Hollywood director harbors sexist thoughts; film at 11

Hollywood director harbors sexist thoughts; film at 11


Yesterday there was a new source of gender battle outrage on the internets, as spelled out by The Mary Sue. It seems that director James Gunn, who has made the film Super and is slated to write and direct GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY has a very active website and online presence and nearly two years ago he ran a piece called 50 Superheroes you want to have sex with that included all kinds of jokes about having sex and rape and gays.

The explosion of outrage over this flooded out from Tumblr on Tuesday night and a doubtless terrified Gunn took down the post in question, but the cache lives on. A lot of people wrote smart angry things about it, including Rachel Edidin, and a lot of people are saying that Disney should Do Something and remove him from the directorial chair of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. In fact, a petition with 4000 signatures already exists.

Which is something I’m not entirely comfortable with, to be honest. (Here’s a similar opinion.) I didn’t like the piece, but it was about what superheroes you’d like to fuck. You know, one of those stupid make believe things that Ask Men runs. Gunn was trying to be a lads mag writer—remember FHM and Maxim?—and it was almost funny in spots but not really. This is not the same as saying it was satire and should be excused on those grounds. I mean what did you expect? “The White Queen is sexy and I would like to gently caress her womanly garden.” I was actually surprised that he knew so much about comics—he might even know who Rocket Raccoon is already. I thought what he wrote could have been so much worse, to be honest. Disney generally keeps the women in its superhero movies fairly competent, so I’m not too alarmed that the movie will be filled with lesbians being raped by men to turn them into sex slaves. But, based on this, I’m not sure GUARDIANS will be all that funny…we don’t need another tepid Fantastic Four movie, that’s for sure

I guess I’m jaded because what Gunn wrote is no worse than what 90% of guys have thought at some point, and probably 90% of the people who have directed superhero movies that we all loved in the past have made similar jokes. I mean, I’m not exactly sure that Sam Raimi wanted to do Kitty Pryde in the butt, but I’m sure somewhere, at some time, he had a picture of the Invisible Woman taped inside his notebook. Maybe even right this very minute.

Which isn’t to say that Gunn doesn’t need to come out and say mea culpa and Gamora is his favorite Guardian and he supports Malala Yousafzai. It’s a good consciousness raising exercise, and a heckuva introduction to his future fan base. I just feel that the outrage energy is better directed at getting more opportunities for women and less at stopping men from having inappropriate sexy thoughts about imaginary women, because that will never, ever stop. Sorry.

Although there is a funny book called Porn for Women full of stuff like this:




  1. says

    I think that if more people spent their energies on being the best possible version of themselves (forget about their gender) rather than rallying people in outrage over how other people may or may not see them, it’s just possible that we may all feel a little more relaxed and happy, on a day to day bases. Good call, Heidi.

  2. Thomas Wayne says

    My question is this…if he had this on his site almost two years ago why all of the backlash now?

    And maybe I’m in the minority, but I’ve been a comic fan for over 30 years and I have never once wanted to fuck a super hero – male or female. Have I made jokes about it…sure. Who hasn’t? But are there really people out there fantasizing about having sex with someone who doesn’t exist?

    Talk about scary….

  3. says

    I’m guessing I should’ve read the comments for male characters, because I assumed that the rape comments were directed towards female characters.

    The list is VERY sexually blunt, but it’s like cartoon in a nude magazine level of perverse. I didn’t even expect to see men in this list! You know how many lists don’t even do this?

    Outrage assessment: FALSE

    Imagine alllllll of the directors who have opinions we don’t agree with, but have not publicly shared them. I much prefer someone who has let his opinions and personality hang out, rather than hide it away. What if this guy is going to make an awesome movie? You’d like to shelve him because he’s blunt and perverse? I must be jaded too. Just because someone loudly acknowledges that they have a sex drive doesn’t make them evil, and DEFINITELY doesn’t make them unfit to make a film.

  4. says

    Gunn worked on my fav superhero film of all time Super(definitely see it). and wrote the script for the game Lollipop Chainsaw, check out both of them and you’ll see that his style is over the top juvenile-to-raunchy humour like most of his blog. grain of salt people, grain of salt.

