Slut Hulk: David Goyer and Craig Mazin Set A New Low For Discussing Comics

shehulkgoyer

When I woke up this morning, I didn’t think I’d be writing a post on my blog defending She-Hulk. Or the right for comic book characters to not be called sluts and sex objects by Hollywood screenwriters. But hey, it’s a Wednesday, the sun is shining, and The Mary Sue put out an article about David Goyer and his comments on a podcast called Scriptnotes. And that changed what I did with my afternoon.

The short version is that David Goyer, a writer for DC Comics who is going to be working on the upcoming Superman / Batman movie, went on a podcast called Scriptnotes hosted by a John August and Craig Mazin. He and other panelists talked about other characters in comics that would be translated into film and how, and things went straight to pretty awful sexism the moment Goyer was asked to talk about She-Hulk. Here’s the transcript (thanks to The Mary Sue):

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-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.

I really have no idea where to start.

First off. David Goyer. I could go into explaining how She-Hulk was created as cousin to the Hulk in the comics. So them sleeping together would only work if this was Marvel’s Game of Thrones. But I’m going to sidestep that. I’m going to instead look at the logic behind your statement and the disturbing context that you’re applying to women comic book characters. And hang on, Craig Mazin, because you’re not escaping culpability for this sexist bro-fest. We’ll get to you in a second.

2051136-she_hulk
Because having big boobs and being in comics makes She-Hulk a slut, according to Goyer and Mazin.

If David Goyer is to be believed here, then since most comic book writers were men, the characters they were creating were to fulfill a need in male readership. Since, you know, men were the only people reading those comics. (Never the case, since I owned a She-Hulk #1 as a little girl). The writers therefore were trying to build a character that men, who use the Hulk as a power fantasy, could then focus on as a sex fantasy when they emote into the Hulk. They couldn’t possibly be trying to create a full-rich character with her own story that might appeal to men in other ways besides her sexuality. Because, as we know, the only way for a character in comics to be received by comic book fans is through their need for escapist narratives about giant muscles or through sex fantasies about ‘overly sexualized women’.

Heck, Craig Mazin seems to agree with him as he said: “The whole point of She-Hulk was just to appeal sexistly to ten-year-old boys. Worked on me.”

If that’s to be believed, than the comic book industry spends all it’s time aiming their writing not at their audience’s minds and hearts, but at their insecurities and need for escapism or at their testicles. And if you’re a woman, then not at all.

From here, I’ll separate my comments regarding Goyer and Mazin. Because Mazin spent a good deal of today trying to backtrack away from his comments on Twitter, claiming not only that he can’t be sexist because he has a daughter and wife, but that his comments were about the sexist aims of comic book writers at the time. But in his attempt to point out sexist tropes, apparently, he had no problem calling a character in the comics a slut because of her representation in the art as having large breasts. You know, like every other female character in comics ever. So is it then that every woman in comics was written as appealing to the male libido only and therefore that they’re ‘sluts’?

That’s a loaded word, Mr. Mazin. It means sexually promiscuous and is generally aimed to cast a female character in a negative light, generally to create shame about the character’s sexual conquests or activities. That’s why it’s called ‘slut shaming’. It is a derogatory term. There were a million ways you could have said ‘I believe that She Hulk as a character was created in an overly sexualized way.’ Instead, you went straight to calling her a slut. What’s slutty about her character? Her work as a lawyer, or being an Avenger? Maybe it’s the fact that by comparison she actually usually wears more clothing than the Hulk? I’m curious why that was the name you chose, Mr. Mazin, if you did not mean to be derogatory about the character’s sexuality. If slut your go-to word on the subject, that says something about the way you think about the character. And about women being portrayed as sexual in general. Backtrack all you want, but the word choice is telling and repugnant.

Now we can move on to David Goyer. Because on the day when DC unveiled the new title of their Superman/Batman movie, David Goyer decided to go ahead and show just how little he thinks of not only comic book fans but of the female characters in comic books in general. He started with his view of female characters as sexual fantasies, created only to entice male libido, but he also then went on to insult comic book fans in general. Quoted from the Mary Sue article:

Goyer was asked how he would translate the J’onn J’onzz aka Martian Manhunter to film. As Goyer is one of the people in charge of bringing the DC Universe to live action, this was definitely a topic where his ideas carried weight. In response to being asked about the hero, Goyer asked, “How many people in the audience have heard of Martian Manhunter?” After hearing some light applause and cheers, he added, “How many people that raised their hands have ever been laid?”

First, a powerful female character like She Hulk is just there for sexual titilation. Then, Goyer falls back on the stereotype of comic book fans as unable to get laid.

David Goyer, can I ask you a question: why do you work in comics?

By the way you spoke in this interview about not only the material you work with (example: comments on how ‘goofy’ Martian Manhunter is) and then your clear insults at comic book fans, I don’t understand why you’d work in comics. Your clear disdain for the subject material and the fans comes through in the whole interview. On top of that, it’s obvious how incredibly out of touch you are with the industry in general. And with these comments, you’ve made it abundantly clear that one of the people entrusted with bringing the next big DC movie to the world has little regard for female characters in comics or the audience of your film. Is this the person who should be working on the first big screen introduction of Wonder Woman?

Oh yes, and Mr. Goyer? I didn’t miss the bit of body shaming you put out there too. She Hulk in the comics is exceptionally fit and athletic, a muscular match for her cousin the Hulk. (COUSIN, Mr. Goyer. Not someone for the Hulk to sleep with. COUSIN.) But do I hear you referencing Hulk as anything but a male power fantasy? Nope. For She Hulk however you went ahead and called her ‘chunky’.

(Though I did notice you mentioned Chyna there in reference. Maybe because she played She Hulk in the porno? Could that be your ONLY point of reference for the character, Mr. Goyer?)

Let’s recap: Body shaming, slut shaming, fan shaming.

This is what commentary on comics and comic book films comes down to these days? Two guys bringing their sexist (‘But I’m not REALLY sexist!’) ideas to the table? We’ve heard these voices for years now, perpetuating the same garbage and framing the view of female characters through the lens of male lasciviousness. Heaven forbid that we could divorce ourselves of the male assumption that everything in comics is for them long enough to consider female characters as entities unto themselves. Goyer and Mazin are just echoes of the same old song and dance, just caught out in the open being blatant about it. Slut Hulk. Just something to bang. It’s all been said before. Now it’s just caught on podcast.

What amazes me is in his comments, there’s indications that Goyer felt like one of those stereotyped nerds growing up. He says ‘those people like me’ who were getting beaten up. So now, as a screenwriter and someone in the driver’s seat of providing creative content to the comic book world, seems Goyer might be suffering from a little self hating nerd syndrome.

DC Comics, do yourself a favor. Hire someone to work on your movies and your comics that doesn’t clearly hate on your own fan base quite so much.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s