Monday, August 1, 2016


Writer & Penciler: John Byrne | Guest Inker: Al Gordon
Colorist: Glynis Wein | Letterer: Jim Novak
Editor: Michael Carlin | Truthsayer: Jim Shooter
A special tip of the hat to Kevin Nowlan for the inspiration for this story.

The Plot: As She-Hulk sunbathes atop the Baxter Building, a helicopter buzzes her and the men aboard grab a few snapshots of her topless. After putting her top back on, she leaps to the chopper and punches a hole in its underside, but is shaken loose. Recognizing the call letters WXIT on the helicpter’s side, She-Hulk calls the station and gets the pilot’s name and location.

Confronting the pilot at an airfield with Wyatt by her side, She-Hulk learns that he was paid $1,000 by the publisher of a nudie magazine called The Naked Truth in order to help get the photos. She-Hulk changes to Jennifer Walters and, along with Wyatt, confronts the magazine’s publisher, T.J. Vance, at his sleazy office. Vance brags that the photos have already been sent off to appear in the next edition of The Naked Truth and that the magazine is expected to sell thirty times more copies than ever before. He shows off a safe containing advance payments he’s received from news agents, and Jen changes to She-Hulk, crumples the safe into an impenetrable ball, and leaves.

Three weeks later, the magazine hits the stands. The Human Torch arrives and tells She-Hulk that the printer color-corrected the “green woman” in Vance’s photospread, and She-Hulk is relieved to realize no one will be able to tell the photos are of her.

Sub-Plots & Continuity Notes: Johnny and Alicia have spent the night together since last we saw them, and Johnny has second thoughts about the incident.

She-Hulk and Wyatt also seem to have struck up a relationship between issues, based on She-Hulk calling Wyatt “lover” at one point, and Johnny later tells her to "save the smooches for Wyatt." It seems odd Byrne did it this way; the two have barely interacted since the Terminus story, and all we've seen between them so far are some mostly one-sided flirtations from She-Hulk.

She-Hulk makes another rare appearance as Jennifer Walters, and is still living a double-life wherein Jen is her secret identity (though she flagrantly reveals that identity to Vance in a fit of pique). Also, for some reason, She-Hulk is apparently a member of all the show business unions.

During the “three weeks later” epilogue, Reed has his arm in a sling as he and Sue discuss a recent ordeal they just underwent involving Franklin. The “next issue” blurb lets us know that the event will be covered then. It's kind of a cool idea to tease a story by saying it's already happened between panels and then making us wait to find out the details.

As noted on the splash page and described in detail in the letters column (and here at Comic Book Legends Revealed), John Byrne's entire premise for this story developed from a She-Hulk pinup by Kevin Nowlan in MARVEL FANFARE #18.

My Thoughts: In a way, this is a precursor to John Byrne’s infamous “Superman and Big Barda make a porno” story just a few years away, though far less offensive in its premise. Yes, She-Hulk’s privacy is invaded by a reprehensible sleazebag, but there’s no mind control or forced sexual situations involved. Still, Byrne's apparent interest in lurid titillation is evident here as in the Superman tale.

Byrne also covers a little ground which seems much more resonant in today’s world than it would've been in 1985. Yes, publications such as The National Enquirer and Star magazine have been around for decades and existed in the eighties, and the paparazzi are nothing new — but in this age of TMZ and instantaneous digital media, where everybody has a phone handy to snap a picture of anyone who catches their eye, celebrity or otherwise, Vance’s argument that She-Hulk is a public figure and therefore has forfeited her right to privacy reads like Byrne foretelling the future.

Though the issue’s conclusion is a little iffy, as I’ve seen pointed out elsewhere online. She-Hulk finds out that the photos were color-corrected, making her appear Caucasian in the magazine’s pages, and declares that this, combined with the fact that there’s nothing near her to provide a sense of scale, means no one will ever realize it’s her in the pictures. This is set-up for a little joke where Johnny declares he’s going to go look at the magazine with a pair of green-tinted shades, though isn’t that something any enterprising pervert could do? Obviously Vance advertised that the photos were of She-Hulk; he pre-sold three million copies on that promise. There are topless pictures of her out there now, and even if the color is off, everyone still knows it’s her!

All that said, my thoughts continue to intersect between this comic from 30 years ago and the world and technology of today, and I find that my main takeaway from the issue is: regardless of her reaction here to the machinations of T.J. Vance, I think we can all agree that if John Byrne’s She-Hulk existed right now in 2016, she would almost certainly be spamming Instagram and Twitter with duck-faced bikini selfies, right? It just seems like her nature.


  1. There are few things more 80's than Byrne's She-Hulk wearing a Minnie Mouse shirt.

    I love that T.J. Vance, like Dr. Strange, has a Sanctum Sanctorum. Hustler having nothing on the mag sounds like an oversell though. But having The Naked Truth for the name that can be and is shortened to T.N.T... great world-building with such a detail. Pearls to the swines great.

    "I would like to have a few words with you." Methinks that other Avenger delivered the line better, verily.

    1. Now that you mention it, I'm kind of amazed Byrne got away with mentioning Hustler in a kids' comic thirty years ago. Seems a bit taboo.

    2. Byrne got Wolverine skim both Hustler and Penthouse and almost fight the store clerk over it in UXM #129.

    3. Good point; I forgot about that! I found that pretty racy when I read that issue as a kid.

    4. Technically that's the first battle in the Dark Phoenix Saga proper.

  2. Yeah, I feel like Byrne kinda sidesteps the severity of the privacy issue just for the sake of the color-correction "joke". And for that matter, like your point about the issue being advertised as containing pics of She-Hulk, wouldn't the printer KNOW the pics should be green?

    Also, is TJ Vance meant to be a Stan Lee stand-in? He kinda resembles him, but I can't recall where Byrne stands on ol' Stan.

    1. Byrne loves Stan, though Vance could still be a caricature of him. Byrne idolizes Neal Adams, after all, but that didn't stop him from taking some pretty mean-spirited jabs at him in the "Alden Maas" two-parter a while back.


  3. Even reading this as a 13-year-old heterosexual male not entirely disinterested by the thought of seeing a nekkid She-Hulk, I found Vance’s whole deal way skeevy.

    // Also, for some reason, She-Hulk is apparently a member of all the show business unions. //

    Yeah. It’s especially weird given that like you say she’s still keeping up her secret identity to an extent — unless she’s bluffing to Vance with that.

    I’m also with you on the color-correction thing not really holding up on various fronts.