    Here’s all the cutscenes from lollipop chainsaw:

    and trailer for Super(rly rly good film, guardians of the universe is in good hands)

  5. says

    @Christopher, most feminists I know WOULD like to “forget about their gender”. Ignoring sexist/homophobic/racist drivel would most certainly “feel a little more relaxed and happy, on a day to day bases”. But in the long run? We’d leave the world in no way objectively better for women. queer people, or people of color.

    As a woman, I have centuries of foremothers getting outraged to thank for my right to vote, to earn a couple of bachelor’s degrees and a law degree, to control my own reproductive system, to own property and credit in my own name, and due to my mother’s right to divorce her first husband and marry my father, I owe them my very existence. Those are ALL rights that were denied women at the founding of the US.

    I would like to leave behind a world where women get equal pay for equal work, where no woman is blamed for being raped–and ideally no one is raped at all, where women’s health is no longer a political tool, where women’s sexuality is seen as belonging to them and not for the edification of men, where kids can play with whatever toys, read whatever books they want without being told they’re the wrong gender for it, where women all over the world can have the same rights I listed in the previous paragraph.

    So maybe from day to day I get pissed off and annoyed far more often than is healthy. But I know I’ll feel good in the long run, as long as even one man stops to reflect on how he sees women, to empathize with them, and how he might treat them equitably. Because that will make the world a better place.

  6. says

    My favorite comics podcast ever, the discontinued all girl Comics Slumber Party, could be pretty rude sometimes. They had long segments on which superheroes they’d sleep with. I was frankly shocked at first, but eventually found it adorable and funny. It helped that they could joke about sex with someone with superpowers without up and saying, “… penis actually having an orgasm inside of her vagina!” Innuendo, Mister Gunn, jokes work best when you let the listener connect the last dots. He’s like Captain Hammer returning to the laundromat to explain what the hammer is.

  7. Torsten Adair says

    Nancy Friday’s “My Secret Garden” explored many fantasies enjoyed (?) by women. Some were based on celebrities or movie characters, some were transgressive or forbidden.

    There’s a lot of slash fiction out there. (I believe the original Kirk/Spock stories were written by female fans.) Yaoi is popular. Literotica has a “celebrity” section (protected by Larry Flint) which also contains fictional characters. Add in the “Mary Sue” trope/cliche and it’s not surprising.

    Otherwise, it’s a fine line from identifying with a character in a book (which I did with Bernard Marx in “Brave New World”) and being the character yourself. Make believe, cosplay, roleplay…

    As for Mr. Gunn… this is something everyone will have to deal with, as more of us live on the Internet. We’ve all done stupid things, except now it’s all recorded and posted on the web. And if you have a unique name…you’d better have a pseudonym like “Pat Banana”.

  8. says

    Alexa, there’s a difference between standing up for your rights and getting upset when people say stupid things. When you get upset over the latter, you’re just empowering their stupidity by bringing attention to it, and taking away precious energy and time from your own life. That’s why I said, use that energy on being the best possible version of yourself. Those are the people history remembers. Nurture the good in life, and it will grow and push back the bad, but nurture the bad, and the good will wither like a neglected flower, or underfed child, while the bad continues to become a bigger presence in your life, making you more and more unhappy.

    “I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”
    ~Maya Angelou

  9. says

    I almost forgot to address that when I said, “forget about their gender” I mean that what I was saying applied to men and women alike. I think the first and most important thing to ask oneself when addressing gender issues (or any issue) is, “Is this really the issue?” I don’t think this is a gender issue. There’s nothing wrong with men wanting to have sex with women. It’s how we procreate and it’s even fun for both parties, most of the time. Seeing issue where there aren’t any, just because it suits our cause, only makes issues where there weren’t any before. It’s irresponsible and counterproductive to all who want illusive better world, that no one ever understands why we can’t achieve.

  10. says

    When I was a kid, I never wanted to fuck The Invisible Woman. I wanted to make love to her. Nowadays? I would totally fuck The Invisible Woman. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN???

  11. Synsidar says

    But are there really people out there fantasizing about having sex with someone who doesn’t exist?

