In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, find out what new superhero name Marvel almost gave She-Hulk in the 1980s
Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the eight hundred and fifty-second episode where we examine three comic book legends and determine if they are true or false. As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the three captions.
Marvel almost gave She-Hulk a new superhero name in the 1980s.
One interesting thing about looking at the comics industry over a long period of time is that you can see certain publishing initiatives come and go over the years, and how something that would be a disposable idea in, say, 1998, would be a big deal in 1984. For example, these days, non-prestige format miniseries really aren’t particularly big. They are often given in place of ongoing series to characters who could not earn ongoing series. You know, rather than making it an ongoing series and canceling it after five issues, make it a miniseries right from the start. Then, if it does well, you can do a follow-up miniseries, and so on.
In the 1980s, however, while that BASIC concept was still true, that the miniseries was aimed at characters that DC and Marvel didn’t want to give an ongoing series to, the overall approach to the miniseries was very different. Miniseries were treated like big business, and when a miniseries did NOT deserve a major character change at the time, it almost stood out MORE, because all the other major miniseries WERE major changes . Chris Claremont, Frank Miller and Joe Rubinstein’s Wolverine made a major change in Wolverine’s life and introduced notable new characters to their Wolverine miniseries, Mark Gruenwald and Brett Breeding’s Hawk Eye the miniseries caused Hawkeye to lose his hearing and gain a wife in Mockingbird, Bill Mantlo and Rick Leonardi Vision and Scarlet Witch the miniseries saw the birth of Crystal and Quicksilver’s baby and the official reveal that Magneto was the father of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch and JM DeMatteis, Alan Kupperberg and Mike Gustovich ice man was also a miniseries.
So when John Byrne started conceptualizing a miniseries for She-Hulk, the sensational hero in Byrne’s Fantastic Four series the previous year, the miniseries was definitely destined to be a big deal.
Initially, that “important” aspect of the miniseries was that She-Hulk was going to get a whole new superhero name! I guess you could say that, when it comes to superhero names, “She-Hulk” might not be the most poetic. So, as Byrne noted on his message boards, for a brief time the plan was for She-Hulk to get a new superhero name, which was to be Bombshell.
It’s not a bad name, and it would certainly fit in with the other Fantastic Four names, but in the end, that idea was scrapped.
Along the way, even the idea of a PERIOD miniseries was scrapped, as the concept instead evolved into a Marvel graphic novel. If miniseries were a big deal back then, Marvel graphic novels tended to be even BIGGER ideas, as the very first saw Jim Starlin kill Captain Marvel, and then in the fourth Marvel graphic novelChris Claremont and Bob McLeod kicked off the New Mutants, followed by Claremont and Brent Anderson teaming up the X-Men with Magneto in God loves, man kills. However, it’s fair to say that over the next two years, while graphic novels weren’t BAD, they were definitely a little less important than when they started.
For instance, Marvel graphic novel “Revenge of the Living Monolith” from #17 by David Michelinie, Marc Silvestri and Geof Isherwood was a good comic, but it really wasn’t a big deal.
In any case, The Sensational She-Hulk came out in 1985, and it really had major events, like seeing the SHIELD Helicarrier crash, and She-Hulk was exposed to enough radiation that she was seemingly permanently stuck in her She- Hulk (as I will discuss in the future, as you can imagine this “permanent” change turned out to be less than permanent)
The change in outline from miniseries to graphic novel happened early enough in the process that Byrne notes he didn’t really need to change anything (often you can tell when the change has been done because there are “chapters” that obviously read like comic book numbers, you know? I recently wrote about how Jack Kirby had trouble adapting a story in the hunger dogs graphic novel. It was definitely a little shocking, and even Kirby noted that he wasn’t thrilled with the end result).
I imagine that even if She-Hulk had been given a new superhero name with this miniseries and/or graphic novel, She-Hulk would probably revert to her original name at some point (name changes last rarely for this reason).
Many thanks to my buddy Tom A. for suggesting this one, and to John Byrne for confirmation!
SOME MORE LEGENDS OF ENTERTAINMENT!
Check out some entertainment legends from Legends Revealed:
1. Was Gabrielle Reece cast as She-Hulk in a failed She-Hulk TV pilot?
2. What is the tragic origin of “No animals were harmed in the making of this film?”
3. Did Kiefer Sutherland add lines to episodes of 24 to annoy fans playing drinking games based on 24?
4. Did the CIA really help the author of Doctor Zhivago win a Nobel Prize?
PART TWO COMING SOON!
Check back soon for part 2 of the legends of this episode!