Sexy girl as rotting corpse: Did you ever see the movie about the blood diamonds? This is what you’re really paying for when you buy any Marvel comic.

Well, that's kind of sad.

So just to reitterate: Children’s character from book for children (the kid/teen girl-oriented Mary Jane #1) used as sex symbol? Check. Sex symbol met with incredible violence, still portrayed as sexy? Check. Deliberately done to provoke fan reaction? Check.

Congratulations! Up until yesterday I was kind of excited about World War Hulk, and was going to recommend it to my customers? Today: Not so much. I feel kind of… gross.. about recommending any Marvel titles at this point.

- Christopher
Edit: Just for those not as well-versed as me in the comics, this is the cover to the fifth printing of the Marvel Zombies HC, released today by Marvel, art by Arthur Suydam. It’s a take on a cover to a children’s series featuring Mary Jane from the Spider-Man books, in high school, at about 15 I think? The original art was by Takeshi Miyazawa and you can find it here.

100 Comments on “No, Seriously, Why Do You Put Up With This Shit?”

You can track this conversation through its atom feed.

  1. Stuart Immonen says:

    Just a couple of cents’ worth…

    I hear what your saying, and, in my opinion, you’re right. I just hate to see you tar all the publisher’s books with the same brush.

    My personal experience with producing covers (with every company I’v worked with, not just Marvel) is that there is _no_ editorial suggestion up front; the artist comes up with one, two or more ideas, sketched out, the editor (and others, I suppose) decides from those which might be ideal, and the artist is given the go-ahead to proceed to pencils, digital paints or what have you.

    I have never, never encountered a situation where the cover idea (or how (sexily) to execute it) had begun with editorial or marketing.

    That being said, if they’re given sexy corpse character as a choice, they’ll probably go with it.

    Nice to see you again– looking forward to August.

  2. Chris says:

    Stuart- I understand where you’re coming from as a Marvel creator who isn’t doing work like this, I really do. But man, as a retailer you can sort of justify it to yourself and say “Well, alright, they’ve got tenticles threatening the women and they’re stringing up the gays and lighting a black man on fire, but at least I can recommend them the kids line, because Mary Jane #1 is off in it’s own little world and McKeever and Miyazawa did some great work on that.” And then they decide to take that exact image, make Mary Jane’s tits bigger and tear a huge portion out of her stomach with a rusty spoon and use that to sell Mature Readers books.

    So, yeah, man, I’m have a really hard time just ignoring the stuff I don’t like from this publisher and talking about the stuff I do, specifically because the pub has no quams about mixing the two up.

  3. John Jakala says:

    Wow, it’s like Marvel is daring its fans to continue supporting it. Have they done zombie versions of Power Pack yet?

  4. Lianne Sentar says:

    I think I just vomited in my mouth a little.

    Man…and the editor on the tentacle porn issue was my old editor at Tokyopop–super nice guy who helped me out a lot when I was starting out. Why does everything suck so hard?!

  5. Andertoons says:

    I’m no comics regular, and I’m really trying to find what it is you’re talking about here. L’il help?

  6. markus says:

    I don’t “get” the reference so the cover is fairly harmless to me, but:
    I just hate to see you tar all the publisher’s books with the same brush.
    Well, if the shoe fits. The point is, twofold. For one, it does speak volumes that such a concept is offered to the publisher in the first place and that the art is then accepted. Apart from being a bad idea in itself, it’s also crossing the streams, something real publishers care about. In other words, if Marvel was serious about not whoring out its female characters at the drop of a hat Greg Land’s art, the statue and the tentacle cover wouldn’t even be offered to them, because everyone would know they’d never touch them.
    Second, if you get published in Playboy, it will rub off. If you care about not being associated with their filth, don’t associate with them, at the very least get a publisher that cares about separating the smut from the good stuff.

  7. Nadine says:

    …personally I’m just wonering how she is managing to still stand, seeing as with that much of your middle gone you should, in theory, be flopped over to one side, undead or not.

  8. Steve Flack says:

    Oh I am sick of this…


    Yet, when I got my TokyoPop zine in the mail, where they made a big deal about their fan service manga, with all their panty shots, no one gives two shits.


  9. Andertoons says:

    Seriously, someone post a link or something. I’m curious to know more about this…

  10. Chris says:

    Steve, the girls flashing their panties usually aren’t missing a good portion of their face and ribcage.


    It’s a bit different in intent and execution.

  11. Tlönista says:

    Yeeeeah. So far, the only Marvel comic I’ve ever paid money for has been Nextwave, and it’s probably gonna stay that way.

