Monday, May 14, 2007

Sideshow MJ Statue SOLD OUT
"There's A Market For It"

Confirming what I suspected, that despite three pages of "When Fangirls Attack" links slamming the "barefoot sexy laundress" Spiderman collectible, there is a "silent majority" who still snap these suckers up.

My questions:

1. If there is a confirmed market for this sort of art & collectibles, doesn't DC & Marvel have the right to produce them?

2. Do said items hurt the "rep" of these properties so much to certain readers & potential readers that it isn't worth the extra sales? Or would the people that would be offended by the Mary Jane & Supergirl statues tend not to enjoy the majority of mainstream superhero comic offerings anyway?

3. As a super-model & devoted housewife, how much does the Mary Jane "Comiquette" deviate from what we know of this character? Is such a scene regarding Mary Jane, a dirty Spidersuit, and heaving breasts completely out of the realm of possibility in the Spiderman universe? As married adults in a still-playful, sexually-charged relationship, would MJ & Peter ever exchange randy looks while performing household chores?

4. If the Comiquette featured Jean Grey, Sue Richards, or Storm would it be even more offensive? Why or why not?

5. How much of the offense taken by this statue has to do with the fact that MJ is doing Peter's laundry? Is there some sense that a wife doing her husband's laundry is demeaning in-and-of-itself?

6. The Mary Jane statue is an obvious allusion to the classic cheesecake pinups of old, where women are posed in sutuations that make no damn sense whatsoever for the sake of showing off their curves. Are these allusions ok? Or should they only be used with less iconic female characters? Or should they be stopped completely?


Is there any reader who actually LIKES and/or ordered this statue or the Supergirl/Catwoman ones who would be brave enough to drop me an email or leave a comment?

I'm just playing devil's advocate here, I like to see all sides of the debate.

My own answers:

1. Yes

2. Yes & No.

3. I don't think this scene is so unthinkable. But it definitely doesn't show the full range of the character.

4. Yes, it would be more offensive because their primary roles are being active crimefighters, not supermodels/housewives.

5. There is a DEFINITE bias against women/wives doing household work in play here in a number of the criticisms. This image seems to trigger off this automatic sense of persecution, of being told that "women should be barefoot and pregnant." And yet this domestic image is one I rarely if ever see depicted in superhero collectibles. It's an oddball. And I don't think its purpose is to say that all women should "know their place." It's purpose is to titillate, beginning-and-end-of-story. She could have just as easily been fishing or laying down laminate flooring. But there are also women who take pride in doing housework, making babies, etc., and there is a stigma to an extent placed on these women in popular culture -- that they are "anti-feminist," unambitious, walking anachronisms, victims, the oppressed, brainwashed Stepford Wives. And that attitude is in itself biased.

6. There has to be a place for it. But it's very tricky with iconic characters like MJ, Supergirl, Wonder Woman, et al.


  1. My answers:
    1. Yes
    2. No and maybe
    3. This fits with MJ's image pretty well, though I suspect she makes Peter wash his damn uni more often than not.
    4. It would definitely be offensive with one of those other characters.
    5. I suspect the offense is about 80% laundry 20% pose.
    6. There's nothing wrong with a little tongue-in-cheek cheescake which I suspect was the intent of this statue. Clearly, they didn't quite pull it off.

    I actually bought the far worse Powergirl statuette for my friend last week. He was getting married on Friday, but his long-term crush on PG certainly wasn't going away. I just wanted to remind him what he was giving up by settling down - all future hope of slipping into an alternate, animated universe and having a tryst with PG.

    In his absence this week, Powergirl stands watch over his desk. I think she's got to be cold, though, with that giant hole in her costume.

  2. Well, didn't buy the thing, but I am pervy man so I'll give it a try.

    1. Certainly they have the right. They're in the business of making money.

    2. Yes. I once brought a woman with me to the comic shop who had never read comics before and she was quite disappointed in the depiction of women on the covers. Had this staue been in the window, she would never have bothered with comics ever again.

    Oh, and no to the second part. Being offended by oversexed statues and loving mainstream comics are not mutually exclusive.

    3. Well, having spent many hours watching America's Next Top Model thanks to my new wife, I don't think that a super model at a photo shoot would take a pose like this. In the privacy of their home, sure, you can imagine Mary Jane and Peter Parker doing some pretty creative things with webbing. But just because she's a super model doesn't mean she throws her happy fun bags out there for all to see.

    4. Sue is a mom so the only ones seeing her mammaries are Reed and baby Franklin who isn't a baby anymore. Can you imagine Storm washing anyone else's clothes but her own? Jean? Well, she's not really a sex pot so no, this would not be good for her either. Jenna Jameson? Then this would make sense!

    5. I think you're right on. This image is selling sex, not domestication. The outrage against against the laundry is probably justified to some extent, but it does seem a little misplaced.

    6. I think if this were fanart, it might not be so bad. You can definitely see a lot of the classic pinup pose in this statue. However, being an officially licensed product, this really does a diservice to Mary Jane and in some ways, damages the image of the character.

