A Note to the Guardians of the Galaxy Fans Who Are Calling Our Critic a “Harlot”


Hi, comic-book movie super-fans! Yesterday the last remnants of the ol’ Merry Marvel Marching Society gathered on our website to let us know that Guardians of the Galaxy, a movie they haven’t had the chance to see yet, is absolutely the best movie ever — and that our chief film critic, Stephanie Zacharek, was terribly wrong when she wrote lines like this in her review:

Guardians of the Galaxy is proof that a picture can have a sense of humor yet have no real wit. It hits every beat, but it hasn’t got the beat.”

Inflammatory! Anyway, we’re happy to have you here, just as we were when you made similar complaints about our pre-release reviews of Man of Steel and that one movie where Batman cried in a hole for an hour. You were absolutely right about those, of course — both flicks are undisputed masterpieces.

So, please, fire away at us! But maybe do yourself and your fan community the solid of actually responding to Zacharek’s arguments rather than just spewing sexist hate.

I mean, I know very few of you would want to sound like this comment from a dude calling himself Greenarrowmn:

“She’s just pissed because she lives in the Village full of gay men and no one wants any of her old, dried out pie.”

(Note that the only proof I have that Greenarrowmn is a guy is that Greenarrowmn types loathsome crap only a guy would, crap that’s pretty funny coming from someone whose online handle ends in the letters “wmn” — “woman” without vowels.)

Or this one from 5thailandvkk:

“We live in a world where 1000s of people are being beheaded and murdered throughout the world each and every day and this harlot has the nerve to knock it because it’s too fun?”

(Is that one meant to suggest that the critic was having too much sex in an age of genocide to enjoy the space raccoon movie? And, if you’ll allow a follow up: Aren’t harlots pretty much the opposite of anti-fun?)

Or this from Alexanderhomevideos:

“She should stick to reviewing chick flicks only.”

(Yes, because these kabillion dollar Marvel movies aren’t actually enjoyed by all types of people worldwide — they’re only truly appreciated by angry men obsessed with a perfect Tomatometer score.)

I know it’s a minority of you who puke up such bile. But to those of you who do, please allow me to remind you of the words of a man I hope you know already: Brian Michael Bendis, the writer of Marvel’s current Guardians of the Galaxy comic-book series, as well as the creator of the wonderful Alias and Powers series, the author of the second best Daredevil run ever, and the co-creator and longtime writer of Ultimate Spider-Man, the single greatest mainstream superhero comic of the 2000s.

This April, talking to Vulture, Bendis said

“Just yesterday, a woman wrote an article analyzing what she thought was a poor comic book cover, and she was met with just a bunch of shitty anonymous people being awful to her online. I think that a huge problem is people who read comics and don’t understand the point of superheroes, which is to be the best version of yourself. You love Captain America? Well, you know what Captain America would never do? Go online anonymously and shit on a girl for having an opinion.”

Please, assail us and our reviews as much as you want. We love a good dustup, especially with thoughtful folks. We can take it. (And, if you’re curious, you can hear Zacharek discuss Guardians of the Galaxy with critic Amy Nicholson and myself on the latest episode of our Voice Film Club podcast — but, be warned, she proves herself to be plenty fun, and she makes it through the full 45-minute show without once sneaking off to perform acts of harlotry.)

But remember that when you eschew argument and instead act like sexist pricks you not only encourage all of the lonely-dude stereotypes that comics creators and fans have been working to shake for decades — you make Steve Rogers cry.

(Also, if you don’t know Bendis, why not try reading some of his work? Reading comics — like reading any work of well-wrought fiction — helps build empathy and emotional intelligence, which might not be bad for you.)

Update: Much love to the internet for whipping this up: