Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Note to online comic reviewers: Dan Slott reads his reviews. And if you rip him a new one -- like Comic Slop did with his last She-Hulk issue -- don't be suprised if the dude responds.

Comic Slop:
"Slott immediately turns the character in a strumpet--she has two one-night stands in four issues and attempts another with Wolverine, who tells her--and Marvel's intended nine-year-old audience--he doesn't want 'Juggernaut's sloppy seconds.'"

"No. Nine-year-olds are not the intended audience for SHE-HULK. I have actually made a point of that at comic signings, letting parents know that this is a book their wee-ones should NOT be picking up."

And Slott:
"Starting with #15, the character has been promiscuous-- maybe even recklessly so. She's had two flings and tried to initiate a third. If you want to call a person-- who's come off a longstanding-but-failed relationship and then played around with 2 lovers-- a "strumpet", that's your call. I don't think this would even be an issue if the protagonist of this comic were a man."


I like "Squirrel Girl," personally.

(with thanks to David The G.)


  1. While I think it's nice to have a Comic Creator who's willing to go online and respond to criticism (I really don't buy the "majority of fans aren't on the internet nor are they representative of fans as a whole" thing), Dan Slott seems to not take criticism of his work well, be it constructive or not. A friend of mine was actually targeted heavily by Slott because he criticized Slott's new series on the basis that Slott turned She-Hulk and Jennifer Walters into two seperate personalities when in previous incarnations they were the same person and that she'd never accept a deal in a law firm where she was forced to be her weaker form. Slott openly attacked him on a few sites he visited and also did research on him, discovering that he also did erotic fanfiction (pretty intense stuff, including heavy rape). Slott made the implication that my friend was a rapist because of his work.

    Admittedly, I heard all this through the friend so I don't know how much truth there is to a lot of the arguments, but I trust him enough to believe his story.

  2. I guess the lesson here is, don't mess with Dan Slott on the internet. Yikes.

  3. I guess the lesson here is don't mess with Dan Slott on the internet.

    I think the lesson here is that there is *sometimes* foresight that goes into putting these books together - and to look before you leap to conclusions.

    As he mentions in his response:

    She-Hulk, herself, is aware that this is probably a problem and has noted that this kind of behavior is something she would NEVER do as Jen Walters. It's part of a character arc and will be adressed in the next issue.

    Dan was also, as the blogger mentioned on their Twitter message, very polite in his response. He correctly points out the book's rating and gives some insight into where this is all going.

    I thought it was a well-written response to blogger's concern. The point is that Dan is creating a dialogue - and talking about these issues, as opposed to ignoring them completely.

  4. dan slott is hot. <*g>

    hehehe, he is right too.

  5. Val,
    You know I regularly read-- and enjoy-- your blog. And you KNOW me, having worked with me at DC and Acclaim for years. Does this sound like me at all?

    Just to nip this Lewis Lovhaug post in the bud-- before it turns into some crazy internet rumor--
    here's my side:

    This guy's friend (let’s call him “Michael”) was part of a She-Hulk Yahoo group that started up a letter writing campaign to get my SHE-HULK comic canceled back in 2003. BEFORE it was even released! Members of the group had read online interviews I'd made talking about my plans for the upcoming book, and had decided ahead of time that they were going to hate it. I joined the group, introduced myself, and told all the members that I would answer any questions they had about the book and put their minds at ease.

    I did my best to respond to as many of their posts as I could. And this ONE guy was just non-stop rude. In Michael’s earliest posts he compared me from everything to a Borg drone-- to a zealous Jehovah’s witness—to a Nazi! And all because of my take on the fictional character of She-Hulk.

    When the book came out, Michael dogged me around the web. On any message board where I'd try to talk up SHE-HULK and respond to people’s questions, this guy would show up and slam the book. His main charge was that I was “sexist”.

    Part of the set up of the new book was that a law firm wanted to hire her as Jen Walters and NOT She-Hulk. Back in SAVAGE SHE-HULK #1, Stan Lee coined a defining phrase for the character (along the lines of Spider-Man’s “With great power there must also come great responsibility.”). It went, “From now on, whatever Jennifer Walters can’t handle, the She-Hulk will do.” By the end of the SAVAGE SHE-HULK run, Jen thought she was so ineffectual AS Jen that she decided to stay She-Hulk forever. As a fan, I always found that disempowering. As the writer, I wanted to put the character on a path where she could discover that she had an inner-beauty and an inner-strength as Jen that was just as (if not more) important than She-Hulk’s obvious outer-beauty and outer-strength.

