Marvel Taps Superheroines for Chick Lit

Marvel Taps Superheroines for Chick Lit

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Two new novels will focus on She-Hulk and Rogue.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman in possession of superpowers must be in want of a boyfriend. This is why Marvel's latest project to grow a female audience involves two things that women love: superheroines and romance. She-Hulk and Rogue, two of the Marvel U's most popular female superheroes, will star in their very own chick lit novels sometime in June 2013. The She-Hulk Diaries and Rogue Touch will deliver all the action and drama comic fans have come to expect, just with a female perspective and an emphasis on their love lives.

The books will release through Hyperion, which, like Marvel, is part of the Disney umbrella. "Marvel's superheroes are real people first," says Elisabeth Dyssegaard, the company's editor-in-chief. "They easily can be transposed to another kind of storytelling." Dyssegaard has already assigned two writers to the project: Marta Acosta, a paranormal romance authoress, for The She-Hulk Diaries, and newcomer Christine Woodward for Rogue Touch. Dyssegaard hopes that the novels have appeal for existing comic fans - both men and women - but notes that presenting She-Hulk and Rogue in a new format could help some new fans of the XX persuasion ease into the dizzyingly confusing Marvel Universe. "Marvel has had tremendous success with recent hit movies, and we think it's a great time to explore what happens to super heroines when they are dropped into traditional women's novels."

The two characters are well-known in comic book fandom, but have a little less cachet in the world at large. She-Hulk, also known as Jennifer Walters, is a cousin of the better-known Incredible Hulk. While she shares Bruce Banner's green skin and super-strength, she also possesses a keen intellect and works as a lawyer. Rogue, a down-home girl from the Deep South, is a member of the X-Men, whose mutant power allows her to steal life energy - and superpowers - from other people with just a touch. The She-Hulk Diaries will be a slice-of-life tale all about the titular heroine's trials and troubles as a lawyer, a superhero, and a lover. Rogue Touch, on the other hand, skews a little more dramatic, weaving a tale of Rogue first discovering her powers by nearly killing her boyfriend.

Marvel has actually attempted this strategy before with promising results: Romance novelist Judith O'Brien wrote a young adult novel all about Mary Jane Watson's complicated relationship with Spider-Man, popular enough to merit a sequel. The idea itself is also sound: Superhero comics are essentially soap operas with colorful tights, so steamy love affairs and intense emotional drama are already an integral part of the stories. Whether She-Hulk and Rogue would better be served by comic book miniseries aimed at women instead is a fair question, but at least the two iconic characters appear to be in capable hands.

Source: Publishers Weekly

Image: Fanpop

Thanks to Steph Kroll for the tip!

Permalink

'40 Shades of Green'

Might help it sell more to the female audience...maybe

im just gonna leave this here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0oTDS9ur_U

Hell I'd tap that.
I was kinda hopping this would be a team up rather than sperate story lines :(

So... only female characters get romantically focused stories... or to put it a different way... female characters only get romantically focused stories.

Bloody hell, Marvel - you're still stuck in the 60s, aren't you?

And this is exactly the kind of thinking that put the last attempt at a Wonder Woman series in the hands of the creator of Ally McBeal rather than someone who knew what the hell they were doing.

Meh. I rather enjoy seeing the two brawl on the Gifted School lawn than read about their romantic exploits. Rogue already has at least 2 guys pining for her, both mutants so they don't run the risk of getting in the way at the wrong moment. I say instead of going back to her past, push one of those or perhaps another male lead to the forefront. Heck, Storm's moved on already, from a king to a hairy Canadian. Lets see a MAX production of that relationship.

Sixcess:
So... only female characters get romantically focused stories... or to put it a different way... female characters only get romantically focused stories.

Bloody hell, Marvel - you're still stuck in the 60s, aren't you?

And this is exactly the kind of thinking that put the last attempt at a Wonder Woman series in the hands of the creator of Ally McBeal rather than someone who knew what the hell they were doing.

She-Hulk had a long running comic book series (38 issues, so a little over 3 years) that wasn't about romance (any more or less than the typical comic book).

I know Rogue has had at least 1 mini-serie, which wasn't a romance splooge-fest either.

So just saying.

DVS BSTrD:
Hell I'd tap that.

