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Goyer compares She-Hulk to a porn star, calls Martian Manhunter goofy

by  in Comic News Comment

Between movies, comic books and TV, Man of Steel screenwriter David S. Goyer has written quite a few superheroes in his career. On the latest episode of the Scriptnotes podcast, he made his feelings for two of them clear — Marvel’s She-Hulk and DC Comics’ Martian Manhunter — and upset quite a few fans in the process.

In an episode recorded last week in front of an audience at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills, Scriptnotes hosts John August and Craig Mazin asked their guests — Goyer, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” screenwriters Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely and “Legend of Conan” writer Andrea Berloff — to play a game where they randomly drew a name of a superhero, and disclosed how they would handle a contemporary film adaptation of that character.

Around 33 minutes into the podcast (full episode here), the conversation moved to She-Hulk, with Markus stating that the character has “the worst, most demeaning character name possible,” due to being presented as only a female adjunct to Hulk. That led to co-host Mazin calling the character “Slut-Hulk,” and Goyer describing her as “pretty chunky” and similar in stature to former WWF performer Chyna. Goyer then elaborated on his thoughts of the character, including describing her as a “giant green porn star.” Here’s the full quote:

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. 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 who were getting the shit beaten out of them every day — “What if I became giant, and could clap my hands and create a sonic boom?”

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 that becomes the Hulk, then let’s create a giant green porn star that only the Hulk could fuck.

She-Hulk was originally created by comic book legends Stan Lee and John Buscema, and it’s worth noting (as pointed out by multiple outlets including The Mary Sue) that the Hulk and She-Hulk are in fact cousins, and not engaging in any carnal relations with each other. The character has headlined multiple Marvel series since debuting in 1980, including the current All-New Marvel NOW! title by writer Charles Soule and artist Javier Pulido. Soule hasn’t said much on the matter on his Twitter account beyond “Bums me out,” but did retweet the following:

Negative reaction to Goyer’s She-Hulk comments swiftly proliferated online, including in a piece by Washington Post columnist Alyssa Rosenberg, titled, “She-Hulk is a feminist hero, not a male fantasy.” In the article, Rosenberg cited She-Hulk as, from the character’s earliest appearances, “a manifestation of a particularly female dilemma that persists today,” namely, “an expression of how terrific it would be not to have to censor yourself, to be allowed to be angry without some man declaring you unladylike.”

Goyer has written Marvel characters — in all three Blade films, and the much-maligned Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV movie starring David Hasselhoff — — but the bulk of his superhero career has been spent with DC’s roster, including Man of Steel, freshly titled follow-up Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (which will include the live-action feature film debut of comics’ most prominent female superhero, Wonder Woman), Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy and years co-writing the JSA comic book series. Yet he had less-than-flattering things to say about DC hero Martian Manhunter — and folks who know the character. After drawing that character for the show’s game, Goyer asked the crowd, “How many people in the audience have heard of Martian Manhunter?” Following a healthy smattering of applause, Goyer joked, “How many people that raised their hands have ever been laid?” Goyer continued:

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.

While not nearly as charged as his She-Hulk comments, Goyer’s take on Martian Manhunter also displeased observers, with Ross Lincoln on The Escapist expressing that the position “[tells] us everything we need to know about precisely what is wrong with DC’s attempt to clone Marvel’s box office success,” and that “Goyer almost appears to be ashamed that he’s even associated with comic book films.”

A Justice League film was confirmed to be in development late last month, with Man of Steel and Batman v Superman‘s Zack Snyder directing. Given his close involvement with DC Comics-based films, rumors and speculation have long connected Goyer with writing a potential Justice League movie, but that hasn’t been confirmed. Da Vinci’s Demons, the Starz drama created by Goyer, ends its second season later this month, and he’s also an executive producer on “Constantine,” the upcoming NBC series based on DC character John Constantine.

(Alex Hernandez contributed to this report.)