Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Profile: Shanna the She-Devil

Shanna the She-Devil

Real name: Shanna O'Hara
First appearance: Shanna the She-Devil #1, December 1972

History: a variation on Will Eisner and Jerry Eiger's earlier Sheena, Queen of the Jungle tales from the Golden Age, adventuress Shanna was an early example of a heroine co-created by a woman, writer Carole Seuling, with artist George Tuska, and Steve Gerber provided some extra backup assistance on the scripting. The heroine, also known as Lady Plunder, was the daughter of Gerald and Patricia O'Hara, the former a diamond miner who accidentally shot his wife dead while searching for a rogue leopard that belonged to the mother, and this led the outraged Shanna to take a negative stance on firearms with few exceptions. (As seen in the panel I posted, which is from the 2nd issue, only for tasks like blasting heavy doors open did she see fit to use guns.)

Was subjected to the following acts of discrimination: both she and paramour Ka-Zar were dragged into the mess known as Secret Invasion, and she killed a Skrull named Pit'o Nilli. I don't think she was ever depicted killing before. Yet that's probably nothing compared to the idiocy of the Marvel NOW event of the early 2010s, where she was killed by a neanderthal on a mysterious island within the vicinity of Savage Land, and though she was resurrected, she was now filled with supernatural powers, all for the sake of it.

What's wrong with how this was done? The biggest problem is that it wasn't organic. Another is the sensationalized approach to storytelling by awful writers like Brian Bendis. And the supernatural powers were unnecessary. This wouldn't have worked with the Black Canary or Lady Shiva over at DC either.

But maybe the worst thing that could happen to Shanna from a real life perspective is that one of the later scriptwriters penning a story where she made an appearance turned out to be a scumbag: Gerard Jones, who wrote a 10-part story for Shanna in Marvel Comics Presents 68-77 in 1991, was arrested at the end of 2016 for child porn trafficking. Now, what might've been one of the better stories starring such a fine creation is going to be tainted for quite a while with the stench of Jones' actions behind the scenes. It's absolutely terrible when something awful like that happens.