Anyone who is a fan of one of the following people or things will know exactly what I’m about to discuss; Frank Cho, Spider-Gwen and Robbi Rodriguez. Since you probably know the story so far, let’s have a really quick recap in bullet point format.
- Frank Cho draws a picture of Spider-Gwen on a blank variant, a light hearted parody of Milo Manara’s Spider-Woman variant. Check it out here.
- Robbi Rodriguez makes a comment about drawing pictures of his children and makes a veiled yet transparent threat of violence against Cho.
- Cho responds by inserting a funny little Spider-Gwen on all of his blank variant sketches screaming “outrage”.
- Rodriguez makes another comment on how Cho should be thankful he’s been made relevant again, thanks to Rodriguez.
- Cho responds with this.
Now I tend to sit on the sidelines of such a thing with a metaphorical bag of popcorn and a literal beer and just watch it play out, but I’m really bored right now so I thought I’d offer up my own opinion. First, surrounding the actual original sketch, I get why many people don’t like it and with art being a subjective thing, anyone can like or dislike whatever they want. Personally, I thought it was a well drawn image, and cleverly drawn in such a way that Gwen didn’t look like the teenager she’s meant to be in the comics.
Robbi Rodriguez’s response, yeah, not so cool. He didn’t really create a new character so much as help chuck spider powers on to a character that’s been long dead in the 616 universe. Ok, that’s maybe a little harsh. I stand by my enjoyment of the series, and I think Robbi’s costume design is absolutely bang on. They have made a comic that has successfully appealed to old and new readers alike. But I think the comparison of Cho’s drawing to that of a dirty picture of one of his kids is blowing things out of proportion.
Cho’s sketches from here on out have been very deliberately inflammatory, unnecessarily so perhaps but I’ll be damned if I haven’t both enjoyed the artwork and had a little chuckle at the content itself. Cho is a phenomenally talented artist, an artist I put into the same category as J. Scott Campbell, Terry Dodson and Adam Hughes. Bloody hell, that is a superb collection of artists. But I think at that point most artists would have shrugged at the prospect of someone not liking their work and voicing that opinion and moved on. I get the feeling Cho has taken the complete opposite approach since a lot of the criticism has been overly harsh.
From there we have the final response from Robbi, stating Cho should thank him for making him relevant in the industry again. Hahahahahahaha… what?! You think Cho got the job on Totally-Awesome Hulk because of this situation? No. You think Cho commands a high rate for commissions and sketch covers because of Rodriguez? Nope. Will Cho continue to get work in the future due to this new found relevance Rodriguez has brought him? No again. Cho is where he is due to incredible talent and two fucking decades of hard work. The nerve of Rodriguez after one book became a hit is baffling and frankly makes me lose respect for him.
The thing is (yes I’ve skipped the last point, the image is telling enough) Rodriguez had the major problem with Spider-Gwen being drawn in this rather suggestive manner, in an image that makes her look mid-twenties I’d say. But in a rather interesting turn of events has thrown his weight behind this new Gweenpool one shot announced by Marvel so much he’s doing a variant cover for it. So, not slightly suggested images of a grown up version of the character I kind of semi created, but it’s totally fine for me to help turn “one of my kids” into a psychopathic murderer shown holding twin pistols on the cover.