Even though he’s one of the main influences behind the modern comic book film as we know it, David S. Goyer consistently seems less and less enamored with shepherding DC in configuring their vast universe of characters for the big screen. As his “Man of Steel” sequel, “Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice” tried to dominate the news yesterday with its title announcement, the focus turned instead to a more critical direction—Goyer’s misjudged comments regarding two DC superheroes, in particular, She-Hulk and Martian Manhunter.
During a guest appearance (via Nerdist) on the screenwriting podcast Scriptnotes for their “Summer Superhero Spectacular,” Goyer joined host Craig Mazin, Andrea Berloff (“King Conan”), Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”) in discussing the upcoming slate of comic book films hitting theatres.
His most puzzling moment came when Markus in conversation noted that She-Hulk “has the worst, most demeaning character name possible,” and Mazin responded by throwing out “Slut-Hulk” to refer to the character, chalking up her existence “just to appeal sexistly [sic] to ten-year-old boys”. That’s when Goyer jumped in with his perspective on the matter.
“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,” he said, “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.”
He continued, “I think She-Hulk is the chick that you could fuck if you were Hulk… 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.”
Numerous voices, including Devin Faraci at Badass Digest and Alan Kistler at The Mary Sue, have noted She-Hulk’s actual origins: as a method by creators Stan Lee and John Buscema to curb unauthorized knock-off characters from the “Incredible Hulk” TV series. She’s also a great deal more empowered than the duo are presenting, not to mention the Hulk’s cousin which makes the whole hooking-up dynamic a bit nightmarish.
But adhering to source material is not a huge issue for Goyer; he followed that bit of material with his revised take on DC’s Martian Manhunter, a Justice League character that first appeared in the mid-‘50s, and whom Goyer apparently dislikes in his current comics state.
“He can’t be fucking called the Martian Manhunter because that’s goofy,” he said. “The whole deal with Martian Manhunter is he’s an alien living amongst us… 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… So instead of using super-powers 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!”
Goyer—criticized heavily for his screenplays’ overly complicated plot mechanics—seems to be at it again, as he elaborated on his version’s story that swings into government conspiracy and false identities. You can listen to the full talk over on the Scriptnotes website, but what do you think about Goyer’s comments, and to what extent do you simply chalk them up as a series of unfunny asides during a discussion on comics? Let us know below.