Saturday, May 19, 2007


So, for the past week, there’s been this big brouhaha over a statue. It’s Spider-Man’s girlfriend/wife (depending on which stories you’re following) Mary Jane washing his Spider-suit in a “sexy” pose. And man, has it caused an uproar. What started out as complaints in blog posts and livejournal entries made its way to Boing Boing, Pandagon, The New York Post and other outlets. People complained that the statue was sexist, and then others complained that the complainers have no sense of humor and no business telling people what they should and should not buy. I’m simplifying things quite a bit, but in this past week of reading comics blogs, I’ve spent a lot of time ducking as one side threw brickbats at the other. (What’s a brickbat, anyway? I doubt they’re MLB-regulation.)

And all I could think, looking at the statue, is:

Man, that thing is ugly.

And I couldn’t understand it. It’s based on a design by Adam Hughes. Hughes is a terrific artist, who’s talented enough to draw whatever he cares to. Whatever he wants you to see, you’ll see it. Granted, his art often tends toward cheesecake, but it’s the good kind of cheesecake. No empty calories, no porny expressions, none of that stuff. He’s the Vargas of comics.

And he designed this statue. So why is it so goddamned ugly?

I have to put it down to a sculptor who just doesn’t share Hughes’ talent. Because (thanks to That Slow Redheaded Kid) I’ve finally seen the drawing Hughes did as a concept:

It just has so much more personality and verve than the statue itself. MJ’s having fun here. She’s in on the joke. Hell, she’s making the joke. But as for the statue, it seems to me that she is the joke. In the drawing, she has a personality. In the statue, she's a prop.

I dunno. I see a difference here, and it really does come down to subtlety and talent. Maybe that’s just me.



Ami Angelwings said...

They rly should stop attributing it to Adam Hughes XD Or at least say "loosely based on a pose drawn by Adam Hughes" XD

Rob S. said...

Yeah -- but I imagine he probably did approve it and the use of his name in the marketing. Ah, well...

notintheface said...

Don't you mean "AH!, well.."?

tofu-powered art-chick said...

I totally agree that the drawing gives the viewer more of a sense of her being a person with a mind (and a body that's ready to go; that's there, too) than the kitschy "sculpture".