Friday, February 06, 2009

Ladies in capes


For some reason, that title makes me giggle. Sorry. I'm not even exactly sure why.

I was reading Why the Comic-Book Movie Industry Needs a Female Superhero by Thera Pitts and What Women Want by Jennifer de Guzman, both of which I agree with, and am happy to pass along.

I will point out that the problem isn't all because of an industry bias against women or women in action. The reasons there are problems with action women are complicated, probably more complicated than I fully comprehend and certainly more complicated than I feel like getting into here.

The problem is lack of audience understanding.

Superman, Batman and Spider-Man have been relatively easy to sell studios on the promise of. Even the comic dorky among us know that these are characters that the non-comic dorky out there know the concept of. Even people who couldn't tell you why they do.

It's an easy sale.

They've tried with various levels of success, mostly not much, to pull off other superheroes.

The reasons that they've struggled with pulling together a movie of The Hulk that very many people are happy with are complicated, partly by wildly divergent hopes and expectations. If not, that would be another easy sell.

Iron Man was the first big success of a concept that not many people knew or understood on a basic level, outside of geekdom. I think that success could, if capitalized on properly - which is indeed unlikely - lead to a number of characters whose concepts aren't automatic selling points.

I know, someone is starting to say, well, Wonder Woman's concept is...

Yeah. Say it.

Then tell me Wonder Woman's concept, smart ass!

Or better yet, get your Aunt Betty to tell it.

Alright then. Let's end that.

Wonder Woman's costume is totally more famous than Iron Man's. Her concept is somewhere in that same neighborhood.

Especially if we try to wade into the convoluted mess of reboots over the years, attempting to bring her up-to-date.

Which is about where we are with most of the older superhero women with a sellable name as a solo character. They were created at a time when women were written badly and the creators who have tried to fix that over the years have made them worse as often as they've made them better.

Now, some studio that doesn't give a rat's ass about this character hires a screenwriter who probably doesn't care any more than the studio and they're stuck going through the long mess of continuity. It's no wonder they end up starting from scratch and creating nightmare scenarios like Catwoman (Oh, let me just say that a movie of Selina's Big Score would take almost no work in adaption and would be so, so sweet!).

So, while I completely agree. In fact, I couldn't possibly agree more.

Female empowerment and chicks in tight skimpy costumes. I am there!

But I admit, it makes me nervous. There's a hornet's nest there.

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