Monday, September 3, 2012

The Sensational She-Hulk 34: Demi Moore, Eat Your Heart Out!

Thor never has to pose shirtless on his covers, does he?  Alas, poor She-Hulk!  With sales down, creator John Byrne was breaking out the cheesecake to goose sales.  This issue's cover was a parody of the naked and pregnant Demi Moore cover of Vanity Fair.  By the way, that's a beachball, not a tumor.  The story has little to do with the cover beyond it starting on the beach.  It's set in New Orleans and involves zombies, and, uh, hell if I know what's actually going on here.  It's John Byrne letting his id bleed out all over the comics page, and that's kind of fun.  The story is somewhat reminiscent of Wolff and Byrd:  Counselors Of The Macabre, a fun indie comic which features lawyers representing supernatural clients, but it's unlikely Byrne knew of the comic strip, later a comic book, since it was only appearing in a legal newspaper then.  He also seems to be riffing on "Marvel Zombie" which had become a pejorative term for comic readers who only bought Marvel Comics, even when a lot of publishers were putting out better comics.

Here are some random thoughts on this issue:

*The anniversary UPC corner cover art often featured Byrne's work whether it was Captain America's 50th anniversary or The Fantastic Four's 30th, an indication of his popularity with readers at the time.  From what I remember, this art ran on nearly every comic Marvel published at the time.

*The Black Talon is this issue's silly villain.  He's an African-America voodoo dude.  They call him "Black" just in case you didn't notice he was black.  Can you say racial stereotype, boys and girls?  I knew you could.  Don't blame Byrne though.  He's just making fun of this stuff.  Notice that white comics characters don't get called white too often.  White Wolverine.  White Superman.  White Tiger does, but he's actually Puerto-Rican.  White characters can be other colors though.  Check out Green Lantern or Blue Beetle (the original couple of characters, not the Hispanic teenager when DC tried to be multicultural).

*She-Hulk starts answering letters again on the letters page.

*All in all, a fun issue.  It's also really hard to find in the quarter or back issue bin.  When I realized that I had missed a couple of Byrne She-Hulks, most were easy and cheap to find, but not this one.  Presumably, some people collect it because of the parody cover making it scarcer than the other issues.  It's readily available on eBay though, but if you have to spend over $5 to get a 20-year-old comic mailed to you . . . well, I guess that's cheaper than therapy.  But check out your health care insurance plan or government medical program.  Maybe not.

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