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Marvel's Editor-In-Chief Says It's "Impossible" To Not Sexualise Comic Book Characters

Axel Alonso admitted to The Telegraph that male characters aren't as sexualised as female characters, but claims Marvel is "making efforts to change that trend as it exists".

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Marvel Comics has come under fire recently for its sexualisation of female comic characters. The latest incident involved this variant cover by Milo Manara for the first issue of its new Spider-Woman series.


Marvel's editor-in-chief, Axel Alonso, apologised for the variant cover, saying that people at Marvel "realise that the message this cover sent was not the one we meant to send. And we understand – and respect – the concerns of those who expressed a negative reaction to the cover, I want that to be clear."

Marvel's portrayal of female characters takes steps forward and backwards almost simultaneously. Before the Spider-Woman cover, it introduced both a female Thor and Kamala Khan – a young, Muslim Ms. Marvel.

But although reactions to the new Thor and Ms. Marvel have generally been positive – bar grievances about breastplates – the sexualisation of female comic book characters is still, well, problematic.

Speaking to The Telegraph's Radhika Sanghani, he admitted: "I don’t think men are as sexualised as women."

WireImage Mindy Best

He said "the long and short" of the issue is that Marvel is "making efforts to change that trend as it exists", although the company doesn't have a official policy on increasing the diversity of their characters.


He also told Sanghani that apparently "it's impossible not to sexualise [comic] characters", and that sex appeal is something "we will always have in comic books, but we want to not sexualise them too much".

Paramount Pictures / Marvel Studios

"I won’t say we won’t do sexy female characters," he said. "That’s preposterous and ridiculous. For one thing it’s in the eye of the beholder.”

And although he'd be "proud" to give Ms. Marvel and Black Widow to his daughter, he doesn't want to be "Mr Goody-Two-Shoes" and the "PC police" because if there's "no room for stuff that's not just fun", "you're censoring yourself". Oh.

Paramount Pictures / Marvel Studios

While Marvel acknowledges there's a problem with female comic book characters – and that it is sometimes part of it – it's hard to tell if it's truly dedicated to making proper changes.

For example, when Alonso said he can't avoid sexualising comic book characters, he said it's because characters are "defined by their physical skills".

Just as the disputed breastplate is just "part of the construct", Alonso claimed that even if he were to advise his teams not to make "the waist too thin" when drawing female characters, the writers "might end up going there anyway".

He also said that, when it comes to the body type of Marvel's female characters, they need to look a certain way as they need to be "relatively fit to do their jobs" as they run around in "brightly coloured tights saving the world from epic destruction".

You can read the entire interview with Axel Alonso over at The Telegraph.