I wouldn't. Not any of the super strong ones anyway. Imagine what vaginal cramps would do to your manhood. :) :( :) :( :)

Also, She-Hulk? The one that when Hulked out supposedly has the biggest bust out of all the Marvel heroines?
There's probably more to her character beyond lawyer, superstrong and tits, but still.

Tarkand:
She-Hulk had a long running comic book series (38 issues, so a little over 3 years) that wasn't about romance (any more or less than the typical comic book).

2 series in fact. I used to enjoy the John Byrne version a lot.

But I think that proves my point. These characters can work without being given stereotypical 'female interest' plots.

Can you imagine a romantic novel about Captain America? Thor? Iron Man? (Well, it could work with Tony, in a Blake Edwards sex comedy kind of way...)

I despair of the handling of female characters by Marvel and DC. It's like Halle Berry getting a Catwoman movie about malevolent make-up* (not saying that's all that killed that movie, but it sure didn't help.) Come to think of it, I remember reading the draft script of the Catwoman movie they were thinking of making after Batman Returns (it's still floating around the internet) and it was more terrible, cringe-inducing Hollywood feminist-issues-as-written-by-guys drivel.

And I'm not even going to mention the New 52...

*incidentally, I'm not sure where "malevolent make up" came from - a sudden need for some Stan Lee style alliteration seeping into my subconscious perhaps.

Sixcess:

Tarkand:
She-Hulk had a long running comic book series (38 issues, so a little over 3 years) that wasn't about romance (any more or less than the typical comic book).

2 series in fact. I used to enjoy the John Byrne version a lot.

But I think that proves my point. These characters can work without being given stereotypical 'female interest' plots.

Can you imagine a romantic novel about Captain America? Thor? Iron Man? (Well, it could work with Tony, in a Blake Edwards sex comedy kind of way...)

I despair of the handling of female characters by Marvel and DC. It's like Halle Berry getting a Catwoman movie about malevolent make-up* (not saying that's all that killed that movie, but it sure didn't help.) Come to think of it, I remember reading the draft script of the Catwoman movie they were thinking of making after Batman Returns (it's still floating around the internet) and it was more terrible, cringe-inducing Hollywood feminist-issues-as-written-by-guys drivel.

And I'm not even going to mention the New 52...

*incidentally, I'm not sure where "malevolent make up" came from - a sudden need for some Stan Lee style alliteration seeping into my subconscious perhaps.

I'm not exactly intimately familiar with comic books but from what I have seen an element of romance is about as common as can be, regardless of the hero's gender. Just going by the movies there's not a single one of those heroes who doesn't have a love interest.

Captain America had his gal from the WW2 Military. Thor had his researcher gal. Iron Man had the whole thing with Pepper.

As for this being a primarily romantic novel as opposed to focused on action, have you seen the sales figures on romance novels? Have you seen that market's demographic?

This has got absolutely nothing to do with Marvel deciding the She-Hulk character isn't complete without a boyfriend. This has everything to do with Marvel deciding the She-Hulk character isn't complete without potential millions of dollars in additional revenue from the romance novel market.

The only reason they're not making novels for Iron Man, Thor and Captain America is that that market's demographic, almost purely female, wouldn't be interested in male main characters. Trust me, if there were as many men buying romance novels as women, those books would've been in production already.

Sixcess:
So... only female characters get romantically focused stories... or to put it a different way... female characters only get romantically focused stories.

Bloody hell, Marvel - you're still stuck in the 60s, aren't you?

And this is exactly the kind of thinking that put the last attempt at a Wonder Woman series in the hands of the creator of Ally McBeal rather than someone who knew what the hell they were doing.

[shrugs] I agree that it's a bad idea all around, but to be fair guys in comic books get the same treatment, since they get tied up in romantic hinjinx all the time. A ton could be written about the interplay between Spider Man, Mary Jane, and Felicia Hardy alone, Felica and Spidey hitting it off being a popular "what if" scenario that rarely plays out for long, in part because they actually fit better together which leads to less tension. Typically the hero or heroine has to have a non-powered love interest for story reasons, though they are exceptions to this.

Romantic "high school drama" type subplots are part of the entire "teenage supermutant" clique.

