Saturday, May 19, 2007

Hell hath no Furry

Long before I knew what a "Furry" was I liked Tigra and the Starjammer crew member Hepzibah. While I still appreciate the characters I can't help now but to associate them with a fetish I don't understand whenever they appear. Recently the alien Hepzibah has been set up to have more of an active role in the X-Men universe and unless the writer drops the ball on the idea it'll be interesting to see how the Summers clan deal with someone who is basically their alien step-mom.

Hepzibah has changed quite a bit in form over the years since she was first revealed to be a space-faring pirate back in 1977. Originally she seemed more like a polecat-woman thing who was the love interest of Corsair, the father of Scott (Cyclops) Summers who sought revenge on a tyrannical empire for crimes against his family. When friends and I initially read the D'Ken storyline in X-Men we all were somewhat puzzled over Hepzibah's relationship with Corsair, not realizing at the time there was an entire market for that subset of comics fandom. Though I had been exposed to inter-species relationships through science fiction novels and was sort of used to it after a fashion, our collected reaction to it was "Ewww." Up to that point most of the alien-human relationships we were used to in the genre were between humans and others who were as "alien" as a Vulcan or green-skinned dancing slave girl.

In her first appearance in X-Men #107 (October 1977), Hepzibah looked more like a warrior-skunk and was openly racist. As being sort of feline she hated the avian race Empress Lilandra was a part of. This was when comics were a lot more fun and crazy and it made perfect sense to have a race of sort of cat people be the subjects and slaves of the bird people. You get the idea that their respective species have been fighting for centuries, each race alternately seeking to revenge wrongs from an ancient and continuing feud.

Hepzibah: Skunk, lover, warrior, one-shot character.

This Marvel Database character gallery shows a good if out of sequence evolution of the character as different writers and artists portrayed her. Interestingly, the probably-out-of-continuity version of Hepzibah is probably the best depiction of her as purist science fiction goes. Hepzibah is still all-female for the fans, but as an alien only superficially resembles both a woman and cat, which is emphasized by her strange ears.

Bully reminds us that Corsair's girlfriend is modeled on Mam'selle Hepzibah from Walt Kelly's Pogo.
Good old Dave Cockrum.

Her recent appearance in Uncanny X-Men #486 (July 2007) has her looking much more human in form and musculature which I'm not thinking is a good thing. This panel makes Hepzibah look as if she is the Sex-Punisher.
"Unsatisfying sex is the disease. I'm the cure...purrrrr."

Why is she now hot and sexy? She doesn't appear remotely feline. Her face is human and she has a nose. Gone is the long arm and leg fur and billowy hairy chest. She looks like she went to a Hollywood plastic surgeon for breast implants and full-body electrolysis. The changes ultimately might be found in fan taste and market reality as she fits more into the style of the slightly-altered human that populate much of the X-Men cast. Anyone but a select few reading the books would probably not be interested by the 1977 version getting it on with a human like Corsair, though I think it inevitable that she will be forming a sexual relationship with one or more of the X-Men. Hopefully none of them will be from the Summer clan itself since her previous relationship with Daddy Summers would make that creepy and wrong. I have the uncomfortable expectation that her alien culture will have her portrayed as equally bitchy and promiscuous to human standards, much to the delight of the fanboys and fangirls who enjoy Furry Fan Fiction.

Hepzibah 2007, with her large breasts, an exposed taut stomach, sharp teeth, long red nails and a kick-rear attitude is pure fan pandering. While the 1977 version of Hepzibah has roots in hard Science Fiction, but the 2007 cat-lady screams of Hard Core Sex.



  1. Wait.. That's Hepzibah today?!?!

    Man, I am soooo glad I gave up on the mainstream X-books after the 90s.

  2. *After* the 90s? You poor bastard. You would have been spared the horror of X-Suckness if you stopped before then.

  3. Hepzibah not being an obvious skunk completely loses the point of her being named after Mam'selle Hepzibah the Skunk in Pogo.

    It's one thing to argue that a work-for-hire can be changed at whim by future writers. It's another thing to completely disregard the original point of a character, in favor of large bosoms.

  4. Thanks Bully. i forgot about Walt Kelley. I'll update the entry to include her. Considering the size of my Pogo collection I can't believe I forgot her.

    Yeah, I don't know when she became a cat-woman but she was definitely a skunk in the beginning.

  5. Hot and sexy? I can barely see her, becluttered as she is by six dozen massive weapons.

  6. Her "strange ears" from her middle-stage appearance are definitely Kzinti.

  7. She is still plainly a fetish-object for those who don't prefer humans. She used to be a humanoid skunk; now she is a humanoid gun shop. Those who fancy her now might not call their attraction "yiffy", but the difference is merely in nomenclature. To each his own.

  8. Well, if you're talking about Furry as a fetish, I wouildn't call Hepzibah a true furry.

    I'm not a furry myself, but I do know a few things about curious toon-related fetishes (visit my blog at your own risk ^_^).

    From what I have seen of 'erotic furries', they tend to like their animal women to have a much more animal-like face (aside from setting the eyes more forward, pretty much same as the animal they represent). Also, the feet/legs tend to be 'bent backwards' like a wolf (and lets not even get into genital appearance ^_^).

    Hepzibah is about my limit of 'furry-ness', although I do wonder why they made some of the minor changes in her appearance: elf ears instead of animal-ears, and no tufts of hair on the forearms/calves.

    I found this post while looking for image references to do my own version of Hepzibah, and I may go ahead and do three versions: "Full-on Furry", "Classic", and Current.


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