    Michael would make the argument that as She-Hulk, Jen WAS strong and powerful—and by asking her to come into the office in her human form, the senior partner of her law firm (a man) was subjugating her. Post after post—message board after message board—I would state that from my point of view Jen’s boss was empowering her—valuing every thing she EARNED and ACHIEVED as Jen Walters, as opposed to everything she LUCKED INTO when she became She-Hulk. In all of these posts where I responded to these charges I was polite and very tolerant of his constant accusations that I was a horrible “sexist pig”. There was even one post where Michael mentioned his dear, sweet mother and everything she accomplished in this male dominant world. And then it happened…

    A fan private messaged me and said, “Why are you even arguing with this guy? Don’t you know who he is?” And then that fan forwarded me links to some of Michael’s fan fics. They were all, as Michael’s friend Lewis Lovhaug put it “really intense stuff”. And all of them were rape fantasies. And the kicker? A lot of them were rape fantasies about She-Hulk. Some of them were a series of incestuous rape stories where She-Hulk was raped by her cousin, the Hulk. THIS was the guy who was running around labeling ME as a “sexist”?

    Well… This is where I did something stupid. Armed with this new ammunition, I called Michael on this in public and posted the links. Did I call his fan fiction sick? Yes. But I have NEVER called Michael a rapist. This is where Lewis Lovhaug is mistaken.

    I would like to say that my “outing” of Michael was a one-time thing. But it wasn’t. For a while, whenever Michael would show up to troll me, I’d pull out the many links to his rape-fantasy fan fics and point out his hypocrisy. In retrospect, If I could go back and change ANY dealing I’ve ever had with any fan, it’d be my dealings with Michael. Publicly shaming him was not the right thing to do on any level. It was a bad, bad, bad decision. It wasn’t nice. And, boy, did it torque Michael off.

    For a while the guy went on boards and was outright abusive. More often then not, mods from the boards would warn him about his language and/or behavior, and when he wouldn’t let up, he’d wind up getting banned. And then he’d go to other boards and whine about a great conspiracy I was masterminding to get him kicked off the web. He even wrote messages to other creators ranting about me—Gail Simone for example—who turned around and told him to knock it off. Last I heard, he’s kept his rantings and obscenities about me to a version of that old She-Hulk Yahoo Group. And I say, “whatever.” The internet is a great forum for everyone to have their opinion about whatever they want.

    My problem is when people present those opinions under false circumstances. Presenting facts that can easily be disputed:
    Like COMIC SLOP’s contention that SHE-HULK’S intended audience is nine-year-olds when we’ve clearly had “T+ “(teens and up) and “A” (adults only) ratings on the book for the past year and a half).
    Or when someone falsely posts that our sales are down when they’re going up—and all the info is available on sites like
    Or, say, a certain CBR poster who—over a year ago categorically stated he was never reading my work again—and then showed up to slam each-and-every one of my title on the day they’d come out—as if he had read them—when he clearly hadn’t.
    C’mon that’s fair, right?

    I’m really happy to say that “online” run-ins with posters like Michael and that CBR poster are pretty few and far in between. The problem is, a lot of times, when you defend yourself against these kinds of posts—you validate them AND you come off as a “bully.” I mean, here you are, someone who’s lucky enough to be working in the industry, and you’re picking on a “fan”. And, believe it or not, I’m starting to get that. It’s just so weird to me—because in my heart, I’m a fan too. And I want to mouth off like a fan—stand up to trolls—point out when people are saying things that just-aren’t-true. Being on a niche book like SHE-HULK, I kinda had a LITTLE bit of freedom to do that.

    But as more of my work gets out there, and more people get to know my name, I gotta be careful about that. It’s taking me a while, but it’s starting to sink in. I just don’t want that to get in the way of being able to chat with people on line. Or blabbing about things over at my Jinxworld board. I care about this industry, these characters, AND the fans. And as the higher profile gigs start coming, I guess what I have to realize is that “fans” includes ALL fans—not just the good ones (of whom there are many, many, many, oh so many!)—but also the trolls and the worst of the worst too. No matter what, the trolls are still people that are supporting the industry. And HOWEVER they express themselves, comport themselves, or try to outright **** with you, they’re entitled to their opinions too. I get it. I guess from here out, part of my job IS to be that guard at Buckingham Palace. To sit and take it no matter what gets slung my way. And to be damn happy about it too—because this IS one heck of a job!

    Look, I know my dealings with this specific poster, “Michael”, don’t paint me in a positive light. But I’d ask people to examine my dealings with the ENTIRE internet—from my Ren & Stimpy days answering people’s questions on CompuServe, to the dealings I had with Batman Adventures fans on ToonZone, to the private messages I’ve taken the time to answer on CBR and Newsarama. To the guys I’ve chatted with on SuperHeroHype. To all the Easter Eggs and behind-the-scenes bits I’ve shared with posters over at JinxWorld. To anyone who’s ever heard me tell a story at a signing, panel, or con. Seriously, have I ever refused someone a sketch (even though I’m not an artist!)? Or to sign someone’s books—even when they’ve brought the world’s largest stack? Or even when I’m walking the floor and not at a booth? I am SO into what it means to be fan—that if you treat me with something even CLOSE to the common courtesy you’d treat ANY human being—I’m gonna do right by you!

    Whew! Well, that said, I REALLY have to get back to work. There is a TON of stuff to get in by tomorrow! Just wanted to speak my piece.

    Val? Anything to add?

