Editorial: Jumping the Gunn

If someone writes something on the internet and nobody notices it for almost 2 years, does it really make an impact?

This is the question we all (yes, all) find ourselves asking in the wake of the James Gunn/Superhero sex scandal that is ROCKING the internet (Am I overselling it a little?), the world (Or a lot?), and the galaxy (see what I did there?).

In case you haven’t heard, James Gunn  the director of Slither and Super and the man tabbed by Marvel to write and helm the Guardians of the Galaxy movie — has raised the ire of some with his musings about sex and superheroes.

In the post, Gunn calls Gambit a “cajun fruit”, talks about the supposed thrill of seeing oneself ejaculate into the Invisible Woman, mentions that he hopes Iron Man can “turn” the lesbian character Batwoman, and discusses a host of other graphic sex acts he’d like to perform (or not perform) on a wide array of comic book characters.

Published on February 17, 2011 on Gunn’s personal blog in response to the results of a poll on his Facebook and Twitter, Gunn’s “The 50 Superheroes You Most Want to Have Sex With” lived in near obscurity until a few Tumblr users and Mary Sue writer Susana Polo found it and called attention to some of Gunn’s remarks. Here’s her article.

Modok was not ranked…

What did Gunn do in response? Well, he hasn’t said anything yet, but he totally used internet magic to make the article disappear. Magic that was combated by Polo, who posted the Google cache copy of the article that Lady Geek Girl found.

Naturally, the contents of Gunn’s treatise and Polo’s article have lit a fire across the internet sky.

The venerable Hollywood Reporter has reported on the matter, as has the not-so-venerable Huffington Post and nearly everyone else.

In an effort to get Gunn tossed from Guardians, a petition has popped up and on the other end of the spectrum, many have come to Gunn’s defense, including Bad Ass Digest chief Devin Faraci, who said on Twitter:

“We can have a discussion about ‘is that funny,’ but the Mary Sue article is coming from the assumption Gunn’s list was straight-faced.” later adding: “the article author is straight up ignorant. It’s pathetic – she didn’t do ANY research at all.” in response to someone saying that the Mary Sue writer was unfamiliar with Gunn’s “MO” and that he has a “crass sense of humor.”

Despite his last name, HitFix editor Drew McWeeny was also unafraid to enter into this debate about sex and superheroes and I am a child. Here’s what McWeeney said:

“Hey, guys, I don’t want to speak out of turn, but I have a sneaking suspicion that James Gunn, who is writing and directing “Guardians Of The Galaxy” for Marvel, likes really, really dirty jokes.” McWeeny later added: “If you’ve seen “Slither,” then I think you’ve got the basic idea, which is that there is no line James Gunn is unafraid to cross for no other reason that It amuses him.”

McWeeny’s full article can be found here, and here’s the link to the justifiably lauded Tumblr post by Dark Horse Editor Rachel Edidin on this whole mess. I swear to God I am not trying to set some sort of hyperlink world record by the way, sourcing is just my jam.

Now, I’ve seen Slither, the PG Porn shorts, Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake that Gunn wrote, and other things that he’s done. I’ve also read some of his blog posts and the list in question and I take three things away from it:

Number 1: This list is PAINFULLY unfunny.

Number 2: It comes off like it was written by a very sexually immature person who has some issues with how he regards women.

Number 3: For what Gunn is to us, I don’t know that his ideals matter.

James Gunn is a writer and a director. He also seems like a slight pig, but these two things don’t really have to intersect. Everyone has an ugliness within them, and maybe this is his. Frankly, we judge people in the public eye as if we are sizing them up to be our soulmates and it just isn’t necessary.

All I want out of this guy is a movie, an enjoyable and fantastic two hours that justifies the cost of admission and the expense of my time. As long as he can keep a lid on his chauvinism and keep it out of the finished product (a product that would go through many filters before getting to us), his views really don’t affect me.

I’m not going to trot out a bit of shiny new homophobia in an effort to over-compensate and get chuckles and I’m also not going to de-value women or over-sexualize them because James Gunn did so in a blog post 21 months ago. I know some fear that others may, but I’m not willing to assign that much power to the words of the artist who gave us the Scooby Doo movies.

So if it doesn’t affect us, why do we care? I assume it’s because in some cases, being offended understandably boils down to anger.

