Cartoon Network has withdrawn a variant cover for IDW Publishing's The Powerpuff Girls #6 following criticism that the art sexualizes the comic's young protagonists.
ICv2.com reports that Dennis Barger Jr., owner Wonderworld Comics in Detroit, singled out the cover on Monday, writing on his Facebook page, "Are we seriously sexualizing pre-teen girls like perverted writing fan fiction writers on the internet???? is that what this shit has gotten to? DISGUSTED."
The illustration, by Mimi Yoon, depicts Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup as teenagers dressed in short, skintight dresses and thigh-high stockings. When asked by a commenter why their outfits are shiny, Barger replied, "Because they are wearing latex bondage wear mini dresses, which on an adult would be fine but on the effigies of children is very wrong."
Dirk Wood, IDW's vice president of marketing, explained the cover was actually "mandated" by Cartoon Network, using an artist of its choosing. "I think they were thinking of it more along the lines of 'female empowerment' than the kind of thing you guys are talking about," he wrote in the lengthy comments thread, "but certainly, we're sensitive to the issues here."
When contacted by ICv2, the network's licensing division noted that the variant cover, drawn in the artist's signature style, was intended to be released as a "collectible item" to the direct market. However, "We recognize some fans’ reaction to the cover and, as such, will no longer be releasing it at comic book shops."
Yoon appeared to acknowledge the controversy last night on her own Facebook page, writing, "one opinionated dog barks (i'm fine with that) ... and the rest of the pack barks 'pretending' to know what they're barking about (hate those idiots) ... tsk tsk tsk." In the comments, she followed with, " i'm keeping my silence (for now) ... refuse to deal with the ignorance."