    That’s what superhero porn is: putting a fantasy down on paper, or up on the screen. Why do people want pictures of naked superheroines? Not because they’re fine art to impress visitors with.

    The artwork is what makes the characters in the superhero stories believable, given a receptive reader; it’s not the convincing details provided about them by the writer, certainly. If the superheroes didn’t stimulate readers’ fantasies, there wouldn’t be superhero comics.


  12. says

    Wait, the creator of PG Porn and such classics as the Charlie Brown parody “Peanus” has an article about which superheroes he would like to have sex with and this is something to be surprised/outraged about.

    There’s not enough STFU gifs on the internet for this one.

  13. says

    Unless the Avengers changed it to spite her in AVX, I think there’s a Y rather than an I in Kitty’s last name. Let’s not lose sight of the important issue here: How to spell the names of these non existent characters various people may or may not want to have sex with.

  14. says

    @Christopher I understand what you’re saying, but I don’t believe I am “nurturing the bad” by asking for someone to be held accountable for saying demeaning things about women. His attitude towards teen moms (Stephanie Brown must be “easy”), lesbians (Batwoman just needs Tony Stark’s dick to “turn” her), and gay men (they must have voted for the Flash because they want to get all that horrible buttsex over with fast) are casually demeaning and indicative of all the straight male privilege he has. And frankly I also found his comments about Storm fairly racist: the highest ranking woman of color on the list, “which is saying something because there’s green, purple, etc women on the list”– as if it’s remarkable that a black woman, a representative of an actual race, is seen as more sexually attractive than fictional races.

    My attitude and reactions to such demeaning attitudes towards women, queer people, and people of color (even those meant in “jest”), in my opinion IS a positive aspect of my life. I won’t stand for bigotry and injustice, how is that a bad thing?

    It’s important to address James Gunn’s attitudes because girls’ goals and self-esteem drop dramatically at puberty (when the world starts telling them they have to be attractive to guys). Women are still underrepresented in mass media, both as characters and creators. (Check it: http://www.seejane.org/research/) It took an outspoken feminist like Joss Whedon to make Black Widow a functional character in the MCU– compare to her role in Iron Man 2– and I’m not even calling Jon Favreau a sexist! Jon Favreau is a guy in a heavily male-dominate profession (ONE female Best Director in over 80 years of Oscars) in a genre that “conventional wisdom” says is for guys. So Black Widow was totally under-utilized in his film and it went entirely unchallenged. Now, I’m already disappointed that the GotG film is minus two women from the comics, and a couple at that. I harbored dreams that Carol Danvers would be the ambiguously-gendered “American pilot” that goes to space. Now that James Gunn’s sense of “humor” has been brought to light, my last remaining hopes of seeing women in a fun space adventure based on some of my favorite comics are down the drain. And that means fewer little girls will grow up thinking of themselves as superheroes and space adventurers like boys take for granted.

    You may say “Yeah, but that’s not REALLY important”. Two words: Mae Jemison. The first African-American woman astronaut. Why did she decide to become an astronaut? What made her think she could? Commander Uhura on Star Trek.

    This. Shit. Matters.

  15. Synsidar says

    Actually, it really doesn’t.

    There’s an ocean of porn you could drown in if you want to go down that way, including pay sites that have comics heroines being raped by tentacles, aliens, and other things, with new artwork up regularly. If you consume superhero porn, be proud about it! Let the world know! Women advocating for intelligent fantasies doesn’t hurt you, does it?


  16. says

    And what aspect of their experiences do you think Mae Jemison nurtured in her life. She focused on the one positive role model she could find, and nurtured all the postoperative aspects of her life. That’s the “shit that matters.” Do you think she sat around focusing on all the people who said dumb shit to her? Hell no.
    While I admire the hell out of how much you care, and think it’s great that you’ve put so much of your own time and thought into this, I feel that I should point out that while Gunn has pulled his comments after being spanked for them, (and maybe he even learned something) In the very post were you state that you don’t think you’re “nurturing the bad” you’ve also given Gunn’s comments new light, in a new forum. They will now go on to empower other people’s focus and negative feelings. Thoughts and words do carry emotional wait and momentum. We have no right to censor them, but we can chose to give them new life, and our intent (good or bad) in doing so, does not change them. I say this, because I am on your side.

