Queen & Country Writer Greg Rucka on Women in Hollywood (And Comics)

During a forthcoming podcast interview with Punisher writer Greg Rucka, whose new novel Alpha is [...]

During a forthcoming podcast interview with Punisher writer Greg Rucka, whose new novel Alpha is coming out next week, the conversation turned briefly to The Avengers movie and, inevitably, to a film adaptation of his popular series of comics and novels, Queen & Country. Fox bought it years ago and they don't know what to make of it," Rucka said of the adaptation, based on one of his best-known projects, and the only one that bounces back and forth between comics and movies. "One day somebody somewhere is going to find a way through the morass that the Queen & Country media rights have become and there will be a movie or a TV show or something but holding one's breath at this point is I think a dangerous, dangerous prospect—you might pass out." Every couple of years, they start working on the project again, "And then something happens that scares them away," Rucka explained. "They're paralyzed by the fact that it's a female lead. That's what it comes down to—they're paralyzed by the fact that the lead in Queen & Country is a woman and I've literally had conversations with executives where they've said, 'Is there any way that we can get a man up there with her?' and it's like, 'Well, sure. That's not Queen & Country. Feel free to write that yourselves.'  It's absurd." Rucka told ComicBook.com's Panel Discussions podcast (in an episode that will air Monday), "There's an absurd marketing issue which is this conceit that Hollywood labors under and they've got studies to back it up, that their market is men 18 to 34, and they won't go see a woman in an action role, which is utter bulls**t. I mean, if you can think of any demographic that's more likely to go see women in an action role it's going to be a guy who's eighteen! What's the thing that eighteen-year-old is constantly thinking about? Girls. It's absurd and the more you look into it, the more the fallacy falls apart. He elaborted, "It is a fallacious argument. The same studies that these guys swear by—'our demographic is men age 18 to 34, who drive purchasing'—well, alright. Those same studies say it's women age 20 to 40 who control the income outlay. They control the pocketbook, so why aren't you marketing to them? It doesn't make any sense and it's a fundamentally misogynistic market field and people wonder why we see such negative representations of women or the same consistent galling of women and objectification of women in media and you strip everything away and the only argument that remains is it's a misogynistic industry—they don't like women. And you see that all over comics now, too." Addressing the idea that generally, the conversations in comics tend to flare up and disappear, Rucka says that it doesn't seem to be happening this time around, and he can understand why. He cited the debates over representation of female creators and depiction of female characters in DC's New 52 relaunch, a topic that was much-discussed last year when the relaunch was announced. "These things aren't going away now and I think in large part the reason they're not going away is that in particular DC did an extraordinary job of revealing the truth of their situation—they don't care," Rucka said. "That's what they said at San Diego—not only do we not care but we actually don't want you here, go away. Well, guess what? That's a sh***y business model and you're going to lose money and you're going to lose readers. It doesn't make any sense to me from a business standpoint, right? I was lecturing at the University of Oregon yesterday and the only analog I can come up with is if Apple had said, 'you know what? We're only selling iPhones to blondes.'  It doesn't make any sense—why would you just exclude a whole portion of your market? And the combination of arrogance and ignorance is appaling, and people should be angry. And the mere fact that the people who then actually spoke out about it who were threatened—talk about wanting to make ourselves look good. Nice endorsement for the industry, there."