An Open Letter To Marvel Studios

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Dear Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige,

Hi, my name is Travis and I’m a huge fan! I’ve been a fan of your comic books for decades and I can’t tell you how amazingly ecstatic I am that we are currently living in the golden age of comic book movies. I remember a time when it was exciting to see a Generation X made for tv movie on Fox. I lived through Dolph Lundgren as The Punisher and The God Damned Hoff as Nick Fury. I lived through decades of nerd suffering.

The current landscape of comicbook cinema (that you are dominating like a school yard bully) is amazing; both as a fanboy and as a movie nerd. As of this writing you have released ten, TEN, amazing films that the rest of the movie industry is desperate to copy in hopes of creating their own movie-money-machine. You made franchises out of characters that, at the time, you considered to be second stringers. You seeded the idea of a joined universe in a way that no one had ever seen before. You made five individual movies and then brought all of your franchise players together in an all-star-game-esque cinematic dick smasher. You’ve done things that the money men in Hollywood would literally murder puppies to replicate.

But there’s one thing that you missed. One thing that only you really have the power to do. I’m not asking you this for my own personal self interest. Kevin Feige; that picture up there is my two year old daughter and we both NEED you to make a female lead Superhero Movie; and I (much like the rest of the internet) have a few ideas on the subject.

1 – It needs to be a morally centered, and grounded, character.

My favorite comic book characters are Captain America and Spiderman (in that order ithankyouverymuch). Two seemingly regular men who knew, even before they gained their super powers, that the most important thing for a good man to do is the Right Thing. That is the core of a true hero, a person that the masses can look up to. A hero is a person who does the right thing, at all times, regardless of powers or who’s watching. That should be the moral grounding of your female superhero. It teaches both boys and girls that no matter what kind of super powers you have, what kind of amazing abilities you can conjure, the right thing is still: The Right Thing.

2 – Being a woman needs to NOT be a thing.

Was it a big deal that War Machine or The Falcon were black? No! When War Machine came to save the day no one ever screamed, “Oh thank god; Black Iron Man is here to save me!”

Falcon was a soldier, just like Captain America. That was the bond. That is where their relationship started; soldier to soldier. In both cases the characters had organic relationships that formed out of their personal and professional interactions. It should never be brought up that our new hero is a woman; unless it’s to make fun of that exact fact. There could even be a moment where our female hero saves a super-macho dude, her mask comes off and he says, “Fuck me; you’re a woman?” and her response could be: “OH SHIT! I AM! WHAT A REVELATION! WHOSE BOOBS ARE THESE? THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING! You’re welcome dick cheese,” and then she flies back into the heat of battle to stomp bad guys into jelly.

3. No Supporting Characters

Women aren’t things that need to be saved (no matter how much I, as a father, may believe that about my daughter). When I was a boy my Grandma told me a story about a time my Grandad came home to find my mother crying because a boy broke her heart. My Grandad’s “reasoned” response to this was to change out of his uniform, pick up his “walking stick” ( a polished shovel handle) and politely ask, “Where does he live?” The subtext of this being, obviously, “Because ole Bessy here has a thirst that can only be quenched by blood.”

blood and paternal vengeance

I understand this. A father, willing to risk his own livelihood and put himself in jeopardy, in order to make his little girl stop crying. I “get” it; but that’s not the rule I want my daughter to learn. I want my daughter to learn that she is capable of handling whatever comes her way. I want her to seek me out for assistance and advice; but having a role model that shows her that she doesn’t need a man to protect her helps me to make her a more independent woman that is capable of defending herself. I want my daughter to want, not need my help. Your female hero can totally go it alone.

4. It can’t be anyone that you’ve introduced so far.

Compared to the competition you are leaps and bounds ahead of them in terms of introducing strong female characters in your movies; but none of them fit this role. Black Widow is a super spy whose job is lying on a professional level. Gammora is certainly strong, but she’s a bit preoccupied with wanting to murderstab everyone she comes across. Maria Hill is certainly capable, but she’s a second to Nick Fury. Pepper Potts has a moment to shine, but she’s always just been the Princess to Tony Stark’s Mario.

Girls need an independent woman, who stands for right things, and does right things, because they are the right things to do – not because they have superawaesome cleavage or because they fit a man’s agenda.

