You already know what this is about. Some stupid poll about what superhero you want to have sex with, and film director James Gunn's notes about each entry. It's over a year old, but journalist/essayist Susana Polo of the website The Mary Sue recently found it and tore it apart for the "slut-shaming, homophobic" junk it is. And now it's a huge thing with a lot of people sharing their opinions. That Gunn is the director for the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy film with none other than Joss Whedon's endorsement has certainly raised the stakes for comic book fans. Whedon!
I'm pretty sure I read this very list a long time ago and thought it was a stupid attempt at rude dude humor, the kind of frat boyish junk that didn't amuse me even when I was young enough to be a frat boy, then flushed it down the memory-toilet to who knows where. My subconscious or whatever. Flash forward to this morning. I fired up my work computer, did my usual quick Google search for anything new having to do with Cassandra Cain and waded into this huge stinking mess, a backed-up septic tank of a mess. I knew I shouldn't have flushed it, but it was easier than dropping it in the garbage can and having the sanitation workers judge me. Lesson learned.
Living 12 hours in the future here in Japan-- at least compared to my North American friends-- I'm hours late to this party. Everyone has already said all that needed to be said. But because I'm practically the only Cassandra Cain blogger left standing, and like Cass I never, ever quit, I'm going to weigh in just a little bit here.
Look, I love satire and absurdist humor. I've already been in trouble with Stephanie Brown and Tim Drake fans due to my use of the latter. Even if Gunn's intent was merely to spoof the stereotypical men's magazine take on superheroes, sexuality and gender, he's failed. I agree with Rachel Edidin the root of his failure is his over-the-top voice is actually the in-the-middle voice of a lot of people involved in the comics industry, both professionally and as fans (as well as with her description of Gunn's commentary as "fucked up"). The kind of thing where people don't read it and think, "Gosh, I've been wrong-minded just like the guy Gunn's pretending to be and now I'm gonna change," but one where they shout, "FUCK YEAH! PREACH ON, BROTHER GUNN!" while their next-door neighbors pound the wall they share and yell, "SHUT UP! WHAT ARE YOU SCREAMING AT? WE KNOW YOU'RE IN YOUR APARTMENT ALONE, YOU NOISY ASS!"
And that's really sad. Not my angry neighbors scenario, but the very real situation where what Gunn might think is out there is really quite in there. It's really hard to top some of the crazy junk I read back in the day when I was a more active participant in the comic fan wars over misogyny and homophobia, the kind of stuff people still post on message boards all over, or the way actual comic books from certain top companies tend to deal with characters and even fans, which at times is shockingly suspect.
So while many people have already hammered Gunn and his attempt at humor or whatever it was with a lot of points I don't feel like repeating here despite agreeing with them, I also feel a strange little pleasure in having Cass talked about at all, even in a minor way. There's rarely anything new about her online these days unless it's something stupid by me, and if Polo's tossing her name in there brings a few more people to the discussion and makes them seriously think over these issues, then as a character, she's accomplished something positive.
Also... I did not know Stephanie Brown gave birth and put her baby up for adoption. Huh. That's interesting. I didn't know this because my only information about Ms. Brown comes from her appearances in Cass's old Batgirl book in which I don't believe they ever ever discussed the issue, at least not on panel. I could be wrong. There are a few issues towards the end of the run where I'm a little hazy on the details due to having read them only once or twice. I tend to re-read the earlier, more kick-ass issues when Cass was on her game, and the ones drawn by Rick Leonardi because they're beautiful and I enjoy looking at beautiful comic book artwork. So those I know more about.