Sunday, March 16, 2014


This is old news to many comic fans, but please bear with me (or as relates to Shanna, bare with me).

Back in 2005, Marvel produced a limited series under the Marvel Knights imprint, written and illustrated by the great cheesecake artist Frank Cho, titled SHANNA THE SHE-DEVIL. It was a reimagining of the character who was originally Marvel's answer to Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, set in its own universe independent of Marvel's main continuity.

The thing is, the title was originally intended for Marvel's adult-targeted MAX imprint, and was to feature plenty of gratuitous nudity. I was looking forward to the series, until Marvel changed it to Marvel Knights. At that point I resolved not to support it.

Now don't get me wrong -- this isn't a stand against censorship in general. There are some cases where I fully support censorship. This isn't a stand against toning down any gore or adult language that Cho may have intended for the series. This is, very specifically, a stand against removing gratuitous Frank Cho-illustrated nudity from a project which was originally going to feature gratuitous Frank Cho-illustrated nudity. I like gratuitous nudity. Few things are made worse by its inclusion. Most things are made better, in fact, assuming it is appropriate to the genre (and where is it more appropriate than in a story about a buxom jungle girl?).

Marvel and Cho have said many times over the past near-decade that they intend to release the originally conceived adult-oriented series. With each passing year the promise seems emptier, but if it ever does come to pass, I'll gladly purchase it. In the meantime, I've kept my promise not to read it -- until now. Since I bought my subscription to Marvel's Digital Unlimited program back in November, I've found myself with access to all manner of comics I had never intended to read. SHANNA THE SHE-DEVIL is one of them, and since I can rationalize reading it here without specifically monetarily supporting it, I will.

Coming Friday -- my thoughts on the nudity-free version of Cho's SHANNA (hint: the missing nudity will knock it down a few pegs before I even read it). A week later, I'll check out the sequel mini-series by Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Khari Evans, 2007's SHANNA THE SHE-DEVIL: SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST. And then I'll wrap it all up with a look at Cho's work on the "real" Shanna, in the pages of SAVAGE WOLVERINE #1 - 5, from 2012.

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