I’m very confused…
Okay, just to recap for myself and the few people who aren’t familiar with the story.
A variant cover of the powerpuff girls was supposed to look like this.
That’s a pretty damn good cover all the way around, but more than one parent had a big problem with it…that being the notion that it was sexually charged, and therefore inappropriate for kids. I say more than one person, but Dennis L Barger Jr. a retailer in Michigan spearheaded the complaints. The Cartoon Network, who gave licensing rights to the publisher, and the publisher…looked the cover over again with the complaints in mind, and decided to change the cover.
That’s the long and the short of it.
Keep in mind that I’m not a parent, my book in no way shape or form competes with the powerpuffs girls, I don’t read the powerpuffs girls, and don’t actually care what happens with this cover.
In the interest of full disclosure. I know Dennis, I know people from Cartoon Network…they all seem like reasonable people.
I don’t care, i’m not competing with it, everyone is used to my big mouth and so I have nothing to gain or lose by taking any side at all. I am as unbiased an individual in this instance as there is.
Looking at both sides, I can understand where both sides are coming from.
But there IS something I don’t understand…
Well, first here is what I DO understand from both sides, and then someone can explain the rest to me maybe.
I can understand how this would make parent of 7-10 year old girls who read comics very uncomfortable. It IS sexually charged. Period. It just is.
They are the powerpuff GIRLS, and in case your parents never had the talk about the birds and the bees…girls don’t have boobs. They added boobs, boobs are sexual organs. They put them in shorter skirts than the original versions wore and put one of them in a suggestive pose. Care to disagree? here…
It is sexually charged. Period. I mean…come on…seriously? The picture on the right is sexually charged…just as it is, you don’t need to know anything about the movie, she’s not dressed like that and sitting like that to get ready to fill out healthcare forms. the girl on the left is in basically the same pose except Sharon Stones outfit covers more of her ass.
You’re telling me he doesn’t have a right to be bothered by this? They could have done without that I think. Right? drop the legs just a bit so we aren’t looking straight into a girls crotch on a cover of a book a dough eyed seven year old girl is going to holding. I mean hell, if you know anything about composition…you know that’s where the eye is going to be drawn. The crotch shot wasn’t off to the side or there inadvertently…this picture probably took five to ten hours to draw. It’s not an “ops”
Are there covers out there that are more sexually charged? Oh hell yes. But the question is…are there KIDS books out there that are more sexually charged? See…this book is for little girls. I’m not a parent, but as I understand it, the moment your kid realizes what sex is, the job goes from tough to impossible. Once they start getting curious about sex you stop trying to be a parent and start trying to prevent becoming a grand parent…so this sort of thing is going to make parents very uncomfortable. We can understand that can’t we?
I can understand how the publisher, and some people would look at that cover and say “..hey..this cover looks great, and there is wayyyy worse stuff out there. This is a beautiful cover, it’s well done, and fairly tame by industry standards. ” They’re right! compared to what’s out there this ain’t much to get worked up about.
Next to all that I can understand someone going “what’s the big deal?’
BUT, this is a kids book. It’s for 7-10 year old girls. So really you have to compare it to this
next to that stuff, I can understand some parent going “what…the..fu..”
I can understand the publisher , who is by and large used to creating books for 18-34 year olds putting this cover on a book and thinking nothing of it as it looks good and is tame compared to their USUAL competition.
We live in a day and age where the go to plan for moving more books is to give the cover something sweaty dorks can rub themselves too. We are probably right at the point where we can expect a variant cover with Harley Quinn performing fellatio on April from the teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles any month now. It’s all over the shelves, books with no actual creative direction sporting covers that appeal only to people’s prurient interest.
I wouldn’t say that’s what this cover is…
I think it was produced in an industry that is 60% soft core porn and everything being relative, it probably just seemed like a hip cover. I can understand that the illustrator and publisher were just trying to make a good cover, and probably worked real hard to do so. It’s well done and frankly I like it. Even composition wise it’s well thought out and well executed and the colors are well done, none of that overly harsh “I just learned Photoshop last week” color palate. But I can understand how some parents would say it’s a bad image for children to absorb, just like I can understand how some parents don’t want their daughters growing up thinking they must have bodies like a Barbie doll. I don’t know If I would be bothered by this cover or barbie dolls, but I’m not a parent. And parents are the customers in this case, not me. I mean…they don’t think 18-34 year old males are ordering Powerpuff girls do they? Actually, since that is who the publisher by and large makes books for, they probably didn’t realize that they were still in that gear when they made this. It’s tough to get out of your usual wheel house …that’s all.
I’ve seen people crying “censorship” and all brand of name calling stating Dennis has no business telling a comic book company what to put on their covers.
Uhm..yes he does. He is a RETAILER. The comic book companies are ASKING HIM TO BUY THEIR COMICS…so he has every right to give feedback. Where do you think he got the cover image before it was printed? Do you think he repelled into the office with a camera watch like James Bond?! He is a RETAILER, it is his JOB to give feedback and let the publishers know what is going to sell and what is going to collect dust on the shelves. If he thinks this is wrong for his kids, and the parents he’s spoken to agree, then he has every reason to believe that other parents will feel the same way and not buy the books He also has a right to give feedback as a dad. He’s got young girls, and he’s expressing his opinion. Just like all of us express our opinions. If this cover had some homosexual stereo type or racial stereotype people would be raising hell too. We’ve all seen it. We’ve all seen both sides raise hell about images they think are destructive.
