An avid comic collector and fan for nearly 20 years, Vic started collecting comics around eight years old. Comic investing since the 2000s.
She-Hulk in Comics and TV
She-Hulk is a powerhouse in Marvel Comic's arsenal of female superheroines. She is definitely a spin-off of the Incredible Hulk, but she's a sexy symbol of female empowerment. She-Hulk is a well-known character, but despite this, she's not a hugely popular character in the comics. For example, she's had around seven self-titled series, but most were short-lived. Her longest-running comic series only lasted 60 issues, and she's more often in ensemble casts for teams like the Avengers and the Fantastic Four.
Don't get me wrong here: The character is popular enough to be in the MCU for sure, but how different is She-Hulk MCU from She-Hulk Marvel Comics? Also, what do I personally think of the character in Marvel Comics and the She-Hulk Disney+ show?
Before we get to it, there will be spoilers. If you haven't seen the show, I'd advise you to watch it before you venture into this article. If you already have and are good to go, let's take a look at the history of the character.
Stan Lee and John Buscema created She-Hulk, and the character debuted in late 1979. Her first appearance was in The Savage She-Hulk #1, cover dated 1980, but why she was created to begin with is pretty dull and uninspiring, in my opinion. The creation of the female powerhouse was purely monetary and to secure rights.
You see, at the time, the Incredible Hulk TV series starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno was a smash hit. Another very popular show, The Bionic Man, produced a spin-off called The Bionic Woman. Fearing that the producers of The Incredible Hulk TV show might introduce a female version of the Jade Giant, Stan Lee and Marvel Comics beat them to the punch and created Shulkie.
Similarities and Differences Between the Comics and the Show
In her debut story called "The She-Hulk Lives" in Savage She-Hulk #1, Jennifer Walters is a lawyer. She's the cousin of Bruce Banner, so the MCU still kept all that. Her origin even kept the fact that she got her powers by getting Bruce's blood into her own. However, the Disney+ show left out the mafia that tried to kill Walters, forcing Bruce to perform a blood transfusion in order to save her life as depicted in the comics.
Also, I'm not sure if the show had Shulkie's pops, Morris Walters, an L.A. sheriff like the character was in the comics. I don't think it was established what her father, played by actor Mark Lin-Baker, did (yes, that Mark Lin-Baker, known for playing Larry Appleton in the TV hit series Perfect Strangers). It seemed like Walter Morris was retired to me, but in the comics, Morris Walters was an L.A. sheriff and debuted in Savage She-Hulk #2, cover dated March 1980.
Another character that debuted in the second issue of Savage She-Hulk that was present in the Disney+ show was the character of Dennis Bukowski, played by Drew Mathews. Just like in the comics, Dennis was a fellow District Attorney and very arrogant and chauvinistic towards Jenn. He would mock her every chance he got and was an annoying hindrance to both Jenn and her persona as She-Hulk. Bukowski was a supporting character in the Savage She-Hulk comic series, but not in later She-Hulk comics.
How Jennifer Hulks Out
Much like the Hulk, Jennifer hulked out when she was angry, and her mental prowess was left in a more "savage" or dimwitted state. Yep, just like the Hulk. Well, at least, that's how it was at first, so it wasn't like how the show portrayed things. The show had her in She-Hulk form in her normal mental state trying to control her anger and not turn savage.
Also, unlike the show, She-Hulk learned how to retain her normal human intelligence before the Hulk did in the comics, so the whole montage of Bruce trying to teach Jennifer how to be a "hulk" didn't happen in the Marvel Comics.
Like the Disney+ show, however, Jennifer Walters was shy and struggled with confidence issues in the Savage She-Hulk comic series, but she would later learn how to stay in her hulk form and gain confidence with her new sense of empowerment.
The Sensational She-Hulk
I get a good laugh at a lot of the haters of this show who complain that the writing is lame and brought the character to an ultimate low. Some are like they don't even know what's going on, but here's the thing: The show's feel and tone is based on John Byrne's Sensational She-Hulk comic series. That is the second headlining She-Hulk comic series and the longest-running to date. It lasted 60 issues. The first Savage She-Hulk comic series only lasted 25 issues.
