Issue(s): She-Hulk #50
As for the artists, the joke of this issue is that since John Byrne is leaving the title, new creative teams are being auditioned, and so we have a number of high profile guest artists. Among the gag submissions there is one "real" story by what will (sort of) be the actual creative team going forward (the names after the slashes in my credits section. Due to the lack of credits on the main story, it's unclear who inked it. Both the UHBMCC and GCD assume that the guest artists all inked their own sections, and i'll follow that.
The first candidate is Dave Gibbons, and that reason he's rejected is that a book by a British creator would be incomprehensible to an American audience.
Considering that the non-Byrne issues in this series with the most promise were by Simon Furman and/or Bryan Hitch, that's a pretty weak gag.
Next up is Frank Miller in full Sin City mode.
She-Hulk then says that none of the male artists on her book have had the right feel for a female character. "most of 'em have the subtlety and fashion sense of a Fredrick's of Hollywood catalog". So in response, the next candidate is "one of the top female artists in the country", Wendy Pini. it would be cool to see Pini's take on She-Hulk, but for this gag she's just doing Elfquest with She-Hulk. Which is still cool.
Next is Walt Simonson.
She-Hulk says she "read the issue of Spider-Man he swiped the 'Doom DOom Doom' bit from". Heh.
After that is Howard Chaykin.
They then decide to give Terry Austin, mainly known as an inker, a try. He turns in a Popeye pastiche.
Then Tom DeFalco and Mark Gruenwald come in and say that the book needs to cater more to teenage boys.
And that leads to Adam Hughes' contribution, which doubles as an Atlantis Attacks satire. She-Hulk saying that we'll never understand it is my favorite joke of the issue.
Then we get to Howard Mackie's contribution. The idea is that with so many artists wanting to be writers, he's a writer trying to be an artist. And he's just going to do what a lot of artists at this time were doing: swipe. At least he provides attribution.
She-Hulk says "the inker did the best he could to save it", but still rejects it.
We're now down to the last choice, and unlike the others, this one, by newcomers Michael Eury and Todd Britton, isn't a gag.
I wondered if War Zone was meant to be a parody of War Machine in light of the comments about marketability. But War machine's brief blip of popularity seems to have been unexpected - War Machine wasn't even meant to be the name of the character at first - so it's probably just a coincidence. And in any event he turns out to be a robot.
It's kind of sad that the actual story in this book is thirty times more mundane than all of the "rejected" gags.
The story ignored all of the criticisms brought up in the parodies and gets She-Hulk into her underwear, too.
Despite the obvious horribleness of that story, She-Hulk decides that she likes that one over all the others. Then it turns out that isn't really dead; editor Renee just has him locked in a closet. But when he shows She-Hulk his latest direction...
...she decides to stick with the Eury/Britton team anyway (and tosses Byrne over the side of a building, killing him after all).
I'd read the hell out of Lil She-Hulk compared to the Eury stuff. And by the way, even if you like the Britton art, it turns out he won't stick around beyond one more issue. Next issue is a fill-in, and then the Eury run starts, with one issue by Britton before the artist changes again. And Eury's run only lasts one story, with the book staggering on for an additional three issues after that before cancellation.
In real life, Byrne states his reason for leaving in the lettercol:
I've noticed a kind of "sameness" to the work I've been doing on Sensational She-Hulk for the last dozen issues or so. The gags just haven't been inventive enough. The formula has begun to repeat itself. And Jen deserves better.
