Last week, Marvel Comics met with some major mainstream media coverage when the variant cover by renowned artist Milo Manara for the upcoming ‘Spider-Woman’ #1 was met with a largely negative reaction that condemned it as overly sexualized. Though the artist responded with his take on the whole controversy, as well as series writer Dennis Hopeless, no official word came from the publisher. However, Marvel Editor-In-Chief Axel Alonso has finally broken the silence and issued an apology for the cover.
In his regular interview with Comic Book Resources titled ‘Axel-In-Charge’, Alonso issued a lengthy statement about the ‘Spider-Woman’ variant that explained the company’s reasoning behind releasing it, as well as their continued efforts to be as inclusive as possible with their products so as to welcome every part of their audience into the Marvel Universe:
“We always listen to fans’ concerns so we can do better by them. We want everyone — the widest breadth of fans — to feel welcome to read ‘Spider-Woman’. We apologize — I apologize — for the mixed messaging that this variant caused.
And that’s what this cover is. It’s a limited edition variant that is aimed at collectors. While we would not have published this as the main cover to the book, we were comfortable publishing this as a variant that represented one artist’s vision of the character — a world-renowned artist whose oeuvre is well-known to us, and to collectors. It is not the official cover for the issue. It is a collector’s item that is set aside or special ordered by completists — and it doesn’t reflect the sensibility or tone of the series any more than the Skottie Young variant or Rocket and Groot ‘Spider-Woman’ variants. If you open up the book, you’ll see that this series has everything in common with recent launches we’ve done, like ‘Black Widow’ and ‘Ms. Marvel’ and ‘She-Hulk’ and ‘Captain Marvel’. It’s about the adventures of two women that have complete agency over their lives, and that are defined by what they do, not how they look.
We’re far from perfect, but we’re trying. It’s been a priority for me as EIC to make our line and our publishing team more inclusive. We’re at an industry high of around 30 percent female in editorial group, about 20 percent of our line is comics starring women, and our Senior Manager of Talent, Jeanine Schaefer, actively looks to bring more female writers and artists into the fold each month. In fact, very soon we’ll be announcing new series and creators that I’m very excited about.”
Alonso went on to say that Marvel would continue to work with Manara and other artists like him that have a huge fan base, although they are “aware of the growing sensitivity to covers like this and will be extra-vigilant in policing their content” in the future.
What do you think of Axel Alonso’s stance on the Milo Manara cover for ‘Spider-Woman’ #1? Are you satisfied with the House of Ideas’ planned course of action in the future when it comes to sexualized covers? Share your thoughts in the comments below.