Shanna the She-Devil

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Shanna the She-Devil
Promotional art for Shanna the She-Devil #1 (April 2005), by Frank Cho
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceShanna the She-Devil #1 (Dec. 1972)
Created byCarole Seuling
George Tuska
In-story information
Full nameShanna O'Hara Plunder
SpeciesHuman
Place of originEarth
PartnershipsKa-Zar
Notable aliasesLady Plunder
AbilitiesWell-trained veterinarian
Olympic-level athlete
Experienced hand to hand combatant
Peak-level strength
Extraordinary agility
 
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Shanna the She-Devil
Promotional art for Shanna the She-Devil #1 (April 2005), by Frank Cho
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceShanna the She-Devil #1 (Dec. 1972)
Created byCarole Seuling
George Tuska
In-story information
Full nameShanna O'Hara Plunder
SpeciesHuman
Place of originEarth
PartnershipsKa-Zar
Notable aliasesLady Plunder
AbilitiesWell-trained veterinarian
Olympic-level athlete
Experienced hand to hand combatant
Peak-level strength
Extraordinary agility

Shanna the She-Devil is a fictional jungle adventurer in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Carole Seuling and penciler George Tuska, she made her first appearance in Shanna the She-Devil #1 (Dec. 1972) and was ranked 53rd in Comics Buyer's Guide's "100 Sexiest Women in Comics" list.[1]

Publication history[edit]

Shanna the She-Devil was introduced in one of a trio of Marvel Comics aimed at a female audience, alongside Night Nurse and Claws of the Cat. Marvel writer-editor Roy Thomas recalled in 2007 that editor-in-chief Stan Lee

...had the idea, and I think the names, for all three. He wanted to do some books that would have special appeal to girls. We were always looking for ways to expand our franchise. My idea ... was to try to get women to write them. ... I thought of my friend Carole Seuling, who had done a bit of writing for her ex-husband Phil in conjunction with his comic cons. I approached her to do the Shanna book because I knew she liked jungle comics and adventure comics. ... I put Ross Andru on as the Shanna artist [beginning with issue #2], with Vinnie Colletta inking to make Ross' Shanna look attractive.[2]

Seuling in 2010 recalled,"My instructions were to make [Shanna] someone who would fit in with the times and also was prone to a little more violence than Sheena or the other jungle queens of the past."[3] With veteran penciler George Tuska, she created the lead character and her two leopard companions, as well as game warden and potential romantic interest Patrick McShane, loosely based on after actor Patrick McGoohan's game-warden character in the film Nor the Moon by Night.[4]

The writer Steve Gerber, in his first assignment for Marvel Comics,[5] supplied additional dialogue for that first issue, as well as the next. Seuling explained,

Steve Gerber did not collaborate with me on the scripts or the origin story, but he added some additional dialogue since Stan [Lee] and Roy [Thomas] thought the stories were a bit light on the talking.[4]

However, ... Steve Gerber was not one of the creators. He provided additional dialogue for the first two [issues] and then took over when I left [after four issues]. ... Gerber himself, before he died a few years ago, denied that he had any part in Shanna's origin.[6]

This initial series ran five issues (Dec. 1972 - Aug. 1973), with Jim Steranko drawing the covers of #1-2, John Buscema and Joe Sinnott of issue #3, and John Romita Sr. of the final two issues.[7]

The character went on to a series of guest appearances, first in the jungle lord comic Ka-Zar #1 (Jan. 1974); then in a storyline running through the superhero comics Daredevil #109-111 (May–July 1974) and Marvel Two-in-One #3 (May 1974), which supplied additional details about Shanna's past and family, and notes McShane's murder by the supervillainess Nekra in the interim; in Daredevil #117 (Jan. 1975); and in a Ka-Zar story in the black-and-white, mature-audience comics magazine Savage Tales #8 (Jan. 1975).[8]

