous.
It’s very common; Louise Simonson being teamed with Brett Blevins, for example, back in the eighties, Blevins drawing their runaway teenaged characters with all the finesse of an A-grade cartoonist who’s also a big ole perv for a certain kind of girl. Gail Simone’s Birds of Prey being plagued by babe-drawers who, sure, she was perfectly happy to defend and admire the work of, but whose circular breasts and shiny thighs put off as many non-traditional comics readers as they reassured traditionalists. Williams, like Tini Howard, like Gail Simone, like plenty of women writing American superhero comic books before them, can’t be called anti-sex, anti-“sexy women,” or prudish, but that only makes their pairing with these guys happy in the house-style-includes-basic-horny-sexism trenches seem like more of a betrayal—a betrayal of them, of what they can do for the industry, because their potential readership is bigger than these men’s tit pics. Marvel simply hasn’t, as a publisher, built the good will to make this appointment, or others like it, seem anything more than smug triumph at the thought of sneaking a business-as-usual artist into the hands of girls, women and others who just want to read superhero-adjacent comics from women’s perspectives.
Well this sure is pretty insulting to the intellect. On the one hand, if this were aimed foremost at menfolk, then that sounds an awful lot like the usual SJWs hell-bent on barging into the territory of those men seeking escapism, to say nothing of invalidating their market. On the other hand, they make it sound like women and girls don’t want to have a gorgeous body like John Romita Sr. first drew MJ with when he officially introduced her in 1966. Isn’t that what the idea of “wish fulfillment” was invented for? No mention of Stan Lee’s obvious approval of the character design, seeing as he created MJ first and foremost, and possibly drew inspiration from his own wife Joan, who’d worked as a model in her time. This kind of politically correct lecturing has been used against Wonder Woman’s marketing to boot. Towards the end of the review, it says:
I’m not arguing that there are no women who like looking at breasts. I’m arguing that, at this point in Marvel’s history, if the breasts and core flexing are for gay girls, gay girls should be drawing them. Who knows, maybe they will from here on? […]
So in other words, it’s an argument in favor of ghettoization, wherein only select classes may write and draw certain books and their subjects. This is just plain stupid, and it’s what leads to drains in quality. If there’s women who do like looking at breasts as much as men, then we should all be as thankful to the menfolk who can draw them so well as womenfolk who can do the same (IIRC, Rachel Dodson is one artist who could). The above lines make the reviewer come off sounding like an ingrate.
And this wokeness is practically what’s led to Marvel’s collapse, because of all these SJWs leeching onto products they otherwise don’t care about, and demanding they be twisted out of shape just to suit their narrow world view. If they really don’t like what the original character creators practically came up with, they shouldn’t be latching onto their creations out of some laughable belief they desperately need something to believe in, when that’s clearly not the case. The argument’s been made that these SJWs should very simply create their own new characters to suit the vision they’re touting. I’d suggest they proceed to take that very path instead of what they are now.
Originally published here.