The show absolutely did a wonderful job capturing the zany, crazy, humor of the Sensational She-Hulk comics and is a great homage to it. The comics by John Byrne didn't take themselves seriously, and neither did the Disney+ She-Hulk streaming series. I actually did read the comic series back in the day, so I understood what the show was going for.
Cast and Characters: Tatiana Maslany as She-Hulk
Tatiana Maslany as She-Hulk is amazing, and I thought she really brought the character to life brilliantly and shined. She obviously knew what the show was going for. Breaking the fourth wall and knowing she was in a streaming series is exactly on par with comic series, in which her comic counterpart also knew she was in a comic.
Louise Grant Mason and Nikki Ramos
Actually, some of her supporting cast in the comic series also knew they were in a comic book series like her friend, Louise Grant Mason, a legal secretary who got District Attorney Blake Tower to hire Jennifer, so Mason might again star in a comic book. Louise was the Golden Age character Blonde Phantom. The character of Nikki Ramos (Ginger Gonzaga) in the show may have been loosely based on the comic character of Louise since she doesn't have a comic book counterpart and was created for the show.
The character of Blake Tower wasn't present in the She-Hulk Disney series, but he was a character in the Daredevil Netflix series and was portrayed by Stephen Rider. Jennifer's boss at the D.A.'s office was played by Keith Flippen and is simply credited as D.A. Boss in the show. His omission probably had to do with the fact that the show kept the location in Los Angeles, but Blake Tower is a D.A. for New York City in both the MCU and the actual comics. He first fully appeared in Daredevil #126, but was depicted on a poster in a prior issue of Daredevil #124.
Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Holliway
Guess where the firm made their first comic book appearance? Yes, the law firm of Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Holliway is actually from the comic books and debuted in the 2004 She-Hulk comic book series beginning with the 1st issue. Now any Marvel Comic fan knows the names involved that head the firm's name.
Martin Goodman was the publishing head of the company that would later become Marvel Comics. He was once Stan Lee's boss and started Timely Comics which later became Atlas Comics and then Marvel Comics. Lieber was actually the real last name of Stan Lee. Lee was his middle name. Kurtzberg? Well, if you're a Marvel fan, you would know or should know that Kurtzberg is legendary comic artist Jack Kirby's real last name.
Holliway is the only last name that's from a comic book character in the series, and, yes, the show did use the character of Holden Holliway, who was played by Steve Coulter. Holliway, along with the law firm of GLK&H, also debuted in this She-Hulk 2004 comic series.
Actually, the first and second episode that details how and why Jennifer Walters was fired from being a NY Assistant District Attorney and then scooped up by Holden Holliway and the GLK&H law firm is from this actual comic issue. However, in the show, Holliway wants Jennifer to represent the firm as She-Hulk. In the comics, he wants Jennifer Walters for GLK&H's Superhuman Law division.
Another comic character that debuted in this issue and was used for the show was Augustus "Pug" Pugliese played by Josh Seggara. His character was pretty much kept in tact for the show from the comics. He's also a lawyer at Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Holliway and is an ally of Jennifer Walters and She-Hulk. In the comics, he had a crush on her but could never bring it upon himself to let her know.
The character of Mallory Books also debuted in this issue of She-Hulk #1 from the 2004 series. In the She-Hulk Attorney at Law show, she is played by Renée Elise Goldsberry and is sort of an ally to Jennifer Walters. Books represented Walters when Titania sued her for using the She-Hulk name. Titania had trademarked the name before Jenn even thought anything of it. In the comics, Mallory Books is definitely a rival, and both the MCU version and comic version also work in the Superhuman law division at GLK&H.
As you might be able to tell from the caption to the image of the cover of Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #3, the character of Titania is from the comics, and, yes, she is a well-known rival of She-Hulk. Titania is actually one of the few noteworthy rivals specific to Shulkie. Most of her villains are borrowed from the rogues gallery of other Marvel superheroes.
Titania is one Mary MacPherran, who is actually the 2nd character to take the moniker of Titania. Her name was actually taken from a real life Marvel staffer. Jim Shooter asked Mary's permission to use her name for the character of Titania, and the rest is history.
By the way, the photo of the Marvel staff that has the real-life Mary MacPherran is from comic legend Jim Shooter's website. If you are a Marvel Comics fan, it is imperative that you go to his site and read his accounts of the comic industry as well as the movers and shakers behind the scenes. It's such a wonderful resource for comic fans.
