Earlier this week, The Mary Sue revealed that screenwriter and producer David S. Goyer (“Man of Steel”) really stuck his foot in his mouth. As part of a panel, he appeared on the podcast Scriptnotes. At one point everyone was asked how they would adapt a random list of comic book characters for film and television. When a Hulk reboot was brought up, Goyer along with podcast host Craig Mazin said the following about The Hulk’s cousin (yes, his COUSIN) Jennifer Walters aka She-Hulk:
Craig Mazin: The real name for She-Hulk was Slut-Hulk. That was the whole point. Let’s just make this green chick with enormous boobs. And she’s Hulk strong but not Hulk massive, right? … She’s real lean, stringy…
David S. Goyer: She’s still pretty chunky. She was like Chyna from the WWE.
Mazin: The whole point of She-Hulk was just to appeal sexistly to ten-year-old boys. Worked on me.
Goyer: 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-Huk, 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.
(Transcript via The Mary Sue)
Goyer’s words (and Mazin’s as well) are depressing for a number of reasons. First of all, both men reduce She-Hulk to nothing more than a sex object. Second of all, Goyer is not just some random man with a sexist opinion. He’s a writer and a producer who has the power to choose how female DC Comics characters are depicted in film and television. A character many may be worried about after reading his thoughts about She-Hulk is Wonder Woman. In the character’s 70+ years of existence she has never appeared in a feature film. That is until 2016 when she will be portrayed by Gal Gadot (“The Fast and the Furious” film series) in “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.” Goyer received a story by credit for that film and he’s signed on to write the follow-up Justice League movie.
Now that everyone is suitably depressed, here’s some good news. A few months ago Marvel launched a new She-Hulk solo title simply titled “She-Hulk.” Written by Charles Soule and illustrated by Javier Pulido, the series follows Jennifer Walters as she tackles being both a lawyer and a superhero. It’s kind of an awesome title and here’s why.
Let’s start with the covers, which are all done by Kevin Wada. His fashion illustration-inspired watercolors capture both sides of Jennifer so well.
Then there’s Pulido’s interior art, which can speak for itself.
First there’s Jennifer, who is oh-so-awesome. Unlike her cousin Bruce, she doesn’t lose control when she hulks out and she retains her personality and intelligence. Also, whether she’s fighting crime while ten feet tall or racing to deliver legal briefs while five-foot something, her skin is always green. She knows her worth, she knows what she’s capable of and she does what’s right even when it would be easier to look the other way. And when she has fun, she has FUN. The side characters are a hoot too. Take Jennifer’s receptionist Angie Huang for example. She basically hires herself, carries her pet monkey around with her everywhere, and can be counted on to remind Jennifer that she has to make money to stay in business. There’s also friend and fellow superhero Patsy Walker aka Hellcat. She works with Jennifer as a private investigator. Patsy can also be counted on to be up for a night of bashing skulls followed by dancing and martinis. Or dancing and martinis followed by bashing skulls. Whatever order works best for the occasion. Other Marvel superheroes like Tony Stark and Daredevil also make cameo appearances.
Writer Charles Soule is a lawyer himself, and that is likely part of why he’s so good at tackling the morally grey parts of Jennifer’s work. In the very first issue she represents the wife of a deceased supervillain against Stark Industries. In Jennifer Walters’ world, sometimes the bad guys deserve justice and, even when you know the CEO, suing a large corporation is an uphill battle. This is not to say that the book is a downer, because it’s not. In addition to the memorable characters and colorful art, there’s cool technology like robot security guards and flying cars. And again, Jennifer enjoys letting loose when she’s off the clock.
So every issue of “She-Hulk” strikes a balance. Jennifer Walters is very smart and physically strong and she’s good at what she does. However, she can’t fix every problem with a snap of her fingers and she makes tough decisions. She doesn’t always win but she does always get back up and keep fighting. And she has a great time doing it.
“She-Hulk” can be purchased at your local comic shop and online.