Clave challenged Jaws to guess a comic book story just by looking at the cover. What, if anything, can Jaws get correct about the content inside without ever actually reading the comic!?!
The comic book in question: Savage She-Hulk #7 from 1980.
Jaws: First off, this is a great cover. You got the classic look of She-Hulk in tatters, which means this is likely during one of the many seasons in She-Hulk history where our illustrious hero Jennifer Walters does not have much control over when and how the She-Hulk shows up.
Next, we get some setting information, from both the boxed text of “Swamp Demons!” and the alligator in the water. But obviously of more importance is the purple demon looking creatures that She-Hulk seems to be fighting in the swamp!
So what exactly is going on?
Clave: Before you make your guess on the story, I want to give some quick background on the cover artist, Marie Severin. Marie broke into comics during the Silver Age and was Marvel’s head colorist by 1972, when she handed off those duties to free up time for her to do more penciling.
She became a renowned cover artist, penciling covers for Thor, Hulk, and Sub-Mariner, among many others. By all accounts, she was a wonderful person and was obviously immensely talented. She was even inducted into the Will Eisner Comics Hall of Fame.
Severin is one of my absolute favorite cover artists, right up there with Jack Kirby and Jim Steranko, and if I see a Marie Severin cover in a long box, it’s an immediate buy for me!
Jaws: Cool info on Marie Severin! I can always count on you to help me know a little more about the old school era of comics!
Alright, here goes my guess on the story…
“Jennifer Walters is hired to come to Louisiana to help with the mysterious case of the Mardi Gras Strangler. And while she doesn’t quite know who she is working for, the case, and let’s be honest, the money, were more than enough to convince her to take a trip away from her sunny LA life.
But, during the trip, they encounter weather and the pilot is forced to land their small plane in the swamps of Louisiana. Jennifer is working hard to keep everything in check but when gators began to attack and harm the pilot, the Savage She-Hulk shows up, smashing the normal predators of the swamp.”
Clave: Go on…
Jaws: “But when purple demon-like zombies arrive, she knows something is amiss and sets out to find out the source of them. Unfortunately, she wanders and gets lost in the thick underbrush and water of the bayou. Meanwhile, we soon learn that as savage as the She-Hulk is, there is another emotion that is prevalent as well, having drawn the swamp dweller himself, the macabre Man-Thing. Is he there to help? To harm? To remind everyone how much more awesome he is than DC’s Swamp Thing?
You’ll have to get The Savage She-Hulk #8 to find out!”
Clave: It’s remarkable how many plot beats you absolutely nailed! I thought I’d do a better job of stumping you, but you anticipating an appearance of Man-Thing alone is enough to grade you an A on this assignment!
Here is the actual story from Savage She-Hulk 7, supported by actual panels from the interior of the comic:
Richard Rory is a ne’re-do-well who was a frequent NPC in 70s Marvel comics, particularly in the Man-Thing title. But his luck changed when he won 1.5 million dollars! His first purchase was a limousine for a cruise around Los Angeles.
Rory’s celebratory joyride was interrupted by sirens as the police pursued She-Hulk through the streets of LA.
Sympathetic to She-Hulk after his friendship with Man-Thing, Rory tricked the cops so She-Hulk could escape into an alley. But when he pursued She-Hulk himself, Rory was surprised to find Jennifer Walters, yet didn’t make the connection between Walters and the She-Hulk.
You don’t make the shots you don’t take, so Rory asked Jennifer out on a date. She accepted!
The two spent all night in the back of the limo where they, uh…got to know one another…
Rory’s hope was to take his new-found fortune back to the Florida Everglades that he once called home. There, he planned to buy a plot of land and right some wrongs fro this past. After only one night together, Rory was able to convince Jennifer to accompany him to Florida as his…lawyer.
When Rory attempted to purchase the land, he learned that the deed traced back to a man named F.A. Schist, who had mysteriously disappeared.
Jennifer visited the land to look for clues into the mysterious disappearance of Schist. She was attacked by a gator, which triggered her transformation into She-Hulk!
She-Hulk made short work of the alligator but didn’t notice she was being spied upon by two purple-skinned figures.
The purple-skinned figures were part of the greater mystery that involved Conquistadors and a 400-years-old quest for the fabled Fountain of Youth.
Schist had found the fountain, thereby gaining the gift of immortality. But for many, the waters came with a price: It turned their skin purple. So they all chose to live together secluded in the Florida Everglades where they would keep their secret at all costs!
Feared that She-Hulk would share their secret, the purple figures subdued She-Hulk by gassing her, then took her back to the secretive colony where they placed her in a holding talk full of the transformative waters.
Will She-Hulk escape? It’s a cliffhanger, Nerds!
Jaws: Wow. To be honest, my head is still back on that limousine ride. And I should have know if a Giant Man-Thing was showing up, it would be in the Everglades.
Clave: You got so many broad strokes correct! For example, you guessed that Jennifer Walters was traveling in search of answers to a mystery. You simply had no way of knowing she traveled only to stumble into a mystery. Plus, you guess Man-Thing. Even though there wasn’t an appearance of Man-Thing, the inclusion of Richard Rory in the Everglades is a clear Man-Thing connection.
You didn’t guess Fountain of Youth, so I guess shame on you?
Jaws: So that’s the story from Savage She-Hulk 7 with a cover by Marie Severin. What do you have for me next, Clave?