Rant – David Goyer calls She Hulk a slut; he is just wrong

I was going to write a Supergirl 31 review, but then I saw this – http://www.themarysue.com/david-goyer-calls-she-hulk-sex-fantasy/

Considering David Goyer is the writer behind a number of DC movies, including Man of Steel and the Dark Knight trilogy, I don’t really feel like writing a review for a DC comic right now. So here goes the first official rant for my blog.

The whole thing happened on a podcast that I will not directly name. It was a discussion between several comic movie writers, including David Goyer, Craig Mazin, and others behind cinematic adaptations of both Marvel and DC characters. But Goyer and Mazin are the only names you need to know about here.

Before I get started, here’s a warning since I don’t swear on this blog. There is a fair amount of colourful language in some of these quotes that I’m not editing out. The whole She Hulk debacle began with Mazin saying,

”The real name for She-Hulk was Slut-Hulk. That was the whole point.”

When exactly was that a point? When has her name ever been Slut-Hulk? When I googled “Slut-Hulk”, every single response pointed to an article about this very controversy. But such is the logic from the writer of The Hangover Parts 2 and 3, Scary Movie 3 and 4, and Superhero Movie. And that was not the original point of the She Hulk.

She Hulk was originally created by Stan Lee in 1979. Yes, the same Stan Lee that created the original Hulk. She was created to protect the Hulk’s copyright after rumors circulated that the rights holder to the Incredible Hulk TV show wanted to create their own She Hulk. Savage She Hulk 1 was rushed into production, yet it was still a good comic that explained Jennifer Walters’ backstory adequately. The series ended up lasting 25 issues, which isn’t bad for a legacy characters’ first appearance. But that’s not all Mazin said now is it?

“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…”

Ok sure, She Hulk does have big boobs. Why is that such an issue? It’s common in comics for all female characters to have large boobs, especially back then. These days body proportions are becoming more balanced, especially in indie comics, but having large breasts doesn’t make a female character a slut. And what does lean and stringy even mean? Another pointer, while She Hulk also gets stronger when she’s angry and may not even have an ultimate power limit, she’s rarely as strong as the Hulk. Get your facts straight.

David Goyer – “She’s still pretty chunky. She was like Chyna from the WWE.”

Did Goyer just reference the Avengers XXX and She Hulk XXX porn parodies – the ones where Chyna from the WWE portrayed She Hulk? If that’s where he’s getting his characterization of female characters from, than I dread the upcoming first theatrical appearance of Wonder Woman, which Goyer is writing by the way. Mazin then opens his noise hole again.

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

Again, the point of She-Hulk was to protect Marvel’s copyright for the Incredible Hulk. For a self-proclaimed geek, you really don’t know what you’re talking about. And sure, after Stan Lee wrote the first issue of Savage She Hulk, the title was handed over to David Anthony Craft for the remainder of the series. There were times when She Hulk would wear skimpy clothes, but she never had sex with anyone in that comic. The bulk of it had She Hulk and Jennifer Walters fighting each other for control, running from her cop father as he hunted the She Hulk down for murder (which she didn’t commit), meeting the occasional guest star from elsewhere in the Marvel Universe and solving a series-long plot about the gangsters that murdered Jennifer’s mother and gunned Jennifer down in the very first issue. It was actually a very dramatic series, with Jennifer almost dying from radiation poisoning at one point. While it’s not nearly as good as Dan Slott’s run, John Byrne’s work or the very entertaining current series by Charles Soule, it’s still worth reading. And while She Hulk has been both written and drawn in a titillating manner, can you honestly name one 30+ year-old female comic character who hasn’t at one point or another?

But the real insulting point comes from Goyer’s next quote.

“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.”