  17. Daniel says

    Beware of anyone starting a sentence with “As a woman,”. It usually precedes incredibly ignorant generalizations that most intelligent women would find degrading.
    That and censorship is the knee-jerk reaction of fascists at heart. And it should ALWAYS be abhorred, not just when it affects you.

  18. Synsidar says

    That’s the “shit that matters.”

    It matters because of all the time and energy spent by people wondering why superhero comics aren’t more popular, why sales aren’t higher, and what people can do to boost the genre (not the medium). If the artwork in the stories stimulates readers’ fantasies, and readers use characters to fuel fantasies–readers as character fetishists–then the quality of the writing and even the quality of the artwork, in an aesthetic sense, doesn’t matter to those readers. They just want their fantasies stimulated regularly. Appealing to those readers can’t expand the market for superhero comics.


  19. says

    Believe me Synsidar, I know all about it. You think it’s bad now? I attended the Friends of Lulu awards in the 90’s after Neil Gaiman was no longer the keynote speaker. Things have improved for women in comics vastly, since then. However, we should not lose site that this is not an issue exclusive to comics. Indeed it is older than comics by thousands of years.

    Here’s the truth of the matter. We cannot (should not) censor people’s ignorance. We cannot make people behave or think the way we think they should. We can only be examples though our own thoughts and actions. If enough people do, then many will turn their backs on stupidity like this and refocus on seeing each person they meet as an individual, rather than a group, race, religion, or gender. That is the only way it’s ever going to happen.
    It’s okay to correct people when you think they’re wrong, but add anger and outrage to that mix, and you’re only ever going to have another fight on your hands.
    I never said “Yeah, but that’s not REALLY important.” What I’m saying is that these things are SO VERY IMPORTANT that we must take very special care in how we handle them. That takes having a little faith that humanity really wants to do the right thing, at heart.

  20. Daniel says

    The fact that this guy’s jokes are being equated with ignorance and stupidity is a problem in itself. I don’t want to live in a society where humor has to be universally accessible to be considered valid. Can’t we, as intelligent human beings, accept that humor can be completely removed from what we perceive as logic or morals?

    I get that some people have agendas, and use these issues to gain notoriety (WIR comes to mind), but those should be seen as the opportunistic hypocrites they are, not be validated by people with a working common sense.

  21. says

    I know what tumblr users are like for jumping all over the latest outrage,I avoid doing myself,if we started on my opinions we’d be here all day,but I don’t think this is outrage over Gunn having inappropriate thoughts about sexy women,it’s outrage at the way he has expressed this.My (male)partner read the post and found it pretty disgusting and childish.It may have been two years ago but he was still a director then,he was in the public eye he should have known better.
    Also,it shows he has a hard time distinguishing reality from fiction:if he was just giving a fictional account of someones views and fantasies it would be eww but still fantasy,yet he is talking about the actual way he feels about gay sex and he somewhere brings his girlfriend into it.It’s a very bizarre public outing of his very real feeling towards real live women and real live gay men.
    I don’t think he deserves all this attention because he’s obviously a prat but if I were an actress about to work with him and I read this I’d be very concerned…
    And yes,we too found his comments about Storm racist and completely WTF?He seems surprised that a WOC should appear at all in the list,that is just not acceptable.The man is an arse and yeah,I am surprised at any man behaving like this.

  22. says

    “Superhero porn” Isn’t that redundant? :) I think Gene Ha makes a nice point, that there’s something to be said about innuendo over bluntness, but even with his comments, It’s not the end of the world. It’s not a fireable offense, certainly.

    You’d have to explain to me why the Storm comment was “racist” Because he dared to mention race any at all? He’s not surprised at race, he’s going for a joke, that some superheroes are aliens and/or have weird skin colors, and the term “women of color” would take on different meaning in the superhero world.

    Are we DEVOID of humor? Is it all supposed to be PG humor? I feel like everyone wants to be the boy in the plastic bubble, and if anyone dares be off color, they should go to career prison. It’s nonsense.

    If this goes anywhere, and this guy gets brought before cameras and has to “apologize” (fake press release apology) for what he wrote, NOTHING will be accomplished.