Certainly that's been true, and yet i've still found the title enjoyable. As i've said a few times, i wouldn't have minded if Byrne gave up on the gags and just did a straight super-hero book, either. But Byrne was off Namor at this point as well, and so i think he was really just done with Marvel for the time being. It's said that he's working with Howard Mackie on a Ghost Rider/Spider-Man/Man-Thing special, but i don't think anything came of that.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: It's debatable whether or not to take the Eury/Britton story as "canon", so to speak. On the one hand, it's clearly a story that She-Hulk is reading in her editor's office. On the other hand, events from this story will feed into Eury's actual run (a Dr. Hector Devasquez is BTS in this issue; he sent the War Zone android). And it's She-Hulk's comic, so a story within a story depicting actual events isn't any more unusual than any of other fourth wall breaking stuff that goes on. The reason it's a point of consideration is that a non-injured Thing and an un-destroyed Four Freedoms Plaza appear in this issue. That would mean pushing this back in publication time prior to Infinity War. And i'm going to assume that the Eury/Britton is legit, so i am indeed pushing the issue back. Of course, the Thing's face will still be unscarred in his next appearance in She-Hulk #52, but at least the FF's building will be shown to be damaged. We'll learn that She-Hulk's encounter with War Zone has affected her powers, but i don't think it's a problem to allow other appearances before that revelation. We definitely have at least issue #51 before the Eury run starts, so it stand to reason that the effect doesn't happen right away.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I loved this issue. As for the weakness of the Gibbons gag I mean can you think of any other reason to reject Dave Gibbons? Seems mostly a joke about the readers expectations and ignorance.While British creators had been producing the majority of worthwhile comics at this time the average fan still thought them unlikely choices for mainstream superhero work.Most readers probably weren't even aware that Furman & Hitch were British but if they knew of Gibbons they would be aware that he was. Especially telling is that the British caricatures express befuddlement at superheroes (while in a 9-panel grid) well after Moore & Gibbons already laid it down in Watchmen.Oh well at least we got a page or two of Gibbons art.
Posted by: Mizark | October 10, 2016 1:24 PM
The problem with gag comics is that eventually the formula dries up. I think the book would have been stronger instead of focusing on the gags, it focused on the side of the Marvel Universe that Byrne was playing with - the "lame" characters - and keep She Hulk's fourth wall breaking commentary, but concentrate on the story at hand.
The stories need not be "serious" and still comedic, but the situations can be treated seriously even if tongue is in cheek. "Fun" would be the ideal word than "gag". Don't try too hard for the jokes (and the constant pin ups and complaint by the editor). Just keep the stories light. Entertaining stories can be told with lame characters like Spragg, the Living Mountain. I would have enjoyed a character like the Trapster be used that presented him as a challenging opponent while still keeping things fun (given his "lame" status and role as an FF villain). There are a lot of ridiculous villains out there that Scourge never killed, and this would be a good place for them to show up for a while. Or even villains that work elsewhere, but just don't have a chance against She-Hulk. Just avoid the obvious parody villains like Dr Bong.
There was a place for light hearted fun. The earliest Sensational She-Hulk stories were like that, but they increasingly did become dependent on the gag formula.
Posted by: Chris | October 10, 2016 10:10 PM
"so i think he was really just done with Marvel for the time being."
This is indeed his last Marvel work for a little over 5 years.
Posted by: Vincent Valenti | October 10, 2016 11:29 PM
I could not agree with Chris more particularly that the tone of Byrne's first run was the correct approach.
Posted by: Mizark | October 11, 2016 12:34 AM
The Howard Chaykin page is a line-for-line parody of the first page of Chaykin's X-rated comic "Black Kiss."
Posted by: Douglas | October 11, 2016 1:57 AM
I missed She-Hulk in the Avengers at this time. I would prefer that she was there instead of Sersi or Crystal.
Posted by: Steven | October 11, 2016 11:37 AM
Re: the Adam Hughes segment: Boy, She-Hulk was lucky Frank Cho wasn't a "thing" back then.
Also, while I know this was a "gag" does Tom Defalco really sound like that, with a strong "Noo Yawk" accent?
Posted by: Jon Dubya | October 11, 2016 12:13 PM
I'm curious who did the lettering. The Gibbons/Miller/Chaykin/Simonsen pages really look like their particular brand of lettering, whether done themselves (Gibbons and Miller) or by specific letterers (John Workman on Simonsen, I want to say Ken Bru... not going to try to spell it, on Chaykin, and not sure I'm right on the name anyway.)
Posted by: ChrisW | October 21, 2016 2:54 AM
The issue only gives letterer and colorist credits for the Eury/Britton portion, and the UHBMCC and GCD don't have any additional info.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 21, 2016 8:36 AM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|