  12. Journalista - the news weblog of The Comics Journal » Blog Archive » June 13, 2007: Everything we could think of says:

    [...] “Sexy girl as rotting corpse: Did you ever see the movie about the blood diamonds? This is what you’re really paying for when you buy any Marvel comic.” – Christopher Butcher [...]

  13. Myk says:

    Those are incredibly tiny rats sitting on her arm and head.

  14. Myk says:

    Oh, now I get it; that´s the cover to the long awaited Marvel Zombies / Tarot / Mouse Guard Crossover, right…?

  15. Brigid says:

    I’m really puzzled as to what you would put inside a comic with a cover like that. Is it all half-eaten superheroes? Don’t they just topple over? Is there some sort of story associated with this?

    Also, I feel bad for Tak, having that done to his artwork. If it were me, I’d be pissed.

  16. Pedro Tejeda says:

    I can’t believe you are name dropping the Sam Wilson cover. God, do you even read the books you are trashing.

    Its goddamn fucking symbolic dumbass. Your indie than thou outrage is epic.

    Also, where is the stringing up of gays cover? I’m just curious about it.

  17. Chip Zdarsky says:

    I see it as a wry comment on eating disorders. But then again, I have over 37 Marvel titles on my pull list.


  18. Thom says:

    “I’m really puzzled as to what you would put inside a comic with a cover like that. Is it all half-eaten superheroes? Don’t they just topple over? Is there some sort of story associated with this?”

    Well, the comic is called Marvel Zombies, set in an alternate universe where an alien infection turned the entire planet into zombies.

    “make Mary Jane’s tits bigger”
    Are you sure, Chris? It actually looks like they were reduced in the zombie image when I compared the images side by side.

    That said, i don’t think there is much chance of someone accidentally marketing this to kids or fans of SLMJ. I don’t know if I would lump this in with the tentacle porn H4H cover or MJ statue.

  19. Alex Scott says:

    Wow, it’s like Marvel is daring its fans to continue supporting it. Have they done zombie versions of Power Pack yet?

    According to someone on the Marc Sumerak boards, they have.

  20. Brian says:

    If people buy the issue then who’s the real zombie? Huh? I ask you that! Huh? Eh?

    Also, I think it’s hilarious that people wonder how she’s standing up. It’s a super hero book. Zombies don’t have trouble walking around after death and scientists transform into big green monsters. Don’t throw random rocks and kitchen sinks when you’ve got so much good ammo to shoot at the piece.

  21. jimbo says:

    This is a poorly-chosen cover image, but more on the grounds that it doesn’t seem to serve the material all that well-wouldn’t you want some superhero zombies to promote your superhero zombie book?

    But I don’t think we need an outright ban on “sexy” teen zombie covers (and it’s kind of hard to find a girl with half her face and torso missing all that attractive). I think the art is more amusing than outright horrifying. The intent seems to be to make people chuckle rather than get them to de-pants.

  22. Joe says:

    I don’t know . . . i really don’t understand the uproar OR the inference that Marvel is somehow evil and daring us to like them.

    I’m a Marvel zombie yet I don’t read the Marvel Zombies books. Didn’t liek them. I tried it and I’m not saying the art or the writing was bad.

    I just don’t like the concept.

    Seeing Spidey and Cap as evil flesh devouring zombies isn’t how I want to sepnd my money.


    The whole concept of this universe is taking the iconic characters and portraying them as evil zombies. Every cover is an iconic classic Marvel image done as a zombie.

    So what gives here?

    If it was the classic scene with MJ saying, “Face it Tiger – you just hit the jckpot” dones as a zombie – would there be an uproar?

    I’m really missing the “controversy” – It’s matrue readers material that younger children shouldn’t get near.

    The original Mary Jane image it’s parodying isn’t even an iconic image as it’s so new. It’s just an idea an artist riffed on and they went with it. I don’t see any distasteful ulterior motives.

    I think at worst it’s just a Marvel title that many people love and an equal amount just don’t “get”.

    It’s not on my pull list – but I certainly wouldn’t be removing other Marvel titles because of its existence.

    SOmeone help me – what’s causing such a visceral reaction?

    I mean – i didn’t agree with the MJ statue uproar – but I understood the thinking behind it more than this.

    Somebody explain . . .

  23. Sal says:

    Does this cover somehow ruin the previously mentioned work by McKeever and Miyazawa? It still exists, right? Or did the creation of a painting destroy them?

  24. Chris says:

    I’ve decided I’m only going to respond to Sal, because of my indie outrage.

