It indisputable that the the quality and detail of comic book cover art has greatly improved in the last ten years. Digital reproduction and improved printing processes have made photo-quality art a reality on every $3.99 comic book, while the variant cover madness has caused editors to go searching for ever-increasingly dramatic, detailed and vibrant images to give the rich fan-boys something to spend their bucks on.
As a result, it's not surprising that these Marvel Poster Magazines (Marvel calls them "Books", but they are actually a paper cover, glossy, stapled magazine format) that started as the occasional treat now and again in the 90's have become regular occurrences, with four of them published in 2009 alone.
It's equally as unsurprising (given the predominantly male target market) that "Mary Jane & Friends" should have a magazine dedicated to gathering the best of their many glamor shots into one handy $5.99 package.
|Artist:||Adi Granov (Mary Jane), Adrian Alphona (Mary Jane), Alex Maleev (Spider-Woman), Ed McGuinness (Spider-Girl), John Romita, Sr. (Spider-Man & MJ), J. Scott Campbell (Spider-Man & Co.), Salva Espin (Spider-Man & Co.), Takeshi Miyazawa (Mary Jane, Arana), Tim Sale (Spider-Man & Co.)|
|Cover Art:||Tim Sale|
Mary Jane, Black Cat, Spider-Woman and Spider-Girl take top honors in this book with 14 of the 35 posters dedicated to Spider-Man tie-in characters.
There's guest appearances too from Ms. Marvel, Elektra, Rogue, She-Hulk, Emma Frost, Patsy Walker, the new White Tiger and a few others.
What more can I say. This book is quite simply a homage to all the lovely women of the Marvel Universe. It's generally pretty tastefully done. There's nothing here you'd be embarrassed to stick on your wall, with a notable absence of "cheesecake" photos.
Would I have preferred more "cheesecake"? Well, personally, I'm not averse to blatant sexual exploitation of fictional feminine persona. But actually I think I applaud the decision to take the high ground here and to feature (again, with a few exceptions) the more interesting, strong and positive aspects of these role models.
Four webs for a well-chosen set of artwork with no real weak points.
Of course, if they ever do come out with a smokin' hot "not for the kids" version, I guess I'll feel obliged to buy that too. Just for the sake of completeness, you understand!