David Goyer rebuked by Stan Lee and Gerry Conway for his comments on She-Hulk and Martian Manhunter fans, new trailers revealed for Guardians of the Galaxy and Big Hero 6, a former TokyoPop editor talks about the impact of piracy on manga sales, and more.
David Goyer calls She-Hulk “giant, green porn star,” disses Martian Manhunter fans, earns censure from Stan Lee, Gerry Conway
Never has the old adage “better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt” been more applicable than in the Social Media age, when any even remotely controversial comment a public pop culture personality says on a blog, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or a podcast can quickly snowball out of their control, developing a memetic momentum all its own.
Such was the case earlier this week, when David S. Goyer, screenwriter for Man of Steel and the producer and writer for the upcoming Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, volunteered the following opinion as a guest panelist on the live-audience Scriptnotes podcast (transcription by The Mary Sue):
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.
Goyer and Scriptnotes co-host Craig Mazin (who facetiously suggested in the podcast that She-Hulk’s real name was “Slut-Hulk”) also discussed at length the character’s breasts and body size. Goyer then trained his wit (or whatever you want to call it) on the audience at the live podcast recording, jokingly asking those who raised their hands to acknowledge that they’d heard of DC Comics’ Martian Manhunter character if they “have ever been laid.”
As readers can well imagine, this did not go down too well with a number of Scriptnotes listeners. Cue the response from Stan Lee, the “man” in question who co-created She-Hulk (with artist John Buscema) way back in 1980:
I know I was looking for a new female superhero, and the idea of an intelligent Hulk-type grabbed me… Never for an instant did I want [She-Hulk] as a love interest for Hulk, only a nut would think of that… As for her looking beautiful and curvy, show me the superheroine who isn’t.
We have to say, if the guy who created Stripperella has seemingly more progressive opinions on female superheroes than you, then you’ve got a problem.
[She-Hulk was actually the last character created by Stan Lee for Marvel Comics before he returned to write comics in 1992, and the character was created primarily to preempt the rumored plans by executives of the Incredible Hulk TV series to introduce a female Hulk character that they would own apart from Marvel. Oh, and She-Hulk’s human alter-ego Jennifer Walter is the first cousin of Hulk alter-ego Bruce Banner, hence Lee’s “nut” comment in response to Goyer’s claim that She-Hulk was created to be the Hulk’s lover—ed.]
Now, to be fair, the character of She-Hulk has gone through periods when she was actually treated by certain male comics creators as little more than material for cheesecake and it could be that Mazin and Goyer are responding specifically to those instances, but it doesn’t change the fact that through most of the character’s existence, She-Hulk has largely been depicted as an independent, intelligent, confident, and refreshingly self-aware character, hardly the “extension of the male power fantasy” Goyer claims her to be. Recent She-Hulk comics have actually focused as much on the character’s aspect as a lawyer specializing in superhero law as much as they emphasize superhero action-adventure.
Veteran comics writer and former Marvel Comics and DC Comics editor Gerry Conway also had a strongly worded reaction to Goyer’s comments in his blog. An excerpt:
If these remarks actually reflect Goyer’s thinking, and, by extension, the thinking of the Powers That Be at [Warner Bros.] who have hired him to be their go-to guy for DC Comics adaptations to film, it explains a lot.
It explains why “Man of Steel” disappointed so many readers and fans of the comic book character. It explains why some of us may have reason to worry about “Superman vs Batman: Dawn of Justice.” And it explains why, forty-four years after DC’s editorial elite called a meeting to try and understand why Marvel’s books were becoming more popular with readers than their own, the current ownership is still as clueless today as the old guard was then.
The term I’d use to describe both points of view?
Comixverse webmaster Jason Thees, writing on Facebook, echoed the sentiment of Conway’s comments:
So the guy in charge of DC movies thinks Martian Manhunter is too goofy to be part of the DC movie-verse, and makes fun of DC fans who even know who he is, while the guy in charge of Marvel movies says ‘Fuck it, here’s a raccoon with a machine gun, ’cause the fans like this guy.’ This is why Marvel is killing it at the theater and DC can’t find their ass with both hands.
It’s not too late to hit the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival
It will likely be well underway as you read this, but if you can, try and make it out to the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival (May 24–25, 2014; free admission) at the Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre in Vancouver’s Yaletown district.
Special guests include Eisner Award winners Brandon Graham (Prophet, King City), Pia Guerra (Y: The Last Man), Ken Steacy (Alien Worlds, Epic Illustrated), Ian Boothby (Simpsons Comics, Futurama Comics), Nina Matsumoto (Simpsons Comics, Yokaiden), Steve Rolston (Queen & Country, Ghost Projekt), and Tyler Crook (Petrograd, Bad Blood), as well as lauded comics creators Ed Brisson (Sheltered, Sons of Anarchy), Natasha Allegri (Bee and PuppyCat), Farel Dalrymple (Pop Gun War, Meathaus), Simon Roy (Prophet, The Field), Camilla d’Errico (Tanpopo, Sky Pirates of Neo Terra), and Tony Cliff (Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant). Events include a Bee and PuppyCat-themed “afternoon soirée,” a “drink and draw” jam at the nearby Soho Billiards (19+ only), as well as industry professional panels on networking with comics communities, the business of webcomics, self-publishing, comics writing, and character design.
