AMBER LOVE 22-MAY-2014 Uncovered by The Mary Sue columnist and superhero scholar/author Alan Kistler, there were some choice words made by David S. Goyer, a DC/Warner Bros. employee, about the Marvel Comics character She-Hulk. I’m not all that familiar with She-Hulk or “Shulkie” as fans have called her. I know she’s big and green, smokin’ hot, a lawyer named Jennifer, and not ashamed of her promiscuity. I know that much from buzz, art, and conversations at the comic shop but I’ve never felt the compulsion to read a She-Hulk comic. I even made a She-Hulk costume which was sold on Etsy and still didn’t feel the need to find back issues.
The transcript of the podcast on which Goyer appeared has separate talking points to address. She-Hulk was only part of it. This case is a perfect example of why I often have moments of giving up trying to blend in with the comics culture. I don’t agree with the fervor and tirade that so often explodes.
“Don’t spread the negative. If people are confused about a character’s value, don’t waste time hating them. Skip outrage, try outREACH.” Charles Soule
That’s like asking the Coke executive his opinion on Pepsi. Can any reader/listener realistically think there wasn’t going to be some degradation and insults thrown here? Pitting a DC guy against Marvel is ripe for instigation to create the drama you see in professional wrestling and pretty much every sport where one dude starts spouting off about how inadequate the other side is. Think about it. Now you’re picturing Goyer in colorful spandex pants with shredded ribbons around his arms and face paint, right? Yes, you should be. He was presented with an opening for jokes akin to, “Well, your Mama….” It wasn’t that big of a deal and it should have been expected.
Were there other ways to handle it? Sure. There are rare times when competitors can be gracious. That’s usually not until they are “former” competitors. How many former DC employees towed the company line and didn’t speak their minds until after they left the company? Most from what I’ve seen on Twitter and Facebook. People don’t have a lot of nice things to say about DC Comics as an employer. Goyer, however, opens his mouth all the damn time and pisses off the fans with his personal jabber and the ways he handles characters. Still, he gets paid a lot more than you do to make those calls.
Goyer could’ve said, “Well… She-Hulk is a well-developed character and I would approach it by blah blah blah CSI blah forensics because she’s smart blah blah blah…” But why would he? Having a character like She-Hulk who has barely seen the light of day in comics no less in other media, can’t even hold up to the continuing legacy of Wonder Woman who still gets no respect. I’m not talking “who can beat up who here.” I’m talking about their presence in the various formats and the marketing.
“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.” Goyer transcript from The Mary Sue
He’s not wrong, folks. She-Hulk was not designed conceptually to look like a female version of a Hulk-creature. She’s designed to look just like Big Barda (DC) or Wonder Woman but green. Big gorgeous mane of hair, muscles perfectly fit but no veins ever pop out on her like male figures, not too much shadow in the figure to keep her presence soft enough, and those gigantic breasts.. yeah… tell me otherwise. She-Hulk is not a “female” Hulk. She’s visually a Hulk porn star and Goyer called it out. The fact that She-Hulk writers and artists have been given the opportunities to make her own her sexuality, does not help the anti-Goyer campaign at all. She looks like that and she fucks whoever she wants. There are worse things to be.
Goyer was not alone. One of the podcast hosts, Craig Mazin, first referred to She-Hulk as Slut-Hulk. And no one said a word…
All anyone screamed about was Goyer’s comment that She-Hulk was invented to be nothing more than a porn star that was strong enough to “service the Hulk.”
This reminds me of how “newsworthy” it was that Britney Spears kissed Madonna during a performance when Madonna then leaned over and kissed Christina Aguilera the same exact way. No one mentioned Christina’s kiss. She didn’t get put on the cover of tabloids.
With social media, the masses are contributing to the trending topics and they are just as bad as any tabloid. Have you taken a look at what compels you jump on a Twitter rage bandwagon? It’s a riot mentality. It’s easy to get caught in the white water draw of it and be swept rapidly through the anger and fanboy/girl entitlement.
Take a breath.
Are you angry because Goyer and Mazir openly said what plenty of people think about She-Hulk being a sexed up vixen or are you angry because it’s true? According to ComicVine, the only real reason Stan Lee and his team created She-Hulk was so that CBS didn’t invent her first for a spin-off TV show thereby giving CBS copyright, not Marvel Comics. She wasn’t created out of some thoughtful development process.
Now if you still want to be upset about the comments, don’t forget Mazir’s role in this discussion.
Goyer said anyone who knows who Martian Manhunter is doesn’t get laid. Nevermind the fact that a generation was raised on Batman: TAS, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited and Superman: TAS. I think it’s safe to say, plenty of people remember Martian Manhunter from those days and now watch the shows on DVDs with their own kids.
Goyer has a history of insulting the fans that drive the commercial success of WB/DC properties. He’s being greatly rewarded for actions that piss off a lot of people just like a politician or corporate executive. If Goyer wants to believe comic fans don’t get laid, maybe he needs to stop being on podcasts and panels where that’s his audience. Apparently, he has no plans to publicly address the fanbase on social media making a point to state on his website that he only tweets under the anonymity of the writers’ wall for DaVinci’s Demons@DaVinciWriters.
People complain about Dan DiDio and Joe Q all the time too. I happen to prefer when people do open their mouths so I know them better. If the writers never said anything, fans would be pissed at that. They want to know things and then they get pissed at spoilers. They want to know what relationships and developments will happen and then they’ll tell those writers how wrong they are. Only the loud fans are heard and creators like Goyer will keep a wall between you.
People need to stop using “porn” and “porn stars” as pejoratives. First of all, if you image search She-Hulk, a vast majority of the art is porn/sexualized fan art. Nonetheless, “porn” has been upgraded as a complementary catchphrase like “food porn,” “shelf porn,” etc. although that dandy software that companies use to lock their networks can’t differentiate when I want to look at galleries of fabulous book shelves versus naked women so I am prohibited from looking at either. However, when it comes to any discussion about women, if you use the word “porn” it’s meant to be insulting and dehumanizing. Saying, “She’s nothing but a porn star,” is verbiage implying porn star is a low achievement. Yet, I don’t know too many people who would truly be brave enough to empower themselves by even giving porn a test run as a career option.
You can’t deny that female superheroes are masturbatory material. I’ve sat in Artists’ Alley and heard the commission requests of fans asking for naked Black Widow or “make the boobs bigger” or seen the prints that sell of mock Playboy covers featuring otherwise untouchable characters like Rogue and Power Girl. It’s why there can be success with porn parodies in films and websites with adult cosplay. Superheroes fucking is a moneymaking business.
To deny that sexual objectification exists after months of online harassment advocacy over a TEEN TITANS cover, shows how selective and narrow-minded the fans can be. How quickly fans fell in love with Rebecca Romijn’s performance only to fall even more in love with Jennifer Lawrence’s as Mystique skirting the issue that Mystique is naked in the X-MEN movies when she wear clothes in the comics and cartoons. She’s not a transformed naked body like say, the Human Torch or Ice Man. She should have clothes! But here’s what happened: I went to a museum where the costume designer of the movie was telling everyone about Bryan Singer’s temper tantrum over Mystique’s design. The Director shoved everything off the table and shouted, “I WANTED HER NAKED!” But no one complains about it. The fans love her naked ass. Why isn’t it misogyny and objectification in this case? Bryan Singer turned Mystique into a porn parody and people love it. Maybe because he never publicly said she was his porn star vision, the fans let it slide. It’s only when you call something out for what it truly is that you get backlash.
Let’s get back to Charles Soule’s quote above about taking a negative and making it a positive. You can’t be selective about where you’re calling out misogyny and -ism’s.