We were pretty excited when Marvel tapped "Slither" director James Gunn as their unconventional choice to helm 2014's comedic sci-fi comic adaptation "Guardians of the Galaxy," as he had the perfect blend of genre love and satiric bent.
Unfortunately, that penchant for wild satire may be coming back to haunt him today, as geek girl site The Mary Sue unearthed a post from February, 2011 on James Gunn's site titled "The 50 Superheroes You Most Want to Have Sex With," which was voted on by fans and then given extensive commentary by Gunn himself. And therein lay the problem.
While it seems like a lot of the "jokes" reveal a bit of a sexist/homophobic streak, if not downright misogyny, an argument could be made that the whole idea of the list itself is meant to be absurd, especially when Gunn calls Gambit "the Galactus of C*ck!"
Here are three particularly unwholesome passages by Gunn; judge for yourself whether this is tongue-in-cheek or foot-in-mouth:
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."
Jessica Drew (Spider-Woman): "The whole time I’m f**king 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 f**ked in the butt I too would want it to be by someone who would get it over with quick."
Yeah, can't exactly say any of those are knee-slappers, but in Gunn's defense, it's kind of his style to walk that edge. After all, this is the guy that made an episode of "PG-Porn" called "Nailing Your Wife" (around the time he divorced actress Jenna Fischer, mind you) featuring Nathan Fillion killing Aria Giovanni with a nail gun through the head.
Comics editor Rachel Edidin has come out saying that people close to Gunn insist this was most definitely written to parody lady-hatin' nerds that exist by the thousands, but may have fallen wide of the mark.
"If Gunn’s list is satire, it’s bad satire," says Edidin, "because it skews incredibly close to material that’s not only already out there, but that comes from official media and in some cases industry professionals. There’s a significant slice of the comics community that is that misogynist and homophobic, and says so loudly and frequently."
While we're willing to give Gunn the benefit of the doubt, it's pretty inarguable that this was a failed attempt at un-PC humor, and was most likely taken seriously by a fanbase that prefers its superheroes in outfits that are less-than-2-degrees away from bondage gear. This is not unlike Zack Snyder's extremely degrading female empowerment movie "Sucker Punch," which the filmmakers and cast stressed was all about parodying female stereotypes in comics and video games, but really just enforced images of them as whores in skimpy outfits.
Gunn has already removed the offending items from his site, as well as "Nailing Your Wife," oddly enough. But when you're put at the helm of a high-profile $100-million+ Disney movie, this is the kind of scrutiny you can expect. Removing the piece is not enough, and he will definitely have to make a statement of some kind in the coming days and hopefully create an intelligent dialogue about these attitudes... or just be given the boot by Mickey Mouse.