Friday, 17 August 2007

Silken Scarlett

According to the Hollywood Reporter (link via Blog@Newsarama), Scarlett Johansson is being cast in Frank Miller’s film of The Spirit as Silken Floss, “a sexy and intelligent secretary with a vindictive instinct that makes her the perfect accomplice to the Octopus”.

Will Eisner had a character called Silken Floss too - Dr Silken Floss, who was both a nuclear physicist and a brilliant surgeon.

I’ve no wish to denigrate secretaries, but it is notable that Eisner was able to envisage women in prestigious non-traditional careers in 1947, whereas Miller, in 2007, isn’t able to do the same.

Still, it’s a change from the two professions into which Miller usually fits his female characters: whoredom and assassination. Those of Miller’s fans who resent this step may take comfort from the thought that, the last time he had to write about a secretary, Karen Page from Daredevil, he immediately turned her into a junkie porn performer instead.

The Spirit “Silken Floss MD”, Comic Book Section, 9 March 1947, reprinted in The Spirit Archives Volume 14, DC Comics, 2004


Mike Haseloff said...

Oh dear...

Alicia said...

Thank you for writing this. The constant lionization of Frank Miller's blunt misogyny is painful to me because it is hardly a necessary element of his work. Pointing out what a grotesque departure it is from the Eisner version of the same character makes me feel, for once, that comics fans are not necessarily addicted to the notion exciting women must be either servile purveyors or sex or servile purveyors of death.

Siskoid said...

Frank Miller on the Spirit? Why isn't he working on his own stuff instead? It works for Sin City, it works for 300, it would work for Martha Washington, but Miller's world view is best left out of other properties (as per All-Star Batman, which only really works as a parody).

paulhd said...

This just confirms my low opinion of Miller and what a terrible choice of director he is for The Spirit. Still, at least Darwyn Cooke seems to have done a good job.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the female characters in Will Eisner's books are misogynist, but as for sex symbols, Scarlet Johannson has all the grace and eloquence of a sausage-fingered, middle-aged male butcher. She looks good in stills, but that's all it is-- vacancy.

She comes off as insecure, and self-conscious, nervous as Hell, and, frankly, she can't act the role of a sexually mature woman. I miss the old days when a vamp was really a vamp, and not some made up, frightened little mind-control victim.

I avoid all her films ever since she butchered The Black Dahlia. She BUTCHERED it, people.