Shanna then starred in two solo stories in Savage Tales #9-10 (March & May 1975) by writer Carla Conway (assisted by then-husband Gerry Conway on the former), with pencil art by, respectively, Tony DeZuniga and Ross Andru.[9] In the first of these two stories, Shanna's leopards Ina and Biri are killed. Gerry Conway recalled in 2010 that this "was part of the strategy to make her a stronger, fiercer character in the Savage Tales mode. It also raised the stakes for her personally, and by eliminating these 'rivals' for her affections opened her up to a relationship with Ka-Zar",[8] whom she would eventually marry, in Ka-Zar the Savage #29 (Dec. 1983).[10]

In the meantime, Shanna starred in a backup story in The Rampaging Hulk #9 (June 1978), by writer Gerber and artist DeZuniga.[9] She then starred in several eight-page solo stories in the omnibus title Marvel Comics Presents, beginning with a tale by writer-artist Bruce Jones in issue #13 (Late Feb. 1989), followed by the 10-part "The Bush of Ghosts", by writer Gerard Jones and penciler Paul Gulacy in issues #68-77 (Jan.-Late May 1991).[9]

Dovetailing with the end of that run came four full-length stories begun in 1978, completing plot threads from Shanna's solo story in The Rampaging Hulk #9. Written by Gerber and penciled by Carmine Infantino, Bret Blevins (two stories, the first credited as "A. Novice") and DeZuniga, these non-chronological, essentially flashback stories ran in Marvel Fanfare #56-59 (April-Oct. 1991).[9] The title's editor, Al Milgrom, unearthed the unpublished stories because

I would scour the office looking for gems [that] I could publish in Fanfare and I found the first part of Steve's Shanna story completely penciled by Carmine Infantino. There were also complete scripts for the second and third installments. So I called Steve up and said, ... 'I want to know going in that I can get you to finish the storyline.' Steve replied that he'd be happy to do so. ... [Regarding the art,] Carmine's a great designer but he doesn't draw the most sensuous women. ... I had been doing some work with Bret Blevins, who did great-looking girls, so I asked him if he'd be interested in inking an Infantino story. ... I think I told Bret that if he inked the first issue , he could pencil the following chapters. Bret was keen to ink his own pencils[, which] slowed him down. ... Steve turned in the fourth chapter — 13 years after he'd started the story. Bret couldn't handle the deadline for the final chapter, so I asked Tony DeZuniga."[11]

Marvel has also published alternate-universe versions of Shanna, unrelated except for the name.

Shanna was featured in the Marvel NOW! book titled Savage Wolverine. The new series, written and drawn by Frank Cho, debuted in January 2013. The title is a team-up story with Shanna and Wolverine as they try to survive the Savage Land together.[12]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Shanna the She-Devil #2 (Feb. 1973). Cover art by Jim Steranko.

Shanna O'Hara, Lady Plunder is the daughter of a diamond miner named Gerald O'Hara. Born in Africa, she spent the majority of her childhood growing up in the jungles of Zaire. At the age of six, her father went to kill a rogue leopard that belonged to her mother, Patricia O'Hara. While hunting for the leopard, Shanna's father accidentally killed her mother. This traumatic incident led to Shanna's lifelong crusade against the use of firearms. After the incident, Shanna moved back to the United States to live with relatives. Shanna grows up to become an accomplished Olympic athlete, specializing in competitive swimming and track and field. She then became a licensed veterinarian.

After completing college, Shanna began to work for the Central Park Municipal Zoo in New York City as a zoologist. While working at the zoo, Shanna raised many animals, including a female leopard named Julani. During this period another shock to her system came when Julani was shot and killed by a zoo guard. The following day, the zoo director proposes Shanna take Julani's cubs, Ina and BiriYoruba names meaning "bright" and "black", respectively[3] — to the Dahomey Reserve in Africa.