Some people don’t like the remarks that Gunn made (obviously you can put me on that list) and they want him to be punished for those remarks (not that list). They want there to be a cost for thinking in a way that is contrary to the way that they think and the way that society deems acceptable. Really, this is pig-shaming in response to “slut-shaming”.

Now, I don’t agree that Gunn should be thrown off the picture and punished like an out-of-line child, but I’m not going to grouse about it if it happens because I understand that Disney knows how to count and they know how to gauge public sentiment.

All this may seem unfair if this was just a joke or a piece of shitty satire, but this is a free market society, meaning if you supply the world with stuff like this, eventually demand for your work is bound to suffer.

That’s the reality of this situation and a reminder that one should always think before they speak or type — especially when they have the ambition to be more than a self-amused blogger.

Update: For whatever it is worth, Mr. Gunn has apologized.


Category: Comics, Featured, Film

Tags: , , , , , , ,


  • I see your point but you lose me at pig-shaming being the same as slut-shaming. Threatening to rape a lesbian to turn her into a heterosexual woman (albeit a fictional one) isn’t being pigish. It’s advocating a crime. Taking someone to task for thinking rape is funny is not the same as slut-shaming.

    Of course, one can always make the claim that Gunn would never speak this way about real world people or situations. This is where the situation gets sticky for me. These aren’t real people, even though I might over-identify with many of them, they are characters. How much does what someone says about fictional people inform how they feel about real people?

    • Jason T.

      It may seem like I’m trying to get off on a technicality, but I said it was pig-shaming in response to slut-shaming. I don’t consider the two to be equal.

    • Zi’el

      “How much does what someone says about fictional people inform how they feel about real people?” It doesn’t. At all, even slightly. That would be like asking if someone’s opinions on orcs in lord of the rings correlated with their likelyhood to be racist in real life. (ie: completely nonsensical and attempting to instill meaning where there is none – a typical human fallacy)

  • Master Blaster

    This from nearly two years ago and yes, it is in bad taste, but it’s a joke. A really bad joke that many people want to see Gunn burn for, but it’s something in the past. You don’t see people bringing up Ben Affleck’s shitty movie choices when they talk about his directorial work do you? No, because it’s in the past.
    It would be more damaging for Gunn if this was in the last six months, not something that happened well before his hiring to the Marvel movie. At most he should at least offer up an “I’m sorry” and a donation to charity and leave the topic where it was -in the past.

  • Guest

    frankly I am disgusted. You clearly are being insensitive to all the Mental/Mobile/Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing that are out there… We’re Mental/Mobile/Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing. We’re here. Get used to it.

  • Adam Cole

    James Gunn worked on some TROMA films! Of course he’s got a twisted sense of humor. Let him have his humor. I personally think that NOTHING should be off limits… It’s ALL funny or NONE is funny, there’s no gray area… Thumbs up to Gunn for NOT editing himself to make people happy!

    • Jason T.

      Put your thumbs down, he just apologized

  • Izzo

    After reading this article i pursued the other links to see more of this story and I’ve come up with this question. Is it wrong to be angry at the people pointing fingers at Gunn?

    I mean, what he said about what he would do to these “FICTIONAL” characters is wrong in a way but I wouldn’t take it so serious, especially since it’s coming from a man who did movies for troma. just found out to, he wrote the storyline for the video game Lollipop Chainsaw. LOLLIPOP CHAINSAW!!!!!!! I mean, c’mon people.

    Let it be known that I am not defending him in anyway. Yes, he was off colored with his words on his blog but remember, and this is the important part, it was HIS blog. You know how many racist rants and sexual bias people are out there writing there opinion about the world and how it should be? I haven’t counted but I’m sure it’s a lot. It’s the Internet. I expect nothing less.

    This issue reads like a presidential race for some reason to me. Here is a guy getting a position of great (nerdy) importance (to some people) and all of a sudden a dark past pops up to show his true thoughts about female/male super heroes. WHAT SHOULD WE DO??? I know! Let’s write a petition to Marvel to BOO Gunn out of the writer’s chair cause god knows if I don’t do something about this abortion of justice, no one will. YAY ! I did something for America. No thanks needed. Just doing my part to keep the world safe from bad people as always . . . .

    . . . . sorry, i think I need to to stop typing now.

  • Really?

    So, please please please explain this to me. He shouldn’t think like that? or he just shouldn’t put it on writing where poeple can see it?