    Sal- To answer your questions: Yes, completely. No, it’s been irrevocably changed. And? Luckily the original is kept in a vault somewhere, but I’m sure someone, somewhere is trying to get at that vault.

    - Christopher

  25. John Jakala says:

    You’re right about the Power Pack thing: According to Wikipedia, “The Power children appear in Marvel Zombies vs. The Army of Darkness #3. All four children have been changed into zombies, and come into conflict with Nextwave (who by this point have not been infected, but are ruthlessly dispatched moments later).”

    That’s some brilliant meta-commentary, having the created-for-adults Nextwave attacked by the created-for-kids Power Pack, now appropriately grittied-up with plenty of Superhero Decadence (phrase TM Dirk Deppey).

  26. Greg Carter says:

    I’m sure in some meeting when someone jokingly mentioned taking that kids book cover and zombiefying it, everyone got a big laugh. Then their marketing hind-brains took over and here we are. “The fanboys will love it and the people that hate it will promote it better than we ever could by pointing it out to everyone on the whole freaking interwubthingy.”

    But does it bother you enough to not sell it?

  27. Dorian says:

    Man, Chris…all this outrage directed at you for daring to suggest that, once again, Marvel has shown poor judgement in their marketing.

    At least Marvel hasn’t done a zombie cock cover yet!

  28. jimbo says:

    I’d agree that this is shitty marketing. But comparing Marvel to blood diamond profiteers? Yowza. Chris, I really enjoy your blog, and the posts on “Cockgate” were smart and witty. But this seems like making a mountain out of a half-eaten zombie girl.

    And Dorian, thank you for making me picture a zombie cock cover. Sweet Christmas.

  29. Thom says:

    “At least Marvel hasn’t done a zombie cock cover yet! ”

    But then there would be fanboy outrage over the cover.

  30. Jim says:

    Chris, have you forgotten how to have fun?

    What exactly is the problem here? There are now FIVE covers for the Marvel Zombies HC. In each, beloved characters have been grossly and comically mutilated, in humorous homages to classic covers. Not just this one, but in each. If this one is “sexy” to you, it is because the ORIGINAL was “sexy”, too. Suydam has homaged yet another style, here.

    Your post has left a really bad taste in my mouth. You strike me as a guy who went looking for something to feign outrage over, and ingratiate yourself to the Gails and Leas.

    You can all have each other. Enjoy sitting around and complaining about other peoples’ harmless fun.

  31. Brian says:

    Um… lighten up. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it, don’t read it, don’t support it. No one’s putting a gun to your head and making you, right? (If they are, blink twice.)

  32. Chris says:

    Greg- Actually, yeah, it kinda does. We’ve been sold out of Marvel Zombies in HC for a month now because Marvel’s been manipulating demand, what’s another few months until there’s another printing? Fuck it, I’ve got 25,000 other books to sell.

    Dorian- See: Frank Cho’s Zombie King. Maybe Marvel can do a variant.

    Jimbo- Well, it’s all proportional, much like the original mountain/molehill simile.

  33. Chris says:

    Brian- **blink** **blink** As a retailer, I actually had to put my backorders in on this book, not knowing what the cover would look like. All of that said, I’m pretty light about the whole thing actually. I’m not gonna buy, read it further, or support it actually. That’s kind of what this post is about.

    Jim- Oh man, congratulations. You just won the fucknut sweepstakes.

  34. Jim says:

    Is that the sweepstakes where the winner desribes your motivations to a “T”?

  35. Sal says:

    Chris said: To answer your questions: Yes, completely. No, it’s been irrevocably changed.

    How? I don’t see how this one cover has any effect on the original. It’s still there. Kids can buy it. I can still give those issues to my kids without any effect. So what damage has been done other than to your sensibilities?

  36. Brian Wood says:

    This cover is actually a real boon for the basement dwelling set. This Mary Jane has so many more holes they can fantasize about fucking her in!


  37. Chris says:

    …and it’s Brian Wood for the win.

  38. Matt says:

    Honestly, I kinda just wish that Marvel would quit with Marvel Zombies in general. It was cute and fun at first, but now it’s just silly.

    Leave it to Marvel to beat a halfway decent idea for all its worth, and send people into an outrage to boot.



  39. Zeb Aslam says:

    To be perfectly honest I didn’t even realize it was the same cover until I read your commentary. I don’t know if that represents a good enough sampling, but I don’t think you have to worry about little girl MJ fans being attracted to this.

    I’m with Brian Wood…its the other MJ “fans” you have to watch out for.

  40. Lea says:

    Dammit, Brian, you beat me to it. The hell.