While in Africa, Shanna becomes more attuned to nature, patrolling the jungle and living freely in the wild lands. She begins to wear Julani's fur pelt as a sight-and-sense cue to help with the raising of the cubs. In the jungle, Shanna becomes more and more at home with herself and her new native element, all the while protecting the reserve from poachers as Shanna the She-Devil.[volume & issue needed]

During her stay in Africa, her father is kidnapped by the Mandrill. Shanna searches for him until the wizard Malgato kidnaps her to the Savage Land, a prehistoric jungle within Antarctica. She escapes with the help of Lord Kevin Plunder, a.k.a. the jungle lord Ka-Zar. Shanna returns to Africa to look for her father, and learns he was killed by the Mandrill. Seeking revenge, she goes to North America to aid Daredevil and Black Widow in stopping the Mandrill and Nekra's plan to overthrow the American government.[13]

After this, Shanna travels between San Francisco and the Savage Land, finally returning to Africa only to find Ina and Biri have been killed by a religious cult leader named Raga-Shah. After a short grieving period in North America, Shanna tracks and kills Raga-Shah by feeding him to her python Ananta. Around this time, she begins therapy with psychologist Dr. Dorothy Betz.[volume & issue needed]

Shanna returned to the Savage Land and became Ka-Zar's lover. They discovered their lost world was only part of a larger realm, Pangea, filled with wondrous races. The couple's relationship was tempestuous: Shanna married Mele of the Botor who died in a hunting accident while with Ka-Zar. Shanna was also targeted by the demonic Belasco (who felt she resembled his lost love Beatrice). When Ka-Zar was seemingly killed while they were in New York, a distraught Shanna rampaged, was institutionalized, and nearly romanced Peter Parker. Shanna was rescued by a revived Ka-Zar, aided by Spider-Man, and the two returned to Antarctica, where they were married despite interference from Belasco and others. They employed the native warrior woman Zhira as nanny and protector of their son Matthew.

They survived the temporary destruction of the Savage Land by Terminus and its later re-creation by the High Evolutionary and Garokk.

Shanna briefly attained a mystical bond to the spirit of Africa, foiling Sir Guy Cross-Wallace who slaughtered and consumed wildlife, seeking the bond himself to rule the continent. Shanna was also briefly given power over the natural world by the High Evolutionary. Together, Ka-Zar and Shanna fight to preserve the Savage Land from external threats and from pollution by technology.

Shanna and Ka-Zar find Skrulls mining the rare metal vibranium in the Savage Land. Soon afterward as part of the "Secret Invasion" storyline, a Skrull ship crashes in the Savage Land releasing earlier versions of modern superheroes (who claim to be the originals replaced by Skrulls for some time), and who have escaped. Shanna and Ka-Zar soon learn however, that these are simply more Skrulls in disguise. Spider-Man soon encounters Ka-Zar, Shanna, Zabu, and some of the natives accusing them of being Skrulls. Just then, the Captain America from the ship attacked thinking the same for Spider-Man. Ka-Zar, Shanna, and Zabu help Spider-Man fight the Captain America from the ship until it is hit by a dart that causes it to regress to a Skrull named Pit'o Nilli. Shanna then kills Pit'o Nilli.[14] Shanna stays behind with Zabu to fight off anymore Skrulls left in the Savage Land while Ka-Zar heads with the New Avengers and the Mighty Avengers to New York to fight the Skrulls.[15]

Ka-Zar and Shanna later encounter the return of the Ethereals and end up fighting them when it comes to the Ethereals wanting the tribes of the Savage Land to be united with them.[16]

As part of the Marvel NOW! event in the pages of Savage Wolverine, Shanna the She-Devil agreed to be a guide to a group of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who were venturing to a mysterious island within the Savage Land. A damping field was located on the island, causing their transport to crash land. Stranded on the island, Shanna and the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents attempts to flee by sea, but were stopped by monsters living the ocean. They then decided to find and destroy the source of the damping field, creating a bomb to do so. Unfortunately for Shanna, the Neanderthals on the island killed all the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents before they could destroy the machine. At the same time, Wolverine crashed on the island.[17] Wolverine and Shanna the She-Devil set out to destroy the machine and encounter heavy Neanderthal resistance.[18] During the fight against the Neanderthals, Shanna the She-Devil ends up killed by one of the Neanderthals. Luckily for Wolverine, Amadeus Cho was also on the island and convinced the Neanderthals that he was their god and to help Shanna the She-Devil.[19] Using the life blood of a Man-Thing that was native to the Savage Land, the Neanderthal tribe resurrected Shanna the She-Devil. This left Shanna the She-Devil connected to the very life force of the Savage Land, giving her supernatural power. Amadeus Cho told Shanna the She-Devil what the Neanderthal natives had explained to him. The machine powering the damping field was also powering a prison, one holding an ancient hostile alien presence. Realizing that Wolverine would be releasing this creature, Shanna the She-Devil raced to stop him. She arrived in time with Amadeus Cho right behind her and was able to stop Wolverine. Suddenly, Hulk appeared before them.[20]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Shanna is gifted with Olympic-class athleticism along with extraordinary agility. She is a well-trained veterinarian, with the capability of being close to wild animals. Shanna is adept at hunting and gathering, healing and tracking. She is an experienced fighter, familiar with knives, spears, bows and arrows and other primitive forms of weapons. She has Olympic athlete-level strength: naturally excelling at swimming, diving, climbing, leaping, and running with great speed and determination.

