After issuing his own take on an attempt to ‘fix’ his drawing of Mary-Jane Watson as featured on the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #601, J. Scott Campbell has become the target of a hypocritical outrage mob, as the same critics who praised the unsolicited editing of his work have accused the artist of harassment and bigotry for doing the same thing.
Roughly seven months ago (according to a reblog of the post from the @fixing-bad-comic-art account, which has since been renamed @bad-comic-art), Tumblr user nonbinaryfinnmertens, now buunbi, submitted a ‘fix’ of the aforementioned cover to @fixing-bad-comic-art, a blog dedicated to highlighting ‘fixed’ versions of bad or allegedly problematic comic book art by other Tumblr artists.
“I made an attempt at fixing this because it was, so bad lol,” wrote bunnbi. “It’s not perfect but it’s better than it was so that’s all that matters lol. Just don’t look to closely at it it’s fine.”
The various ‘fixes’ made by bunnbi to Campbell’s art include the repositioning of Mary-Jane’s arms in order to take away their emphasis of her bust, covering up her cleavage with a shirt featuring a less revealing neckline, and lowering her left leg from it’s angled posture.
Fast forward to May 2021, and buuni’s rendition of the cover began to spread like wildfire across social media, with critics of Campbell’s art praising the edit for presenting what they believed to be a more ‘realistic’ rendition of Spider-Man’s iconic love interest.
Eventually, the post caught the attention of Campbell himself, who responded to buuni’s criticisms on May 4th with a post of his own and announced that “The Fix is IN!”
Initially posting his work to Instagram, Campbell explained in the post’s caption (which he later screenshotted and shared to his Twitter page), “You see, someone going by the name ‘nonbinaryfinnmertens’ took to ‘fixing’ the artwork as they put it, and well, that got a lot of people talking!”
“Now typically just ignore this sort of thing, but it seemed to go a bit viral with even friends and colleagues reposting it explaining that this sort of “correcting” of other well established artists is just, well..tacky, which it is,” wrote Campbell. “In light of this though, I decided to embrace the situation and do a little bit of “art-fixing” myself, what do ya think, seems trendy! I’m up for new things! So let’s have some fun and Fix stuff!”
This post by Campbell included both a point-by-point breakdown of buuni’s ‘fix’:
As well as his own take on the edited image:
Shortly after publishing this post to his various social media accounts, Campbell found himself facing a wave of ironic and outright hypocritical backlash, as critics who supported bunnbi’s critiquing and editing of his work began to claim that such behavior was unacceptable when coming from Campbell himself.
“Damn bro, there really is nothing cooler than a professional in their late 40s shaming someone in their teens just trying to make your hypersexualized ‘art’ into a view that doesn’t make women uncomfortable!” wrote @albee_et. “ur definitely not just sexist or hypersezualizing.”
@CJZelenznice asserted that “The original critique by NB is of the male gaze present in your first illustration,” further putting forth the baffling and obtuse argument that “what’s being discussed are the political implications of your stylistic choices.”
“This isnt a dunk, its missing the point,” he added.
“This is so sad coming from you bro, it’s just a small Tumblr account, that and your official art is not above criticism in a professional setting,” said @wild_forms.
They added, ” “There is no such thing as “fixing” art, but there is room for improvements, especially when you draw female characters propped like sexual items rather than a character with actual depth.”
@Rhodochrosia cried, “Honestly, I’m about to ‘fix’ his new version too, if only to piss him off.”
“This just in, local white cishet man has never learned what misogyny is, thinks dunking on teenagers is cool & putting their name in public for his fans to openly harrass them is a professional thing to do,” they concluded.
One user was so pressed over Campbell’s response that not only did he go on a multi-tweet tirade against his work, but also admitted that his belief that the cover was problematic led him to cut two friends out of his life.
“Misogyny in comic book art is very much an issue. I mean, people keep saying that, but the rest stuff cotton into their ears, or take things out of context to justify a defensive response. Maddening,” wrote @kevnorm81. “It’s a shame to lose people over this topic. I had to cut off two guys over this, just today and yesterday.”
Yet, @kevnorm81 appears to have taken the loss of two members from his social circle due solely to his self-admitted inability to “agree to disagree” on “social justice issues” in stride, as he concluded his thread by declaring that “Nobody said being a lefty male feminist would be easy! #feminism #feminist #malefeminist #SocialJustice #sjw #jscottcampbell #hypersexualization #DoBetter #isolated #alone”.
Ultimately, despite the numerous criticisms levelled his way, Campbell clarified that he didn’t create the posts “for ‘me’”, but rather to use “a very public and viral meme as a teachable moment for some of the youth out there that no one appreciates this.”
“This isn’t a good look,” he continued. “It was what some might call parody or humor to make a bigger point. I’m sorry if that was missed by you.”
What do you make of Campbell’s response to the latest criticism of his Mary-Jane drawing? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!