Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Women Don't Sell (Unless they're in bathing suits.)

At the recent Gallifrey One convention in LA, I went to this panel about transforming comics into other media. There was an interesting mix of creators there (6 men and 1 woman), and some guy who sat on the end and basically spent his introduction time telling us about upcoming comic movies we can go pay to see.

One of them was Ant-Man.

I was in the second row and had my hand up pretty much right away, to ask about the total lack of superhero women in comic movies, considering some of the awesome women flying around comics right now (Batwoman, Ms. Marvel, Wonder Woman, just to name a few). I said something about how even Wonder Woman has name recognition that they can play off of. Javier Grillo-Marxuach says she wears a bathing suit. Someone said Black Widow, who as far as we know so far is the coquettish yet deadly/sexy sidekick to Tony in the next Iron Man. My frown was probably fairly evident, and eventually Paul Cornell interrupted his way into the "heh heh Lynda Carter bathing suit puberty" tangent to actually talk about my question.

A little later on in the panel, someone asked why, with the success of the recent Wonder Woman animated film, a live-action WW movie seems so far-fetched. Marv Wolfman answered that the return wouldn't be worth the investment.

Javier Grillo-Marxuach made another joke about Wonder Woman's bathing suit.

Marv Wolfman did a "no, but seriously, not enough interest to generate return," and nobody but me yelled out "Ant-Man?"


That's right, Hank Pym. Super scientist. That shrinks. Really really small.

Oh, and he beats his wife.

But it's okay, 'cause she's dead now and he took up her superhero name.

Well, at least he didn't kill her himself. There's... that.

How many non-comic fans have heard of Ant-Man? How many people think an Incredible Shrinking Superhero movie sounds fun? How about a Dude that Dresses Like a Bug movie? Sure, Spider-Man dresses like an arachnid, but he's also Spider-Man. He's also smarter and less of a tool.


The scientist who has a break down from stress and hits his wife. But it's okay. They make up. And then swap mildly-disturbing sex escapades.

Maybe Ryan Reynolds could play him. That's about the only way I could become less interested in a movie about Hank Pym.


Listen, I'm all for obscure, semi-obscure and quasi-obscure comic characters getting their due. But, I don't know, maybe we could, like. Have one of those be a woman? Most women in comics are obscure anyway, and all the best ones (Kate Spencer, Renee Montoya, Jessica Jones-Cage) would probably make even some comic fans stop, check out google, and then get back to you.

The deal is that studios want to sell tickets. So then, there shouldn't be any obscure characters having movies made about them. But if there are going to be, let's let some non-wife-beating-self-pitying characters shine, yeah? Maybe?

Hey, maybe Kathryn Bigelow can direct. She does action movies. And women go to see them. Shocking, yet true.