    Oh, sorry, this will be accomplished: other people will look on the incident and learn that the best way to go about things is to hide your thoughts from others, lest you put your career in danger. Bravo.

  23. Chris says

    I’ve got to say, I really don’t see the Storm bit as being at all racist, unless you really want it to be. As a writer I see it as a way to use the slightly weak women of color being green and red gag, not as surprise that an African woman has been voted so high up the list.

  24. says

    I see the comments sections of this and other articles on the same subject playing along similar lines for the most part…

    15-20 Men: “We’re mad that this guy’s getting in trouble for being an asshole because we want to get away with being assholes!”

    1-2 Women (if any): “We like being treated as humans in all settings. We have a right to be upset.”

    15-20 Men: “Lighten up, Sweet Tits!”

    Nothing pisses anyone off more than not validating their feelings/opinions on a personal matter such as this. That’s harder for white men to understand as we are considered the default setting for all Western Society. I think it has as much to do with that as it does with Gunn’s crude humor.

    I don’t particularly have strong feelings either way because anyone who’s fun can be offensive sometime (Louis C.K. anyone?) but the direction he took with his crudeness is a good reason for certain people to be upset. I do, however, know that I don’t care because in his article I, as a white male that wasn’t voted a sexy super hero, am in charge in that scenario. He’s joking with US at the expense of THEM. From what I’ve read it’s juvenile as hell and doesn’t make a point other than “look at all those things who exist to make me feel better either sexually or by mocking them!”

    I’m not particularly riled up about this issue but I can definitely see why others would be. I suppose sometimes it takes knowing personally someone from the affected party…not just being a co-worker or whatever but taking time to know them as a human instead of an “other”.

    Just sayin…

  25. says


    Storm is once again our highest ranking woman-of-color and considering most of our other women-of-color on this list are green or blue or pink, that’s quite a feat.

    I don’t know how much you’ve talked to black women about their life experiences, but a recurring theme is that black women are generally not considered attractive in our society, and the ones that are are light-skinned, often biracial, and having more typically European features (slim nose, etc).

    The idea that Storm was found more attractive than green/blue/pink women being “quite a feat” is absolutely insulting to black women. (And Storm, by the way, is not divorced from the light-skinned, Euro-featured societal preference due mainly to the fact that many artists draw her that way, and she was played by Halle Berry).

    Now, this is one I don’t think Gunn even put much thought into. It was just the most remarkable thing he could think to say about a woman who can control the weather and was queen of a whole country.

  26. Synsidar says

    “Superhero porn” Isn’t that redundant?

    No. The people who write superhero comics would say they’re doing work, but if all they’re doing is providing stages for the visual equivalent of blow-up rubber dolls, then whatever work they think they’re doing is being ignored, except by people who choose to comment on the writing. People can honestly differ on what constitutes good writing, and good stories, but much of what Marvel and DC publishes isn’t good writing. You will hear people talk endlessly about how wonderful the characters are, modern mythology, etc., but none of that reasoning or rationalization matters to people who use the artwork, the images of the heroines, as fantasy tools.

    Comparisons to soap operas are routinely made, but the characters in the comics can hardly compare as fantasy objects to the actors and actresses in the soaps.

    It was pointed out that the comparison of Superfolks to Moore’s work was misplaced, if not entirely irrelevant, because the intentions differed, along with the details. If the people who write routine superhero stories don’t recognize the differences between what they produce and creative writing/development, where are better stories going to come from?

    Fantasy writing isn’t bad writing. Comics as a medium is growing, but perhaps the only way to attract more readers to superhero comics is to stop emphasizing the imaginary virtues of the characters and to produce salable stories.


  27. says

    “We cannot (should not) censor people’s ignorance.” I should get a tattoo of this. All ignorance should be put in the light, so we know who we’re sitting next to, who we’re dealing with, who we assume have our best interests in mind.

  28. says

    RegularSyzedMike, I don’t speak for other comments made on other sites, but if this is what feminists are crusading against, you are wasting your time.

    Why is it is that that something like this James Gunn list is The Worst Thing Ever(TM)? No, not me asking as a guy. I’m asking as a person. We’re taking human resources and sexual harassment outside of the workplace!