    Chris, come to San Antonio and we’ll be more than friends. We’ll be piano bar drinkin’ friends.

  41. joncormier says:

    I was juat thinking how hard it was for me to continue to justify buying Marvel books and something like this just adds to the fire.

    And I was enjoying some of those Marvel Adventure titles as well written escapist books. I hate to dump other creator’s work because of one dumbass decision, but add them up and this is just a company I don’t want to support on any level anymore.

  42. Myk says:

    I was gonna say, “Boy, peter really ate her out good this time”, but then I didn´t…

  43. Scott Anderson says:

    I can’t decide which is deader, MJ on this cover or your sense of humor?

    The whole point of the Marvel Zombie stuff is to create a humorous dichotomy between the usual image of the Marvel character and the grotesque version from the Marvel Zombie universe. The fact that this MJ is apparently trying to be sexy despite the fact that she couldn’t possibly be is the joke. Even the term “Marvel Zombie” is a humorous play on the term for Marvel fanboys. This same sort of joke playing on the dichotomy between the sexy and the disgusting was played with great success in Tim Burton’s “The Corpse Bride.”

    Seriously, do you think Marvel is going for the lucrative necrophilia market? And what do you think will happen when people see this cover? Will guys dig up corpses to screw or murder their girlfriends? Will girls become too traumatized to read comics? What is going to happen?

    Frankly, I think feminists may have a better sense of humor about this than you do.

  44. Chris says:

    Scott- You don’t know? You aren’t, yourself, a feminist?

  45. Jesse says:

    Makes me wanna become a zombie and make zombie love to her. Zombies ftw. Feast on me Mary Jane!

  46. Huff says:

    I don’t know, maybe this is because I generally ignore Marvel, but is this really THAT big a deal? Yes, it’s tacky and not particularly funny, but I can’t imagine that the creator spending nights on the phone with his editor, contemplating ways to create guro porn with underage characters. I didn’t even associate the “MJ is a zombie” with violence until I re-read your post. I think Scott is right and this is just a failed attempt at innocent humor. The “new holes” comment is gold though.

  47. Mickle says:

    “The fact that this MJ is apparently trying to be sexy despite the fact that she couldn’t possibly be is the joke.”

    And if violence against women wasn’t already an overused punchline, it might actually be funny in that ironic way. But then you’d also have to deal with the fact that the whole persistent conflation of vulnerable and sexy kinda makes the irony part of the joke not so ironic.

  48. Lea says:

    Speaking as someone who is not as put out by this cover as other recent ones (*cough*HeroesforHentai *cough*), Chris does have a point. The other covers I’ve seen made me laugh for the over-the-top silliness of zombies swinging over rooftops.
    But MJ’s just standing there, isn’t she?
    It’s not funny, it’s just gross.

    At least she lost that troublesome 20 pounds standing between her and snagging Kate Moss’ job.

    Oh yeah: never try to guess what feminists will think. You’ll almost always be wrong.

  49. Jason Marcy says:

    I’m just trying to figure out why there’s a zombie Mary Jane…the viurs only infected the super powered, if I remember correctly from the vastly superior Ultimate F.F. issues Marvel has literally beaten to death in it’s money quest…

  50. Leigh Walton says:

    Hey Chris, what did you think of Warren Ellis’s RUINS?

  51. James Meeley says:

    “I’m just trying to figure out why there’s a zombie Mary Jane…the viurs only infected the super powered, if I remember correctly from the vastly superior Ultimate F.F. issues Marvel has literally beaten to death in it’s money quest… ”

    I believe this was mentioned, either in the Marvel Zombies vs. Army Of Darkness mini or the recent Marvel Zombies: Dead Days one-shot, that normal folks COULD be zombies like the heroes, only since they aren’t powerful enough to resist them, like other super-powered folks, they get eaten into oblivion very fast.

    So, basically, if MJ could have fought off her super-powered husband, she’d have been a “Zombie MJ”. She just never got the chance, because she was eaten so quickly.

    Not saying this explanation makes the story any better, but it was addressed, however briefly.

  52. Toriach says:

    Personally I’m a huge non fan of zombie stuff anyway, but while I see and agree with your point for me the nadir came in the recent issue of Wizzer wherein they comissioned the artist who does all the marvel zombie covers to do one for the cover to Crisis On Infinite Earths number seven. It shows a zombie Superman holding a still living Supergirl with an apple in her mouth. So wrong on so many levels that I don’t even know where to begin.



  53. James Wilkinson says:

    So… just so we’re sure… every zombie now has to be a man wearing a comfortable jumper and slacks, sitting in a gender/sex neutral pose, with a blank expression, reading a book?