  6. Well, I'll just say I'm happy to have your side of it. ^^ I agree that your reactions, Dan, were a bit over the top and some of your interpretations of his activities may be wrong and some were right. I wasn't present at any encounters so I have only the words of both of you and I'll view things as I will.

    Again, I'm very happy you have an online presence despite your busy schedule. The connection between fan and creator, IMHO, is strengthened by the internet and having creators willing to respond to these things is great. I am sorry to admit I'm not a regular reader of She-Hulk (I'm a DC guy), but I've seen some scans and you certainly have a good sense of humor in the comic which I think is missing in plenty of mainstream comics.

    Anyway, thanks again for contributing your two cents. ^^

  7. Oh! And one thing I forgot to ask about - You mentioned that it's not for 9 year-olds, but isn't "T," as defined on Marvel's website, for nine year-olds and up? I know most everywhere else it means teens and up, but that's also where some of the controversy for the Heroes for Hire cover comes from - the fact that the rating for it is "T," which, again, is defined as for nine years old and up.

  8. Is any in-continuity superhero book appropriate for nine-year-olds anymore? And even if it is appropriate, is it really gonna grab their interest if it's not about one of the big ones. In the end, the obscurity of the She-Hulk character will probably keep children from reading about "sloppy seconds" in the first place.

    Lewis apparently is right about the meaning of T+, but I will blame that on Marvel... I mean, what the hell does "T" stand for if not for "Teen"?

    Props to Mr. Slott for telling his side and for fessing up as to when he believes he erred. I agree that you did make a series of mistakes, but it also sounds like the kind of mistakes that a lot of us would make, in that position.

  9. After reading the original post, I was going to make a point about "promiscuity" in comics, but whatever point I make now will seem pretty small compared to a response from Dan Slott (!). I have to say, I did not expect to come across him (or any comics creators) in my wanderings through the 'net today; wow.

  10. wow... just wow.

    i do believe i've just seen a comics creator who would react in EXACTLY THE SAME WAY AS ME were i ever to get a gig in comics.

    to launch into one in the style of a fan on the internet... its just so second nature to us! And yep, we all make mistakes with our dealings in this manner. If this is your style, its only natural to equally leap in with both feet when it comes to defending your work.

    Dan, That post was just brilliant, but even if you penned the next watchmen, there will always be an endless number trolls who feel they have an extended right to your characters to defend yourself against. You may find you're spending more time writing in blogs than on comics!

    I guess i'm trying to say that you may find growing the hide of a rhino useful, but heck, i've never managed to pull that trick off, so who am i to offer advice!? (I also suspect i am telling you nothing you didn't already know! Still, MUCH kudos to you for clearly caring a great deal!)

  11. Marvel SERIOUSLY has an age rating called T+A?


  12. *Snickers* Actually, basing it on this here:

    I don't see a T+A rating, but it'd be hilarious if they did. ^_~

  13. Hey,

    As Dan mentioned, I've worked with him at both Acclaim & DC. I was the defacto editor for his "Arkham Asylum: Living Hell," and at no point did Mr. Slott ever set my "misogynmeter" off either by the content of his writing or his personal conduct.

    The guy is a peach.

    He's also very passionate about his writing. And I always thought it was neat that he interacted as much as he did with the fans. Even with all the success and fame he's received over the last several years, he's never let himself be sequestered up in the ivory tower.

    I think what the story of "Michael" illustrates is the pitfalls of being that involved, of getting dragged into the flames, of having it bother you long after the computer is shut off. And I can say that because I know what that feels like.

    But still, I would never want Dan to change. We don't need him in the ivory tower. We need him here in the rabble. Even when he gets to be an even more high-falutin' popular mega-writer than he is now.



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  15. i stand by my earlier comment. dan slott is totally hot. the end.

  16. I seem to be alone in this, but I loved the fact that She Hulk had a sex life. I'm female, and when I was single, I had one night stands, some really stupid, some kinda fun. My friends have had one night stands. She Hulk's enjoyment of her power - and the perks that came with it, felt very real to me, in a way most superheroines aren't. That feeling - that Jen is someone you could have girls' night out with - is part of why I like Slott's take and the book is one of the few Marvel titles (alongside Runaways; Astonishing and Cable & Deadpool) stays on my pull list. I haven't loved everything, but I've loved enough to keep me coming back. Given how sexualised most superheroines are, it's pretty appalling if the shocking thing is a superheroine character gets pleasure out of her sexuality,rather than it just being presented as something others enjoy about her. Sorry, that wasn't nearly as clear as it could have been - but Dan, if you're still reading, please don' make her apologise for having fun! (Sleeping with Juggernaught was dreadful by the way - she has taste! - but Wolverine's comment was out of line enough to be out of character I think).

  17. Ya, I agree with Sojourner, I think being a superhero would be like being a rock star all the time, saving peoples lives, beating people up, risking your life, all increadible adrenaline rushes. Especially if your superpower takes a physical perfection kind of form, I would assume people would be hooking up all over the place.

    Plus, the her reactions and emotional responces to the men in her life are all very realistic as well, not afterthoughts.