The usual retort is “well then don’t buy it”. Which is fair…normally. It is perfectly fair to tell Dennis the dad that. But it is also perfectly fair for Dennis the retailer, to say “change this into a book I can sell”. BECAUSE THE PUBLISHERS AND RETAILERS ARE IN BUSINESS TOGETHER. Get it? It’s the same as if he was complaining about some crappy cross over or another death of so and so story line…for that matter it’s the same as if he was selling Buicks and Buick was painting the new models blaze orange and he said “that’s awful…give me a car with a paint job I can sell”
Looking at it strictly from a sales point, if parents aren’t going to buy it for their daughters the only people left for you to hope to spend money on it is guys who dress up like my pretty ponies to have sex. It’s a good thing for the publisher Dennis did raise hell about it or they’d have a printing bill for a zillion copies of a book no one’s buying except for few “bronies”.
I can understand the Cartoon Network hearing the complaints, looking it over again and saying “uhm…oh…yeah, I guess maybe that’s a bit much.” and pulling the cover. Their brand encompasses more than just one comic book. Most companies wouldn’t let you modify the characters at all in the first place. Snoopy has to look like snoopy, Garfield has to look like Garfield, Spongebob Square pants has to have square pants. This is how you build and protect brand recognition. So, it’s even money this cover would normally never have gotten this far anyhow.
So we have parents who were concerned about their kids doing what they think is best, we have a publisher trying to put out quality covers who is used to selling to 18-34 year old hipsters, we have a Network willing to listen to its customers and protecting its brand.
Frankly it seems like EVERYBODY was just trying to do their job and did the right thing in the end.
SO…I understand all that, and it shook out like it shook out and none of it makes any difference to me…
Here’s what I DON’T UNDERSTAND…
What the f*ck does it matter to anyone else? I’m watching 18-35 year old male comic book readers chime in with all the fervor they have over Obama care, the Death of Superman, and gun rights.
It’s the powerpuff girls. THE POWERPUFF GIRLS.
If you aren’t a girl under 11 years old, or a parent of a little girl, a retailer or a publisher, I find your input bizarre. Do you just not have the ability to understand when your opinion doesn’t hold any weight? If you aren’t any of the things I mentioned, then your thoughts on the matter are about as valid as you saying you’d be brave in the face of war because you’re good at halo 3.
I shoot my mouth off plenty about all sorts of things. Have you ever seen a blog from me about who killed Kennedy? Or whether or not the moon landing was a hoax? No. Why? Because I have about a fortune cookies worth of knowledge in those things. So…I realize my opinion on such matters would be worthless.
Do you not have the ability to just shut the f*ck up? Are you so warped that you think your judgement matters equally on all subjects? Allow me to give you the gift of wisdom…you’re opinion here is worthless. 100% grade A worthless. This dust-up is about the concerns of parents and in what way a publisher should take those concerns to heart. Some jerk off 20 year old who lives with his parents is soooo far from having his opinion on parenting be valid as to be asinine. This discussion is about what is and is not responsible. If you can manage to get upset over a comic book cover for 10 year old girls than you have no earthly idea what responsibility is because clearly you have no responsibilities…which allows you the time to blather on about even the subjects furthest detached from you.
PARENTS DON’T NEED YOU TO TELL THEM HOW TO RAISE THEIR KIDS, AND THE PUBLISHER DOESN’T NEED YOU TO TELL THEM HOW TO RUN THEIR BUSINESS…if you weren’t going to go out and buy POWERPUFF GIRLS before you heard about this, then sit down and shut up.
And don’t give that bullsh*t about sticking up for the artist. Unless this illustrator just fell out of the sky into the publishing office with this image in her hand, then she has probably had a cover pulled before. If not…congratulations, you have had A piece of work pulled at the last-minute. How adorable. Anyone who has worked in this industry any period of time has dealt with having covers, pages, even stories scrapped at the last-minute. This is not a rare thing, this is business as usual. I sincerely doubt the illustrator is home crying. Disappointed maybe…but more likely she’s stoked about all the free publicity she’s getting. So you thinking you are standing up for an artist who has been wronged, is just more evidence that you have no idea what you are talking about.
A 18-34 year old with no kids who has likely seen every manner of porn known to man doesn’t think that cover is sexually charged…so…what? Do you understand what “perspective” is? Do you understand that little kids aren’t seeing the images you see all day long? Do you understand it’s none of your f*cking business at all. At all! AT ALL.
I mean…were YOU going to buy this book? Hmm? Is your Powerpuff girls collection now left with a missing item and can now never be complete? Are you just so upset that you won’t be able to look up the dress of a powerpuff girl that you have to raise hell about it? …what? I don’t get it! If not being able to look up the skirt of a powerpuff girl is breaking you heart, I’m sure there is some Japanese website just for you. But his book isn’t for you it’s for little kids. I’m willing to bet half the people chiming in didn’t even know there was a powerpuff girls comic book until all this started.
The book is for little girls, little girls don’t have jobs, so the parents would be the ones who spend the money on the books. Enough of them said they wouldn’t by this book that the publisher pulled the cover. Why would they want to print a book their customers don’t want? Where exactly do you think you factor into all of this? You DON’T! Try to accept that frightening , gut wrenching notion…that in some instances you don’t matter. I know it’s tough to swallow but when you are a grown up you learn these things. That is as close as you get to having anything to do with this matter…that you have a basic lack of understand, much like 7-10 year olds, that the world doesn’t have much reason to care what you think.
After much debate on FB, I actually got an answer to my question…I knew I would regret this blog, but didn’t know why. part 2 is here