    Because, you know, one of those is censorship and the other is just f-ckd up. I don’t care at all for him or his list (yawnfest), but I will stand up for his right to do it. In the same fashion I will refrain from demanding an apology from you, after that lame piece of editorial I regretfully read, because you also “have the ambition to be more than a self-amused blogger” and you deserve the freedom to write poorly and without comedic value.

    • Jason T.

      I didn’t say anything about censorship. I spoke to the response, my thoughts on it, and the reality of the situation that he now finds himself in as someone who wants to make movies with other people’s money.

      If those people, namely Disney, feel like his past isn’t worth making him a part of their future that’s their right. It’s my right to not shed a tear over that decision. That isn’t censorship. No one is telling him he can’t have his say or those opinions, but people have a right to disagree with them and Disney has a right to protect its property.

      Thanks for reading my lameness, stay whack.

      • Some Dopey Whack

        “one should always think before they speak or type”
        So that is not a thinly veiled suggestion that he should edit his thoughs so you don’t get unconfortable? Just some friendly advice? He might huwt youw feewings? What seems to me a (crappy) piece of comedy, you comment on as a reflection of his worldviews. And even if they were, how would you call someone with such fantasies towards fictional characters? It would be nerds, since they are comic book properties. And ill intention may qualify as the slur form of the word bastard. So, is he a NerdBastard?
        “Some people don’t like the remarks that Gunn made (obviously you can put me on that list) and they want him to be punished for those remarks (not that list).”
        The above is a direct quote from You, not Disney’s or no one else. Frozen Walt’s Reps did a press release you failed to mention? Even if you claim you’re noy interested in him being punished, you’re still doing the punishing. A not very subtle sugestion that he should be kicked out of the movie may very well be your opinion, but you’re also meddling with someone elses means of expression. A possibly inconsecuetial hatchet job to a guy working for an industry that has been using the Batman / Wolverine + Tits + Ass combo to compose close to every cover art for the past 20+ years. Really? The content of HIS prose outrages you? Sir, I am glad you took the time to answer but I still feel prey to a boost-my-hits trap, I can’t quite comprenhend how this became a full editorial piece and didn’t die it’s rightful death into oblivion like the little scrap of shockblogging it is. Slow day I guess, but what do I know, I’m just whack.

        • Jason T.

          The think before you speak remark is, you know, good advice all around, isn’t it? I used it in this article after illustrating that Disney may very well decide to let Gunn go for this. Being someone who is, as I said to you before, trying to make movies with other people’s money, Gunn has a responsibility to his own ambitions to think about the consequences of his words and actions. Self-censorship for the good of his career, because right or wrong, when people get offended it can effect the bottom line and that’s something that matters to the people who hire him.

          That isn’t me saying yay censorship, it’s me talking about a plain truth. Gunn can say whatever he wants but there may be consequences for that in the marketplace and in society. We live in a society. You have the right to say whatever you want but people also have the right to call you out for it or not pay you millions to represent their company too.

          As for the other remark: How am I punishing him? How am I meddling with his means of expression? I said I don’t agree that he should be fired or punished. Again, I addressed the remarks, the reaction, my opinion of those things, and what the consequences could be because of the world we do live in.

          If those consequences come to be I’m not goona shed a tear because I understand Disney’s interest in maximizing the amount of tickets that they sell and if they think Gunn’s past words harm that, then it is their prerogative to remove him.

          As for the term “Shockblog” I don’t really see how that’s accurate, but you are contesting your whackness, so I guess we are even-steven now.


          • Zi’el

            “you can say what you want, but people might judge you for it, so you shouldn’t say what you want” – your entire reply there summed up in one sentence. I think it’s completely nonsensical to even suggest that pitiful example of your circular logic is accurate as a real world example. “Gunn can say whatever he wants but there may be consequences for that in the marketplace and in society.” is technically true, but not even SLIGHTLY accurate to the context of this discussion – Gunn SAID what he wanted, and then a couple years later a few morons decided “OHNOES he shouldn’t be allowed to say that, even if it’s clearly not serious, or about real people, let’s get the stakes and pitchforks out” and look what’s happened. You claim not to be punishing him, yet that is EXACTLY what writing this article and giving MORE credence to the censors’ retarded backwards views (that “people shouldnt be able to make things up about fictional characters”? fuuuuck off) is. for shame!