So, I was blithering at the Geek Husband What Rules about Marvel Heroes the other night, and talking about how much fun Gambit was to play, and I was getting ready to start playing Cable for awhile. When he said, “I don’t know why Gambit is such an unpopular character among dudes. His power is totally awesome!”
My kneejerk response was: “Because girls like him.”
Since Gambit debuted in 1990, girls have been all over the Cajun. Friends of mine who didn’t ordinarily read comics, bought the titles Gambit appeared in, which acted as a gateway to other comics. There’s a lot to appeal to women in Gambit. He’s handsome, he’s a bad boy (and because he’s fictional, a safe bad boy), he has a tragic past, and his doomed love for Rogue… I mean, seriously, it’s almost like a 14 year old girl with a romance novel habit, in addition to liking comics, designed him (which is not to denigrate this, it’s just the character I probably would have created at that age). And his power is freaking AWESOME! I mean, turning ANYTHING into a bomb by touching it? You tell me junior high wouldn’t have been WAY different if you could have done that.
My beloved Nightcrawler is also girl-bait, and also not quite as popular with the dudes, as say, Wolverine, or Captain America or Iron Man. And all of those characters are handsome, but why is it that the ladies tend to be more drawn to the Cajun and Nightcrawler? And granted, this is changing because of the movies, because let’s face it, Hemsworth, Evans, and Downey Jr. are all hella handsome dudes. But for the longest time, if you talked to comic book girls, we rarely listed those guys as our favorites. I’ve got friends who love Cyclops for his Boy Scoutness, but Cap’s a Boy Scout, too. Gambit’s a bad boy, but so’s Iron Man.
So, what is it about some of these characters? Is it their “underdog” status as not solo heroes? What is it? I’m serious, guys, tell me what you think here.
I think a lot of it is because they’re not drawn super-mega muscled most of the time. Let’s face, Gambit is probably the only character created by Liefeld not to suffer from microencephalitis. Nightcrawler has always had a more slender silhouette. And Scott’s, well, he’s usually drawn like a normal dude.
But does the fact that these characters appeal to women influence their appeal to male fans? I don’t know. I’m not a dude. It’s my kneejerk reaction, after a lifetime embedded in geek culture, but I’m willing to be proved wrong. What do you think? Women, what heroes do it for you and why? Dudes, look at the list heroes the women post, and tell me what you think about those heroes.
As for me, Nightcrawler is handsome, not over muscled (comparatively), he’s romantic and a flirt and ladies’ man, but still treats the women in his life well (at least up the point the writers fridge them, but that’s another post). And I think that last part is the key, he cares, and when his love interests are fridged, he seems genuinely torn up.
Ok, so that’s it. I’m off to play more Marvel Heroes. I’m leveling Cable right now. I wasn’t sold on him at first, but as you level him, he gets exponentially more awesome. Between the Psionic Haze and the forcefield he can surround himself with that kills pukes just by touching them, I think I’m in love. Also, if you try to pick up anything when his inventory is full, he says, “Even I don’t have that many pouches,” in an homage to Liefeld and his love of pouches every where.
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