Let me preface this rant by saying that I grew up almost strictly with Marvel comics. I mean, yeah, I watched Batman: the Animated Series and the 60’s Batman and Green Lantern shows, but when it came to favourite comic book superheroes, Marvel had it in the bag. I grew up in love with Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and the X-Men. Thor and Namor jump-started my love for mythology. (And you all know how much I love that stuff.) Even Captain America had a special place in my heart (all the while I lamented the fact that there weren’t any awesome Canadian superheroes, like the Avengers until I learned that Wolverine is Canadian and Sabertooth is from my home town.) I love Marvel. I still do. I can’t get over how absolutely AMAZING the reboot has been this time around, everything from Deadpool to Morbius the Living Vampire has been stunning. (And Hawkeye is brilliant, just sayin’.) I mean, my fanaticism goes as far as me having a Deadpool spec half written, and the outlines for a Cable film and a Bishop film (both which will probably never be made by Marvel studios because Cable and Bishop aren’t really popular, although now I kinda wanna pen a Morbius script… Hmm…) waiting for me to find the time to pen them. I WANT to write for Marvel. I always have. My VERY FIRST spec script was a Fantastic Four script I started writing when I was 15(?)ish. I was halfway through and then the movie was announced. I deleted the script in a rage and spent a few days moping around. (Then the movie came out and I was REALLY disappointed.)
So imagine my geeky glee when I heard about Marvel putting out a series of YA novels with a romantic element, starring prominent female superheroes.
I still want to write one of these books for Marvel. I really do. I wanna write something about maybe Black Cat, or Silver Sable, someone who doesn’t get as much love as She-Hulk and Rogue.(I often joke about writing a story about a Trans-Lady Loki who is very confused about why she daydreams about Captain America or something equally ridiculous.) This has the BEST crossover marketing potential I have EVER seen. This is a brilliant concept and I think that, done well, it could open up a whole new avenue for Marvel and could get us (geek girls and the general population) away from the overly sexualized female superheroes that flood the market. (And to be honest, “sexy Harley Quinn” cosplayers and art make me wanna puke because REALLY? Harley isn’t inherently sexy. Stop using cosplay as an excuse to dress slutty. I will talk about the reasons behind the scantily clad ladies of the super hero world another day, but just stop.)
Unfortunately, I picked up The SHE-HULK DIARIES.
That was likely my first mistake. I hate this book. I couldn’t finish it. I’m thankful that I didn’t actually spend money on this book.
Okay, Marvel, I love you and I’m perfectly happy to let you do whatever you want, market whatever you want. Hell, I supported you through the Civil War and through that INSANE Spider-Man twist at the end of 699/700, but we need to talk.
SHE HULK DIARIES was a terrible piece of drivel.
First off, you made She-Hulk into a party animal. Who got kicked out of the Avengers mansion and was ruining her alter ego’s life. Then you made it a HUGE plot point for her to do a bunch of “self-help” garbage that focused mostly on getting a better job and a boyfriend because she was desperately lonely. And then there was some crime-fighting by night or something.
I couldn’t finish it. The writing was terrible, like the bowels of fanfiction.net terrible. There was slang and I get it, you were trying to make these girls sound like hip twenty-somethings but professionals don’t talk like that. Most twenty-somethings don’t talk like that. It was also poorly structured in a way that might have been attempting to be unique but came off as sloppy. I feel like the whole thing was meant to be like BRIDGET JONES’ DIARY but came off as an unstable mess, probably due to all that Gamma radiation.
Like I said, I couldn’t finish it.
Here’s my big problem, Marvel. What you’ve done is taken two inherently STRONG, normally WELL WRITTEN female characters and reduced them to sniveling Bella Swan type tropes. Desperate for acceptance. Desperate to find a boyfriend who will love and support them. Desperate to have a “normal” life despite being world-renowned superheroes.
I love the duality of superheroes. I love the concept that yes, they are people. Yes, they need to find love and acceptance and they need to learn to balance the insanity of being a superhero with the comfort of a normal life. That’s WHY we want to read Hulk, and Spider-Man, and all the rest. You should be able to write about a FEMALE SUPERHERO dealing with all of the same problems as their MALE COUNTERPARTS without the need to reduce the ladies into whiny tropes with no backbone.
I will not be spending money on these novels. I don’t recommend them to girls who want to get into comics. Until there is a novel that yes has romance but doesn’t make the girls I grew up idolizing into whiny, annoying weaklings, I don’t think that this is going to attract anyone into the comics fold.
Nice try, Marvel. I’m gonna stick with my muscley dudes in tight-fitting spandex and leather.