“Painkiller Jane,” Woman-Directed Bisexual Woman Superhero Movie, Announced While Marvel and DC Twiddle Thumbs

In a time when both Marvel and DC seem to refuse to make movies starring female superheroes, it was announced today that the Soska Sisters will be directing a Painkiller Jane movie. This means that not only is there going to be a comic book superhero movie starring a woman, but that movie will be directed by two women and the character that the movie is about is a bisexual woman.

Painkiller Jane #2 cover by Amanda Conner

Painkiller Jane #2 cover by Amanda Conner

Painkiller Jane was created by comic creators Jimmy Palmiotti and Joe Quesada in 1995. She has appeared in crossover events with characters like The Punisher, Vampirella and Hellboy and recently had a relaunch at Dynamite Entertainment. Painkiller Jane is also known as Jane Vasko, and used to be a policewoman before being attacked and gaining regenerating and pain-tolerating abilities. This will be her third appearance on the screen. The first was a made-for-TV movie in 2005 starring Emmanuele Vaugier that aired on the SyFy channel. She was later brought to life in a 2007 SyFy series starring queer actress and model Kristanna Loken.

The film will be directed by Jen and Sylvia Soska, also known as The Soska Twins, a pair of twin sisters known for their horror films centered around women. Their breakout film was 2012’s American Mary, which was notable for its over-the-top body horror, what many saw as feminist themes and shocking visuals. It’s exciting that not only will this be a film about a woman, but a film made by women as well. No stars or release dates have been announced yet.

Jen and Sylvia Soska appearing in their movie American Mary

Jen and Sylvia Soska appearing in their movie American Mary

On the very same day, Kevin Feige, who is Marvel’s President and is pretty much in charge of what movies they make, responded to a reporting asking if he is bothered by the backlash against Marvel’s reluctance to make a woman-starring movie. ScreenCrush asked if he was afraid of facing backlash like J.J. Abrams did after the Star Wars cast was announced as being mostly male, and Feige responded by saying, “I don’t think J.J. Abrams or the Star Wars people — I have no idea — but my guess is that they were not swayed by any backlash. We’re not going to be swayed by the backlash. We’re going to keep bringing the movies out the way we envision it and the way we believe in it — and that includes diversity in all of the active films.” So, basically, they just see the calls for more representation as bothersome whining.

To be fair, Marvel could announce a female-led in the next few days (or even next few hours) at Comic-Con. But they haven’t yet, and they’ve already scheduled movies through 2019, which would be over a decade of Marvel Cinematic films with no movies centered on women. Instead, they keep on saying that they’re happy with the schedule they have and what movies they have planned. Similarly, DC is announcing a number of new movies as a follow up to their Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice film and leading up to their Justice League movie. Now, according to a leaked schedule (which, honestly, may be totally made up), DC plans on finally releasing a Wonder Woman movie in 2017, but not until they’ve already released Batman v Superman, Shazam, Sandman and Justice League.

Yes, Black Widow is awesome in The Avengers, but just give her her own damn movie already!

Yes, Black Widow is awesome in The Avengers, but just give her her own damn movie already!

It’s completely bizarre that it’s taking so long for either DC or Marvel (or perhaps we should be blaming Warner Bros and Disney) to make a movie about a female superhero. When women make up 46% of comic book readers and 52% of moviegoers, you would think that catering to us would be a natural step. There’s still a chance that either Marvel or DC will announce something at Comic Con, which is currently in progress, but if they do, it’s still much later than they should have. Thankfully, we still have independent comic book titles like Painkiller Jane to make the leap from the page to the screen to hold us over until that happens.

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Mey Rude is a fat, trans, Latina lesbian living in LA. She's a writer, journalist, and a trans consultant and sensitivity reader. You can follow her on twitter, or go to her website if you want to hire her.

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  1. IS she actually going to be bisexual in the movie though? You know how Hollywood is. If they can de-gay something they will. The last two Painkiller Jane movies didn’t touch her sexuality at all. She only had male love-interests.

    • … and if she is bisexual, will her woman romantic/sexual parters/interests be important, or just “I Kissed a Girl” eye candy?

  2. I’m excited that they might release a Wonder Woman movie! I really hope that leaked info is correct. GINA TORRES as Wonder Woman would be my dream. But I’d be happy as long as there’s a movie planned, I think. That’s bullshit that it’s not until 2017 though, ugh! Those fuckers.

    And seriously, where is the Black Widow movie?? That would be everything.

    This Painkiller Jane flick sounds rad. I’ll check out the comic!

  3. But they do cater to us, they’re called rom-coms. And unfortunately, because the creators/producers/directors are often male, they succumb to the patriarchal stereotype that women only want to see romance, frivolous story-lines and endings reminiscent of childhood happily ever afters. These men, I think, really do believe that’s what women are interested in. No matter how much we fight against that idea, they fight back harder. This way we are still frivolous, superficial, trite… and it’s easier not to take us seriously. I think the problem runs a lot deeper.

    When I was a kid in the 80s, all we had was She-ra whom I absolutely adored. Yes, she was polite, soft spoken, white/blonde/mainstream pretty but that’s all we had. And she had her own effing show! She rocked.

  4. I’m really excited to see what the twins will come up with, so.….anybody here excited to see Lucy?

    • I was excited for about 15 seconds the first time I saw the trailer, and then I lost all hype. I think most people are passing on it due to the blatant racism and the entire premise being a scientific fallacy.

  5. I loved American Mary, so I’m excited to see what the Soska Sisters do with Painkiller Jane!

  6. Once I saw it was the Soska twins, my hype level jumped. I really hope it’s good. American Mary was one of those movies I popped on Netflix expecting a B-level horror movie and got a surprisingly well-written feminist gore fest.

  7. This would be a good date idea if i had anyone to take out ha. Does this say when this movie is supposed to come out, because I will probably watch the shit out of it.

    Also I would be so down for a black widow movie.

  8. I seem to remember a TV show based on this comic when I was younger, and it made me really uncomfortable because her powers seemed to be a good excuse to show extreme violence against a woman, but handwave it away as OK because “she has regenerative powers!”

  9. Jumping on the Painkiller Jane train because I love comics and girls and I’m trying not to hype this up too much in my brain but I’m so exited to read old comics/watch the new movie~~~ :)

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