So the comic character of Mary MacPherran was created by Jim Shooter and Mike Zeck, and the first time Shulkie and Titania first met and went at it was in the 7th issue of Marvel's Super-Heroes Secret Wars, which is the same issue that has the 1st full Julia Carpenter Spider-Woman. Anyway, She-Hulk was an Avenger at the time in the comics, so that also differs from the show which she has yet to become or even meet the Avengers in the MCU yet.
Very different rivalry in the comics as depicted in the She-Hulk show. The show was less physical between them, and their first meeting and battle did not have She-Hulk come out on top like in the comics. Although I thought it was funny that Titania trademarked She-Hulk's name, and they had a legal battle over it, I admit that their actual battles in the show were pretty lackluster. They definitely downplayed Titania's power, and she didn't seem like much a threat to She-Hulk at all in the Disney+ show. The wedding fight scene was the closest to a battle the two had and even that was underwhelming. Not a big fan of the more posh version of Titania in the MCU so far. In the comics, she's more Roadhouse than Kardashian.
When I said that the She-Hulk: Attorney at Law Disney + series was meant not to take itself seriously, the inclusion of Mr. Immortal should be no surprise. One of the goofiest comic characters ever, and we're talking about intentionally created to be such. Mr. Immortal debuted with the Great Lakes Avengers team in West Coast Avengers #46 and was created by John Byrne. The Great Lakes Avengers is one of the goofiest teams in Marvel Comics as well. I mean, with a team of superheroes named Flatman, Doorman, Big Bertha, Dinah Soar and Leather Boy, do you think the team wasn't meant to be comic relief? See a pattern here?
Not quite so sure they went with an older version of the character for the show. Like the show, the comic version has Craig Hollis (that's Mr. Immortal) with the ability to regenerate from any injury, hence why he has that superhero name. He is a mutant in the panels and pages of them funny books, and if he is such in the She-Hulk show, that adds another mutant in the MCU.
The Wrecking Crew
There's someone in the comic book community I follow who literally likes nothing that has come out from Marvel's Phase 4. Of course, this person dumped all over She-Hulk after it came out, criticizing crappy writing. That's actually the go-to complaint used. Well, a follower of his commented how the show had ruined Wrecking Crew and made them a joke.
Wait! The Wrecking Crew was cool? That's like saying James Gunn ruined the character of Taserface in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. Once again, the She-Hulk show utilized a group of D-list villains that formed a D-list team in the comics and poked fun at their ridiculousness. I mean, the Wrecker has an "enchanted" crowbar, and how his other allies of Piledriver, Bulldozer, and Thunderball got their powers was holding onto Wrecker's crowbar while lightning struck it. Of course, this turned them all into super strong and tough dudes.
The Wrecking Crew aren't normally specific villains of She-Hulk in the comics. I'm not even sure if they have any appearances in her actual comics. The villainous team first appeared in Defenders #17 and was created by Len Wein and Sal Buscema.
Abomination (Emil Blonsky)
Let's not forget that the character of Emil Blonsky first appeared in the MCU in the 2008 Incredible Hulk film starring Edward Norton. William Hurt's Thunderbolt Ross also first appeared in that flick also.
I remember many comic fans made a big deal about seeing Abomination return in the Shang-Chi Legend of the Ten Rings trailer. I was slightly surprised when they announced that Tim Roth would reprise the role in the She-Hulk series. Abomination is a Hulk villain, and to be honest, the Hulk doesn't have too many iconic villains. That's why I'm not that surprised as She-Hulk doesn't have too many ironic villains that are specific to her either. Abomination isn't really a recurring foe for Shulkie in the actual comics but he is for the Hulk. Abomination actually first appeared in a Hulk story called "The Abomination" in Tales to Astonish #90.
The Abomination wasn't meant to be comic relief in the comics. He was created to be a bona fide threat to the Hulk. To be honest, I'm not entirely for nor against the way the character of Emil Blonsky has been handled for the She-Hulk show. If I'm honest, I'm somewhat disappointed. As I mentioned, She-Hulk doesn't have many powerhouse villains that can go toe to toe with her to create some exciting battles. The show was underwhelming in that regard also.
Emil's whole redemption aspect was off-putting to me and a waste of potential good action. Him being the guru of a super villain support group was a bit much.
