The Mad Max Furiosa comic, created entirely by men, is terrible about women


Comics Alliance

Although Mad Max: Fury Road: Nux and Immortan Joe #1 is the work of writer Nico Lathouris, writer/artist Mark Sexton, and artists Leandro Fernandez, Riccardo Burchielli, and Andrea Mutti, Miller has credit for the story. Don’t let the change in mediums fool you. This is canon

DC Comics Blog

The tales of Nux and Immortan Joe. How Furiosa came to meet the Wives. And Max, making his way through the twisted and poisoned wasteland. All stories that flesh out these richly layered and fascinating people, and how they came to be what they are at the beginning of Fury Road. Stories taken from the mind of George Miller… Given flesh by one of the co-writers of the Fury Road screenplay, Nico Lathouris, and myself.


Thanks buuutt… I’d still like to hear that the bullshit didn’t come from the world-building and back stories of Miller.

At least there’s a glimmer of hope, and hopefully Miller will make a statement but I’m wondering how likely that is given his contractual entanglement in the thing.


First of all, we should be clear that MMFR, the movie, was written by three men. And two of those men, Miller and Lathouris, are credited as writers on the comic. So we can debate about the content of the comic, but it absolutely is the product of the people who wrote the movie.

That quote by Sexton is pretty terrible. But I have read the comic and I actually really liked it (and yes, I’m a woman). It is full of rape, and that means it’s probably not content that some people will want to engage with. There’s nothing wrong with that. But I found it to be a compelling story.

I think it has to be viewed as primarily a story about Furiosa’s internal conflict in working for a guy who’s a violent misogynist. As a high-ranking Imperator, she has probably the most secure position she can possibly have in a society where all other women are viewed as chattel. What would make her give that up? It would have to be something big, and something personal.

When she’s out on the road, she can kind of forget about the contradiction of being an enforcer for a guy who keeps women as sex slaves. When she’s suddenly in charge of guarding the wives, she has to face that contradiction. And ultimately she decides she can’t be complicit in Joe’s system of violence anymore and she has to resist him, even if it means giving up her relatively secure position and putting herself in danger. It’s the same choice Max makes in the movie - choosing between individual survival at any cost, or collective resistance and solidarity.

The Wives don’t hate her because she’s another woman, or because they’re being catty. They hate her because she’s their prison guard. She stands there, armed, and doesn’t do anything to help them while Joe does what he wants. I’d be pissed too. They explicitly ask her, “Whose side are you on?”, and by the end of the comic, she has an answer.

I think it’s a pretty bold storytelling choice to show her starting out on Joe’s side, in a position where she is not heroic at all, but terribly morally compromised, and making the choice to resist him. And I think that’s why the violence has to be in there–the whole story is about what Furiosa’s relationship is going to be to the way Joe treats other women.

I also think it’s clear that Miller and Lathouris had this backstory written well before they shot the movie, and that they told it to some of the actors. It gives Furiosa’s line about redemption a very specific context. It’s not just that she’s done some bad things, in a general sense, in her service as Joe’s lieutenant. It’s that she owes something specific to these women, for all the times she didn’t do anything.

In any case, I’ve written a lot more about this in other places, if folks are interested:


So let me see if I’ve understood this correctly. You’re saying that there is something intrinsically wrong with male writers—in this instance, the fact of the team being all male is at the very core of why the comic sucks—and the answer is not to hire better writers, but to hire specifically female writers, because female writers do not suffer from the same intrinsic flaws. Is that it?

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I’m not getting what the confusion is here. Yes, Miller’s film was a story about women who had been raped. Yet MILLER CHOSE NOT TO SHOW IT IN THE FUCKING FILM. Get it? So if it didn’t need to be shown in the film, why does it need to be shown OVER AND OVER AND OVER in the comic? Film, like comics, is a visual medium. It’s called SUBTLETY. Sexton said on twitter that “This IS the story that George Miller had. Written by the people who wrote the screenplay for the film.” Yeah, we get that, Mark, you patronizing dick. But I’m pretty sure the audience understood that the brides were raped. WE GET IT. Then Sexton gives us this gem… “All I would like to say is that we tried to tell a story that really explained WHY the Wives fled the Citadel” Uh, Mark, hate to be the one to burst your bubble here, but everyone who saw the movie ALREADY KNOWS WHY THEY FLED. It was…wait for it…it’s a big word…wait…OBVIOUS.

The comic seems to written for a 4 year old who needs the obvious spoon fed to them via shitty art and writing. Yes, Furiosa FACILITATED their escape but the brides contributed to THEIR OWN FREEDOM. What’s her name shields her friends with her pregnant body and guess what? SHE DOESN’T DO IT ON ORDERS FROM FURIOSA. She thinks it up all by her widdle self!! Hey, dudes, from a fellow dude, just stop with all the obtuse BS, M’kay? It’s SO played out and you continue to make yourselves irrelevant by indulging in it. And this is coming from a former mansplainer who knows all the tricks.


Wait, so I can’t say women can be angry now? Even if they sound angry? What is the proper term for now for the behaviors and mannerisms that would be called angry in men, but happens in individuals who don’t identify as such? Why should men be allowed to be angry? It sounds to much like macho rage, which can be kind of linked to a male gender stereotypes.

Sorry, women can be angry. Sometimes they even have reason to be angry. Just like men.

Also, so now only women can portray women well? So 50 Shades of Grey is a more accurate portrayal of women than anything a man could churn out? Can women portray men faithfully?

No, bad writing is bad writing, regardless of which gender writes it.

Though, I am sick to death of rape as a plot device. I generally turn off movies the second they get rapey. Not only is it distasteful, but it is cheap, and minimizes the horror of the actual thing. Sure, there are some exceptions (Last House on the Left, and Death Wish), where they somehow transcend using rape as a cheap gimmick (cheapening rape), and make the whole thing as horrifying as it deserves to be.

Yes, both of those movies might be considered to be cheap schlock by some, but they are surprisingly not really when you watch them without internalizing later genre tropes.

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You haven’t understood this correctly.


Great comment. Also, I checked out the related writing on your blog, and it was all equally great, you’ve got a way with words and an eye for this stuff. If possible, I think I love Fury Road more than I did already (and Road Warrior is an all-time favorite of mine).

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