Sunday, June 17, 2007

By the Numbers

Okay, this one is interesting.

Chris Butcher made a post about a Marvel cover.

Since he made that post, there have been:

- 7 posts of outright agreement that the cover is offensive.

- 2 posts noting that the cover was part of an odd trend from Marvel lately.

- 9 posts linking Butcher's complaint as an interesting happening in the blogosphere, but either not giving a discernible opinion either way or commenting only on the fan interaction.

- 6 posts politely stating that they find the cover inoffensive and can't see the offense. Several of these are from bloggers who regularly discuss women in comics.

- 8 posts proclaiming that the idea that the cover may be offensive is absurd. Several of these decry Butcher's post as just another example of fans being hysterical and overreacting to every little thing as an example of sexism.

- 1 post linking Butcher's posts with a phrase in Finnish that translated to "hysterical symptoms." I was unable to tell the rest of the context from the translator I used.

There are 82 comments on Blog@Newsarama and 86 comments on Mr. Butcher's blog. The denouncement starts early on Blog@Newsarama but takes a few comments to get into on Butcher's blog. People comment multiple times, but words like "groupthink," "collective" and "overreacting" are applied liberally in the first thread. Some rather insulting comments are in the second thread.

Of the 8 posts proclaiming Butcher to be overreacting, 2 suggested that female fans were unfairly targeting Marvel Comics. Over the last two days I have collected 15 links pertaining directly to how Marvel Comics deals with female characters and fans, and 21 links pertaining directly to how DC Comics deals with female characters and fans. 12 of the Marvel links were on that particular cover, and only 2 of those links agreed with Mr. Butcher. This is part of increased attention for Marvel for the last two months, because up until the statue matter the ratio was at least 5:1 favoring complaints about DC. There were 4 additional links involving movie adaptations.

All of this is verifiable from the last four posts on When Fangirls Attack, except for the approximate DC:Marvel ratio. That is based on my own personal impressions over the past year and a half and not an actual count.


  1. Hmmm... I was just reading through the latest batch of WFA links, and I was surprised at all of the posts that characterized the zombie-cover reactions as an "outrage." So far it's just Chris's post and the seven people that agreed with him, right?

    This is what I predict with my crystal ball: In the end, the posts decrying the "outrage" as absurd and stupid will outnumber the actual posts that discuss the cover itself. And we'll get a lot of people patting themselves on the back and congratulating themselves for being so much saner and more rational than the hoards of hysterical fangirls that never existed in the first place.

    - Elena (sorry but Blogger isn't letting me log in at the moment!)

  2. I posted on the comments on Butcher's page. I don't necessarily find the cover offensive for the same reasons as him. I really find the Zombie Covers even if they are homages, to still be shitty traces. It's pretty empty shallow art that says nothing at all. OOH its a zombie version of existing Marvel character. It doesn't even have enough meaning to be sexist.

    Butcher's second comment, in direct reply with Stuart Immonen is where he lost me.

    He replies to Stuart saying that this is part of a trend of racist, homophobic, and sexist covers from Marvel.

    I didn't agree with him at all about the racist part, going further into it onFBB.

    I don't know what cover he found to be homophobic, he never did answer back.

  3. I think I see it now... it's the hivemind that causes everyone to have such diverse and specific reactions, right?

  4. I posted on both the newsarama and actual post pages so didn't feel any need to talk about it further. But I have to say, my main problem with the post became (after a while) how rude butcher started acting. I know people were being asshats, but I dunno...I've always believed you should treat others as you would have them treat you...not how they are treating you.'s just some personal bit with politeness, (and i know this is the internet!!) but yeah...I find even the most outrageous claims (which this wasn't...just a bit strange since I don't personally find it offensive) to be far easier to understand if they are politely worded or atleast acknowledge that other people's opinions matter.

    And no, he wasn't rude to me personally so I have nothing against the guy. I'm just catch more flies with honey than vinegar, y'know?

  5. I'd say that if you're going to compare a *comic book cover* that you personally find distasteful with *blood diamonds*, people accusing you of being a hysterical over-reacting loon kind of goes with the territory. Seriously, that's the best way he could find to put that?

  6. R.D -- I counted posts offended by the "Blood Diamonds" comparison alone as "polite disagreement."

    The backlash posts pinned this on overreacting fangirls (plural) and called it Marvel versus Feminists (plural) and while I can see your offense at that comparison, there backlash posts have a distinct tone of "The fangirls have gone too far again" as opposed to "this is a single guy who offended me."

  7. It was when he told someone they'd "won the fucknut sweepstakes" that he lost me.

    My biggest problem with the whole Marvel zombies thing is that its officially being milked to - ahaha - death.

    You can see what I did there.

    As for the cover being "offensive" for the reasons he listed...meh. Every character in the Marvel universe has had some sort of zombie treatment, so why would mary jane be any different?

    Heck, if he wants REALLY offensive zombie / woman style violence, he should check out one of the identikit Zombie titles on the shelves at the moment. Every other issue hints at disposable female characters being not just *eaten*, but *raped* by the zombie biker creatures.

    I mean, wow.

  8. I appreciate that I lost more or less everybody there, but at the same time the people that I variously swore at or awarded special prizes for their stupidity earned it, as far as I'm concerned. I can, with great regularity, be a well-mannered and productive member of the internet community, but for folks whose greatest contribution is accusing me of colluding with Lea and Gail to suck the fun out of their comics? They can have my spite and nothing more.

    As for the Blood Diamonds thing, my only regret was that it gave too easy a straw-man argument ("every complaint about Marvel mysogyny is crazy, look at the guy talking about blood diamonds!") and that's unfortunate, I'm sorry if doing that weakened anyone else's arguments. It's still great imagery though.

    - Chris