Tuesday, 26 February 2013

When Marvel met Chick Lit

I am, without a doubt, not limited in my enthusiasm for the written genre.  I adore Shakespeare, have a large amount of time for manga, and have even been known to crack open the Game of Thrones novels (and by crack open, I mean buy them as soon as they're out in paperback).

So when I heard that Marvel prose had decided to expand their horizons, I couldn't have been happier.  Marta Acosta and Christine Woodward have taken on two of the more complex female characters from the Avengers and X Men universes:  She-Hulk and Rogue.

She-Hulk is probably the lesser-known of the two - outside of the comicbook scene.  Conspiciously absent from the most recent Avengers film, she is the cousin of Bruce Banner (The Incredible Hulk) and has been a member of any number of superhero groups including the Fantastic Four and S.H.I.E.L.D.  A highly skilled lawyer, she has served as legal counsel to various superheroes and goes by the name of Jennifer Walters.  Rogue, on the other hand, is fairly well-knwn, having been played by Anna Paqin in her pre-True Blood days.

Acosta's novel (aptly titled The She-Hulk Diaries) with its luminous green lipstick on the cover, is clearly trying to attract a different readership (Christine Woodward's Rogue Touch has a decidedly Twilight-y feel) and there appear to be two opposing camps about this.  Some people have argued that it lessens the characters to have such intelligent women reduced to their romantic adventures, but I think this is a very reductive and quite damaging view.  The She-Hulk of the comic books is hardly de-sexualised - what with her gravity-defying breasts - and Acosta isn't trying to transform her into some simpering idiot, but rather explore the balance between her attorney job and her wild alter-ego.

Even Elizabeth Dyssegard, the Hyperion head editor, has highlighted the fact that there will be a large emphasis on the characters' powers and challenges, calling them 'super heroines'.

As for me?  I can't wait for June to come...bring on the green!

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