A Ben Cohen Ink Comic


By Ben Cohen a “legendary master of the left field.” -BRP!

“Unintentionally misunderstood since 1975.” –Anonymous

“A big f@#k you, to the audience.” -B. Pendarvis

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Kelly v. Joe

See for context:

Knowing Kelly from SCAD’s Sequential Art Department I am glad and not surprised she took up a defense of Ashley’s position. From my (male, and in general supporter of Joe {because of the positive run-ins I have had with his pal Jimmy}) perspective on point I back up Kelly’s response. I was introduced to J. Scott Campbell’s work by another friend from Sequential, Zak. Who was a fan due to the sex and whimsy of his work (sorry to drag you in Zak, but you are my reference point here {on balance you are known for loving honestly romantic comics and Love and Rockets which is praised by some feminist}). I would underscore that Joe has put himself in a indefensible position (in part because he has been put in charge of a company that still despite efforts around the fringes caters to pre-pubescent-pubescent boys, and to no fault of his own he has likely been immersed in this world his whole life, thus skewing his perspective and effort to diversify {I say most of this not knowing the man at all}). But the idea of the book was to attract female readership and it has colossally failed in promoting this idea. His dismissive misreading of Ashley’s perspective is disappointing. Based on the review of Marvel’s Diva’s (a terrible name) on CBR I am left with the impression that while improving on the promotion, the book leaves much to be desired as a serious effort to appeal to female readership {and yes I have no intentions of reading it}. This tradition of having talented and perhaps in this case less talented artist do cover art in comics they have nothing else to do with has always driven me nuts. I am constantly pick up books of the rack, flipping through the pages and then finding I can’t conceive of enjoying the read because aesthetically it looks horrible. This is the reverse case, not that Campbell’s drawing is bad, but it certainly misrepresents the defended intent. This does speak to a broader and deeper issue in superhero comics, one that Kelly, I and others have been working to change from the sidelines. In Sequential we had many talented female cartoonists (Robyn Chapman, Renee Alexander (who in vain did a lecture on how to draw breasts), Kristin A. Hogan, Trisha Toms) that tried to help change the male culture we were learning in. But the intransient problem is that superhero comics consistently present a female form that is so consistent it only changes with the decade and the artist (same can and should be said for the male form, which has other issues only in the scope of the broader cultural problem we face). Campbell’s cover depicts four identical female forms with different color and stance. This is unrealistic, say what you will about Love & Rockets female forms, but in these books at least variety rules. It should be clear to all of us wow much of a failure this was when you add in the copy that went with the promotion. The elephant in the room is what this is doing to young male’s perspective of female sexuality and how it affecting their personal perspectives both in objectifying women and internally being honest with what attracts them. There is a social pressure on them to expect this unrealistic form. In my experience what attracts men in female form is as varied as it is in the forms they embody. I can think of one well made comic series that somewhat discussed this issue (Sensational She-Hulk by John Byrne…which also was one of the sexiest books I read as a pre-teen), it played with the notion that superheroes never seem to age and if they did how would it affect their figure. I would love to know Jimmy’s wonderful partner Amanda’s perspective on this.

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