Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Shanna the She-Devil by Tony DeZuniga

Ever wondered what Shanna the She-Devil would look like as played by Jane Fonda? Sure you did. For the answer to that burning search-query look no further than the portfolio by Tony DeZuiniga published in Rampaging Hulk #9 magazine back in June 1978.

The portfolio prefaced a rollicking Shanna revenge-tale written by Steve Gerber and also illustrated by Tony DeZuniga. I'm surprised that Gerber wrote this as its themes make it feel more like a Chris Claremont work. The Shanna story featured kinky sex with a python, multiple scenes of bondage, menstrual feminine-power symbolism and nearly every cliche' from the golden age of Fiction House jungle adventure comics. Not to say it is a bad story. Steve Gerber revamped Shanna to be less the weeping environmentalist and more the psychotic butt-kicking avenger of the jungle. Too bad it didn't take. She got so annoying in Ka-Zar, I'm surprised Kevin didn't shoot himself in the head.

In general I like Tony DeZuniga art. New readers to comics may recognize him as the long time (and recent guest) inker on DC's Jonah Hex title. He is the quintessential inker, if not artist, for Jonah. His recent stint on the Jonah Hex book showed how easily he could take the current creative team to school. It isn't enough to make Hex ugly, you have to make him grimy.

Yet in this instance it leaves me unsatisfied. Artwise the Shanna story is a fanboy's wank dream of power fantasies, breasts and furry thongs barely covering firm buttocks. The art is definitely the primary storyteller as it overpowers the script, something that is not always good for a comic (as the 90's proved). The panel layouts seem familiar, too, as if panels were cribbed from Ben Casey strips by Neal Adams and old romance comics. That may not be fair to DeZuniga, though, as there are certainly a finite number of "celibate sex-kitten whore" poses you can render the female form into. Of course, that didn't stop anyone in the 90's from trying to expand on the concept anyway.

You can see the Shanna the She-Devil portfolio by clicking the picture hard... No, harder! Harder! Yesyesyes, like that...

Shanna the She-Devil portfolio


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