PR: What Not to Do: Ant Apology

It’s too easy to poke fun at Ant, a book that revels in the kind of broken-backed girls who display their perfectly circular boobs and butt to the reader at the same time. However, this new announcement by artist Mario Gully displays a level of self-delusion that’s breathtaking, even for comics.

It seems that issue #8 of this wallow in objectification showed a skin-colored nekkid butt instead of the usual painted-in kind. (“Nude” is art. “Naked” is no clothes. “Nekkid” is no clothes, and you’re up to something. Thanks, Jeff Foxworthy.) Oh, and they used a bad word. Which meant that retailers couldn’t sell it to their general all-ages audience.

Stop for a minute there. Realize that we’re talking about the difference between the color on the art. Red butt ok, sell the T&A fest to anyone. Pink butt, call out the authorities, it’s nudity! And it’s in a scene set in a strip joint, which is apparently family-friendly so long as the girls keep their tiny bikinis on.

Why are retailers only complaining now? There’s no better example of the double standard in comics when it comes to how women are portrayed. It’s also a sign of how thin the lines are that people cling to to “protect” them from the morality cops.

The artist is falling all over himself to take the blame for his mistake.

“There will be major changes in my book,” Gully admitted. “Major. I have spent hours working out the issues that I just mentioned. The art will be more focused with the storyline I originally conceived. People will see a difference in future issues. This is my book, my creation, and I am the one who, in the end, is responsible. I am changing the writing direction on this book which will not ignore my original fans while giving new readers a more focused book that will bring them back to the original Ant days. Image is a company that has always been a place for creators to do great things and this issue wasn’t so great and that was my fault.

He’s even trying to rewrite history.

“First off, this issue will be edited in the trade paperback,” he continued. “The book will be corrected there and the profanity and nudity won’t happen again.”

He’s also willing to make good, but only to retailers who are concerned. Upset customers, you’re on your own, because he can’t afford to take care of everyone, and after all, you’re not the one placing store orders.

“Secondly, I am going to give every retailer [not customers] who want to return unsold issue #8s a refund. The books can be sent to an address I am providing and I will personally reimburse them for the price they had to pay Diamond. Let me make this clear; that I myself, not Image, will return [to] the retailers per unit cost. The reason why this offer is only available to retailers is that I could never afford to pay for all [the] issues at the cover price. I would like to thank retailers for supporting me with my work and I apologize for this issue. I am proud of the work and characters I have created but have to leave my bubble every once in a while.

I guess he doesn’t have confidence in his vision for his title, if he’s willing to go into such self-flagellation over criticism. He’s the one that’s been driving the book all along, but somehow he misled himself down the wrong direction. That doesn’t surprise me, if someone would create this piece of crap based on their child!

I think it’s time for me to get serious with this book. I’m making tweaks because I feel that Ant has gotten away from me. I feel that Ant is totally different from my original concept.

“I guess my eyes were opened when the complaints from issue #8 came in,” he admitted. “This started off as a character based off of my daughter and truthfully, I feel that I got side tracked by what will be more widely accepted from comic book fans, rather than what was truly in my heart. I can’t do that anymore.”


15 Responses to “PR: What Not to Do: Ant Apology”

  1. Rob Staeger Says:

    It seems more like a publicity stunt than an actual mistake and apology to me: basically a big story on Newsarama saying “if you like T&A, we’re your bug!”

  2. markus Says:

    a change of heart is possible, but unlikely. I called Gully on the T&A back in October 05 in response to this comment:
    Gully: …I guess it was April 03. One guy said he would by EVERY issue with Ant If I promise to put atleast one BOOTY SHOT in the books. I thought it was a good deal. I’ll have a fan for life.

    http://www.imagecomics.com/messageboard/viewtopic.php?t=9448

  3. James Schee Says:

    That book has just always looked very… scary? disturbing? or something in that range from just the covers alone. What is supposed to be going on in that cover? Trying to appeal to the scat audience?

    I do find it interesting to see what is acceptable to air even on TV these days though. I was turning channels the other night and happened to stop on the Blade TV series. Where it had a clear shot of a woman’s backside walking across the floor.

  4. James Schee Says:

    Oh and of course this reminds me that famous quote, you made a snarky comment way back when, about Jim Balent calling one of his books All Ages.

  5. Scott Says:

    When the first Ant series was announced (prior to any art being revealed), I was interested.

    Then I saw the art and asked Gully how this was supposed to be a model for female readers or even remotely appropriate for the family (which – given his earlier comments – I was led – perhaps a bit naively – to believe).

    He said some nonsense about it still being a family book and that I should read it to know that the art was not gratuitious.

    With this latest writing “goof”, I guess the writing and the art are finally in sync.

  6. Dorian Says:

    If I were a cynical man, I’d wonder if this was a deliberate stunt to increase interest in the book and drive up the after-market value by having a “rare and uncensored” version of that issue in the marketplace.

    But that would be WRONG and I’m a BAD MAN for even suggesting such a thing…

  7. Ray Cornwall Says:

    I’m still trying to figure out the audience for this book. A normal T&A book has its target audience of horny adolescents and all, but this is an ant with boobs and butt. It’s not even that appealing to the furries. Is there a whole audience of insect perverts that other comics publishers are ignoring? What’s next, the adventures of Grasshopper Geisha and Hornet Hoochie-Mama?

  8. Johanna Says:

    I think you’ve hit on something, Ray — I love the title Hornet HoochieMama!

  9. Rob Staeger Says:

    For some guys, it’s all about the carapace.

  10. David Oakes Says:

    You mean ANT *isn’t* satire?

    Oh…

  11. Paul Sizer Says:

    I chirped in on the New-a-rama thread for this story a few days ago saying I was at least glad to see Mario Gully taking responsibility for his property as a creator (which I am), but truthfully, I agree with the rest of you: this book is really dumb and sexist. It’s a T&A book with an excuse of (supposedly) noble intentions. I almost laughed out loud when the desire for this book to be seen as an “all ages book” were mentioned…

    This always reminds me of when the 2 Live Crew was being charged with crimes in Florida for their “As Nasty As They Wanna Be” album, and all the fighters for the First Amendment Rights were out in force. I remember thinking, ” I’m all for the cause, but can’t we fight for something better than THIS stupid, awful, badly produced album?” Same thing here for me; I’m all for comic creators standing up for, and taking responsibility for their creations, but does it have to be for a stupid, badly done comic like this?

  12. Dan Coyle Says:

    This entire enterprise sounds like a stunt to me, and not a very clever one.

  13. Jason Rodriguez Says:

    “This started off as a character based off of my daughter and truthfully, I feel that I got side tracked by what will be more widely accepted from comic book fans, rather than what was truly in my heart. I can’t do that anymore.”

    That’s great. At least he decided to live by the wisdom of Chris Rock, “And I realize my only job in life is to keep her off the pole. Keep my baby off the pole.”

  14. Journalista » Blog Archive » Aug. 28, 2006: Volleyball with Jim and Ellen Says:

    [...] My reaction to Mario Gully’s retarded-even-for-comics series Ant has been pretty much one of amused contempt from the first time I saw it. Back when I was editing the Journal, a friend visited me at the office and during the course of conversation, I made a reference to a subgenre of “superhero comics for lifelong virgins.” When asked for an example, I dug out an issue of Ant. I’d explain further, but Johanna Draper Carlson has found an incident which shines a better spotlight on this phenomenon than I ever could. Man, that’s just pathetic. [...]

  15. Comic Cancellations » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] the focus is on perfectly rounded buttcheeks. The only time I’ve talked about it was when Gully apologized for drawing a stripper naked. (Think about [...]




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