    Maybe we should go back into the archives of comedians, humorists, writers, etc. and have their work scrutinized for any slight against any group, then propose that their current projects be sidelined so that a more suitable replacement should be chosen.

  29. says

    “This from the director of tromeo & juliet? No?”

    TROMEO’s a good gory spoof of the famous play, imo, and might allay some people’s fears that Gunn couldn’t do good humor, albeit of the dirty brand. TERROR FIRMER isn’t quite as on-target but it’s a good deal better than SCOOBY DOO 2.

  30. says

    “There’s an ocean of porn you could drown in if you want to go down that way, including pay sites that have comics heroines being raped by tentacles, aliens, and other things, with new artwork up regularly. If you consume superhero porn, be proud about it! Let the world know! Women advocating for intelligent fantasies doesn’t hurt you, does it?


    Is joke, yes?

  31. says

    @Vich: Did anyone say this is the worst thing ever? I may have missed that in all the “hey caring about people’s feelings is dumb” posts.

    And the “there are many worse things out there to be upset about” defense is the very minimization/invalidation problem I was talking about. It’s like saying “Michael Richards wasn’t nearly as bad as Hitler so we shouldn’t criticize him for his comments”…which means it’s silly.

    Also, I’m not even talking about this guy losing his job. He probably won’t or if he does he will go on to another job and nothing will change for him. I’m more concerned about all the male chest-thumping and efforts to shut down people’s opinions and feelings that might require some men to even CONSIDER treating women like humans in their entertainment.

    “You’re overreacting” is a great way to discount someone as not being rational…which I think is a thing that women don’t like to have done to them…or really anyone who has any self respect. It’s also a common thing that’s done to women who are vocal about their dissatisfaction.

    Also, I’m not white-knighting here. I’ve had plenty of massive arguments with feminists and the like when they’re expecting ridiculous things from men and/or the world. I just happen to agree this time.

  32. says

    @VucgysSnuth… This one is probably better for a tattoo:
    “If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you’ll never learn.”
    ~Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

  33. says

    IMO the script for IRON MAN 2 didn’t do badly by the Black Widow. It called for her to be a competent supporting character and she was.

    In comics it’s easy to put across crossovers with characters of disparate levels of power. I can understand why a film might’ve found it difficult to do a literal one-on-one “teamup” of Iron Man and Black Widow. When I viewed AVENGERS with a friend, he kept annoyingly insisting that the film didn’t need Black Widow OR Hawkeye.

  34. says

    SRS said:

    “Fantasy writing isn’t bad writing. Comics as a medium is growing, but perhaps the only way to attract more readers to superhero comics is to stop emphasizing the imaginary virtues of the characters and to produce salable stories.”

    Given your comment about blow-up dolls I’m trying to figure out what you mean by “imaginary virtues.”

    In your book is there such a thing as good pulp writing, which is about nothing more than evoking sensations?

  35. Tem says

    Oh my god are you kidding me? they are going to remove him from the film for making fun of superheroes? Nooooo. These 4,000 people sure are some headstrong twats with no sense of humor. If they were to listen to some of the edgier and vulgar comedians out there, they’d all probably suffer a heart attack. People its comedy. You may not find it funny. But there are people out there that do. And they even sellout shows in clubs by doing it for a living.

    Live it a little

  36. says

    Synsidar: JOKE!

    RegularSyzedMike: I think it’s irrational to say “This guy said sexually perverse things about women, therefore FIRE HIM” Saying “I have a problem with what this guy says” is fine with me. Why does this have to go with stripping him of whatever he’s working on? I think it’s flipping tables over nothing. This is an easy “issue” to ring the alarm about. Virtually set the pig on fire, and see if he dances.

    The Michael Richards issue was foolishness as well. Michael Richards should’ve been confronted and spoken to in the club he made the comment in, both parties should hashed it out with one another before they left the club. End of story. No, instead, it’s time to parade around the monster, to make an example of him. No one’s learning lessons from this “bullying the bully. ”

    BTW, what does anyone’s feelings have to do with James Gunn’s livelihood? The development of the next marvel film is not associated with this list. The way James Gunn writes on a website does not guarantee that Guardians of the Galaxy is going to be a misogynist’s paradise.

