PR: What Not to Do: Non-Representative Offensive Covers

In response to discussion about the Batgirl Showcase cover choice, Marionette does some research into other possibilities, looking at what other cover art might have been picked up. S/he’s right, there aren’t a lot of options, given the character mostly appeared in backup stories, but the Recreation Annex found one better choice, while Marionette has another option.

I think it’s time to reiterate some of the lessons learned from this fiasco:

Things wouldn’t have been so bad if the first image shown hadn’t been action-oriented and sensible (Batgirl running towards reader) only to be replaced by something silly (Batgirl with compact). There’s a certain “bait and switch” feeling going on.

There’s a difference between reprinting sexist images and stories from an earlier period and creating new sexist images today, even if they’re based on the earlier items. In other words, we’re more comfortable thinking “they didn’t know better then” than we are having it pointed out graphically that some people still haven’t learned.

Vote with your wallet. The key message of my previous post, I hope, was that I was ready to spend money, but I didn’t buy this book solely because of the cover choice. Chris Butcher has a similar experience, saying “we’ve lost some sales on it at the store, from people who were really put off by the cover”.

Along similar lines, covers matter more than content because they’re marketing to potential customers. Don’t put ire-inducing images (scroll down to see a Winsor McKay cover that was historically accurate that the publisher still apologized for) on the cover. No one was convinced to buy this book because of the cover (especially since it’s not really representative of the contents), so its only impact was negative.

That last link, by the way, has my favorite part of the entire discussion, in a comment by Tom Spurgeon:

The best Lois Lane Showcase cover would be embedded with a computer chip so that every time you passed by your bookcase it would fall off the shelf, forcing you to catch it.

Now THAT would be authentic!


2 Responses to “PR: What Not to Do: Non-Representative Offensive Covers”

  1. Shawn Hill Says:

    Marionette’s choice of options is understandably limited, but I see no reason not to take some action-oriented panel from somewhere in the stories; it was common practice at the time to find a great pose, not always from a cover, and use it over and over as a marketing tool for the character. Depending on the ultimate cover design and dress, there’s all sorts of ways to make a new iconic representation out of a quoted past.

    Or, how about this: hire Neal Adams to do a new, but retro, cover?

  2. thekamisama Says:

    Love the article. I still prefer the original cover just on the historical and iconic grounds. I cannot figure why they would want to change it.
    I wasn’t going to comment at first, until I saw the freaky “3-D chat” ad on the right. The chat avatar character looks like DC’s Huntress!
    These Google ads are getting way too good…




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