Lillian Diaz-Przybyl draws the curtain back on the business of manga in North America
Former TokyoPop editor Lillian Diaz-Przybyl gives a fascinating insider’s look at the licensed manga industry in North America, in an interview with Justin Stroman for the Organization Anti-Social Geniuses website. Among other things, she gives an account of the complicated relationship between piracy and the legitimate anime and manga business and how in many cases, pirated anime and manga (known in manga circles as fansubs and scanlations, respectively) help build brand awareness for future legitimate product:
Fruits Basket had just been licensed, or just started getting released when I started at TOKYOPOP, I think we were on volume 5, and that series had been picked up by TOKYOPOP in part because of an online survey that they run, which asked what titles should we do, and everyone was like you should do Fruits Basket. People wouldn’t have known about Fruits Basket as even an option if it weren’t for things like scanlations and fansubs. It’s very clear that those built a level of awareness for some of these early properties in the marketplace at the time and they still do.
This is why it’s kind of exciting where we are now: Magi shows up on Crunchyroll and it’s a huge hit, people seem really excited about it, so when Viz picks up the manga rights to do a release of that there’s a group of people that are already super into that series and they’re planning to buy that book. It certainly happened with Attack on Titan last year.
So the feedback loop between sort of brand awareness and however you’re getting it, and people purchasing the stuff later, that’s really important and something the industry is very aware of. The problem that you run into – and the animation community has been able to solve this problem thanks to services like Crunchyroll, Funimation, Hulu and being able to get these series simulcasted in Japan – that hasn’t really happened quite as much in manga, and there’s a lot of reasons why that’s the case, but it’s incredibility frustrating…
X-Men: Days of Future Past movie reviews are in
Early reviews for Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past are in, and they seem generally positive—it’s sitting at a 74% metascore on review aggregator site Metacritic as of this writing—but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have problems.
The A.V. Club’s Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, who gave the film a “B” rating, described it as “the least newcomer-friendly big-budget movie of the year so far” with “the potential to be the most narratively satisfying and fluid entry in the X-Men film series, or the most alienating.” Alex Pappademas in his review for Grantland, asks, if “maybe a director with a strong visual sensibility, a sense of humor, or some idea of how to stage a dynamic action scene” should have been tasked to helm the film instead of Bryan Singer. The New York Times‘ A.O. Scott serves up a backhanded compliment in writing that the film’s characters and the actors who inhabit their roles “provide just enough wit and feeling to make Days of Future Past something other than a waste of a reasonable person’s time.”
Odds and Sods
More news links from around the world of comics and more:
• As an update on a story we first reported in last week’s News Round-up, Amazon.com continues to employ hardball (what some would even call borderline illegal) tactics against the Hachette Book Group for its refusal to renegotiate its terms with the online retail giant. The latest salvo is Amazon.com’s refusal to take orders for J.K. Rowling’s new book The Silkworm, which is published by a Hachette imprint. An investigation conducted by ICv2 last week showed that titles from manga publisher Yen Press (a Hachette imprint) and Marvel Comics trades and hardcovers (which are distributed by Hachette) are being sold at higher prices than other comparable titles on Amazon.com, and deliveries of Yen Press and Marvel orders are substantially delayed.
• Brigid Alverson, writing for Robot 6@CBR, offers personal and in-depth insights in a piece entitled “Why Toronto Comic Arts Festival Matters.”
• The Beat’s Heidi McDonald has the results of the 2014 Glyph Comics Awards, which were dominated by Brandon Easton and N. Steven Harris’ Watson and Holmes.
• Marvel Studios releases new Guardians of the Galaxy trailer. The film is set to premiere on August 1, 2014.
• Bleeding Cool’s Rich Johnston has posted (off-screen) preview images of George Pérez’ Sirens as seen during last week’s Diamond Retailer Summit. Sirens, which will be published by BOOM! Studios, features characters based on real-life cosplayers Pérez has met over the years.
• Ayai Tomisawa, writing for Reuters, reports that shares of the Kadokawa Corporation jumped 14% after the announcement of its merger with the Dwango telecommunications and media company. Kadokawa is a major player in the anime, manga, and magazine publishing industry and through its Kadokawa Shoten subsidiary, publishes titles such as Neon Genesis Evangelion (licensed in North America by VIZ Media), Highschool of the Dead (licensed in North America by Yen Press), and Cardfight!! Vanguard (licensed in North America by Vertical, Inc.). Kadokawa will be leveraging Dwango’s expertise in online media delivery to bring its content directly to users in Japan and internationally.
• Joe Rodriguez, writing for the San Jose Mercury News (via the Times Herald), talks to Joe Benitez (Lady Mechanika, The Darkness) and other comics creators in attendance at last week’s Big Wow Comics Convention in San Jose, California.