The reason why I think this is a bad idea is that gender specific marketing in fandom tends to be horrible, though there are exceptions, they are few and far between. Basically the subject matter itself is going to attract the right kind of reader/follower, whether it's male or female if they are right for it. Changing things around to try and lure another audience in with limited release products is usually a horrible idea. In general if you succeed, you going to score an even bigger epic fail immediatly afterwards when the people who were lured by your product try the real thing and find there is no real similarities, thematic or otherwise. Someone who reads one of these novels and then picks up X-men or She-Hulk expecting a romance comic with super heroes, and finds out it's straightforward super heroes with a few romance subplots thrown in once in a while, is not going to be happy.

I tend to look back at other attempts to do similar things. Many people might not remember this, but for a while TSR was releasing these "Endless Quest" books similar to Choose Your Own Adventure novels. They realized girls were reading those so decided to use this as an avenue to get girls involved in D&D. The result was the release of titles like "Ring Of The Ruby Dragon" and "Sword Daughter's Quest", and the new tagline for that series "Pick a path to romance". Not only was the series kind of an epic fail, it did succeed on a limited scale, as I met a couple of teenage girls who DID try D&D after reading "Ring Of The Ruby Dragon", and couldn't get their heads around concepts like adventuring, and character progression, and why you couldn't make a character that starts out with a complete set of Ioun Stones, a wrist mounted crystal ball, and tons of other goodies that were being tossed around in these titles. :)

Not to mention Marvel's last attempt (that I paid attention to) to draw women in, which was to re-launch an entire comic series about Emma Frost, as an angst filled teenage drama comic, set long before she became "The White Queen". I tried to read it once but never got into it, and the overall results from people who did follow it seemed to be that it was mediocre as long as you were able to convince yourself they weren't trying to basically wreck a long established character by hammering away at it's foundations. Especially seeing as half the point seemed to be leading up to trying to say she wasn't a redemptive villain, but was never that bad to begin with... and yeah, she was, and that's half the point of the character and why even after proving herself as a hero time and again plenty of people don't trust her, and if they do, they don't paticularly like her. She was never created (originally) to take a heroic turn, and while it was cool how they built it based on her caring about her old team, it's important to understand that she was as bad, or even worse than most members of "The Hellfire Club" that stayed villains. I mean a real piece of work... Someone brought in by those comics (from what I saw) just would not get it if they read the real thing, especially if they wanted to read back on the character's history and initial exploits. The Hellfire Club originally kind of being when the X-men writers decided Magneto wasn't quite evil enough, so they needed something really bad for a while (and later on Magneto even joined The Hellfire Club and... yeah well... like most comic continuities it's a giant mess).

That said, I'm hoping one day someone releases a satire of these kinds of development, releasing a romance series dealing with Mandrill and Purple Man looking 4 genuine love. Can the two biggest super pimps in history manage to score without using their powers? Look out for a surprise team up with DC's "The Mighty Endowed"!

As a girl and a lover of She-Hulk since the 80s, I'm getting rather tired reading stories focusing on She-Hulk's love life rather than her heroics. It's been intrusively annoying for years now, what with her moping about her affairs with Iron Man, Wolverine, The Juggernaut, The Wolfman, random male underwear models, Starfox, Wyatt Wingfoot, Hercules, Luke Cage, and others. It got to a point where all that romantic drama vastly overshadowed either her heroics or her lawyer career.

The 80s/90s comic had its funny romance parts too, but it never got in the way of her heroic and adventurous life. It was a part of it, not a dominating part of her life that sucked out the fun and made her seem like a sex-starved, blubbering joke.

I still like She-Hulk, but it's been a long and painful wait for something as outrageously fun, funny, adventurous, rewarding, and entertaining as John Byrne's memorable run from nearly 20 years ago.

Wait, I thought that Black Widow and Rogue were together after the Avengers + X-Men.

The only way to make girls interested in comics is by saying, "Hey, we're going to make this one about the girl's love life!" Doesn't that way of thinking seem a little...dated?
I liked Rogue's flirting with Gambit in the X-men cartoon, but romance was certainly not the most interesting thing about her. Although if the story is going to be about her first boyfriend, I guess that could work. I always thought that was very sad.

She-hulk is awesome.

That's really all I have to say. That's all I NEED to say.

