The rivalry between Marvel and DC runs deep, and has for decades. So when a creative voice associated with one party comments on record about a character in the other company’s stable, you know that their words are going to be picked over and analyzed by both fervent fan bases… particularly when the comments can be interpreted with sexist and borderline misogynistic undertones.
David S. Goyer has a long history with DC Comics, having penned screenplays for motion pictures based on iconic DC characters like Superman (Man of Steel) and Batman (Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight films). That doesn’t mean Goyer doesn’t pay attention to the Marvel stable of heroes, and he commented on one – She-Hulk – during an appearance on screenwriter John August’s ScriptNotes podcast. Goyer was one of several panel members recording in front of a live audience, including co-host Craig Mazin, as well as screenwriters Andrea Berloff, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. It was a bit of an all-star panel, recording a podcast that would benefit the Writers Guild Foundation. But it was Goyer’s comments on She-Hulk that are setting the Web on fire this morning.
Explaining the offbeat origin of She-Hulk, Goyer said:
I have a theory about She-Hulk. Which was created by a man, right? And at the time in particular I think 95 percent of comic-book readers were men, and certainly almost all of the comic-book writers were men. … And so then they created She-Hulk, right? Who was still smart, so it was like, 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."
Reaction on social media to David S. Goyer’s comments was, as you’d imagine, swift and passionate.
The debate of Goyer’s She-Hulk comments raged between the right for a person to express an opinion, or the possibility of his comments being satirical in nature. Defenders of Marvel’s female superhero expressed She-Hulk’s impact as a feminist icon, and not as a male fantasy figure to which Goyer has tried to pigeonhole her. The one opinion that matters the most? That of Marvel guru Stan "The Man" Lee, who (via The Washington Post) told Comic Riffs on Wednesday night:
Never for an instant did I want her as a love interest for Hulk. Only a nut would even think of that…. As for her looking beautiful and curvy, show me the superheroine who isn’t."
The fallout over David S. Goyer’s comments continues. For now, tell us your thoughts. Listen to Goyer’s comments in context on the podcast, and tell us if he was attempting to make a joke, or if his views on the role of female superheroes has you concerned about the influence he has on the developing DC Cinematic Universe.