"Clearly, unequivocally, I want to state that this is only a scheduling problem," Alonso told CBR. "The Manara covers were recast due to his schedule. He will be doing more covers for us, in fact, he's working on one right now that will be announced sometime soon. This is purely an issue of his schedule not permitting him to do the two covers, 'AXIS' #1 and 'Thor' #2. We overbooked him, and the timing didn't work out."Â
An update from Diamond to retailers earlier this week stating that Manara would no longer be illustrating variant covers for "AXIS" #1 and "Thor" #2 -- the second issue starring Marvel's new female Thor -- prompted speculation that the shift may have something to do with the response to the artist's "Spider-Woman" #1 variant cover, released online last month. That cover drew widespread criticism from both mainstream and industry media outlets for what was commonly perceived as an overtly sexualized take on the character, released during a time when Marvel has made a stated effort to be more inclusive of female characters, creators and fans.
Despite Marvel's previous lack of comment on the reason for Manara no longer illustrating the variants, several sites assumed a connection between the reaction to the "Spider-Woman" cover and this week's news. Vox.com wrote a short piece titled, "No one liked Marvel's porny Spider-Woman. And the company listened." UK news site Telegraph wrote that Manara had been "suspended" by Marvel.