    Here’s what I want to see: TALK TO JAMES GUNN. You mean there is no man nor woman who can get his email address or number and have an interview with him, get into his head? Geez, for liberals (I suppose these anti-Gunn people are liberals) they’re quick to drop bombs on a dude.

    Christopher Moonlight: Thanks for getting my name wrong. I guess that was on purpose? Maybe not.

    Gene Phillips: I know it didn’t fit into the schedule, but I would’ve preferred a Black Widow movie than her being crammed into Iron Man for sake of introduction.

  37. says

    Alexa: You really, really, took Gunn’s comment of Storm into outer space, didn’t you? It could have very well meant the most racist thing you could think of, but I’m betting against it.

  38. Synsidar says

    In your book is there such a thing as good pulp writing, which is about nothing more than evoking sensations?

    There is a market for it, along with formula fiction and anonymous factory fiction.

    People who read prose have to process it before they react. With images, it’s “see and react,” even if the reaction is involuntary. The fascination people have with characters wouldn’t exist with superhero prose stories–the routine sexualization of the heroines would be harder to do–because the writer has to work to produce the story, unless he’s relying entirely on formulas and archetypes.

    What makes the characters in the superhero comics stories believable as people besides the artwork? Nothing. The readership is limited mostly to people who want to believe the characters are people, which is exactly what the publishers want. A strong negative reaction to the handling of characters is better to them than no reaction, because the negative reaction means the reader cares about what happens to them.

    As long as the focus is on characters, there’s no point in arguing for diversity, because the argument assumes that readers want complete stories. When the characters are merely fantasy objects, arguing for diversity is akin to arguing for diversity in porn. The readers control the market, and they don’t give a damn about diversity or about aesthetics generally.

    BTW, one damning thing in Gunn’s list is his comment on Ms. Marvel: It’s a surprise to me as she is, along with Emma Frost and the Black Cat, one of the most consistently sexualized characters in the Marvel Universe. He’s aware of how the heroines are treated, but he doesn’t think that’s a problem.


  39. Johnny Memeonic says

    Gunn’s style of humor is to be unrestrained and (to him) edgy, along with a mix of satire and parody. His recent writing for Lollipop Chainsaw also involved blunt humor and cheesecake for the purpose of lampshading female portrayal in videogames.

    This net outrage today is kind of embarrassing in that so many people can’t recognize an obvious satire piece and, frankly, displays some extreme paranoia.

  40. Xenos says

    Anyone who goes into a list created by James Gunn called “Superheroes You’d Like To Fuck” and expects not to be offended… is a fucking idiot. The list was written as a vulgar crass look at the very base urges of comic nerds. What the hell did you expect? A civil discussion approved by the Anti-Defamation League ready to be broadcast on CBS after Big Bang Theory. (Oh, speaking of which, I would not bang Penny or Amy but I would be all over Bernadette. Now. Quick! Arrest me for saying that!)

    Really. This is the glorious bastard that made Slither and Super. I was at a Q&A after a showing and asked if he worried about losing some of the audience with how abrasive some characters were. His reply was “Fuck em! There’s the exit!” and they could leave anytime they cannot stomach it.

    Gunn marvels at making unflinching films that look at the id of humanity. Why would his web posts be different?

    And really.. I find them kinda tame. My personally gripes would be the digs at Spoiler Steph Brown and Nightwing Dick Grayson. And the whole Batwoman thign too was pretty dumb. Yet I am not calling for the guy;s head because.. OH MY.. I got offended by something he said. Funny. I am pretty sure there’s no constitutional right to not be offended. Though the way many people react these days, on both sides of the aisle, it’s damn hard to tell.

    At least we know so called liberals can be just as stck up overly sensative pricks just liked conservatards.

    Oh.. is saing conservatard offensive too? Shoyld I ve tied to the stocks in the denter of town? Am I a witch in the eyes of the politically correct constables? Do you need to tie a stone to me and toss me in a lake to see if I am a bigot?

  41. says

    Christopher Moonlight: I’m actually going to add the quote to my facebook.

