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Friday, May 23, 2014 

David Goyer dumbs down comics discussions

The screenwriter who'd done some comics writing for a couple years more than a decade ago has now suggested in a podcast he's not very fond of all that is comics: he compared She-Hulk to a porn actress and insulted the Martian Manhunter to boot. Here's some of the transcriptings from the original podcast, where he and the interviewer act very filthy:
Craig Mazin: 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…

David S. Goyer: She’s still pretty chunky. She was like Chyna from the WWE.

Mazin: The whole point of She-Hulk was just to appeal sexistly to ten-year-old boys. Worked on me.

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-Hulk, 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.
Now that's sick, and gives fandom a bad name. What are they trying to prove by making readers out to sound like perverts? And what gall Goyer has to say Bruce Banner's cousin Jennifer Walters - as normal human or as mutated green female - is obese, despite all the artists who always drew her as a babe, starting with John Buscema. He ostensibly admits she was written as a smart woman, but his vulgar dismissal of Jennifer as nothing more than a sex object ruins everything.

It didn't end there. Goyer went on to insult Martian Manhunter:
Well, he can’t be fucking called ‘The Martian Manhunter’ because that’s goofy. He could be called “Manhunter.” … The whole deal with Martian Manhunter is he’s an alien living amongst us, that’s the deal. He came out in the ’50s, and he had basically all the powers of Superman, except he didn’t like fire, and he could read your mind. So here’s the best part: So he comes down to Earth and decides, unlike Superman who already exists in the world now, that he’s just going to be a homicide detective, and pretend to be a human homicide guy. … So instead of using superpowers and mind-reading and like, “Oh, I could figure out if the President’s lying or whatever,” he just decides to disguise himself as a human homicide detective. Dare to dream!
So says the screenwriter who dares to be rude to the comic book audience, along with all the writers and artists who did hard work bringing these heroes to print in their time. Why should it be "goofy"? So says the man who's goofing off himself with a foul mouth and dumbing down the view of comics history in wider society. His crude little screeds prove he doesn't like either tongue-in-cheek or seriousness. He also ignores the argument that powers aren't what make the hero. It's how sincere and dedicated you can make them that is.

Stan Lee spoke to the Washington Post and gave a good rebuttal to Goyer's offensive comments about She-Hulk:
1. When Lee, as writer, co-created She-Hulk with artist John Buscema (the character debuted in February of 1980, in Savage She-Hulk #1), he was absolutely focused on his gamma-green superheroine having brains. Lee tells The Post’s Comic Riffs this evening, in response to Goyer’s words: “I know I was looking for a new female superhero, and the idea of an intelligent Hulk-type grabbed me.”

2. So, did Lee intend for Hulk and She-Hulk to be “kissin’ cousins,” as it were — in other words, was Walters created to be Banner’s brawny, X-rated plaything? “Never for an instant did I want her as a love interest for Hulk,” Lee tells Comic Riffs tonight. “Only a nut would even think of that.”

3. Goyer insists She-Hulk was created, physically, as a “male power fantasy.” So, how about She-Hulk’s tremendous physique, Stan the Man? “As for her looking beautiful and curvy,” Lee tells Comic Riffs, “show me the superheroine who isn’t.”
Exactly. Jennifer Walters was created to be her own protagonist (and one of her later boyfriends was Wyatt Wingfoot), and it was decided early on they'd develop a tongue-in-cheek approach for her too, later leading to the 4th-wall-breaking second volume from 1989-93. One of the most amusing jokes was how Jennifer was depicted as a heavy cigarette smoker, something later destroyed when Joe Quesada took over. Lee may have missed Goyer's weird insult to She-Hulk where he called her "chunky" though; I think he should've rebutted that too.

So what's Goyer's beef anyway? I think he's just come out and let the world know he's not really happy working with comics related projects, and despite his positions in showbiz, he's not well informed, nor is he much more imaginative than his onetime writing partner, Geoff Johns.