Super-Villain Support Group
Do I really need to further go down this rabbit hole when talking about the tongue-in-cheek tone that the She-Hulk show was obviously intended to capture? Sure, why not, because there are quite a few more tacky Marvel characters other than Taserface to poke fun at. And rightly so.
Rightly so in providing these goofy-ass characters a super-villain support group to redeem themselves. I mean, c'mon, they have support groups for virtually everything nowadays. It isn't that far fetched to have one for super-villains. Especially F-list (F for fail) super-villains.
Porcupine? Did you seriously expect this show to be dark and serious? Well, to be honest, The Single Green Female She-Hulk series in 2004 written by Dan Slott did see a dark period of time for Jennifer Walters. She was even kicked out of the Avengers mansion for her behavior. Let's just say she wasn't balancing her superhero and civilian life all that well in that series, and that led to a little too much partying. Yes, that's the issue where she was fired from being an assistant District Attorney and ended up being snagged by Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Holliway.
What? Superheroes can't have PSTD? Cops can have it, soldiers can have it, rape victims, and those who've suffered years of child abuse can have it, but superheroes are exempt? Not like they go through any trauma or anything.
Back to the Super-Villain Support Group of Porcupine, Man-Bull, El Águila, Sacaren, and, of course, Wrecker.
Would you even try to make a character like Porcupine cool? I mean, I'm sure someone could do it, but why bother? Porcupine is Alex Gentry and was a very early Ant-Man villain, debuting in Tales to Astonish #63, and was an early Silver Age Marvel villain.
Now, to be honest, they could've made the character somewhat cool. In the comics, Alex Gentry was a weapons designer for the U.S. Army, so they could've had him use stolen Stark tech to build a battle suit that was covered in quill-like projections that could dispense gas or poison or...Okay, maybe that wouldn't be all that cool either.
El Águila is basically a generic, rip off of the Zorro character. I mean, I think Zorro is cool, so I believe the character of El Aguila could've been portrayed in a cool way if done right. Remember the Swordsman in the Hawkeye Disney+ series? Kinda what I'm talking about.
So "The Eagle" is an actual comic character and was created by Mary Jo Duffy, Dave Cockrum and Trevor Von Eeden. He was meant to be a villain for Iron Fist and Luke Cage. Duffy even admitted that creating a villain for Luke Cage and Iron Fist was tricky in Back Issue! #45. El Águila debuted in Power Man and Iron Fist #58, and he is played by Joseph Castillo-Midyett in the She-Hulk: Attorney at Law streaming series.
Sacaren is actually an obscure Blade villain, and, yes, he is a vampire. Despite being so unknown, I'm pretty sure this character could've made a pretty cool villain if he was used for a different project. You know, like a Blade project. After all, Sacaren is a vampire after all. Not a hard thing to make one of those bad ass, yeah? I'm not being sarcastic this time.
Alright, so Sacaren is one of the first vampires on earth according to Marvel Comics lore, so he's been around a long time and is part of a blood-sucking sect called the Ancients. He was created by Bart Sears and debuted in Blade: Vampire Hunter #1 back in 1999. Pretty short-lived character and doesn't have many appearances over-all in the actual comics.
Terrence Clowe plays Sacaren in the She-Hulk Disney+ show.
While some Marvel characters were obviously created to be light-hearted and comedic, I think Man-Bull was created to be a serious villain by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan. Talk about some Island of Dr. Moreau stuff here, Man-Bull is William Taurens who ended up being a guinea pig for a serum that had mutated enzymes from bulls. Needless to say, but this serum turned him into a minotaur of sorts. Man-Bull first appeared in Daredevil #78 and first went up against The Man Without Fear.
Yeah, this streaming series created by Jessica Gao wasn't a tongue-in-cheek homage to John Byrne's zany Sensational She-Hulk comic series and her later comics? I mean, you got Wrecking Crew, a super-villain support group, and now Leap-Frog? James Gunn can pull off mocking Taserface, goofy Suicide Squad characters like Polka-Dot Man and the entire Peacemaker show and most comic fans clap gleefully with praise, but once a female does it, it's drowned in scrutiny and criticism.
All I can say is, "Figures."
A guy pokes fun at some campy superheroes, and it's deemed brilliant and hilarious. A female does it in a female-centric show, and it's mocking and a slap in the face to comic fans, crappy writing, not honoring the comic character and ladeda ladeda. Pick your fabricated offense.
