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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

She-Hulk Key Issues Part 3

Gotta admit that I'm struggling big time with this She-Hulk key issues list. In almost each part I do, I feel like ending it due to the crazy amount of non-significant characters and villains that are specific to She-Hulk, and the ones that are worth any salt are those that appeared well before her debut.

I did miss a villain that is the closest thing to a consistent arch enemy that She-Hulk has in Part 2. I've recently added Titania's debut and another key involving the two in the previous post, and you can click this Part 2 link to discover those issue if interested.

If not interested, here's some more She-Hulk key issues for some fans to consider.

1st Modern Age appearance Louise Mason

Another borrowed main supporting cast member for the Sensational She-Hulk comic series is Louise Mason. She is actually a Golden Age character who debuted when Marvel Comics was Timely Comics.

Back in 1946, Louise Grant debuted in All Select Comics #11 as Blonde Phantom in her own feature and became part of the All Winners Squad later.  but she disappeared for quite a while since the Golden Age. Her character would be revived in this comic series and debuts as Louise Mason in this issue.

It would be revealed that she married Mark Mason, who Louise was a secretary of in their Golden Age adventures. Despite the secretary bit, Mark Mason was a supporting character to Blonde Phantom much like Steve Trevor for Wonder Woman. 

In this She-Hulk series, she is a secretary for Blake Tower and also knows she is a comic book character. That bit of information would be revealed in issue #4 of Sensational She-Hulk.

Her daughter Wanda would debut in this series and become Phantom Blonde for a brief spell as well. So Louise Grant as Louise Mason is revived from the Golden Age and makes her 1st modern appearance in this here issue.

Blonde Phantom was actually a pretty popular character back in the Golden Age era and was ranked 98th in Comics Buyer's Guide's "100 Sexiest Women in Comics" list.

The cover to this issue reproduces Jack Kirby's cover to The Incredible Hulk #2 and Shulkie is seenreading that classic Silver Age comic. Cool nod and Sensational She-Hulk #2 is cover-dated June, 1989.

1st cameo of Lexington Loopner
Updated modern origin of Louise Mason

John Byrne satirized comics in the Sensational She-Hulk comic series and Lexington Loopner is a parody of Superman's Lex Luthor. He is a top-notch media advisor and appears here and there in this particular series, but only appears in one panel of this issue.

Other than debuting another minor character in the world of She-Hulk comics, this issue does have an updated modern origin for Louise Mason. She tells Jennifer what happened to her and her husband Mark Mason when they stopped being comic characters and how they aged.

Apparently, Louise recommended Jennifer Walters to Towers so she could be a supporting character in a comic book again. Welcome to the wacky world of John Byrne She-Hulk.

Overstreet notes Sensational She-Hulk #4 as the "Re-intro of G.A. Blonde Phantom", and it is cover-dated August, 1989.

1st appearance & origin of Nosferata
1st cameo of Jack Serious

More characters who don't really have that many known appearances in comics or even in She-Hulk comics are Nosferata and Jack Serious. Nosferata is an obvious riff on Batman with her costume and an assortment of bat-related weapons like the Nosferatarangs.

Her origin is a spoof on Bruce Wayne's tragic ordeal in which her hippie parents were murdered in front of her by a robber after watching Easy Rider.

Nosferata's real civilian name is Purple Hayes and resides in Hayes Manor. Like with Batman, she vows to fight crime after the murder of her parents. 

Eventually she finally suits up as Nosferata to kick some bad guy butt.

Even Jack Serious is a parody of DC's Joker and went over the deep end after he became a victim of one of his own psychological experiments. Jack Serious only appears in two panels on the last page of the story in this comic, and his origin is not told in this comic.

This villainous parody would even meet Deadpool later on in his comic series but doesn't have many appearances either. Still, this issue and even #20 were pretty good and funny reads.

Issue #20 should be the 1st full appearance of Jack Serious and that issue does have his origin. September, 1990 is the cover date for Sensational She-Hulk #19.

1st appearance of Wanda Mason
1st appearance of Abominatrix

It's the female version of the Abomination, but with a skirt. I am serious, the Abominatrix wears a skirt.

