Are you getting excited for 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy adaptation? The film is being produced by Marvel Studios and James Gunn has been brought on to write and direct the feature. Unfortunately for Gunn, his association with the project has led to people taking an interest in some of his previous academic writings upon the subject of comic books and the characters who inhabit them.
In February 2011, James Gunn wrote an article listing the 'The 50 Superheroes You Most Want To Have Sex With', as voted for on Twitter, Facebook, and Gunn's own website. The article was recently rediscovered and thoroughly lambasted by blog site The Mary Sue.
Now, in concept this list is not necessarily a bad thing. After all, Gunn accepts nominations for both male and female superheroes, so at least it's equal opportunity objectification, right? Besides which, the list might not necessarily focus on which superhero has the largest breasts or the most toned legs – perhaps it will be a breakdown of the attractive qualities of their personalities. Maybe.
No, listing an as-voted-for-by-the-public list of sexy superheroes (correction: "Superheroes You Most Want to Have Sex With") wouldn't be too offensive by itself. But to keep things interesting, Gunn decided to add his own commentary for most of the entries. Oh boy, did he.
Let's start with the number one spot: Wonder Woman.
For the second year in a row, Princess Diana is the big winner. It seems like many guys out there are hoping she'll lasso their penises and make them tell the truth – which is that they want to be inside of Princess Diana!
Well that could have been worse. Admittedly it's crude and criminally unfunny, but all it really does is reiterate the title of the piece for any who might have missed it.
In the number 3 spot is Catwoman.
This supervillain turned anti-hero has been making my penis feel funny since I was four years old and saw Julie Newmar playing her on TV.
Enjoy the mental image of James Gunn's four year-old erection. It won't be the last instance of underage sexuality on the list.
One of the men to make it into the top 10 was Gambit.
My girlfriend voted for this Cajun fruit. I think she's looking to have a devil's three way with the two of us. The idea of my balls slapping against Gambit's makes me sick to my stomach, but I can't deny the fellow's pure HEAT.
Again, we're simply getting warmed up on the more deeply unpleasant aspects of this list, namely misogyny and homophobia. Perhaps it's excusable that James Gunn feels physically nauseous at the idea of engaging in borderline homosexual acts. We'll let him off for that one.
Number 6 on the list, Storm, is at least spared from the sweaty-palmed ardour lathered over the other females in the top 10. Unfortunately, there seemed to be nothing else to say about her other than, "Well, she's black."
Rising a full 24 places, Storm is once again our highest ranking woman-of-color and considering most of our other women-of-color on this list are green or blue or pink, that's quite a feat.
Sadly, Storm is one of the few to make it through the list without getting too sticky. Enjoy this selection of Gunn's witty character analyses from the rest of the DC and Marvel nominees, and just pray that your own favourite character doesn't show up.
Natasha Romanov (Black Widow): "… Is the highest debut on the list, and, considering she's fucked half the men in the Marvel Universe, it's much deserved."
Sue Storm (Invisible Girl): "A+ choice, guys! Just once wouldn't you want to look back and forth from a pretty blonde's face, to your penis actually having an orgasm inside of her vagina?! I know I would."
Black Canary: "I sometimes think that the Black Canary is the hottest chick in the DC Universe until I remember that she, uh, fucks Green Arrow."
Alison Blaire (Dazzler): "Disco Dazzler, Rave Dazzler, and Punk Rock Dazzler, they all have one thing in common – a friggin' GREAT vagina."
Jessica Drew (Spider-Woman): "The whole time I'm fucking her I can't get her face out of my mind as the skrull leader who tried to conquer the world. I know it's not her fault, but I just can't help it. So I finish on her face to help block out the painful memories. There. That's better."
Wally West (The Flash):"Many of the people who voted for the Flash were gay men. I have no idea why this is. But I do know if I was going to get fucked in the butt I too would want it to be by someone who would get it over with quick."
Stephanie Brown (Bat Girl): "Being a teen mom and all, you know she's easy. Go for it."
Since we started with the tamest entries, it only seems fitting to end with the two most offensive. First up is Laura Kinney, AKA X-23, Wolverine's sort-of clone who was first introduced in the X-Men: Evolution animated series before getting her own spin-off comic. X-23 is an example of a character type known as a "loli" (from Nabokov's Lolita): an underaged character who is nevertheless portrayed in a variety of titillating or provocative outfits. Even so, surely the fact that she's under eighteen should be enough to keep her off this list. Right?
Another debut, and a pretty good choice. Except, uh, isn't she supposed to be fifteen years old? And after you fictionally fuck her fictional police are going to arrest you and put you in fictional jail for being a very real pedophile.
Gunn acknowledges the fact that X-23 is underage, turning it into a hilarious paedophile joke, but one can't help but question why he accepted nominations and votes for this character, and went on to place her on the list and call her a "good choice".
I promised that we weren't quite done with homophobia, and it's time to deliver.
When Kate Kane was reintroduced as Batwoman in 2006 as a homosexual and former member of the U.S. military, kicked out under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, many saw it as a huge step forward for LGBT representation in mainstream comics. According to Gunn, however, the character simply needs a millionaire playboy to put her right.
This lesbian character was voted for almost exclusively by men. I don't know exactly what that means. But I'm hoping for a Marvel-DC crossover so that Tony Stark can "turn" her. She could also have sex with Nightwing and probably still be technically considered a lesbian.
Needless to say, many of Gunn's fans took less than kindly to this list. A quick glance through the comments section suggests a few reasons why the list was eventually taken down and now only exists as a webcache.
"Wow if you're gonna write GotG with this kind of attitude to women then I don't even want to watch it anymore."
"jesus fuck, you're revolting."
"You are sickening. I can't believe you treat these characters like blow up dolls for your own misogynistic fantasies. I was really looking forward to GotG, but now I can't even begin to…. Ugh. Seriously dude, you sound like a college frat boy who's had three to many. Grow up and get your hand out of your pants for once."
"Well, guess I'm not going to see Guardians of the Galaxy. Thanks for saving me the money, douchebag."
"You're really creepy. God damn."
"Out of curiosity, are you aware that punitive rape of lesbians in order to "turn" them is a thing that happens? Fairly frequently, too. And by joking about Tony Stark having sex with Kate Kane, even though you meant consensually (and I am giving you the benefit of the doubt here), you're implicitly supporting the notion that doing such a thing can change a woman's mind about her sexuality. Hey, all lesbians just need a good dicking, right? The rest of this list is sleazy as fuck, but that part really took the cake. "
Let's face it: the internet is a big place and large sections of it are rampant with the very worst specimens that society has to offer. Most of the time it's barely worth mentioning. But Marvel Studios will soon be giving James Gunn many millions of dollars to spend on bring the Guardians of the Galaxy (including female superhero Gamora) to the big screen. If this counts as part of his research, I'm not sure I want to see the end product.
Update: Rachel Edidin, editor at Dark Horse Comics, has weighed in with her opinion of whether this can be called satire and, if so, whether that's a justification for it.