Leap-Frog is Eugene Patilio in the She-Hulk show, but in the comics, Eugene was called Frog-Man. His father, Vincent, was Leap-Frog and was a villain. Even creator J. M. DeMatteis admitted that the character's revival was to be a light-hearted and comedic version. Therefore, Eugene was a clumsy would-be or wannabe superhero, though not as clumsy and ill-fated as his MCU counterpart. In the show, his suit malfunctioned due to his own negligence but still chose to sue the costume designer, Luke Jacobson. Unfortunately, Jennifer Walters had to represent him in court.
While there's no solid and direct comic book connection between She-Hulk and Frogman in the comics and being overly exaggerated in the show, Leap-Frog in the She-Hulk: Attorney at Law isn't that far off from J. M. DeMatteis' original purpose for the comics, and that's to be comic relief.
Speaking of The Man Without Fear, a pretty interesting addition to the show was none other than Daredevil. It was announced prior that the character of Daredevil would be picked up from the Netflix series and Charlie Cox would continue with the role. Brilliant, because I think he is a perfect Matt Murdock.
However, what I mean by his addition is surprising is because Daredevil doesn't really connect to the character of She-Hulk in the comics. They weren't part of any teams, and although they were lawyers in the same city of New York, they didn't really cross each other's paths. Yes, in the actual comics, Jennifer Walters moved to New York, and that's actually where she was hired by the law firm of Goodman Lieber Kurtzberg & Holliway.
So a bit strange that Matt Murdock travelled all the way to L.A. from New York just to represent and defend Luke Jacobson against Eugene Patilio's claim of a faulty costume. Oh, yes, Luke Jacobson is an actual comic book character and is pretty obscure too. He is a clothing designer as well, but for a comic character called Dakota North. Thus, he first appeared in Dakota North #1.
Ah, I forgot that Jacobson also designed a new costume for Daredevil, so that was another reason for the trip across the country. Yeah, still a bit flimsy but the show was suppose to be zany to begin with. Anyway, I thought it was cool that they went with DD's original costume he had when he first debuted in Daredevil #1 in the late Silver Age.
Quite a few fans complained that the She-Hulk show diverted from the extremely dark Netflix tone of Daredevil and made him lighter. As if it's more realistic if a character never has light moments in their life? I will admit that I'm interested in how She-Hulk will fit in with Daredevil in the future. Will she show up in his recently announced show?
Another thing: I always thought Marvel's Netflix stuff was still part of the MCU? I mean, the shows did refer to somethings that were going on in the movies, more specifically The Avengers.
To be honest, I have no idea what the purpose Wong had in the She-Hulk show. Did they just need someone who could teleport characters here and there? In fact, I'm not even sure what the character's purpose is in the Doctor Strange films either. He's just there and doesn't really provide any usefulness or even much help for that matter.
However, I am interested in his connection with Abomination and why he's teleporting him in and out of prison. Wong started as a supporting character for Doctor Strange and first appeared in Strange Tales #110, which also debuts Doctor Strange himself. Both were created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.
Okay, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law wasn't a masterpiece, in my opinion, but I thought it was a brilliant job by executive producers Jessica Gao, Victoria Alonso, and Louis D'Esposito and Brad Winderbaum. I find the criticism in putting superheroes in the modern world of internet trolls and haters, cancel culture, and even internet dating woes is strange, especially if you're a Marvel Comics fan.
Stan Lee and the Marvel way was to bring superheroes in a more realistic world where they were not exempt from problems of everyday life. Why would the MCU break from the tradition that Marvel Comics brought to the comic book industry and helped revolutionize how characters and stories were approached?
While I enjoyed the show, that's not to say I didn't have issues with it. The CGI was suspect in some areas, and the 1st episode felt a bit rushed to me. Action was quite underwhelming, and the two potential rock and sock 'em characters that could've produced some epic battles were greatly scaled back. One was pretty much castrated.
Yes, She-Hulk MCU is a fun homage to She-Hulk in the Marvel Comics. Quite different. Admittedly not my favorite of Marvel shows, but it was still a great homage to the comics and enjoyable. Tatiana Maslany killed it in the role, and I can't wait see what's in store for the character of She-Hulk on the small or big screen. What did you guys think of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law?
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