Unfortunately, I don't think all the dissenters did a good job of rebutting Goyer's screed. Here's another writer for the Wash. Post who dampened the impact of her take on the issue by bringing up a writer who's as bad as Goyer turns out to be:
My gateway to She-Hulk was writer Dan Slott’s run on the character, in a story arc called “Single Green Female.” In those comics, She-Hulk is simultaneously kicked out of the Avengers’ Mansion because her partying has become too disruptive and fired as a prosecutor because her side gig as a superheroine is seen as a prejudicial force in her trials. “Single Green Female” was a wickedly funny riff on the ways women get punished for succeeding professionally and for having fun personally.

Slott was not the only man who managed to work on She-Hulk stories without drooling all over himself. In 1980, her creators, Stan Lee and John Buscema, intended her as Marvel’s answer to the success of “The Bionic Woman” on television. The men who handled her story going forward, writer David Anthony Kraft, penciller Mike Vosburg and inker Frank Springer, focused on She-Hulk’s physical strength rather than on turning her into some sort of sexpot. In one issue, She-Hulk not only bested Iron Man in a fight, but she also surprised him by proving more rational and less bestial than her cousin.
I'm sorry, but I can't appreciate an argument from somebody who doesn't see the badness that is Slott. In fact, what's so funny about Jennifer losing her job as a district attorney because the judicial panel thinks her evening career is influencing her daytime career? The writer also fails to bring up surely the most questionable story of all during Slott's run: the story where Starfox was accused of sexual assault. That's not a subject you just joke with, yet Slott was doing just that, and it makes little difference if Thanos was revealed having something to do with Eros's actions; it only causes a lot of embarrassment that takes ages to clear away. By not mentioning that troubling tale, the WP writer's done more harm than good for the She-Hulk's cause.

And since then, Slott's been drooling all over himself writing Spider-Man, where he came up with fanfictionish plot elements that do little more than additional damage to his credibility in scripting a female cast. His work on She-Hulk is not what I'd recommend to anyone interested in reading about Jennifer Walters for the first time, and it's regrettable that WP writer had her first taste through his writing.

All that aside, David Goyer's crude putdown of She-Hulk and Martian Manhunter might hurt the Batman vs. Superman movie he's preparing, and I'd already figured it could be a sloppy setup for a Justice League movie. He's certainly put his love of comics under a question mark, making himself out to sound like somebody who takes superhero stories far too seriously, and can't appreciate what past writers like Lee and Joseph Samachson, the creator of J'onn J'onzz, did to entertain people. This is just why comics have been stuck in the ghetto, because prominent people in showbiz refuse to discuss them intelligently for their benefit.

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She-Hulk and Spider Woman were both created to establish trademark and copyright for those names and concepts. In the late 1970's, the Hulk TV series was popular, and there was some talk of a possible spin-off TV show with a woman hulk. Marvel wanted to be able to retain the rights to such a character.

And I suspect that Jennifer was portrayed as Bruce Banner's blood relative so as to preclude any possibility of romance between them. That is also why the original Supergirl was Superman's cousin.

And I must agree with Stan: as for her being chesty and curvy, "so me a superheroine who isn't."

I do admit that women in comics tend to be unrealistic fantasy characters, but that's true of the men, too. The super hero genre is basically an adolescent (and usually male) power fantasy.

Goyer's (and Mazin's) remarks sound more like what you would expect to hear in a middle school locker room than an interview with a professional writer.

As for the comment about She-Hulk being fat, there are people who like porn featuring fat woman but also muscular women as well. And that a sizable number of She-Hulk porn relates to odd fetishes such as transformation and muscle women.

"I do admit that women in comics tend to be unrealistic fantasy characters, but that's true of the men, too. The super hero genre is basically an adolescent (and usually male) power fantasy."

Wow, I haven't heard anything less promoting of intelligent, respectful, and rational discourse since I started noticing people actually, without ANY hint of sarcasm or laughter, try to say Thor 2 was better than Man of Steel.

Good job anonymous. Good job.

This comment has been removed by the author.

Since MoS was badly-written drek, of course TDW was better.

Heck, Ang Lee's Hulk was better. Daredevil and Ghost Rider are almost in the same league, just with lower budgets and worse cinematography.

Actually, I liked both TDW and MOS myself.

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