Thursday, December 07, 2006

Morals vs Money

Here's my dilemma... when is it OK to say, "you know I HATE that, but I can sell it."?

Recently we received a solicitation from Sideshow Toys for their premium format Emma Frost comiquette (as seen in photos here). Apparently, she's the first of a series of Marvel Babes comiquetts they're making. (I don't think this is the "official" name for the line, but it may as well be.) If you read my previous post, you know I wasn't super excited about the barely clothed Big Barda mini-bust. This statue is even worse. Seriously! She looks like she came right off of the cover of some adult magazine like Playboy or Hustler.

Now I KNOW that Emma Frost has often been portrayed this way. There are times where she's shown barely covered and what is on her looks more like it was painted on than being an actual item of clothing. That doesn't make it right! Wasn't Emma the head of a large corporation? A rich socialite? The head of a school for young mutants? Should/would anyone in these positions dress like she's been shown to dress? I REALLY don't think so. Even for a female super hero she's outfitted pretty sparsely.

Anyway, I find this statue to be offensive. I can't see having it in our store for young boys to drool over and other women to be offended by. Some comic book stores go heavy into these types of items, but we've always tried to be a store that most people can feel comfortable in. If you own a store that sells these types of misogynistic materials, that's your thing, whatever. But, we've tried to NOT be that way as part of our business model. But, it is Emma Frost after all, not some Penthouse babe statue, right? And, since she's often shown dressed like this or worse in comics is this really so bad? Comics often depict females that are scantily clad and they are seen in images that often degrade them compared to males in the same comics, so since we're already selling these, should I have a problem selling one little Emma Slut statue?

I KNOW that geek-boys will want this statue. Any time we have a female full-size statue they usually sell pretty quickly. This is the first of a series that will probably grow in popularity as it continues, and I'd guess that I could easily sell it once it comes out or hold it for a year and then sell it for even more. So, there is money to be made from this Emma. But, do I say forget that she looks like a total whore and is a completely offensive piece, just to make money? I told the Sideshow sales rep "no" on this item, but part of me keeps saying, "But she could be a money maker."


Karen Healey said...

Well, I think not buying it was admirable - and, in a wider sense, good business. Such collectibles make me physically uncomfortable, and I would be disappointed to find them in what I had considered a women and family-friendly store.

And I'm a huge Emma fan. But Emma Frost does not have a bad boob job. She has *the best boob job money can buy*. That corseted monstrosity is thus, clearly, not Emma Frost.

suddensenseoffear said...

I admire the fact that you are willing to consider the moral issue involved instead of making business the instant deciding factor. It's your store, do what you think is right. I'm sure you won't go out of business because of one piece of crap statue.

Tania said...

What I wonder is... is it possible to use a shirt with that cleavage and not having the niples and aureola going out? O.o Has the sculptor ever seen a real woman in his life?

Scott King said...

Marvel would make a lot more money if they just did a naked statue. I mean they might as well.

Timothy Liebe said...

Tania - part of Emma Frost's plastic surgery was to have velcro attached to her aureolas(prop.plur.?), so her tops stay in place just like that. ;)

Scott - oh, no! A completely nude statue would be, you know, pornography - which neither Marvel nor DC does! Really, truly, honestly! Superhero comics are wholesome entertainment for the whole family - just like pro wrestling is....

"I don't think much of our profession - but contrasted with respectability, it is at least reasonably honest,"

Tim Liebe
Dreaded Spouse-Creature of Tamora Pierce
- and co-writer of Marvel's White Tiger comic (2nd issue out now!)

Lisa said...

Tania- you're right, must be some mutant thing.

LOL tim - velcro. I'm enjoying White Tiger, by the way.

baby221 said...

Eh. I think in your position I'd buy a couple and keep 'em beneath the counter -- so if somebody asks for them, you have a couple to sell, but you won't have to display them and risk offending other people.

'Course, that's assuming you could stomach actually selling them. :p Given the item, I'm not sure I would either, purely on principle.

lainie said...

ouch. well. not much questioning which primary audience that figure caters to.

just makes me think of evangelion figures, and how those sell just fine without tits popping out. then again, they're wearing really tight suits.

i'd be so much more willing to collect these toys if i didn't find them distasteful.

Timothy Liebe said...

Lisa - glad you liked the joke, and glad you're liking the comic. Thank you. :)

Lainie - Tammy's and I's friend Raquel collects comic and genre movie memorabilia, and generally manages to stay away from the "fan service" stuff. It IS out there - unfortunately, so's a lot of stuff just like this.

Tim Liebe
Dreaded Spouse-Creature of Tamora Pierce

DivaLea said...

I say pick a spot and stand on it.

The problem with a lot of retailers is they shrug and say, "What can I do?" never acknowledging that they can do more than just shrug and let things continue the way they have.

And that's a damn fugly statue. It rivals the "yo-yo in the pants" White Queen from a few years ago.

Lisa said...

I'm definately sticking to my guns on this one and NOT buying any of this Emma. We don't to a ton of business in statues anyway, and I just don't feel comfortable with this item hanging around.

Maybe if a customer pre-ordered it I would buy it just for that person and not put it out. But I won't buy one for stock, and so far no one has asked for it.

Divalea is right - too often comic retailers don't take a stand. They can complain from sunrise to sunset, but don't take a stand and do something about it. I don't want to be that way! In fact, I think I'm sending all of my Wizard Movie Specials I DIDN'T order back to Wizard - let them figure out what to do with them.

Lyle said...

Cheers to sticking with your instincts, Lisa. If it contributes to making your store a more comfortable place for all types of comic readers to visit, I suspect not carrying the statues will be the more profitable choice in the long run.

T Campbell said...

It's your store.

This is the reason you wanted to OWN a store in the first place. So that you could decide what to sell and what NOT to sell.

Ben said...

The really should just drop all pretense and make this thing life size and inflatable.

michael said...

I think it's a fine decision from a business standpoint as well as an ethical one.

There are two comics stores where I live. Bluntly, one of them is classy and one isn't. One of them makes me feel quite comfortable being there. In the other I'd feel uncomfortable if most of my friends or co-workers saw me. I wouldn't want to be associated with that culture.

The classier store gets a hundred dollars a month in business from me because I feel comfortable shopping there. What's the markup on the statue? How many will you sell?

Steven said...

What I would really what to know is, who buys these things????

Lisa said...

Michael - not enough to justify loosing good female customers and my own standards for it.

Steven - aparently the statue and fan boy blogs are all ga ga over it. I am sure it will sell out. After all, didn't Greg Land's Emma covers win all kinds of awards for showing her as this slutty type, even though the girl in the stories was an older teen.

Anonymous said...

First off, I agree about the whole "areola popping out" discussion; if she were a "real" woman, half of that part of her breast would be showing.'s a comic-book heroine, so I can forgive. Second, in regards to the first comment; she doesn't have a "boob job", she just happens to have enormous bosoms and be wearing a VERY tight corset. It tends to have this sort of effect on the chesty women. Third, I understand some people's objections to the item but, come isn't geared to you if you are offended. It's targeted to life-long fanboys like me. Hell, I'm married and I picked one of these puppies up. And my wife, being the bluntly-honest and fantastic woman she is was NOT at all offended. She took one look at it and said, "Wow. What a rack. I can see why you'd want one of those statues." Then she laughed and asked how much it was and said, "It'll look good in the collection of other statues and busts- especially with THAT bust." Again, I get why some people object...but, come on. Lighten up, folks.