Could this be another case of censorship and moral panic, proving C.B. Cebulski’s just as supine as Axel Alonso? It’s a good question, and for now, case in point is Marvel canning a one-shot special that paid homage to the Marvel Swimsuit Specials of the early ’90s (though they only called this item Summer Special, presumably already coy about promoting it based on swimwear in the title):
Marvel Summer Special #1 has been canceled by the publisher, with retailers being told it “will not be re-solicited.”
Created to homage Marvel’s 1990 swimsuit specials, Marvel Summer Special #1 was announced in April for a July 31 release.
Marvel did not give a reason for the cancellation, or specify if material created for this special would be published elsewhere.
Now this certainly could be a case of more cowardly censorship in motion. But based on the given coverscan, which looks rather mediocre in art quality, that’s why audiences looking for a decent art gallery book with fun tongue-in-cheek captions might not be missing much. Ron Lim, who may have drawn that image on the side, is a pretty talented artist, but this does not seem like one of his best works, and if he didn’t – or wasn’t allowed – to give it his best effort, one can only wonder what the interior art is like.
Still, it’s not like this should’ve been censored, if it was. You could wonder if the culprits in downing this special included Sana Amanat and Joe Quesada, who was an early advocate of censorship in the early 2000s, recalling he’d all but banned depictions of smoking when he was EIC.
By sharp contrast, however, they seem perfectly willing to release Marvel Comics #1000, a special allegedly celebrating 80 years in the business, which has some questionable elements in its development:
Each page of the comic will correlate to one year in Marvel history. Along the way, readers will see many of the marquee characters from the mighty Marvel universe like Captain America, Thor and Iron Man, and some less familiar ones, like Blue Marvel, Night Thrasher and the Three X’s.
“This is by far the most complex and complicated and difficult book I’ve ever had to assemble,” Tom Brevoort, Marvel’s executive editor and senior vice president of publishing, said in a conference call with C.B. Cebulski, Marvel’s editor in chief. While most comic books are created by one writer and one art team, Issue No. 1000 will have 80 — one team for each of its 80 pages.
I think the list of contributors includes, sadly enough, Brad Meltzer. But then, it figures Marvel would get around to hiring somebody awful like him for a project sooner or later. Maybe more dismaying was the discovery artist Steve Rude would illustrate a page written by Saladin Ahmed. After all the horrible things Ahmed said, the notion an artist who is talented would work with somebody like that even on so minor a project as a simple page is hugely disappointing.
Cebulski said the newcomers were recruited based on the fact that they made Marvel references over the years that were noted in-house. “Our characters are mentioned in so many different ways and in so many different mediums and we always keep track,” Cebulski said. “Now these distinguished individuals are able to contribute back to the comics they grew up on.”
…but don’t respect any more than they do the audience. Choosing the contributors based on whether they made references in some way or other to Marvel products doesn’t prove they’re talented.
And on that note, what if the artists/writers who contributed to their Summer Special are talented, their art is actually better than expected, and the interiors aren’t as dumbed down as appears on the surface? It would just testify to the hypocrisy Marvel’s putting on display, canceling a project over petty issues while other books, regardless of the merits their contributors have, are released without a whisper of complaint. In the end, it just proves that, long after Alonso left, Marvel’s still badly injured by social justice and staffers who don’t have the courage to show faith in the projects they work on.