Sunday, November 20, 2016

Frank Cho, Sexism, and the Right of Art

For the last few years, there has been a "war" being fought in the comic industry. Alas, it's not a new fight. Not by a long shot. However, there's a lot of firing at the target of Frank Cho recently. Frank Cho is known for his cartoon-styled, buxom women. It's pretty much what's helped him get a name (though if you read his Liberty Meadows, his writing was actually pretty funny as well). It's also where a lot of hatred stems. In the comic industry, there has been fighting for more equality for a long time. As reader base grows, so do the types of readers. For the most part, I feel comics have tried their best to incorporate more characters that represent more than just us white males. Ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender have all expanded over the years to try and help make everybody feel connected and comfortable. Is it likely that white males will ever bee the minority characters? Doubtful since that's pretty much what makes up all the main (and best selling) characters. While the fight still continues, my love of Mr. Cho's art has brought forth a lot of this fighting to my reading. Because of his art style.
There is a pretty avid community that despises Cho's art and thanks to his reactions to them, Frank Cho himself. Back in 2014, Marvel hired an Italian artist to draw a variant cover for Spider-Woman. However, Milo Manara is quite known for his erotica and said cover was deemed by some as far too sexual for the character and it's intended audience. Marvel cancelled the cover. In 2015, DC did a month of Joker-themed variants for all it's books with one in particular grabbed as also being offensive. It depicted a moment from The Killing Joke and had Joker drawing a bloody smile on the face of a scared and crying Batgirl while also holding a gun. The depicted violence towards a prominent female character caused outrage among some groups. DC cancelled the cover. Over the last few years, criticism has grown with some of it coming from his reaction to the Spider-Woman cover. Cho has done some sketch covers mimicking the Spider-Woman pose seemingly in an attempt to poke fun at the reaction and "non-issue" of the controversy. It's not only made that already angry group more infuriated but it's even caught some anger from other comic creators (I've only read anger from one creator but I say it's fair to assume there are at least a few others). Cho's reaction has essentially been "calm down ya babies" which naturally makes them calm right down.
Current controversy from Cho has been from his "outrage" sketch covers in which he has been drawing a lot of boobs and making fun of all the, you guessed it, outrage coming from his "over-sexualized" women. People are demanding the big guns (DC and Marvel if ya didn't know) stop hiring him because it's a slap in their face when they do. Cho has recently quit doing variant covers for the new Wonder Woman title due to what he says is censorship from the title's writer.
So where has all this nonsensical rambling been leading me to? Something that may make me sound sexist and misogynistic.
I try my best to respect every type of person I come across. At first. Some people just don't deserve respect once you get to know them. I say this because I honestly don't mean to come across as a bad person with this: so what? If I'm being honest, sexy women have been a selling point for comics since basically day one. Many, many artists draw women with curves, showing prominently ass and boobs. And on the flip side, men have almost always been portrayed as studly beefcakes. I understand that women have had a much, much, much (can't really say too many muches here) harder time fighting for equality but if you fight for the de-sexualizing of women, shouldn't men also be fought for?
Further more, what say should people have on an other's art? One person's offensive can be another person's masterpiece. So should the companies cave to demand when groups feel they are wronged? Is is better to show extreme violence (which there is plenty of and not many complaints over) then a woman with large breasts? Is Frank Cho within his artistic rights to troll angry people if he feels he is in the right? I personally don't think art con be defined or confined. Clearly we don't want comics of Spider-Man flapping wang as he slings through New York (or do we...) or Black Canary giving a cry from her nipples (or do we...) but I feel if the owners of said properties allow it, we as the audience either have to support it or walk away. Money talks in this industry (and pretty much every other one). If walk and sales walk with you, they will have to change. Bitching on the internet has never solved anything. Which is how I know this mess I'm writing will be worthless.

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