Wow … just wow. It’s true that the Hulk is ultimately a male power fantasy, but that’s not the least bit true about She Hulk when she’s written properly. And that line about the Hulk and She Hulk having sex … you do realize they’re cousins, right Goyer? Regardless of whether it’s legal or not in your geographical location, that’s just creepy. Incest is generally frowned upon in the world and for good reason known as inbred deformities. Apart from one alternate timeline (written by Mark Miller) and whatever awkward fan fictions exist out there, Hulk and She Hulk have never bedded each other. Sure, they care about each other, but as cousins and not as lovers. In fact, the only Hulk the original has ever slept with is Red She Hulk (Betty Ross), Bruce Banner’s one-time wife. That’s a whole lot less creepy.

But that’s not the only point in that last quote. He called She Hulk little more than an extension of that male power fantasy. In reality, the She Hulk is the complete opposite. While it’s true that She Hulk slept around a lot during Dan Slott’s run, she was never portrayed as a slut. This was even directly addressed at one point, with her and Iron Man discussing double standards between how sexually active people are seen, depending on whether they’re a man or a woman. And that’s the real point of She Hulk – she is the ultimate female power fantasy.

Most female superheroes suffer similar problems in characterization. They’re often portrayed with man-like characteristics to appear tough, or as weaker than their male counterparts. Invisible Woman had this problem for years for example. With the She Hulk on the other hand, she’s unashamed of her female stereotypes. She just likes to have fun, and she loves being a superhero. She loves shopping, partying, fashion and everything typical of her gender. She’s proud of being a woman and doesn’t allow negative stereotypes to hold her back. And if someone tries to, well … would you really mess with a Hulk? Because of all this, she might actually be the most important feminist character in mainstream superhero comics.

In addition to those traits, she’s a formidable superhero. She’s been with the Avengers, and is honestly a better Avenger than her cousin because she retains her full intelligence in Hulk form. She’s been a member of the Fantastic Four on more than one occasion, and often contributes more than just her strength to the team. She’s also one of Marvel’s most competent lawyers, representing Northstar after his gay marriage and possible deportation being one recent example. At one point, she legally defended the existence of the Ultimate Universe during Dan Slott’s run. On that front, she’s had one of the longest-lasting female solo superhero comics, lasting 60 issues, and has had another 79 if you include Savage She Hulk, Dan Slott/Peter David’s run, and the issues released in Charles Soule’s run so far. That’s not including her one-shots or multiple mini-series by the way.

While Goyer might have been just making a joke, that joke is utterly ignorant and disrespectful of a very strong character and her fanbase. Later on in the podcast, he plays up old stereotypes and insults geek culture at large, further souring my opinion of him. As of this writing, I refuse to pay any money to watch anything he touches. I refuse to see Batman vs. Superman in theatres, or even try to remember its officially announced title. That won’t be hard for me, since I hated almost everything about Man of Steel anyway. I refuse to watch any of the upcoming TV shows he’s involved with. Because he was behind the Dark Knight trilogy’s writing, I don’t even want to re-watch that right now. At least he wasn’t involved with Inception, so I can still enjoy watching that.

For anyone reading this rant who doesn’t know much about She Hulk, I highly recommend her currently ongoing serieseach issue has been my favourite release for their respective weeks so far. You can also buy the entire Dan Slott run in big collection paperbacks that have recently released, the first 8 issues of John Byrne’s run and/or the entire Savage She Hulk run (unfortunately in black and white and not available new on Amazon, but is probably available in a local comic shop). For those who’d rather read a novel than a comic, there’s the very entertaining chick-lit novel “The She Hulk Diaries”. Please, check out this wonderful character rather than allowing an ignorant Hollywood writer give you false information.

