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When J Scott Campbell Revisited *That* Mary Jane Cover For Marvel Comics #1000

When J Scott Campbell draw this cover for Amazing Spider-Man #601 back in 2009, he may not have realised it would be the font for many memes to come. Campbell may not, back in 2009, have known what a meme was.

J Scott Campbell

But over time, it became a symbol of much that was wrong with comics. That's certainly what CalebH/Discordia (Head Editor of G33k P0p) posted,

The cover… has made me angry since I first saw it, since it showcases everything wrong with the comics industry as a whole, not just Campbell's art. Mary Jane Watson is one of the strongest supporting characters in the Spider-Man universe, she runs her own club, she has saved Spidey countless times and even gained spider powers of her own in the Spider Island event. Yet here she is shown as being the stay at home wife who worries about her husband constantly and has nothing else to do, but still manages to contort her body to show off her impossibly thin body and other… features… Campbell has drawn a lot of Spider-Man covers over the years, not all of them are this bad, many are quite normal, others are worse. One key feature in most is that the woman is featured prominently, often from an angle that looks down on the woman. I could go full feminazi here and claim that this makes it so that the reader is looking down on women, but I won't. However, I will say that this angle is done so you're essentially looking down her shirt. There is no real hiding it. When a man is the main focus of a cover, the angle is usually facing straight forward, showing him looking all heroic, but the high up angle is used far too often for female characters, almost always in oversexualized positions.

Tumblr user foxmccloud added a photo of himself attempting to recreate Mary Jane's positioning…

J Scott Campbell

…with users adding in photos of themselves mimicking or mocking the pose…

J Scott Campbell

While other tried to redraw the cover to amend what they saw was weird, wong or just off about the pose.

J Scott Campbell

While the Hawkeye Pose meme, which sought to take exploitative images in comics and replace the figure with that of Hawkeye, to demonstrate how comic book superheroes treated women characters very differently to men.

J Scott Campbell

Well, ten years later, J Scott Campbell revisited that cover himself in last week's Marvel Comics #1000. And redrew that pose himself, adding commentary from Mary Jane herself…

J Scott Campbell

Because no one takes off J Scott Campbell better than J Scott Campbell himself…

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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