    Every cover so far has just been a notable comic book cover of times past, but zombified (although obviously after milking this one joke for all it’s worth over the last few years, they’ve run out of decent comics). I don’t see how this changes when it’s the cover of a Mary-Jane book. The original work isn’t contaminated, this will not be sold to children and the image is meant to be humorously playing on the juxtaposition of the ‘sexy’ image and the horrible zombie that’s in it. Presumably this joke can now only be made with muscled, packaged male superheroes…

    Additionally, I’d say that, flippantly or not, likening this cover to the systematic abuse of hundreds of thousands of impoverished African workers is in FAR worse taste than doing a slightly crap pastiche of a comic book cover.

    Now, the ‘Mary Jane does laundry’ statue… THAT was dubious.

  54. RedRavenForever says:

    Apparently, Marvel is going for that all important necrophiliac portion of the market.

    Not that the original version of the drawing is all that good either.

  55. Journalista - the news weblog of The Comics Journal » Blog Archive » June 14, 2007: The Mary Jane Watson instant weight-loss program says:

    [...] In case you didn’t quite get what Christopher Butcher was talking about yesterday. [...]

  56. Adventures in consumerism « Precocious Curmudgeon says:

    [...] My irony detector must be on the fritz, because it’s taken me forever to snicker at the spectacle of Marvel actually turning its characters into shambling, cannibalistic, soulless corpses in pursuit of profit. It’s so meta that it’s almost daring. [...]

  57. Zombie Chic? « In One Ear… says:

    [...] see myself as a creative explosion ready to be unleashed” « INTERVIEW!!!! Zombie Chic? June 14th, 2007 This is a controversy I am not so sure I feel that offendedby. [...]

  58. Scott Anderson says:

    Chris, no, I don’t know. And yes, I am a feminist. What is the bad thing that is going to happen? With blood diamonds, people get murdered and maimed. What will happen if people see this cover?

    And Mickle, she’s got mice eating her. This isn’t laughing at a woman being beaten. This is a making fun of a comic book cover and using the ironic image of MJ trying to look sexy while she has rodents eating her. It is very similar to the rats coming to eat Kenny on South Park.

    BTW, I am frequently shocked that violence against women is considered a taboo because of the problems with violence against women, but men are actually more likely than women to be the victims in all categories of violent crime except for rape. 79% of murder victims are male.

    Seriously, when you look at jokes about violence perpetrated against someone, isn’t the victim of the violence usually male? Three Stooges, anyone? How many times is a male villain the butt of a joke as he’s being thrashed by the hero? Or the hero may be the joke as he’s being beaten? I’m not saying it doesn’t happen to women, but more often than not, it’s a guy.

  59. Igaf says:

    See, I think that’s suppoused to be a joke. Making Zombies out of ‘classic moments’ has become the equivalent of Alex Ross taking a fine brush to moments of similar ‘classic’ weight. They did, Venom, the Avengers, amongst others, and now as a joke, this one which is more unexpected. They should’ve made her look more anime-esque like in the book, but I don’t think this is nearly as bad as other things that’ve been popping up, if its bad at all. Its a joke, and the fact that one half is ‘sexy’ is part of it. Its to creep you out in a good way, not arouse the hearts of the stereotypical comics nerd. Its certainly icky, but the intention is not as evil. Putting a new cover on every printing of a Marvel hardcover, that’s a tad more questionable, and even that has its sense of ick. But it matches what’s in the book! If anything else, this shows that ‘Mary Jane loves Spiderman’ made it, which is a good sign. Its weird, but not necessarilly as bad as the statue or the Heroes for Hire cover.

  60. Symptom of a Larger Problem « ÃŽles du Désappointement says:

    [...] Jun 14th, 2007 by jlg1 Marvel’s been having a rough time lately, to say the least, and the latest hit comes from a Zombie Mary Jane cover to the widely popular Marvel Zombies. [...]

  61. Ed Brubaker says:

    I would just like to point out that the Falcon having his costume lit on fire on a cover is not inherently racially insensitive. If he was hanging from a tree while a cross burned, then yeah, I could see your point. But the burning of people isn’t an iconic racist image, it’s iconic for witches and religious heretics.

    I didn’t even think of him as a “black man” when I suggested the image to Steve, I thought of him as a superhero whose costume we wanted to get rid of.

    I generally like your posts and agree with a lot of what you have to say, but I resent the idea that I’m somehow a racist for treating The Falcon the same as I would treat any other superhero in one of my books. To me, treating different races and genders and sexual orientations differently than I would a white male character is the definition of racism.

