CAUTION! This post has some dirty words. They aren’t mine, though I want to say some after this. So the next Superman movie, featuring Batfleck, has a title…Dawn of Justice. Because of course, after saying it wasn’t possible to put such big characters together, and seeing Marvel actually do it, and do it with explosive success, DC has decided to try and follow in the massive foot prints of The Hulk. So why is She-Hulk in this post? We’ll get to that. You know me, I gotta build up to it with snide questions and jabs at people who deserve to be jabbed.
So, while a highly anticipated movie reveals the not-so-surprising title, we found out how to alienate a highly rabid fanbase, insult your target audience, and downplay a fairly good example what is considered an underrepresented group in comics. Not since the announcement of Ben Affleck in the role of the next Batman has this film received such negative attention from the most voracious and prickly fans in the world. Seriously, is there any more volatile a group of fans, outside the Star Trek/Star Wars crew, as Comic Book fans? You can read the full article on a few sites. I’m just going to give you the highlights and respond as a long-time comic book fan, geek, nerd, and admirer of women, green or otherwise.
First, a little stage-laying. David Goyer was on a podcast called Scriptnotes last night, with a few other move-makers. They were discussing comic book heroes, and how they would handle characters that haven’t had their own movies yet. It, of course, started with a discussion of how female characters are just given female versions of male character names. Definitely a valid discussion to have, but it didn’t stay there long.
Craig Mazin (the host of the podcast): The real name for She-Hulk was Slut-Hulk. That was the whole point. Let’s just make this green chick with enormous boobs. And she’s Hulk strong but not Hulk massive, right? … She’s real lean, stringy…
Let’s start there. That’s pretty presumptuous. Granted comic book women do fit a certain image for the most part. Like it or not it’s there, but to say the entire point of the creation of She-Hulk is to make a sexualized hulk for fanboys to drool over? That’s making quite a leap into the mind of the creators. Of course we can assume that this is the reason, or we can take the creator’s words for it. Stan Lee could be lying, but I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt instead of assuming the worst. She-Hulk was created in response to the TV show, and the fear they would bring in a female version to appeal to fans of shows like the Bionic Woman, another great success at the time. So, looking to beat the TV execs to the punch and create a female hulk that Marvel wanted to see, not the television writer’s version. As for the sex symbol part, let’s take the words of the original artist:
The oddest thing about that book was that Frank drew really beautiful women, I drew really beautiful women, and yet, the She-Hulk was never overly attractive. ~Mike Vosburg
It’s not just Craig Mazin that’s ignorant of the topic, and let me take this moment to drop a little word of advice. If you want to sound like you know what you are talking about most of the time, try not to talk about things you KNOW NOTHING ABOUT! Anyway, David Goyer continues the parade of ‘awesome’.
Goyer: I have a theory about She-Hulk. Which was created by a man, right? And at the time in particular I think 95% of comic book readers were men and certainly almost all of the comic book writers were men. So the Hulk was this classic male power fantasy. It’s like, most of the people reading comic books were these people like me who were just these little kids getting the shit kicked out of them every day… And so then they created She-Huk, right? Who was still smart… I think She-Hulk is the chick that you could fuck if you were Hulk, you know what I’m saying? … She-Hulk was the extension of the male power fantasy. So it’s like if I’m going to be this geek who becomes the Hulk then let’s create a giant green porn star that only the Hulk could fuck.
First of all, yes, She-Hulk was created by men during a time when Comics were almost exclusively dominated by men. He says that most comic readers were men (though he has ZERO data to back that, my mother collected comics long before She-Hulk), which is impossible to support or refute. Then he just gets stupid. The Hulk, and She-Hulk are cousins! She was NOT created to be something that the Hulk would have sex with.
So what’s my real beef with two men talking about something they clearly don’t know much about? The obvious disrespect of one of the few female comic characters who does try to represent strong, independent women. She’s not just attractive, as she has become over the years. She is smart, powerful, independent, and funny. So what if she’s also sexy, that is something women are allowed to be. She’s a lawyer, and a damn good one. She doesn’t need anyone to take care of her. She’s had her own solo books (has one now I believe), has been a major part of some key teams, and has drawn many female fans to a media outlet that has been ‘95% dominated by men’. Goyer and Mazin toss all that in the dirt with their comments. Of course there have been some bad art, some over-sexualized art, and a lot of fan art that is 100% pornographic but are we going to blame the comic industry because some fans drew her naked in come compromising poses? If we used that as a measuring stick then even nuns would be bad news too, they get some of the raunchiest ‘fan-art’.
Did Goyer stop there? Oh no…he didn’t. The conversation went on and came to a discussion about Martian Manhunter…
Goyer: How many people in the audience have heard of Martian Manhunter?
And after he got a response…
Goyer: How many people that raised their hands have ever been laid?
May I say, I would have raised my hand, then told you to go make sweet dirty love to yourself Mr. Goyer. For countless reasons, including the fact that geek girls do really exist, geeks and trouble with romantic encounters do not go hand in hand. This worn out, and ignorant stereotype shows just how little respect you have for the fans that you are trying to sell your movies to. And before any of the apologists say it, no it’s not the same as shows like Big Bang Theory giving good-natured jabs at geek culture. In case you missed it, all the geeks on BBT have had girl friends, meaningful relationships, as well as physical ones, despite the jabs at the stereotype. Goyer comes off to be saying if anyone knows who Martian Manhunter is, they must not have a life, love life more specifically. Not to mention that if you’ve been exposed to anything Justice League over the last few years on TV or movies, you’ve seen Martian Manhunter.
So, at the end of the day Mr. Goyer has given us another reason to roll our eyes at Batman v. Superman, and has quite possibly taken some of the flack from Affleck. I’m curious to see if Goyer releases a response, clarifies, or apologies. I’m not looking for him to do any of that, nor do I think he should lose his job or connection to the movie. He is what he is, and I’ve never much liked the bullies that call for people to be fired for saying stupid crap. He said some stupid crap and showed his true colors. We will do what responsible consumers should do and not bully him, but make informed decisions about how much of his drivel we want to be exposed to in the future.
*Update* Link to site and blog post removed, will not send traffic there