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COMIC LEGEND: Did John Byrne quit Sensational She-Hulk because of a dispute over the She-Hulk shaving her legs?
STATUS: False Enough for a False
This is a weird one.
Okay, so in 1989, John Byrne debuted a new title, the Sensational She-Hulk.
Bobbie Chase was chosen as the editor for the new title.
Around this same time, Dwayne McDuffie and Robin D. Chaplik had already submitted a pitch in for a She-Hulk prestige format series (Probably originally a graphic novel). Their series was written before Byrne’s first issue even came out.
Byrne, as the writer of the new regular series, was given the chance (as was the custom) to see if anything in this series conflicted with his title (as Byrne’s first few issues would be out before the Ceremony mini-series would be out).
Byrne made a number of changes and Chase had them changed in the book. All but one. A scene involving She-Hulk shaving her legs.
Byrne explained his problem with the scene (as he to Scott Tipton some years ago)…
On top of this was the scene with She-Hulk shaving her legs. Now, let me state up front that I have an instant prejudice against this sort of scene. I just don’t like ‘em. Not sure why, just don’t feel they are necessary to the development of the characters. However, in the context of this particular scene, the “development” was to show that Jen was an idiot. Sitting in the tub, shaving her leg, she immediately breaks the blade. So she grabs another razor, and breaks that on the first stroke. So she grabs another, and breaks that. And another. And another. The “punchline” is to see a huge pile of broken razors by the tub. My objection, of course, was that Jen would not do this (even if she needed to shave her legs, which arguably she did not). The first time she tried, the first time the razor broke, she’d get on the phone to her pal Reed Richards and say “Here’s my problem…” Reed would have an Atomic Leg Shaving Apparatus (which, knowing Reed, would be big as a Volkswagen) delivered to her apartment within the hour! Problem solved.
He asked for the scene to be removed. It was not.
Chase, meanwhile, also had to deal with complaints from McDuffie over all of the changes she DID make to his story. So when it came time for Byrne’s series to begin, Chase also began making some changes to Byrne’s scripts to bring them in line with the story in Ceremony.
Here, then, we come to a bit of a “he-said/she-said” over whether Byrne literally said “Either she goes or I go.” However that point was reached, Marvel Editor-in-Chief Tom DeFalco ultimately sided with Chase over Byrne and Byrne was off of She-Hulk (he would later return after Chase left the title).
The story is often “Byrne left because Bobbie Chase had She-Hulk shave her legs,” and I think that even if you believe that the leg scene was the biggest bone of contention, it was far from the reason that Byrne ultimately left the title, so I think a “false” is fair here.
Check out some classic Comic Book Legends Revealed involving editor/creator conflicts!
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On the next page, did famed Argentinian author Julio Cortázar really write a comic book?
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