  62. ElCoyote says:

    First time ever read your blog, Chris!

    Last time, too, douchebag.

  63. Loris Z. says:

    I find strange that nobody said this before, but: Am I the only one who’s scared of the way the artist drew all her face decomposed… except for her lips?

  64. david brothers says:

    I’m with Ed– I don’t see how a black man on fire is inherently offensive, any more than any other hero being on fire would be. But, every time I’ve seen it mentioned, it’s mentioned specifically because Sam is black. It’s weird.

  65. Revenant says:

    Must be a slow week for comic news.

  66. Bitches Love Spider-Man says:

    I… I don’t see what the big deal is.

    Besides, from what I’ve seen… Most of the people who read MJ/MJ:HC/SMLMJ/BLSM are… Well… Not teenage girls. Or kids, for that matter.

    I’m surprised anyone is getting upset over Zombie MJ, and not the fact that Marvel seems to be REALLY reaching with the Zombie covers now.

  67. Mickle says:


    You mean like the exact same way they took a bite out of her side, but left her breasts intact?

    And how this is very much a pattern with the zombie covers?

    Um, nope. Definitely not the only one.

    But I do find the fact that so few people do notice this to be even scarier than the covers themselves.

    To Igaf and everyone else making comments similar to:

    “Its a joke, and the fact that one half is ’sexy’ is part of it.”

    I shall simply quote myself, (with clarification) because I’m egotistical enough to think that I’m worth quoting:

    “And if violence against women wasn’t already an overused punchline, it might actually be funny in that ironic way. But since we do have this whole persistent conflation of “woman in physical danger” with “sexy” the whole “not being unusual” bit kinda makes the irony part of the joke not so ironic.”

    And really, at this point? The Sexy Zombie all by itself is overused. Like everything else, it seems the only way to show women in comics is to show them as sexy. Even when they are dropping body parts. Which, I point out again, kinda makes it not all that ironic to combine sexy with just about anything.

    In other words, “you keep using that word, I don’t think it means what you think it means….”

    ….because if the idea of mutilated women portrayed as sexy is unexpected to you, you haven’t been paying attention.

    (and if I wasn’t so tired that last line would include lots of links to things like “Top Model’s” death shoot, Shakes’s recents posts about rape jokes, my post reviewing all the covers on display Marvel’s website on a random day, Jill’s various posts about the “joksters” at AutoAdmit…and yeah, the list pretty much goes on and on. I’d have to write pages just to have enough words to use as links.)


    “I didn’t even think of him as a “black man” when I suggested the image to Steve, I thought of him as a superhero whose costume we wanted to get rid of.”

    “I’m colorblind, so there is no racist imagry here!” has got to be one of the stupider arguments out there.

  68. Paul says:

    “‘I’m colorblind, so there is no racist imagry here!’ has got to be one of the stupider arguments out there.”

    Er, except that isn’t what he said. He said a black man on fire is not a racist image. It’s only an image of a man on fire. And he’s right. Pretty sucky to rope him in with the rest of the garbage going on.

  69. david brothers says:

    I’d think that Brubaker’s body of work bears out his argument, myself. It’s not like he’s trying to hide some racism, and it isn’t like setting a black dude on fire is racist.

  70. nickmaynard says:

    i don’t get what about this is even supposed to be sexy?

    i mean, she’s just standing with her arm behind her head, that’s automatically sexy now?

    they’ve made like hundreds of other marvel characters into zombies, why is it all of a sudden wrong now?

  71. James Wilkinson says:

    “And how this is very much a pattern with the zombie covers?”

    -Because it takes a familiar comic book cover and turns the character in it into a zombie. As has happened with every single previous Marvel Zombies cover.

    It’s not like Mary Jane has been singled out to become a subject of this “violence” (speaking of not using a word correctly…), she’s just another character in a series that has zombified men and women – and mutants and monsters – alike.

    What’s particularly frustrating is that there are LOADS of EXTREMELY dubious covers and comics coming out from Marvel, DC and god knows how many other companies – the Heroes for Hire tentacle one, yes, and plenty more. But when people like Chris take something like this and compare it to (of all things) the trade in diamonds, it makes it so much easier for people to write off any feminist critique of comic books as hyperbolic, overly sensitive rubbish. Which, in a lot of cases, it is not.

    ““I’m colorblind, so there is no racist imagry here!” has got to be one of the stupider arguments out there.”