    I think the cheesecake thing works for select characters. Emma Frost comes to mind. She definitely uses her sexuality to her advantage (which is possibly another post for another time).

    Boy, that was long and windy.

  3. 1. Yep.
    2. a. Nope.
    b. Was a time I would have said "true", but given the vitriol this solicit has unleashed, I'm not so sure now.
    3. a. Not much. If MJ were a self-aware character, and asked to come up with a cheesecake pose for fans of her husband's comic book, I can easily imagine her suggesting this herself. (Has everyone forgotten what she used to be like? "With looks like mine, sweetie, who talks?") I'm not a big fan of the Supergirl figure because, for her, it is out of character.
    b. No.
    c. I should hope so.
    4. More offensive? Again, given the reaction to this, I'm not sure anything could be *more* offensive. But it would be grossly out of character for any of the named women. I can easily see a She-Hulk figure washing John Jameson's "Star-God" costume.
    5. a. Most of it.
    b. Yes. It shouldn't be, but it is perceived so.
    6. a. Yes.
    b. MJ is iconic?
    c. No.

    I would love to own this maquette. I probably won't, because I don't have that much disposable income sitting around, but I love it.

  4. I don't read Spiderman, so I don't actually know the character very well, but some part of me can't help but go: What if she's not actually washing his uniform? What if she's really posing like this for Pete as part of some fantasy role play?
    In which case, I would find it slightly bizarre to make a statuette of it, but at least it would make some sense of the otherwise-stupid pose.

  5. 1)Yes, but I'm sure I'm not wrong by voting with my wallet.

    2)I don't think MJ is really a property. Besides, can Spidey really be taken down any more? I doubt it really puts a dent in the ginormous cash flow.

    3) I've never seen Mary Jane as a particularly deep or intellectual character, though I doubt she is really all that stupid. Not out of the realm of possibility, but way out of the realm of good taste. And if this "randy look" was targeted at Parker, well, he should really be in the picture as more than an empty, discarded costume. It's fanboy cheescake.

    4) Yes, I think it would be a little more offensive to see a woman who has been so active as a hero in the marvel universe depicted like MJ has been. If only because MJ is supposed to be a who- I mean model.

    5) I suppose that some of the indignant response I am having comes from that. The larger part of it is that they had to make a statue. A monument of this stupid, come-hither pose, instead of just some variant cover or poster.

    6)I could deal with a pose that put her on the nose of an airplane, or on the hood of a car, or writhing naked on a bearskin rug, honestly. What bothers me so very much is the parallel of domesticity and sexiness. It would be a far sexier and thought provoking statue if they could just get her out of the goddamn boring laundry room scenario.

    I once knew a girl who was a teen model. She worked with me. She did not know how to operate a vacuum.

    My favorite part is when Deppy compares the MJ statue to Gay Pornography. I'm sorry, but even if it's created to hit only a male (highly visual) audience, it's still generated to satisfy a pornographic urge.. the two shouldn't really be in the same arena.

    At work once I was asked "You're a bit of a feminist, aren't you?" in a tone which let me know the lady who asked disapproved of this. I responded with: "Well.. I like voting and driving.."

  6. I own a comic book store. I carry a variety of Sideshow products. I have many, many male customers that shop in my store. I also have women and children that shop in my store.

    I WILL NOT carry the MJ statue, nor the Emma Frost statue in my store.

  7. Wow, well said Lisa!

    My own answers...

    1. Yes, but that sweeping statement also justifies all those Superheroine rape websites, which is another debate.

    2. They de-value comics. The truth is alot of peoples definitive image of MJ is now Kirsten Dunst with a dye-job. Who are we to say any different when the companies churn out adolescent crap like this?

    3. Intersting. would a statuette of MJ without spidey (or his clothes) in frame be recognisable as MJ? She hasn't the advantage of a suit of her own. However, this is actually no better than the Big barda coatrack. she is being defined purely as 'Mrs Spiderman' when we know she is so much more.

    she's not making eyes at Petey, she's making them at us.

    4. Equally offensive. See Big Barda example.

    5. Again, I have no problem depicting characters doing chores, but the clear intention is to brand her 'Mrs Spiderman'. I suspect the commercial fear was that a statuette of MJ would not sell as well wthout a spiderman reference in it. They were probably right.

    Interesting question - would MJ, if asked, pose like this on a job? After all, she is now publicly known as Spidermans wife? I suspect she'd tell them where to get off.

    6. MJ not iconic? Seven words... "Face it tiger, you hit the jackpot!"

    there is already a good statuette of that scene available, but it could do with updating. Let them make a new version of her most iconic scene for us an bin this heap of garbage.

    I have already gone on record here saying i thing the catwoman statuette is amazing... if ONLY they'd zipped her top up. I'd go as far to say its one of the best statuettes i've seen.

    Sorry this was huge.

  8. I realize this is super-old, but I never really got involved with this issue when it all first happened, but have we talked about the fact that MJ isn't doing Peter's laundry? That she peeked in his laundry bucket and discovered his Spidey costume?