Tim Leong’s rant against Wizard Magazine has brought some unexpected responses (as well as some expected ones, as this response from a Wizard writer demonstrates: “As a representative of Wizard, it’s not worth my time and trouble to get into a debate with this guy. I don’t mind discussing it with you guys because the people on this board are classy and intelligent, but from what I’ve seen over there, I’d be a sacrificial lamb throwing myself to the wolves.”). In the comments section to Tim’s post, there’s an argument to whether Tim is being hypocritical or not in his charge of sexism:
Pissing on Wizard, while easy, is acceptable now and then. But your talk about “sensationalism” and “no journalistic standards” rings a little hollow when you release a video of yourself sarcastically attacking Wizard and crying on camera about how bad it is.
One might also question why an editor concerned about “objectifying women” would represent his cover story about Moore & Gebbie’s Lost Girls with a cover featuring a frank view of a woman’s crotch, a dotted line moving towards it, and the title “Follow the Yellow Brick Road,” rather than, say, a photo of Moore or Gebbie or the book itself.
The way to make comics journalism more professional is to make more professional comics journalism. I have read and enjoyed many articles at CF, but this video isn’t helping your cause.
Slave Labor Graphics’ Jennifer de Guzman agrees:
I find it incredibly ironic that Tim is supposed to be concerned about the objectification of my sex when the magazine he works for features pictures of women in lingerie with their heads cropped off. I don’t find that “clever,” as D. Edward Sauve. I find it as objectifying of women as anything in Wizard magazine.
I recall a conversation I had with my co-worker Deb (I am the editor-in-chief and she is the director of sales at SLG Publishing) about how offensive we found the first cover. The latest one just cemented what that cover made us feel about Comic Foundry: The cover is a big old banner that says the magazine is not meant for us.
(She also comments about the subject slightly on her blog.)
Other posters agree:
“Granted, Wizard may not be mind-blowing material, but it’s fun and it makes me laugh; and even though you implied that they are sexist, as a lady, I’ve never really been offended by them. However when I first pulled up this website and I saw the cover to your latest ‘issue’ (where can I buy it? does it only exist here in the land of the internet?) I was appalled. Even though I understood the image, it still really freaked me out. So you’re not scoring any points by being a hypocrite.”
“It’s a great video Tim, but i also have to admit that the whole ‘objectifying women’ accusation can be applied to Comic Foundry as well. One cheesecake, mildly titillating, sexualized photo of a woman on the cover of a ‘respectable’ magazine I can take, but two? when the mag hasn’t even reached twenty issues? I want to like Comic Foundry, but the cover makes me as uncomfortable as walking into a comic shop full of Wizards, Marvels, Top Cows, and DC T&A crap.”
In his latest blog post, Tim responds to the criticism:
We’ve featured two scantily clad women on our covers — But we’ve featured a bare-chested fella as well. I’d also mention that the point about the Wizard covers was the (possibly coincidental) unoriginality. I stand by the CF covers in that they’re editorially relevant. They weren’t just for fun. The first was a story about body forms in comics and the second was about Lost Girls (hence the yellow brick road). What about Wizard? Was Angelina Jolie editorially relevant? With only one question inside about her? You decide.
As to Jennifer’s note about the headless women? Well, two things. 1) It’s hard enough to convince someone to pose for you WITHOUT their face showing, let alone with. 2) I prefer our “models” without heads. Unless they’re somebody you’re going to recognize, I think the cover loses focus because you’re stuck trying to figure out if you’re supposed to know who that person is. Also, I prefer the girls and the guy without heads because you get to decide what they look like in your head.
The magazine covers in question can be found here and here. In the name of “journalistic integrity,” I should point out that I am a Comic Foundry contributor (although I have no say in what goes on the covers), and like Tim. If you’re interested in people with more journalistic integrity than I, you should read Tom Spurgeon’s take on the situation.