What Do Other Characters Think When She-Hulk Breaks the Fourth Wall?

What Do Other Characters Think When She-Hulk Breaks the Fourth Wall?

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What Do Other Characters Think When She-Hulk Breaks the Fourth Wall?

Comic Book Questions Answered – where I answer whatever questions you folks might have about comic books (feel free to e-mail questions to me at brianc@cbr.com).

A couple of weeks back, I did one of these about how characters react when Deadpool breaks the fourth wall. My pal Alan said I should do one about She-Hulk as well, so, well, here we are.

She-Hulk, of course, was breaking the fourth wall for a year or so before Deadpool even EXISTED as a character and she was one of the most consistent breakers of the fourth wall in comic book history. However, her fourth-wall breaking almost exclusively revolved around the work of John Byrne on Sensational She-Hulk, which was issues #1-8 and then #31-50. Then there were a few references after #50 (which increased once Len Kaminski started co-writing the book) and there was one issue right after each of Byrne’s departures that was explicitly fourth-wall breaking, perhaps even more so than the typical Byrne issues. Those were #9 (by guest-writers Richard Starkings and Gregory Wright) and #51 (by guest-writer Scott Benson). Her fourth-wall breaking DID extend to the pages of other comics, but we’ll get those later. By the time Dan Slott relaunched her title, the book more nudged the fourth wall rather than explicitly breaking it. Since Slott’s run ended, outside of a couple of jokes during Peter David’s run on the book, she has been mostly back to a normal comic book character since.

Okay, but let’s take a look at how people responded to the fourth-wall breaking back in the day. Note that She-Hulk broke the fourth wall a lot in a preview for her new series that was in Marvel Comics Presents. But we’ll treat that as a special exception. Otherwise, her first fourth-wall breaking was kind of the cover of her first issue…

But really later in the issue, when she talks about how the readers will know who her villain is before her…

Now, here’s an important thing. In Fantastic Four #10, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby established the fact that the superheroes in the Marvel Universe have comic books produced about them….

That made it possible for She-Hulk to make references to comic books throughout her series that were not technically breaking the fourth wall (Dan Slott used this to great effect in his She-Hulk run)…

So that is different from traditional fourth-wall breaking.

Next, in issue #4, Byrne introduced the former Golden Age hero known as the Blonde Phantom, who explains that she is trying to become a supporting character in She-Hulk’s book because she doesn’t want to age normally anymore…

This was very important because the existence of Weezi allowed Byrne to have She-Hulk talk to someone about the fourth-wall breaking that was also in on the gag.

Otherwise, Byrne treated the fourth wall breaking stuff as essentially like the other characters just ignored her, like Spider-Man in #3…

and Mister Fantastic in #6…

Byrne ultimately added Wyatt Wingfoot to the joke, as well, for reasons explained nicely by She-Hulk herself…

Around this time, though, Byrne also showed how others saw her actions and they basically amounted to people thinking that she was just talking to herself, as seen in #39…

And #49…

Okay, so that’s how people treated her IN her comic. How about outside her comic?

Page 2:

See How They React

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