    Well, it’s all over now. James Gunn was compelled to apologize. I think the apology was just personal enough in my eyes not to be a lame PR piece of garbage, but no one “won” this day.

    To force ANYONE in front of a camera or to get them to sign their name to an apology letter is not teaching anyone anything. Sorry, it is. It’s teaching public figures to walk on eggshells, to insulate America from words, because the more language we censor, the greater this country becomes. Forget having a dialogue, forget using all of the technology we have on our hands to better understand one another. What we should do is push the red button whenever anyone gets out of hand. Flatten the troublemakers, even if they exhibit the tiniest bit of reasonable or rational thought.

  42. says

    SRS said:

    “There is a market for it, along with formula fiction and anonymous factory fiction.

    People who read prose have to process it before they react. With images, it’s “see and react,” even if the reaction is involuntary. The fascination people have with characters wouldn’t exist with superhero prose stories–the routine sexualization of the heroines would be harder to do–because the writer has to work to produce the story, unless he’s relying entirely on formulas and archetypes.”

    That would be a “no” to my question, then, in that you apparently do not recognize “good pulp” as a good in itself– which is of course your privilege.

    I don’t see any reason why “routine sexualization” might not be just as predominant in superhero prose as in superhero comics. It would depend on the audience targeted. If superhero prose were marketed according to the dominantly aseptic model of early science-fiction prose, then yes, that type of superhero prose might avoid routine sexualization. But there’s a lot of pulpy prose out there, and given all the REAL superhero porn floating around on the Internets, it’s possible someone could’ve come out with, say, superheroes done after the fashion of the “weird terror” pulps. They were, fyi, pretty heavily sexualized though not pornography as such.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if there haven’t been arguments for diversity in porn, but I couldn’t say. I’m– ahem– not an expert.

  43. says

    The thread’s winding down but I’ll just add in brief that I’m also in disagreement with Alexa’s comments that Gunn’s disparaging humor must be seen as necessarily implicated in the “War on Women.”

    “The War Between Men and Women” is older than that other war and stems from different sources, none of which are pecuniary.

  44. Synsidar says

    I don’t see any reason why “routine sexualization” might not be just as predominant in superhero prose as in superhero comics.

    People commission and collect drawings of superheroines. How many people have ever commissioned text stories of any length about one?

    Graphic child pornography gets a person in trouble immediately, while even ambiguous images raise suspicions. Pornographic text, conversely, is prosecuted very rarely.

    It’s hard to imagine someone having the same reaction to a text description of a heroine that he would to a picture of her, especially after repeated exposures.

    There’s little effort made to write superheroes as people in stories for children, because the children don’t need the realistic details. They’re satisfied with the heroes as symbols. But present adults with the same visual images, but without the details–many will dismiss the stories as junk. The solution publishers came up with was to make the images of the heroines sexually stimulating.


  45. says

    “People commission and collect drawings of superheroines. How many people have ever commissioned text stories of any length about one?”

    I can’t offer you any stats, but I have heard that prose commissions have been purchased with respect to people writing sex-stories about superheroes and various other pop-icons. Perhaps it could be demonstrated that that more comic-art commissions are turned out each year than prose commissions. But even if such a generalization was confirmed over the space of (say) ten years, but that in itself would not prove that prose intrinsically is less useful in terms for purposes of raunchy stimulation. It would only prove that there existed more customers for one thing than the other.

    “Graphic child pornography gets a person in trouble immediately, while even ambiguous images raise suspicions. Pornographic text, conversely, is prosecuted very rarely.”

    This proves only that legal authorities feel more comfortable in prosecuting images rather than words. This suggests that the law places an implicit faith that the image, more than the word, can inspire the fabled “monkey see monkey do” reflex. But that’s all it proves.

    “It’s hard to imagine someone having the same reaction to a text description of a heroine that he would to a picture of her, especially after repeated exposures.”

    There are a lot of sites online focused on sexy pictures. Also a lot of them focused on sexy prose stories. Are there more of the former or the latter? I would say the latter, but YMMV.

    “There’s little effort made to write superheroes as people in stories for children, because the children don’t need the realistic details. ”

    Anything I could say to refute this opinion has already been better said by CS Lewis in refuting the notion of the inherent juvenility of fairy stories.

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