    -Stupider than “setting a black hero on fire is racist”? As Brubaker says, if the character had been lynched or something you might have a point. But violence against a black character is not necessarily racism and violence against a female character is not necessarily sexism. These things have to be looked at within the wider context of the line as a whole. And in both of these cases, people are getting their knickers in a twist without cause.

    Additionally, Brubaker’s got a solid history of comics starring strong black characters, so I think it’s reasonable to assume that it was not made with any racist intent.

  72. Daria says:

    All that outrage for that cover?

    Look, I’m female, I don’t read Marvel Zombie because I don’t see the point (I have no interest for zombies and zombie movies in general).
    And I do read MJ on occasion, though I’m way too old for it, but it’s cute and everybody needs light fun sometimes.

    Yet when I saw that cover, I was just impressed with how well the concept had been executed.
    In fact, I saved it on my hard drive, because I found it that good.

    There are a lot of things you can criticize about Marvel, and I certainly don’t buy a lot of their comics any more, because there’s a lot that they publish that I don’t agree with.
    The reactions look disproportionate here.

    Are you outraged because you actually feel horny at the sight of this picture and it makes you feel like a creep, or what?

  73. Igaf says:

    If one can’t really see the ironic charecteristics in this cover, then, like those who misunderstood Grand Theft Auto or thought Batman was gay, are left to thier own readings. Have you looked at the original cover!? Sheesh.

    The cover is a joke. I’d think the cover of Spiderman marrying corpse Mary Jane would offend you much worse. If Heroes for Hire didn’t pull the crap it did recently, wouldn’t most of us let this go?

  74. Red Stapler says:

    I agreed about the statue and the H4H cover, but this?

    Not really.

    I think it’s funny, and a lot of “iconic” covers are getting the same treatment. If others weren’t, then I’d be upset, but…they are, so I’m not.

    Also, the cover it’s parodying is over two years old. A lot of its original target audience are old enough for the new target audience.

    I enjoy it. ::shrug::

  75. Kung Fu Rodeo - Face It Tiger, I’m Gonna Eat Your Brains » says:

    [...] According to longtime internet comic book pundit Chris Butcher, this cover is the straw that’s breaking his camel’s back. Butcher, and many in his comments section, are still a little raw about the whole Mary Jane statue debacle it seems, and they consider this zombified recreation of the debut cover to the short lived, critically loved Mary Jane comic to be Marvel’s latest attempt to objectify and demean women. Gotta say, I just don’t see it. I wasn’t really in agreement with the people screaming over the MJ statue, but I could at least see their point. This, on the other hand, really smacks of people bitching just to bitch. [...]

  76. monkey says:

    i fapped!

  77. horatio616 says:

    Wow, a gory zombie cover for a zombie book that’s not meant for kids. What next, a girl with big boobs on the cover of Playboy? Seriously people, G.A.L. Sometimes I curse the internet.

  78. Mickle says:

    Since when does

    “I didn’t even think of him as a “black man” when I suggested the image to Steve, I thought of him as a superhero whose costume we wanted to get rid of.”


    “I’m colorblind, so there is no racist imagry here!”



    That wasn’t his only argument, but it was an argument used. If he didn’t think it was a valid argument, why use it?

    Racism and sexism and all that fun stuff depend on context. And part of the that is the context of what else is going on or has gone on, not just immediate context.

    Especially when it comes to covers because the point is to take a theme or iconic image out of the context of the story and present it as a reason why someone might find the story itself appealing.

    After all, it’s not like images of black people eating watermelon are insulting because the idea of black people eating watermelon is, in and of itself, insulting.

    And showing harmed women as sexy is hardly “an unexpected pairing.”

    (now lets pray all those links work)

    Superheroes as zombies:


    Maybe. Smells a little desperate to me, under the circumstances, which kinda takes the edge off of the irony, but I wouldn’t exactly cal it expected.

    Women with gaping holes portrayed as still sexy:


    Most definitely not.

  79. Channeling the inner fanboy « Tlönista says:

    [...] For the clueless: see here, particularly this… [...]

  80. Jenny says:

    MJ + Zombie = it’s part of the Marvel Zombie train. Please to be getting over it and not reading too far into it, yes?

  81. John says:

    If you can’t handle a zombie MJ with half of her abdomen torn out, don’t read the zombie book. It’s not like they’re running the SMLMJ issues with this cover.

  82. Justin says:

    Calm down, its Marvel Zombies, it is supposed to combine the campy horror genre with comics. It obviously isn’t supposed to be taken seriously especially with the Army of Darkness Crossover.