After her resurrection, Shanna is tied into the life force of the Savage Land. She also instinctively knows the languages and history of the Savage Land and its people. Shanna also now possesses the strength of ten men. She was able to run 52 miles per hour over uneven terrain.

Other versions[edit]

Frank Cho version[edit]

A blond, alternate-universe version of the character starred in the seven-issue miniseries Shanna, the She-Devil vol. 2 (April-Oct. 2005), written and drawn by Frank Cho. This Shanna is the result of a genetic experiment and she also has superhuman strength and agility. One member of a scientific expedition that encountered her named her Shanna after the "comic book character".

The series was originally scheduled for release under Marvel's "mature readers" MAX imprint,[citation needed] but was reworked, with Cho eliminating the nudity before publication. It ran with a "PSR+" rating through issue #4, and a "Parental Advisory" rating afterward.

A four-issue sequel miniseries, Shanna The She-Devil: Survival of the Fittest (Oct. 2007 - Jan. 2008) by writers Justin Gray and James Palmiotti and penciler Khari Evans, featured this same alternate version of Shanna. In Secret Invasion, Earth-616 Shanna was rendered by Leinil Francis Yu very similar to Marvel MAX counterpart.

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

Shanna and Ka-Zar first appear in the alternate-universe Ultimate Marvel imprint on the final page of Ultimates 3 #3. Flashbacks reveal that she, Ka-Zar, and Zabu have been friends since childhood.[21] After the Ultimatum wave, they join the New Ultimates where they helped to fight Loki.[22]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

Video games[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Frankenhoff, Brent (2011). Comics Buyer's Guide Presents: 100 Sexiest Women in Comics. Krause Publications. p. 38. ISBN 1-4402-2988-0. 
  2. ^ Roy Thomas interview, Alter Ego #70 (July 1970): pp. 49-50
  3. ^ a b Buttery, Jarrod (August 2010). "Shanna: And a Jungle Queen is Born". Back Issue! (TwoMorrows Publishing) (43): 4. 
  4. ^ a b Seuling in Buttery, p. 5
  5. ^ Steve Gerber in letters page, Daredevil #115 (Nov. 1974)
  6. ^ Seuling in Buttery, p. 6
  7. ^ Shanna the She-Devil (Marvel, 1972 Series) at the Grand Comics Database
  8. ^ a b Buttery, p. 6
  9. ^ a b c d Shanna the She-Devil (character) at the Grand Comics Database
  10. ^ Buttery, p. 8
  11. ^ Buttery, p. 7
  12. ^ Wheeler, Andrew (8 October 2012). "Marvel NOW! Q&A: Savage Wolverine". Marvel.com. Retrieved 8 October 2012. 
  13. ^ Daredevil #109-112 (May-Aug. 1974), Marvel Two-in-One #3 (May 1974)
  14. ^ New Avengers #42
  15. ^ Secret Invasion #7
  16. ^ Ka-Zar Vol. 5 #1-5
  17. ^ Savage Wolverine #1
  18. ^ Savage Wolverine #2
  19. ^ Savage Wolverine #3
  20. ^ Savage Wolverine #4
  21. ^ Ultimates 3 #1-5
  22. ^ Ultimate Comics: New Ultimates #1-5

External links[edit]