• The Anime News Network is reporting that North American licensee Digital Manga is set to launch a Kickstarter campaign to fund its publication of the English-language edition of Osamu Tezuka’s space western manga Captain Ken.
• The Where Monsters Dwell blog has audio of its conversation with comics creators Troy Little (Chiaroscuro, Powerpuff Girls) and Brenda Hickey (My Little Pony, In the Air), recorded during last week’s East Coast Comic Expo in Moncton, NB.
• Curators Paul Gravett and John Harris Dunning give the BBC a video tour of the Comics Unmasked exhibit at the British Library in London. They raise an interesting point about how reading comics requires a certain level of “visual literacy,” and that perhaps there might be people who just can’t read comics. The event will run through August 19, 2014.
• Rob Salkowitz, writing for ICv2, discusses the history of the fine art community’s appropriation of comics art in the wake of a Jeff Koons sculpture—which looks suspiciously like it was mechanically or digitally scaled-up from a toy released by Dark Horse in 2002—selling for $28 million on auction.
• Heidi McDonald, writing for The Beat, reports on John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell’s March: Book One being the first graphic novel to win the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award.
• Makoto Shinkai’s The Garden of Words wins the best anime feature film award in the AniMovie category at the Stuttgart Festival of Animated Film (The Asahi Shimbun via The Diagonal). Vertical, Inc. will be releasing the manga adaptation of the feature film this fall, as first announced earlier this year at KatsuCon.
• Calvin Reid, writing for Publishers Weekly, talks to Kickstarter publishing manager Maris Kriezman and comics category manager Jamie Tanner about the success many comics creators have found on the crowdfunding platform. For an even more detailed look at some of the features shared by the most successful Kickstarter comics projects, check out this Comixverse piece published last year.
• Heidi McDonald, writing for The Beat, reports on Dynamite Entertainment and Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. resolving out-of-court the latter’s claims of trademark infringement over the former’s comics featuring characters created by the late Edgar Rice Burroughs. Besides settling their legal issues, the two companies are also entering into a new publishing partnership.
• PREVIEWSworld talks to Jess Fink, writer and artist of the quirky erotic graphic novels Chester 5000 and We Can Fix It!
• Author Mark Harris, writing for Grantland, asks if the “superhero movie bubble” is just about ready to burst. [Maybe—ed.]
• ICv2 reports that fan-favorite writer Peter David (All-New X-Factor, Incredible Hulk) will be teaming up with long-time Fantomen artist Sal Velluto for a new six-issue Phantom miniseries due to debut this September, from Hermes Press.
• JHU Comic Books, Hang Dai Studios, and Delete Blood Cancer are organizing a bone marrow donor drive in support of photographer and comics writer Seth Kushner (Leaping Tall Buildings, Schmuck) on May 28, 2014 at JHU Comic Books’ Manhattan branch (32 East 32nd St., New York, NY). In attendance will be Dean Haspiel (The Fox, Cuba: My Revolution), Josh Neufeld (A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge, Keyhole), and Christa Cassano (The Giant Effect).
• Disney has released the first trailer for Big Hero 6, a (somewhat loose) feature film adaptation of the Marvel comic of the same name.
• Edgar Wright has left the production of Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man film, a project Wright has been championing and developing for several years now. The statement from the studio describes the split as “amicable” and due to “differences in their vision of the film.” Despite the directorial change, Ant-Man‘s release date remains firm at July 17, 2015.
• There have been a lot of heartfelt reactions on Twitter to the news that long-serving DC Comics executive Bob Wayne will be stepping down before the DC offices make their move from New York to Burbank in April of next year, but none so closely match our own sentiments as those of Dark Horse editor Scott Allie:
The week in press releases
• Here’s a preview gallery for Witchfinder: The Mysteries of Unland #1 (Dark Horse Comics) by Kim Newman and Maura McHugh, on sale June 18, 2014. Retailer FOC is Monday, May 26.
• Check out the preview gallery for Eye of Newt #1 (Dark Horse Comics) by award-winning fantasy illustrator Michael Hague, which hits shops June 18, 2014. Retailer FOC is Monday, May 26.
• The first issue of BOOM! Box’s Lumberjanes has sold out at the distributor level and will be headed to a second printing. The second printing edition will feature new cover art by Chrystin Garland, seen below:
Written by Noelle Stevenson (Adventure Time, Nimona) and Grace Ellis, co-created by BOOM! Studios editor Shannon Watters, with art from Brooke Allen (A Home for Mr. Easter), Lumberjanes is a quirky series about five girls kicking butt at summer camp that has recently been made into an ongoing series due to the overwhelming response from fans.
In case you missed them…
• Don’t forget that we regularly post new previews of trade paperbacks and hardcovers.
• Joe takes a look at Playmates’ Mutagen Man, from its Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line of figures.
• In this week’s Leaving Proof, a Manga! Comics! Manga! blog post has Zedric looking into manga’s past successes in North America and pondering what today’s publishers can do to broaden manga’s appeal among “traditional” comics fans. ALSO: The latest concept art from The Last Devil.