Monday, January 27, 2014

This Powerpuff Girls nonsense

On one level, the latest controversy over IDW's variant cover by Mimi Yoon strikes me as much ado about nothing.  As in... why do people feel the urge to complain about it. What's the big deal? Why do we care?

But it's the fact that people do care so much about it that I find telling.

So, there's the cover there. The claim is that it's too "sexualized". Specifically for a property aimed at little kids. According to the comic shop owner who began the assembly line on this manufactured outrage, this image is akin to "perverted fan-fiction". He was "DISGUSTED" (capitals his), citing their "latex bondage dresses." The Outhousers are having a field day with it, too, declaring that the cover is intended to make guys want to bang the Powerpuff Girls and/or wank off.

To which my only reaction is... WHAT!?!?!

Now I just had a fascinating discussion with a good friend of mine about "cultural coding" and the negative effect of imagery like this on young girls who think this is what they need to look like when they grow up.

That's all well and good. I contend that it's over-analyzing. I think that attitude is reflective of how we coddle and shelter our kids too much, but it's a well thought out and deeply held position.

Completely unlike what the majority of guys I've heard are saying. 

IMHO, there's a lot of projection going on. If the first place your mind goes when you look at that image is something perverted, that's a more of a statement about the speaker than about the art. Just sayin. Do these dudes have the same trouble having to stifle the urge to rub one out after their kids make them watch The Little Mermaid?


As mentioned above, there are women who do not like the cover for different reasons. More rational, but no less alien to my way of thinking. 

Especially when you factor in all the women I've seen in these debates who have no problem with the cover at all.  Their reactions range from indifferent, because it's a far cry from the legitimately hyper-sexualized art that pervades comic stands in the post-Image market. To "OMG the Powerpuff Girls grown up. That is awesome!" 

Victims of "cultural coding" I suppose. Betrayers of the sisterhood? Or just girls who appreciate good art and cool characters?

Regardless, the net result foisted on society is that this cover (which will never be sold or likely even displayed under penalty of law) is the new benchmark for what our comic book consumers consider to be "hyper-sexualized" art. This image, which is no more provocative than any Wonder Woman cover drawn since, say 1970 or so. Great.

So fellas! I fully expect this same outrage to be levied at DC Comics on a monthly basis. 

Because despite their insistence that their "mature" comics are not targeted at kids, the fact remains that little kids are seeing them. They look up to those characters. They might even want to grow up to be like those characters, just as much as little girls who read Powerpuff Girls.


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