Exposed to gamma rays, Florence Staples is bestowed the same powers as the Abomination and becomes another foe of She-Hulk that she tangles with only a few times here and there. Abominatrix was created by Steve Gerber, Buzz Dixon and Tom Artis.

Bringing a little lineage to Louise Mason's character, this issue debuts her daughter Wanda Mason as mentioned earlier. She appears as herself and does not become Phantom Blonde in this issue.

While still a pretty minor character, Wanda was the only reason why I even bothered to list this one since she is the daughter of Blonde Phantom.

Cover date for Sensational She-Hulk #21 is November, 1990 

1st appearance of Phantom Blonde

Wanda Mason finally suits up and calls herself Phantom Blonde in this issue and intends to carry on her mother's crime fighting legacy. Still, she changes the name slightly to somewhat carve out her own identity possibly. 

Don't think it quite works. Her costume was designed by Sue Storm of the Fantastic Four, and She-Hulk is less than pleased about the announcement.

Like her mother, Wanda has no initial powers. She has appeared in very few comics outside of the She-Hulk title and had a minor part in the Civil War story line where Tony Stark considered her as a potential recruit for the Initiative.

Sensational She-Hulk #23 has the cover date of January, 1991.

1st appearance of X-Humed
1st appearance of Garth
Parody of Vanity Fair cover 

Remember that Vanity Fair cover that had a pregnant and nude Demi Moore on the cover? This cover is a parody of that.

Not really sure why since Shulkie isn't really nude on the cover, and she is holding a green beach ball. However, some issues with the character in it did imply that She-Hulk was nude like in Marvel Graphic Novel #18.

This cover, however, she appears to be in a skimpy bathing suit not her birthday suit. Dunno why this was a big deal and not sure if comic fans even made or still make a fuss about this cover.

Anyway, this issue does have a few minor 1st appearances such as the zombie group X-Humed formed by Black Talon. Debuting in Avengers #152 back in 1976, Black Talon is a voodoo cult leader and can create zombies and control them to do his evil bidding.

This version of Black Talon is Samuel Barone. The prior Black Talon was Desmond Drew and 1st appeared in Strange Tales #173 as a foe for Brother Voodoo.

In this issue, Samuel Barone as Black Talon resurrects four dead mutants - Changeling, Scaleface, Living Diamond and Harry Leland - but was unable to control them all at once. Needless to say, his plans would end up being foiled.

Garth is the hulking, zombie man-servant of Black Talon until he was defeated by Shulkie. After that, he changed affiliation and became Jennifer's house keeper. 

In issue #37 of the comic series, Byrne took a jab at Rob Liefeld by having She-Hulk comment that Garth reminded her of a Rob Liefeld creation with a head out of proportion with the rest of his body.   

Sensational She-Hulk #34 is cover-dated December, 1991.

She-Hulk joins team

After the Sensational She-Hulk title was cancelled with issue #60, the character had back up features and guest starred in a variety of comics. It's said that Sensational She-Hulk ran the longest of any Marvel super heroine self-titled series up to that point, so her popularity was higher than most.

She-Hulk was a member of the Fantastic Force back in the mid 90s, but this comic series didn't last very long. It was canceled with issue #18 and the team disbands in that issue.

The original team consisted of Huntara, Psi-Lord, Black Panther, Vibraxes, and Devlor. She-Hulk joins this issue and the cover is obviously a homage to Fantastic Four #265 when She-Hulk first joins the Fantastic Four. 

Cover Date for Fantastic Force #13 is November, 1995.

CCA and Sexism challenge

John Byrne had no problem with controversy when it came to She-Hulk or even calling out certain issues. This cover obviously implies that Shulkie is nude by covering up with something that had the Comics Code Authority logo on it, but that wasn't the only gag or statement.

This gag was conceived in the letter's page to issue #36 when a reader commented on the subject, and since Jennifer sometimes answered the mail herself, she responded with a joke about 22 pages of her skipping rope in the nude.

So here we are with issue #40, and the creatives seem to continue the joke of She-Hulk skipping rope nude with blur lines covering up some female parts.