  83. Robin Sure says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but I’m seeing two different situations.
    Yes, the MJ image is a child-like one, based on comics for teen girls. But, the image is actually being used on an MZ comic, specifically aimed at mature readers (with a sense of humour). This isn’t worth getting bothered about.

    Oh, and MJ a sex symbol? I’m reminded of the first time you see her. That wildcat was a sex symbol for a good 40 years before they started aiming at younger children.

  84. Bogswallop says:


  85. Robert Smith says:

    I am 10 and I can tell you that this cover makes me want to rape and murder the next girl I meet.

  86. Steve D says:

    How can you put up with this shit? I am, of course, referring to this website. I have lost all respect for you and will never visit here again.

  87. Robert Craig says:

    How can you use this kind of language on the Internet? Don’t you know kids use the Internet?

  88. Benza says:

    Are you retarded? Seriously are you?

    Its a homage to an old cover, done with zombies. LIKE EVERY OTHER MARVEL ZOMBIES COVER!

  89. Richard C. Mongler says:

    Wait…so this complaining is something that was meant for a cover that was part of an adult book. Next you will be complaining that there was gore in 300.

  90. João Veiga says:

    Honestly I can’t begin to understand why a cover to a 18+ audience would cause such stir in public opinion. I’m from Portugal and although i’m not going to buy a comic that is made for children and i’m not buying a zombie magazine I’m not going to stop liking other marvel titles because of this. I compared the covers and found that it’s just a cover. Children are not supposed to read a zombie comic therefore as a retailer I think you should not let children read or browse 18+ comics.

  91. R.Nav says:

    I don’t think that marvel should take an image from their all-ages book, gore it up and use it to sell one of their mature titles. The two really need to be kept seperate.

  92. Manale says:

    All Superhero comics must die so they can be reborn one day and be MADE FOR CHILDREN.

    Die, Superhero comics, DIE!!

    Can somebody tell me what happened in World War Hulk #1?
    I just hope Black Bolt is okay.

  93. smd98 says:

    Sorry, I really dont see the problem with the cover. This is Marvel Zombies…right? I also dont agree with slamming an entire publisher because you dont agree with one of its covers. Really, maybe you should lay off the coffee :)

  94. Jack says:

    Boy is this ever ridiculous. Aside from the fact that the cover is in the true spirit of the Zombie genre, where the horror is not only that the dead are rising to eat the flesh of the living but that they are your friends and family, it’s just not that sexy. I agree with the post that if anything the breasts have been reduced in size (or more accurately, her figure is rendered realistically, so her body is more in proportion with her breasts). Since the original point was that Marvel entire output should be penalized for this cover, I figure I will opt instead to penalize The Beguiling (where I shop occasionally since I live in TO) but taking my business elsewhere and encouraging my friends to do likewise.

  95. Cain Marko says:

    Sexy rotting corpse used to sell a zombie story?
    Ya think Marvel was first to do this?

    Check out either the poster or the video cover for “Return of the Living Dead.”

  96. Redhead Fangirl says:

    I’m a girl who bought all the first run of the Marvel Zombies series. I’m also a fan who bought the original Mary Jane series this cover is an “homage” too. It’s far from the worse thing I’ve seen in comicland, but I do think it’s tacky to use a teen leaning title and make her a corpse. Chris, when you said that maybe you should have mocked it instead of engaging, what a sad, sad comment on the level of anonymous discourse. I wonder how many of these guys could stand face to face with you (or a female like me) and say these comments.

  97. (Black) Men on Fire | Funnybook Babylon says:

    [...] What spurred me on to talk about race though is the outrage on the blogosphere about Marvel’s fascination with setting black dudes on fire. Toronto’s Chris Butcher in a tirade about the awful Marvel Zombie Spidey Loves MJ cover (awful mostly due to being derivative and just not well done) remarked about not liking the cover for Cap 29, and he’s not the only one. [...]

  98. Beating a Zombie Horse: Marvel Doesn’t Know When to Stop » Comics Worth Reading says:

    [...] You may have seen the dismay over Marvel’s zombie Mary Jane variant cover for the latest printing of the Marvel Zombies hardcover collection. [...]

  99. gareth says:

    Christ, why can’t people just distinguish between real and artificial??? you have to wonder about the mentality of people who can’t? who cares what cover they use, if you have kids then make a decision as to what you think they should or shouldn’t see! in the end your decisions influence the childs outcome and your own!! grow up people!

  100. A bit of context always helps… | Metamorphostuff | Ryan Day says:

    [...] Chris Butcher pointed out the cover to the latest printing of Marvel Zombies, which is, admittedly, pretty gross:I can see [...]

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