5. She needs to be ABOVE the pantheon of Disney princesses.

Admittedly Merida, from Brave, was a good start; but you have a chance to break the mold. She should not be accessorized or allowed to be wrapped into the fold of forever waiting for Prince Charming to save her. She doesn’t need the Barbie dream house or the princess closet, because she’s better than that. She’s ready to not only fight alongside the men but show them up. She’s not a sex-pot. She’s not a god damned princess – she’s a fucking super hero!

You’re looking at me right now, Marvel magic producer Kevin Feige, and you’re asking me, “Okay Doctor Smartass; who?”

Carol Danvers. Captain Marvel (you leave that Ms. Marvel shit on the curb – this is a former Air Force officer, a full bird Colonel and a military fighter pilot. She gets to wield that rank with all of the pomp and circumstance that it comes with).

For the uninitiated Captain Marvel is a human who was bonded with alien DNA after being exposed to alien machine that – you know what; if you want the whole story read this .  Bottom line is she was an under appreciated woman who was discounted by the men in her life because she lacked a dong. When confronted with an enemy that she couldn’t possibly defeat (oddly next to what amounted to an alien wishing machine) she didn’t wish for someone to come save her, she wished for the power to stomp faces. And then she fucking did.

I don’t need Prince Charming to save shit

Look at her. This aint no exploitative sex kitten. This is a warrior. She can toe to toe with Thor, The Hulk and the rest of The Avengers even when she has a hangover. And if you wanna play cute and ask her if she’s worried about breaking a nail – she’ll snap your finger off and feed it to you. This is a Bad Ass!

At this point you’re probably laying on a bed made out of solid gold Unicorns and saying, “Sure, compelling argument, peddler of internet dick jokes; but we’re bathing in never ending waves of volcanoes of diamond encrusted money. We’re making a couple of female lead super hero TV shows. Why should we do it on the big screen? Why should we do it all?”

Because television is still something that doesn’t reach every audience. Even with Hulu and Netflix, TV is still the minor leagues. Summer, tent pole, movies are still a cultural touchstone for almost all of humanity. A big screen blockbuster is still something that most of the world will see.

Because the highest grossing movie of 2014 starred a talking raccoon and a talking tree. DC Comics can’t even get half of their star players onto the big screen, let alone their only Female member of the holy trinity; but you have the clout to make Groot this years most beloved character.

Because you have the depth of roster and cash to take a risk of this nature.

Because for too long the public discourse around female super heroes has revolved around whether it’s okay to portray them as sex objects or not; and not about their role in the evolving mythos of our era.

That's my step mom on the right

Because too many young girls look up to the picture on the left, and not people like the picture on the right*

Because for too long our cultural conversation around women in the public sphere has revolved around people like Kim Kardashian, Miley Cyrus or Paris Hilton and those aren’t the types of women I want my daughter to look up to. This is not any sort of tirade against women and sexuality. If women want to embrace and flaunt their sexuality as a means of empowerment – I say go for it (as long as it’s their choice and not exploitation). But there’s enough examples of that on cable television (let alone the internet) to fill several very sticky-paged books. It’s time for there to be a counterpoint.

Because, as a young man, I learned so many important lessons from your comics. Lessons that my kids are starting to learn through your movies. Lessons that I want my daughter to be able to latch onto and embrace because when she’s sees them on the screen; she sees a woman personifying them.

Because you can.

Because ONLY you can.

Because she, and every little girl like her, needs you to.

 

Because during scary parts of movies I always tell my kids, “Remember, the good guys always win,” and then my son picks up his Captain America shield and rushes headlong into pretend battle to save the day. As a father I want my daughter to have that sooooooo much. I want her to put on her Captain Marvel helmet and stand side by side with my son – willing to face the terror of the world, assured, in all of her being, that she can be the good guy that always wins. Because she’s already seen a girl just like her do it on the big screen.

Yours, in spirit and the almighty merchandise purchasing dollar

Travis
with great power comes…i think you know the rest

*that’s my Stepmom on the right

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There Are 5 Responses So Far. »

  1. Well said Travis!

  2. Love this!

  3. Agreed.

  4. IMPRESSIVE, ELOQUENT and very NECCESSARY. Kudos for getting it and Thank You!

  5. hey so im new to your suff now and i think its amazing i love cocims and drawings and i think yourz are amazing, hope to learnfrom you.

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