Erotic Spider-Woman Cover: Not as Bad as It Looks?


Marvel seems to have offended a lot of people after revealing the variant cover art for Spider-Woman’s debut solo series. Marvel has been on the right track giving solo series to its female superheroes but it’s uncertain what possessed the company to approve such a cover for a title that’s supposed to appeal female readers. Personally I don’t find it that offensive. Let me explain.

Oversexualization of female superheroes, even teenagers, isn’t something new in the comic book world. However, as far as I’m concerned, both genders more or less get a similar treatment. Aren’t muscular male superheroes in tight suits oversexualization of the male body as well?

10426854_285352574981884_6013839229212014468_nThe said cover has been created by Milo Manara and his work does go into the pornographic side of things. So, you can’t really blame the artist for not being true to his style. What does come across as offensive or least ill-thought is Marvel’s decision to hire an artist like Manara. The company must’ve known about the type of cover he would create and they did approve it in the end.

I understand where the backlash is coming from. The pose is quite sexual. If you take away the color, Spider-Woman definitely looks nude. But is the pose not similar to what our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man has been doing for years? And is it really that bad compared to the other poses Spider-Woman has been seen in since her debut?

If you look at her power set, the cover is kind of brilliant. Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) releases pheromones that produce pleasure and attraction in men, and repels women, something the cover clearly achieved.

Is the variant cover art the right choice for Marvel? I don’t think so. Compared to the cover art for other female solo-series like Storm, it does appear to be selling sex to readers. But looking at the spider-like poses Peter Parker has done, it really isn’t that appalling.

What do you think of the new Spider-Woman cover? Do you find the pose offensive because a woman is doing it? Let us know!

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.


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6 thoughts on “Erotic Spider-Woman Cover: Not as Bad as It Looks?

  1. Personally I think there’s a huge difference between men and women in these poses. With men they are seen as muscular “powerful” characters, but with women it’s not their power they are selling, but their sex appeal. Similar poses or not, they are very different aims and goals at work here. Not to mention that there is a long history of an uneven power dynamic between men and women so comparing sexualization between the two is off to a rocky start to begin with.

    Still, you’re right that Marvel had to know what they were doing hiring an artist who is known for their erotic art to do this. They are clearly not marketing this series towards women, which is a dissappointment because according to the authors they treat her character very respectfully in the content of the book itself (it’s not released yet so this could be false).

    This sort of taints my view of Marvel as the “progressive” comic book company. Sigh.

    1. I know readers who picked up a comic book with a male superhero because he looked hot in his spandex ;)…but you are right, dynamics are different when it comes to males and females, which is sad…cos in this case, if SWoman does similar poses as SMan, her poses would look more sexual compared to him (still depends on who’s watching…a friend of mine joked that as far as he was concerned SMan looked ready for sex as well when i showed him the above pic 😉

      For me, writing this post, had more to do with blaming Marvel (if someone was offended by the cover) rather than the artist. I think it was TheMarySue who suggested the artist should be told to go back to the drawing board (i could be wrong)…for me, the artist did what he’s known to do and he kind of did it quite well…Marvel decided to hire him and then actually approve the final product

      The truth is that even though Marvel is trying to reach out to female readers, they make money from fanboys as well, and i think they have to cater ‘sex’ to them as well if they want fanboys to check out a comic with a lead female superhero

      This is a variant cover, i’m interested in seeing the ‘actual’ cover Marvel will be releasing for SWoman’s solo debut and how that measures up to this one and what they will be ‘targeting’ i.e. sex appeal or a female superhero

      1. True. Have you ever watch Queer as Folk? One of the characters is a comic book fan and gets invited to give a lecture on queer theory in the comic boom industry. He prepares all these notecards but when he gets up to the podium he just sets them aside and essentially says “I just thought they were hot in spandex.” He then goes on to actually have an interesting lecture but ANYWAY I’m gonna get sidetracked if I continue down that route. It’s still true that most comics cater to a heterosexual male crowd and this cover was obviously aimed at that audience. It will be interesting to see the regular cover and the content of the comic itself to see what audience THOSE are trying to reach.

        1. Yes, Michael’s speech from QaF (one of the best LBGT shows ever!)

          Even though Marvel is trying to reach out to female readers, it’s still a’s very likely they did such a variant cover to make (possibly) hetero readers/collectors to buy it…over here, cost of one variant cover is equal to three normal covers…SWoman isn’t on the same fame level as Storm and Black Widow, both their covers weren’t provocative as this, Storm’s solo series variant cover actually showed a baby Storm and it was cute!…sex sells, look at DC’s covers for the new Harley Quinn solo series…it’s quite an enjoyable comic book but the fact remains her covers are very sexy and there’s no denying it does double and even triple the business Marvel’s female series have been able to do

          It’s true that the cover art sometimes has nothing to do with the content inside…so even if SWoman’s actual cover is about sex appeal (i hope it isn’t the case) there’s a high chance the content inside would be very respectful of the character

  2. The two covers are similar but not exactly the same. SpiderMan does not lift is butt in the air two feet, while SpiderWoman does. Why would anyone do that particular move? Yep, right, Marvel blew it okaying this cover. They might have been better off hiring the late Dr. Suess. At least Spiderwoman would not be inviting back door neighbors over for a spot of tea.

  3. I have been reading comic books since childhood. As a fan of them and as a woman I don’t have a problem with the Spider-Woman Art. In my opinion, comic books by their nature are hypersexual, which is ok. All of the characters have beautiful bodies, everyone both hero and villain are the ideal. While I agree Spider-Woman does appear to be “presenting” herself so what? That is spideresque in attitude. The Spiderman pose is somewhat like hers however, he appears lower to the ground and being male is without the elongated slender waist. I am glad that Marvel is finally looking at female readers as we have been here for a long time.

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