However, Shulkie wasn't nude at all, and the whole gag took a look at sexism in comics as well as the fine line between decency, censorship, and the 1st Amendment.

At the end of the gag, Byrne introduces his editor Renee Witterstaetter as a comic character who ends the absurdity.

A fan-favorite She-Hulk moment, but not really an essential key issue. It does address some important topics for sure in the realm of comics, and Sensational She-Hulk #40 has the cover date of June, 1992.

She-Hulk joins team
Jim Hammond joins team

This comic series is yet another one that doesn't last very long, not even hitting 20 issues. Pretty safe to say that She-Hulk isn't a member of the Heroes for Hire team for very long either.

In this issue, she joins the team a long with Jim Hammond the original Human Torch.

Once again, no significant 1st appearances directly associated with our jade heroine, and She-Hulk as a member of Heroes for Hire isn't really associated with the group like she is with the Avengers or Fantastic Four to most comic fans. 

She-Hulk did date Luke Cage for a time. Heroes for Hire #8 has the cover date of February, 1998

Search for She-Hulk story line begins

She-Hulk goes Hulk and is unable to control herself when she rages. Basically, she loses her intellect when she changes into She-Hulk.

So afraid of not being able to control herself, Jennifer flees so she does not endanger her friends. However, the Avengers do find her in Bone, Idadho, and this causes her to freak out and start damaging the town.

Way to go Avengers. Well, and of course, this would led to an Avengers vs She-Hulk brawl.

The Hulk would even get into it in a later issue to the Search for She-Hulk story line. Estimated print run for Avengers #72 volume 3 is around 58,441 and has the cover date of November, 2003.

She-Hulk vs Hulk battle

For the life of me, I cannot find the first time She-Hulk battles her cousin Bruce Banner as the Hulk. She did have team ups with the Hulk in the pages of the Avengers and The Incredible Hulk comics, but couldn't find any battles between the two titans.

Doesn't really make sense since I think fans would've called for that to happen earlier. I think during that time when Shulkie was an Avengers during her first stint with the team, Banner was able to keep his intellect when he hulked out, so that may have to do with why the two didn't duke it out earlier.

Okay, never mind. I might of found it. 

I think their first battle happened in Incredible Hulk #322 when the Hulk was separated from Banner and became a completely mindless rage monster. In that issue, she does fight Hulk a long side the Avengers.

This issue definitely sees She-Hulk & the Hulk go at it one-on-one. Not the best of art though, but they do scrap for a few pages.

Avengers #75 volume 3 has an estimated print run of around 57,799 and the cover date of February, 2004.

1st appearance of Mallory Book
1st appearance of Holden Holliway
1st appearance of Augustus Pugliese
1st Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Holliway

As mentioned before and as things develop even more for She-Hulk, she is given a very different supporting cast in this new self-titled series that went to 12 issues. Fortunately, this round up of supporting characters were carried over into the She-Hulk volume 2 series.

So Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Holliway is obviously a law firm that Jennifer comes to work for. The name is a homage to Martin Goodman, Stan Lee, and Jack Kirby since Lieber is Stan's real last name and Kurtzberg is Kirby's real last name.

Anyway, Mallory Book is a fellow lawyer and is actually the star lawyer at the firm. Known as the "face who never lost a case", Book is as smart as she is beautiful.

Another employee and main supporting cast member  is Augustus Pugliese. Augustus would develop a crush on She-Hulk which went unnoticed. Holden Holliway is obviously their boss and fellow partner in the law firm.

Holliway's grand-daughter would end up being the character known as Southpaw and a supporting She-Hulk character in both the She-Hulk volume 1 and 2 series. The volume 3 comic series would see a different supporting cast once again.

Dan Slott would helm this series after returning to Marvel from DC Comics, and the law firm is dedicated to superhuman law, often representing super-heroes in a variety of cases ranging from libel suits to damages. Estimated print run for She-Hulk #1 is around 34,499 and May, 2004 is the cover date.

1st appearance of Stu Cicero & Ditto
1st appearance & origin of Danger Man

Awesome Android debuted in the Silver Age of comics in Fantastic Four #15. He is the creation of the Mad Thinker and was pretty much known as a baddie before this series.

