An ‘Iron Man’ Cover Is The Latest Example Of Why Pinup Artists Shouldn’t Draw Teenagers

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BY: Donna Dickens 10.20.16


UPDATE 10/20/16 4:15PM EDT

Midtown Comics has pulled the Invincible Iron Man #1 variant cover by J. Scott Williams of Riri Williams out of her Ironheart armor. A quick peek at Midtown Comics site show the variant with a bold “DO NOT USE (Item Canceled)” declaration. Marvel representatives confirmed to me the choice to pull the cover was a joint decision from Marvel and Midtown Comics. The Campbell variant of Williams in her superhero suit remains available for pre-order.


As you may know, things are looking pretty dire for Iron Man in Marvel Comics. The playboy billionaire is missing in action during the Civil War II event. Stepping into Tony Stark’s shoes are a variety of characters, including Doctor Doom (I know, right?) and a brand-new hero named Riri Williams. Known as Ironheart, the fifteen-year-old supergenius reverse-engineered one of Tony’s suits to make her own armor. Riri will even get her own comic — Invincible Iron Man — starting this November.

What were you doing at fifteen?

But then, Marvel had to go and muck it up already. You see, when a new comic series is released — especially one with as much hype and name-recognition as Iron Man — Issue #1 is inundated with variant covers. For comic book collectors, it’s like Pokémon. You gotta catch ‘em all. And some covers are pretty rare. In the case of Invincible Iron Man #1, Marvel gave two exclusive variant covers to Midtown Comics in NYC. Which makes them the shiny Pidgey of variants. This is fine. What’s not so fine? Pin-up artist J. Scott Campbell was hired to draw them.

Image Credit: Marvel Entertainment

Fun fact: The standard cover for Invincible Iron Man #1 is $3.99. Campbell’s variant of Williams in armor is $10.00. In a crop top? $15.00.

Image Credit: Marvel Entertainment

Let me be frank. This is gross. I have a 15-year-old. They are caught in the hellscape that is transitioning from a child to an adult. It is gangly and awkward and full of rightful angst over this strange metamorphosis. But as grown-up as they feel, a 15-year-old is not an adult. They are children. (Sorry, son). Both legally and emotionally. Riri Williams is a child. So why hire J. Scott Campbell, known for his pin-up work, to draw her? Campbell has some beautiful work in his portfolio, but this was not the time or place for his style. Even as a variant cover, sexualizing a young teenage girl is not a good look.

But it is a look comics seem comfortable with. Don’t believe me? Just take a look Kate Bishop, who was still a teenager at the time of this cover.

Image Credit: Marvel Entertainment

Or this New 52 portrayal of the teenaged Cassie Sandsmark aka Wonder Girl.

Image Credit: DC Comics

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