You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who loves the nerdy world of comic books more that I…
It all started with my love of the comic strip and the short serialised adventures of Charlie Brown and Garfield the Cat which organically evolved into an enduring love for the super hero world, which naturally lead me to reading the adventures of all the obvious archetypal heroes like Batman, Superman, Thor, Spider-man and the X-men.
I still beam with pride that I still have over 2,000 comics in their protective, acid free mylar bags, stored in the warm hub of tightly packed comic boxes. The circumstances of life effected the intensity and regularity of my comic book buying habits, however I still gleefully purchase collected graphic novel trade paperback editions following the adventures of my favourite comic book characters, creative teams or story arcs.
Naturally I am filled with an abundance of joy with the unprecedented, heroic rise (bad pun intended) of the comic book movie genre dominating the box office, so it was with great disappointment my attention was recently drawn to the poor marketing choices of the recent X-men: Apocalypse poster. Displaying the all powerful mutant villain Apocalypse played by (an almost unrecognisable) Oscar Isaac choking the character of Mystique, played by Jennifer Lawrence, with one hand.
Actress Rose McGowan bought the content of the imagery to light and not surprisingly, she has come under some criticism for being “too sensitive” rather than being commended for offering a very level headed response to imagery that really shouldn’t be used when marketing a mainstream summer blockbuster.
My nine year old son loves the wonderful world of comic book movies but fleetingly glancing at the image he wouldn’t understand the “deep motivations” of the fictional characters on display. My eight year old niece doesn’t understand the “context” of the imagery either (I know this because I asked them before writing this post) all they see is a male choking a female.
I don’t want the young minds that I am responsible for, exposed to such instantly soluble imagery whilst at the cinema or driving past a billboard.
But because this image disturbs me a little, that doesn’t mean I will be taking to the streets with protest signs demanding that Fox remove all traces of this misplaced marketing. I do not believe that the image will influence adults to become more aggressive within their relationships nor will I lose a wink of sleep worrying about the fall of society…in fact…it won’t put me off taking my little younglings to watch the film on the big screen either (where they can understand the context)
Will one image damage the developing psyche of my most beloved youngsters or a whole generation? Nah! But I have to agree with Rose McGowan because I too am troubled that none of the creative marketing minds at Fox couldn’t see the connotations of the image before it was unleashed on public billboards. Fox have since issued an apology and said:
“In our enthusiasm to show the villainy of the character Apocalypse we didn’t immediately recognize the upsetting connotation of this image in print form.”
I believe ’em.
I don’t think for a moment that Fox had any intention of promoting domestic violence and the character of Apocalypse is driven by a the philosophy that only the strong survive regardless of gender, but that’s exactly my point…
In all the arguments I have read disagreeing with Rose McGowan, there is usually a criticism of her acting skills (which is not totally without merit) and cinematic analysis of all the strong female characters within the history of the X-men movie franchise, but the casual observer shouldn’t need to know the rich backstory of characters or modern film history when viewing an image used to promote a summer film.
Movie poster images are used to give a bite sized feel of a film and although I can appreciate it was an oversight, domestic violence is a very real and genuine threat that unfortunately doesn’t have any heroic enhanced mutant beings on hand to protect the unassuming victim.
Until next time.