Monday, May 14, 2007

MJ, and Pete's Laundry: A Comparison Story

By now, many of you have probably seen the Sideshow Comiquette of Mary Jane Watson-Parker washing the Spidey-Suit.

The offending statue, in all its glory awfulness

If you read most comic blogs, and even some feminist blogs, you've probably seen this already.

You've also probably seen the crit. I agree with a lot of it, so I'll let that lie for now.

Here is the Adam Hughes drawing it's based on:

Look at that smirk! Sassy!

Full disclosure: I really love Adam Hughes' art. His women are attractive, and very real-looking. The drawing of Power Girl used for the Power Girl Bust actually looks a lot like a friend of mine. When he draws women, he draws realistic, if very attractive bodies.

You don't look at the women he draws and think that their spines couldn't possibly support the breasts, or wonder where their internal organs fit, or want to feed them a sandwich. They're slim, fit, women, who look real.

Which Sideshow promptly fucked all up.

On another blog, I read a fantastic commentary on the Hughes art: "I really don't mind the original concept art so much, because MJ looks cute and human and a bit goofy, and I can imagine she's just teasing an unclad Spidey who's just out of frame."

YES. I can totally see, and agree with that.

I have been disappointed by Sideshow's figures before.

The sculpts on their Buffy figure line are notoriously awful. The only sculpts they got right were the vampires, and I can only assume that's because they shrunk down the dimensions from the original mask designs. I may not be a Buffy watcher, but I do know what Sarah Michelle Gellar and Alyson Hannigan look like...and it ain't that.

But this goes beyond bad sculpting.

This is taking the subtext from a moment, and removing it entirely. There's a confidence to the Mary Jane in the drawing that just doesn't seem to be there in the statue. The look on the face on that statue seems to be "Do you see me doing this? Are you watching, Peter? Am I sexy enough here?" She just seems so...self conscious.

Which is, absolutely, the last thing Mary Jane Watson is. (Let's not even discuss the ego shredding she receives in Spiderman 3.)

To sum up...

The disappointing thing, to me, about this figure isn't just its awful chauvanism. It's that the designers took a fairly awesome, sexy image, and turned into mysognist crap.

Weak sauce, Sideshow. Weak sauce.


Elwood said...

The difference between the fig and the original drawing is striking. I feel like someone took all of the cheek from the fig, withdrew it, and then deposited every damn female insecurity on god's green. The facial expression speaks volumes, you're right, and i don't quite like what it's saying.

But then, we COULD just say it's just a plastic figurine.

But then the interwebs would be boring.

Irene said...

and that, in a nutshell, is where 3rd wave feminism has brought us. barefoot and doing the man's laundry....but now with the pressures of stripper sex appeal. *golfclap*

bellatrys said...

irene, how exactly is *this* very traditional, pre-feminist display of sexism caused by "3rd wave feminism," whatever that is? Rather than by old-fashioned male chauvinist piggery, the same as brought us these treasures of antifeminist objectifying imagery from --

Your logic chip may need an upgrade there, gal.