They're trying to grow the intellectual property by adapting parts of it to different audiences and a wider range of media then just serialised comic books, all of which will contain a version of the story that is at least somewhat compatible with the interpretation of the story that you can watch at the movie theatres. While I'm sure that there is an audience ready and willing to eat this stuff up, this effectively doubles as another way of sneakily getting people to buy an advertisement that will build their IP, rather than give it away for free.

I don't get it, why does she-hulk exist? These 'female version of male hero' characters have always seemed stupid to me. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure that her comics are good (she obviously has enough fans to still exist) but it just seems like the writers could be much more creative. I guess they use those types of heroes to draw the interest of new readers, but they honestly make me want to read the stories LESS. I would much rather read about an original female superhero. Well I would, if there were more than two or three outside of x-men. Sigh...

Ooh, I have an idea, lets post ideas for female superheroes!

obedai:

Ooh, I have an idea, lets post ideas for female superheroes!

Shark Girl, oh wait...
image
The problem with suggesting ideas for more heroes is that they've either been done or are being done. This is especially true with Marvel, where with the mutant gene back to active, it will result in all kinds of new weirdness, like above.

So out of all the superheroines they choose one whom when she gets angry is likely to smash her boyfriend into mush and another gal whom sucks the life out of anyone she touches to be in Romance novels interesting stupid but interesting.

Well, I guess it can't turn out any worse than most of the actual comics have been recently.

I could try to muster some degree of outrage about gender roles and harmful traditional attitudes and whatnot, but I've had far too much experience of the modern romance novel genre to have any sympathy for the readership that supports it (not that there aren't good romance novels: They just don't get labeled as such or put in the "romance" section).

I can see it now...

Chapter 1: Life is pain without a man
The rage coursed through her body, turning her skin that familiar light emerald shade, She let out an anguished cry as her expanding limbs cut through the delicate straps of her scarlet stiletto heeled Jimmy Choos; Oh the humanity; she still had several hundred dollars to go before she paid off those beautiful heels, and they were gone forever!

She bent over in pain as the transformation continued in earnest, ripping through her sequined Dolce & Gabanna dress she had bought on the Philadelphian high street, revealing the tight lycra undersuit she always wore... just for these occasions... just in case she lost control. If only she were stronger she might have been able to manage her strength, if only there were a man in her life to give her purpose and self-control.

She turned to the large decorative mirror on the restaurant wall, looked at her reflection and cried "NOW I'VE RUINED MY HAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRRRRRRRR!"

Chapter 2: Buying more shoes...

Well, it will certainly be something.

obedai:
I don't get it, why does she-hulk exist? These 'female version of male hero' characters have always seemed stupid to me. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure that her comics are good (she obviously has enough fans to still exist) but it just seems like the writers could be much more creative. I guess they use those types of heroes to draw the interest of new readers, but they honestly make me want to read the stories LESS. I would much rather read about an original female superhero. Well I would, if there were more than two or three outside of x-men. Sigh...

Ooh, I have an idea, lets post ideas for female superheroes!

Oh there's no denying she was a stupid idea. Her original series was basically just "Hulk with boobs". She's become a completely different beast over the years though, complete with very original storylines and plenty of fourth wall breakage. She's just a FUN character, whereas a lot of other comics are diving headfirst into a new dark age.

Sixcess:

Tarkand:
She-Hulk had a long running comic book series (38 issues, so a little over 3 years) that wasn't about romance (any more or less than the typical comic book).

2 series in fact. I used to enjoy the John Byrne version a lot.

But I think that proves my point. These characters can work without being given stereotypical 'female interest' plots.

Can you imagine a romantic novel about Captain America? Thor? Iron Man? (Well, it could work with Tony, in a Blake Edwards sex comedy kind of way...)

I don't think it proves your point at all. He just showed you that Marvel can and does write female superheroes in a fashion other than what you are describing. And really, what's actually wrong with them expanding into new genres that you might not be interested in? Especially a genre dominated by female readers. I'd say that this is a refreshing change from the 90s era swimsuit spreads I remember seeing when I was a big comic reader.

As for why romance... well according to Wikipedia, romance novels are the best selling genre of literature in North America, making up almost 55% of all paperbacks sold in 2004(so much for the 1960s, eh?). And why not Captain America? Because if it didn't feature a female protagonist it would not be a romance novel. Want that to change? You need to be campaigning for equal male rights then, because you are now talking about a genre dominated by female authors and readers.

