Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sexy Sexy Sexy She-Hulk

Here’s a companion piece about She-Hulk’s sexualisation to Michael May’s post about She-Hulk and Sex. She wasn’t quite so promiscuous yet, but writer John Byrne still used her as a sex object. I’m talking about…

FANTASTIC FOUR #275, Marvel Comics, February 1985
In the cold winter of 1985, this one kept me warm. It's the one where a paparazzo takes a picture of a topless She-Hulk sunbathing on the roof of the Baxter Building. You don't actually see anything, but that's why you have an imagination, isn't it? And look at that, probably the first ever "breaking the fourth wall" She-Hulk cover.

So Shulkie's getting a tan (which for her must mean a slightly darker shade of green) atop the Fantastic Four's HQ, eating pretzels (She-Hulk, pretzels, there's a hidden meaning in that), and enjoying a good book, when all of a sudden, a helicopter comes around, blows her top clean off as some smarmy type takes pictures. Here's one thing you wouldn't expect Cameron Diaz or Janet Jackson to do:

And then she starts ripping stuff off the aircraft until they slam her through an office building!
Personally, that's what I would call a good day at the office, and the water cooler conversations would spin towards "where does she get those purple short shorts?" for at least a month. For She-Hulk, though, this is prelude to her having to flex some mental muscle for the rest of the issue. No biggie, she's not "slow" like her cousin. She's lawyer Jennifer Walters in real life, so she makes a few calls and tracks down the helicopter pilot.

[She-Hulk Contextual Aside: You know I'm a big fan of She-Hulk. In fact, I dare say I preferred her to the Thing in the Fantastic Four. Yes, I know, heresy. I like Ben Grimm, but faced with the choice of an orange rock monster and a green bombshell, well, orange is such a tacky color. One of the endearing things about She-Hulk is that once she went green, she didn't want to go back. She's not one to play secret identity. Screw it. Being She-Hulk is way more fun (and HOT!) than playing Ally McBeal. Which makes this issue an oddity because her McBeal persona does show up later.]

My little aside gave She-Hulk time to get to the airfield to intimidate the pilot into giving her the name of the magazine that has her pictures. Here's how you do that (in case you're ever in the situation):
The rag is The Naked Truth, a porn mag that "makes Hustler look like the Congressional Report" (oooh, Hustler got some free publicity in a Marvel comic - but then John Byrne's got a thing about porn, I'll tell you about the disturbing Superman/Big Barda video tape one day). Jennifer Walters gets an appointment with its lecherous publisher, a guy that could be played by Stan Lee if he shaved his moustache.

He tells She-Hulk's lawyer (wink wink) that the issue is already at the printers, and the money he's getting is safe and sound in his office safe (like the slime he is, he doesn't keep it in the bank). But he doesn't want to waste Jen's visit so he makes her an offer she can't refuse:
He wants her to get out of her clothes? Fine, she HULKS OUT, ripping her suit to shreds (whoooo) revealing her FF uniform underneath (boooo). Then she squishes his safe into a perfect ball ("I'm not going to break open your safe. I'm going to improve it for you."), hands it to him and leaves. At least she's got her dignity, right?

As the magazine sees print, guess what, they couldn't believe the girl was supposed to be green, so they color-corrected it! (Byrne even references the print of Star Trek's make-up tests which kept coming back flesh tones, which makes him one of us geeks.)
"You can't even tell it's me!" cries a happy She-Hulk. Of course, the Human Torch has some green-tinted glasses somewhere... Tried it, you still can't see nuthin'. Even so, it's another reason Byrne's years on Fantastic Four rocked.

15 comments:

rob! said...

a very fun issue!

and while i can't grok wanting She Hulk in the FF over the thing, she could at times be a captivating, fun character.

menshevik said...

Re. once you got green you don't go back: Of course later Johnny Storm, who letched after Jennifer here, would find himself married to another green-skinned lady (he still is, in the MC-2 timeline)...

De said...

Superman/Big Barda video tape

The mind boggles big time. You have got to tell us about this!

I loved Byrne's run on FF, which is second only to the Simonson run in my not-so humble opinion. I just wish he weren't such a jerk.

Sea_of_Green said...

Heh, heh, heh. This is my favorite FF issue of all time: "Torchy, I could kiss ya!" :-D

Siskoid said...

De: As soon as I get up the nerve to go into something so... icky.

SallyP said...

Those early She-Hulks were quite the hoot.

ComicsAllTooReal's Chris said...

You just gotta love the She-Hulk :) I do.

And I do second your heresy, Siskoid. I always found the FF to be a little too dull to keep my interest for long. But having her instead of Ben would really improve things. :P

Bill D. said...

You ever notice that the publisher of the porn mag looks like a mustacheless Stan Lee? That always makes me laugh.

Siskoid said...

Yes I have.

You might want to read the post again ;).

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Paparazzi didn't know that she was so strong and that she was going to geta revenge, she us so sexy but is rude too.

The Dude said...

I used to have this issue! great art and great non-action oriented story too. i think She-Hulk is still one of the hottest comic book heroines today!

Siskoid said...

and the fact this post gets at least 12 hits a day STILL is a testament to her hotness.

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Generic Valtrex said...

She-Hulk is so sexy I agree, but you should be careful because she either is violent, I mean, She has not problems to destroy something in a few seconds, so we have to respect her.

hotrod said...

I have this issue and would like to sell it if anyone is interested.