George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones author, legend himself and movie theater owner, thinks Marvel’s villains are lame. Well, not lame exactly — just not any different from Marvel heroes. So watching them fight is like watching shadowboxing — the tale of the tape is always the same. Martin, as he wrote on his “not a blog,” is “tired of this Marvel movie trope where the bad guy has the same powers as the hero.” The Abomination, for example, is “just a bad Hulk.” Ironmonger? A bad Iron Man.
But another “hoary trope” (one must honor Martin’s language choices!) Martin abhors is the “I must hide my secret girlfriend” trope. And it’s why Martin loved Hank and Janet of the early Ant-Man, when Ant-Man and his “winsome Wasp” were a “man and a woman who adventured together, who loved each other without question, who even helped found the Avengers together.” Revolutionary in the early 1960s, Martin says, and “sad to say, it would even be sort of revolutionary today.” What happened to progress? Why did we stall? Where are the great women heroes? Martin loves a powerful female character. He loathed when new Ant-Man writers turned Hank into a mentally unstable wife-beater. Martin celebrates the Wasp’s emergence from this hell, when she “came into her own and became the leader of the Avengers.” Martin doesn’t declare he’s a feminist — anyone can do that. He proves it by what he honors in a story.