Seriously, this is not a mountain. This is not even a molehill. This is Marvel branching out into another genre. Don't like romance novels? Cool. Stop trying to shit on other people's enjoyment.

Oh, that's right: Internet. Carry on, then.

Scars Unseen:

Sixcess:

Tarkand:
She-Hulk had a long running comic book series (38 issues, so a little over 3 years) that wasn't about romance (any more or less than the typical comic book).

2 series in fact. I used to enjoy the John Byrne version a lot.

But I think that proves my point. These characters can work without being given stereotypical 'female interest' plots.

Can you imagine a romantic novel about Captain America? Thor? Iron Man? (Well, it could work with Tony, in a Blake Edwards sex comedy kind of way...)

I don't think it proves your point at all. He just showed you that Marvel can and does write female superheroes in a fashion other than what you are describing. And really, what's actually wrong with them expanding into new genres that you might not be interested in? Especially a genre dominated by female readers. I'd say that this is a refreshing change from the 90s era swimsuit spreads I remember seeing when I was a big comic reader.

As for why romance... well according to Wikipedia, romance novels are the best selling genre of literature in North America, making up almost 55% of all paperbacks sold in 2004(so much for the 1960s, eh?). And why not Captain America? Because if it didn't feature a female protagonist it would not be a romance novel. Want that to change? You need to be campaigning for equal male rights then, because you are now talking about a genre dominated by female authors and readers.

Seriously, this is not a mountain. This is not even a molehill. This is Marvel branching out into another genre. Don't like romance novels? Cool. Stop trying to shit on other people's enjoyment.

Oh, that's right: Internet. Carry on, then.

I almost agree with you entirely. All except one point. There are Romance Novels with male protagonists. Plenty of them. Gay romance novels are in fact very prevalent among women.

Is there a Marvel superheroine that could carry a film? Someone who could end up in avengers 2? Okay yeah.. we will get Wasp coming out of the Antman/Giantman film.... But I'd like to see a standalone.

Delete Me ( double post)

Sixcess:
So... only female characters get romantically focused stories... or to put it a different way... female characters only get romantically focused stories.

Because the appeal of strong female characters to a female audience is their boy trouble. Duh!

MorganL4:
Is there a Marvel superheroine that could carry a film? Someone who could end up in avengers 2? Okay yeah.. we will get Wasp coming out of the Antman/Giantman film.... But I'd like to see a standalone.

Depends on what you mean. She-Hulk herself should be every bit as viable as Iron Man, who was a perennial B-Lister until the movies made money. I wouldn't have put either on the blockbuster track, but I think we have precedent now. Ms Marvel could probably fill the role too, especially as my understanding is she's had a resurgence in the comic world.

I'll throw this in, though. As someone who writes a female protagonist, I frequently joke with the people who read and give feedback for me that if the character were to be adapted to the silver screen, she would probably become a blonde bimbo with a damsel-in-distress issue who wore spandex or skintight leather.

As such, my biggest question would be: would such a female superhero movie end up getting the same shot as the male counterparts, or would it be more like the silver-screen version of these novels about boy troubles*?

*yes, simplified, but for effect.

And yeah, She-Hulk still has the problem of "Distaff Counterpart," but she's really spent a good chunk (if not all) of her comic career as her own entity. And a pretty badass one from the comics I've read.

Personally, I just want Empowered to get a TV show.
image

You know, it's strange that the character that was invented for a softcore parody ends up being one of the most well written and likable female super heroes, well, ever.

Scars Unseen:
Stop trying to shit on other people's enjoyment.

Oh, that's right: Internet. Carry on, then.

Yawn.

You could tag that little jibe onto the end of almost every post on the Escapist that criticises anything. On the level of online discussion it's about as useful a contribution as "Oh, first world problems."

I'm not trying to ruin anyone's enjoyment of this - if I've done so then they're way too easily influenced. But I think it's a lame idea that will accomplish nothing for reasons Therumancer explains better than I could.

So I said so.

More ways for Disney to make money via Marvel. Still, I do like the concept and I will give the books a read; they seem perfect for those long, boring shifts at my job when I have nothing else I need to accomplish for the day.

well cant be any worse than avengers vs xmen

 

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