She-Hulk has scrapped with him on occasion prior to this series. Before becoming a supporting character for the She-Hulk volume 1 and volume 2 series, he has been a minion of Mad Thinker and appeared as a foe in several comics here and there ranging from Fantastic Four, Rom, Iron Man, and Avengers just to name a few.

Awesome Andy is first named as such in this issue. In this issue, Jennifer learns that Awesome Android was a client of Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Holliway and was emancipated from the Mad Thinker after he gained sentience.

Since Awesome Andy could not afford the legal costs, he happily accepted a job at the law firm. He would develop a crush on Mallory Book and is room mates with Ditto, another employ of GLK&H who can shape-shift. Aside from his friendship with Awesome Andy, Ditto is a process server for the firm and has impersonated Clint Eastwood, John Glenn, and Orlando Bloom.

Ditto is the first person to greet Jennifer Walters on her first day at GLK&H, and that was him int the panels explaining what happened with Awesome Android now called Awesome Andy. 

Danger Man is a client of the firm and does not have many appearances in the comic series. He is a victim of gaining unwanted powers while working as a safety inspector for the Roxxon Corporation and wants to sue them.

Stu Cicero is the librarian at the firm and a huge Marvel Comics fan. Needless to say, he was a fan of She-Hulk's comics as well and him and Jennifer became good friends while she worked at GLK&H.

So, once again, this series brings in the actual comic book world with a twist. Apparently in this She-Hulk world, she is real yet there are comic books written about her that documents all Marvel comic character's chronology and events.

June, 2004 is the cover date for She Hulk #2, and this issue has an estimated print run of around 30,781.

Alright, since I already mentioned some of these comics or characters that ended up being supporting characters for She-Hulk like Louise Mason and Awesome Andy, I might as well talk about their debut issues a little bit. As mentioned before, Louise Mason first debuted as Louise Grant, the Blonde Phantom, in All-Select Comics #11.

Mark Mason also debuts in that issue. The character was created by Stan Lee and Syd Shores in an attempt to attract female readers. Wonder Woman's popularity did have an influence in the reason why the character was created as well.

The title changed from All-Select Comics to The Blonde Phantom starting with issue #12. The series under the title of The Blonde Phantom went to issue #22, and the comic heroine's stories would also be in comics like Sub-Mariner Comics, Marvel Mystery Comics, and others as well.

As mentioned before, Awesome Android debuted in Fantastic Four #15 during the Silver Age of comics. He was mostly a minion of Mad Thinker who also debuts in that very issue. 

Awesome Android was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, but in the comics the Mad Thinker created this artificial life form via science. He is basically a near indestructible microcomputer with a body of unstable molecules.

This provides Awesome Android with several powers like super strength and durability, the ability to mimic surfaces or textures like Iceman's frost and even powers, and can even produce a gale-force wind blast from his mouth.

Since I updated Part 2 with Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #3 that holds the 1st appearance of Titania, I might as well feature the debut of Absorbing Man here as well. After all, Absorbing Man was dragged into Titania's feud and rivalry with She-Hulk since the two villains are married baddies.

So Absorbing Man first debuted in Journey Into Mystery #114 and is another creation of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. So, some of the characters and villains are borrowed from other comics, and most of the main supporting cast of characters in She-Hulk comics are co-workers at whatever law firm.

The Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Holliway firm is a central firm in She-Hulk volumes 1 & 2. In volume 3, Jennifer Walters would open her own practice in New York, which would entail yet another group of supporting characters.

Might as well put this one in here too since I do think it's the first battle that She-Hulk and Hulk have even if it's with the Avengers. So, as mentioned before, that issue is Incredible Hulk #322 (1986), and that's what the regular direct market cover looks like.

There are newsstand and Canadian Editions for Incredible Hulk #322 as well. Canadian Editions have a 95 cent cover price instead.

There will be a Part 4, and I am going to be a lot more selective about the keys in that post. No more debuts of these extremely minor and obscure characters that haven't even reached a dozen appearances in comics.

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