We’ve come a long way from the time when comic book characters wore bras and panties over their tights. Today, superheroes and villains alike are often portrayed with more skin than a sommelier at an Italian restaurant. The trend has led to a flashpoint: In the past few weeks, readers have become outraged at (insert name of female comic book character)’s (insert character attribute) redesign. A public outcry ensued as readers lambasted a look the artist described as “sexy,” insisting that the new look was objectifying and demeaning.
The Internet is a great place for people to get together and talk about their passions, sometimes even if it is nothing more than a meme made by a bored intern. This is often the case in the comic book/superhero world, but one recent viral comic has caused a bit of controversy. The comic, made by a group of interns for mittelmanlab, is called “Twitter White Knights Against Sexy Female Comic Characters.” It shows a group of men sitting in a circle, each with a tablet, taking turns reading the comic. One by one, each man reads a line and each by one, each man is less than pleased.
White knights of Twitter vs. sexy female cartoon characters
Twitter normals and Tumblrists attack J. Scott Campbell’s artagain
Almost every comic book fan since the 90s has at least heard of Jeff Scott Campbell and seen his work. Known for his original works Danger Girl and Gen13, Campbell has used his unique style to great effect and recognition in the industry. He is considered one of the best variant cover artists in all of comics today. Although he regularly designs covers for DC, Zenescope and other publishers, his most famous and recognizable work is undoubtedly the cover of the Amazing Spider-Man books. Campbell’s style, which is described as inspired by the Disney princesses of classic cartoons, has always been a big hit with her fans. But after the current year, he has opponents roaming the halls of social media. In recent years there have been regular attacks on the artist himself or indirect criticism of his work. It is clear that art criticism is a field and a space to which cartoonists voluntarily submit by placing their work in public spaces. However, the nature of the criticism of J.R.’s work. With Scott Campbell, it’s never about a body part being out of place, or the eyes being crooked, the forehead being the size of Texas, etc. Instead, the complaints are about the people who accuse him of hypersexualizing his women.
There’s no denying that Campbell’s female art is sexy – more than sexy, in fact. But that’s just the point. Sexuality sells. You may not like it, but you can’t deny it – and in fact, you can look at the raw sales data for comics where characters are idealized and attractively drawn, and those where they are not, and see a clear difference. The latest attempt to mock the artist took the form of a correction of one of his most famous and popular works by another artist. On the cover of The Amazing Spider-Man #601, Peter’s lover, Mary Jane Watson, sits on the couch and looks out the window while her husband goes about saving the day. A grim expression froze on MJ’s face as Peter left his company to become once again the nice neighborhood hero New York needed.
In the photo, MJ is wearing worn jeans and sitting in a sexy pose? Yes. Can’t you see her cleavage through that tight shirt with the Spidey logo? Yeah, me too. Mary Jane Watson from Jump Street always has to be sexy. She’s the classic model of the girl next door and the sex bomb, and as such she has all the hallmarks of the genre: the hottest girl in school, future model, actress, and with an hourglass figure to back it all up. But as we all already know, our righteous social media bosses have to take all that good stuff and turn it into sewage. One example is the correction of Campbell’s masterpiece, which one report hailed as a moral victory over sexist and toxic fans of attractive cartoon characters everywhere – long live the holy white knight!
I just spent hours, HOURS, discussing with a handful of misogynist fans, one or two of whom changed their stance, and the OP, who doubted every response he got, about this Scott Campbell story about J.J. Thread – pic.twitter.com/xZl8vDKuWx
– Kevin Norman (@kevnorm81) May 4, 2021
Campbell is known for his attitude on Twitter and won’t let anyone attack him. This is evidenced by his admonishing responses when such things are brought up. He explained in detail what inspires his creations, including classic Disney princesses and his beloved wife, who I find particularly charming and adorable – she’s a fantastic artist herself.
The repair is done! pic.twitter.com/cPFGjzCDDL
– J. Scott Campbell♠️ (@JScottCampbell) May 4, 2021
You know, if I get one more lecture on Twitter about anatomy or how artwork should be photoreal and body positive from someone who does anime photography, I’m going to go crazy! The animation is exactly the same exaggeration of the children.
– J. Scott Campbell♠️ (@JScottCampbell) May 6, 2021
Again: All art is subject to criticism – it is a space that one dares to enter. However, the accusation of Campbell’s hypersexualization in his writings is not only misplaced criticism, but downright false, and the alleged correction of the article is laughable in its execution. Those Tumblrite freaks will scream: Where are their organs!? and complain about the characters’ body proportions, then it’s their idea of improvement. Apparently, correcting a woman is considered to take away her femininity by smoothing out her curves and giving her a puffy shape, not like you know. Forgive this toxic man for this assumption, but to denigrate a woman’s femininity and sex appeal and preach it as an improvement seems ….. sexist. But of course we, the fans, who support this content with our wallets and for decades, are clearly the problem, and my love for this work is indicative of my toxic misogynistic bias, and I should be ashamed. Maybe I should become a Captain Marvel fan and a hypocritical white knight on Twitter. Maybe I’ll drink a coke to rid the world of my whiteness.
Just kidding. Toddfather said it well: Make it sexy. Keep doing your thing, Campbell.
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