Sunday, May 6, 2012

Hey, Kids: No Nudity!!

See if you can spot the differences between the following two comic book pages (the first is from the print version of Marvel's Free Comic Book Day offering, Avengers: Age of Ultron Point One; the second is from the digital version of the same story, available for free from Comixology as Avengers Vol. 4 #12.1):

It's subtle, but if you look closely, you can see that in the top version, Marvel went back and drew in Spider-Woman's costume so she wouldn't appear naked throughout the scene as she did when the story was originally published.  (This also necessitated small changes in some dialogue, such as the in the fifth panel where "I'll take my clothes now!!" became "Hello!!" and on the following page where "You guys actually kidnapped me and took my clothes?" became simply "You guys actually kidnapped me?")

Not all panels were changed, however, so we're still left with several non sequitur scenes at the end of Jessica Drew wrapped in a large blanket, apparently shivering:

I'm assuming Marvel made these changes because they were uncomfortable with the idea of young kids coming to FCBD and walking out with copies of a comic where a super-heroine is stripped naked; thrown down on a cold, hard floor; and interrogated by two creepy male super-villains.  Which makes you wonder why the scene was written as it was in the first place: What exactly is gained by removing the heroine's costume (other than creepy fan-service)?  Or if you argue that the nudity is integral to the scene as originally written (because of course bad guys would strip-search any hero they capture to make sure they don't have any tracking devices or other gadgets embedded in their costumes -- happens all the time whenever the Wizard captures the Human Torch, for example), then perhaps this particular comic wasn't the best for Marvel to pick for FCBD.  Why not something that would be appropriate for all ages, such as an issue of the old Marvel Adventures: The Avengers series, or a brand-new story from the just-launched The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes cartoon tie-in?

(I'll add that Marvel should have chosen something else Avengers-related to offer to a curious, uninitiated public because this comic just isn't very good: There's clunky dialogue, plot inconsistencies, heroes acting not very heroically (Tony Stark's whiny defeatism at the end), and no real story, just a teaser for some event "coming soon.")

Finally, if Marvel had to choose this specific comic for some reason, they could have at least made the art edits more interesting by borrowing a page from that other censored FCBD comic, The Censored Howard Cruse, and covering up all of Spider-Woman's naughty bits with plenty of well-placed black bars:

See? Problem solved!!


  1. Not to mention that the change only required color changes, no line art - but super heroines aren't over-sexualized cheesecake! No really!

  2. Just releasing something "Avengers-related" doesn't help them, their FCBD offering has to lead into their standard line and its current events. That's why they used this issue. which like all the Point One books was designed as an introduction for new readers, in theory anyway.

  3. Ehh, it's no big deal. It's not like this opportunity to introduce new readers to Avengers comics coincided with a weekend when 26 million tickets to an Avengers movie were sold. Nothing to see here, move along.

  4. I can certainly understand Marvel wanting to drive customers to an current ongoing series (which would also have the benefit of hopefully bringing customers back to the LCS that provided the FCBD books in the first place) but I still question the wisdom of choosing this particular issue:

    - It's 14 issues behind what's on the stands, which could be intimidating to a newcomer.

    - It's promoting a storyline that isn't out yet ("Coming Soon: The Age of Ultron") and (AFAIK) hasn't even been scheduled yet.

    - It's featuring characters and versions of characters not in the film and out-of-date in the comics.

    Plus there's the whole issue of having to alter content to make it palatable for the audience Marvel must envision will be seeing the book on FCBD.

    I'm surprised Marvel didn't do a flip-book with excerpts from Avengers: Assemble and AvX, two current, in-continuity comic series that are available for purchase right now if customers liked what they saw in the preview.

  5. I liked the coloring and lighting in the "nude" version better.

    But yeah when they just edit it like that, what about when stuff of a similar nature happens later on in the series that won't have edits made to it? If they hook kids with this issue then they'll possibly be reading it later on down the line too.

    I guess I don't really care that they edited it, but it does seem to come off as a little bit of a misrepresentation.

  6. Que estupidez. No to censorship!