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About healed1337

I am a relatively new comic book fan writing this blog for other new comic book fans and/or people who are interested in comics but don't know where to start. I've always been interested in writing, to the point where I have a college Creative Writing Certificate and I'm currently a year 2 Journalism student. I also have another blog where I mostly make fun of bad movies - www.healed1337.blogspot.com As for how I got into comics, I've always had a passing interest in superheroes: most notably Batman, Spider-man and the X-Men. Until February of 2011 (I think,) my only experience with any of these franchises came from the movies and video games. Shortly after I bought Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 however, I decided to check out X-23, Wolverine's female clone. I ended up reading her Innocence Lost origin story and enjoyed it. From there, I started reading various X-Men comics and it quickly exploded into my newest hobby. My other interests/hobbies include video games, movies, music, playing sports, my dogs and weird news.
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8 Responses to Rant – David Goyer calls She Hulk a slut; he is just wrong

  1. GothamRogue says:

    I was shocked that he would make such statements and the way he put down Martian Manhunter to a much lesser extent shows maybe this guy isn’t the best to head up the DC Movie-Verse, as if Superman killing wasn’t a red flag already. Reading your rant helped me release some steam so thank you for that.

    Like

  2. xmenxpert says:

    Mazin did apologize for the “slut” part. He also admitted he could very well be wrong about the intentions behind her creation, seeing sexism where none exists. So I’ll give him due for realizing he said something stupid.

    She-Hulk actually did date two guys at once in her original series. There was her neighbour, Zapp (or whatever), and a Steve Gerber character, Richard Rory (I think was his name). She dated Rory as Jen, and Zapp as She-Hulk. And she never seemed particularly torn between them, or ashamed of what she was doing. Which actually goes to show that she was a female fantasy almost from the start.

    And that’s a real problem with Goyer’s comments. I understand the point he was trying to make – that women are overly sexualized in comics – and there is arguably a perception among people unfamiliar with She-Hulk that she’s one of those characters. The old Byrne series had a lot of cheesecake covers, and the covers on Slott’s run were flat-out exploitative and sometimes downright disgusting in how cheesecake they were. So if you literally look solely at the covers, then She-Hulk does wind up coming across poorly. So, I can kinda guess at where he was coming from.

    But he was wrong. Absolutely wrong. She-Hulk is an incredibly feminist character. She’s strong, smart, sexually liberated, fun – she’s an amazing character. And I have no doubt that a lot of women have looked at her as a role model. So for Goyer to dismiss her like that was insulting to those women.

    And there were elements to the whole thing of slut-shaming. Which was also stupid. And then some body-shaming thrown in for good measure, when he calls her “chunky.”

    And another area where this really becomes a problem is that Goyer, as the writer for some hugely popular comic book movies, has a much bigger soapbox than most comic book writers, and certainly more than comic book readers. So when he says something, more people are going to hear him, and listen to him. If they’re not familiar with She-Hulk, they’re going to take what he says at face value, and assume that the character is just wank material for teenage boys, even though she’s so much more than that.

    One thing I hope this does, though, is lead to Marvel maybe introducing She-Hulk into the MCU. And to introduce her the way she’s depicted in the comics – strong, smart, funny, confident, determined, cheerful, and liberated.

    And I also hope the day comes soon when women like that take the jobs of guys like Goyer.

    Like

  3. eightbitbrit says:

    I feel like you said it all. The double standards are everywhere. Cocky heroes like Iron man, Human Torch, who ever get women and it’s all “haha, billionaire genius playboy philanthropist. That’s the life” and when it’s She Hulk “slut.” What a jack ass.
    But: She-Hulk in the MCU. I can dream, can’t I?
    Goyer and really DC Comics at large make me sad.

    Like

    • healed1337 says:

      I would love to see She Hulk in the MCU. My thoughts are that the best way to introduce her would be in an Incredible Hulk movie, making it equally about the two of them (and She Hulk’s origin). It would be a great way to show the differences between them as Hulks, how brilliant Jennifer can be, and that because she retains her full intelligence, she’s a more reliable Avenger. Besides, how epic of a climax could you make with two Hulks working together?

      While the show had its problems, there was a short lived Hulk and She Hulk TV show in the 90’s that showed how well they could work off each other. Plus, Stan Lee cameo’d as She Hulk’s dad.

      Like

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