She Hulk Costume History
With the Success of The Incredible Hulk television show, starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno, Marvel Comics was concerned that the show would introduce a female Hulk to play off another popular show at the time, The Bionic Woman. Stan Lee and John Buscema quickly created She-Hulk to secure the intellectual rights. This would also be the last character Stan Lee created for Marvel, until his 1992 return with Ravage 2099.
In 1980, She-Hulk would make her first appearance in The Savage She-Hulk #1. Jennifer Walters is the cousin of Bruce Banner and a lawyer. Jennifer was shot by her father’s enemy Nicholas Trask, while she had taken on one of Trask’s enemies as a client. As luck would have it, her cousin Dr. Bruce Banner was in town. With no blood types matching Jennifer, Bruce gave his own blood to save her life. Unfortunately, the gamma radiation that causes him to turn into the Hulk was in his blood. After receiving Bruce’s blood, Jennifer became infected and would turn into She-Hulk. However, rather than turning into a gigantic monster, Jennifer turned into a very well endowed female bodybuilder, with womanly curves.
Originally She-Hulk was very similar to her cousin the Hulk. She would be unable to control when she transformed into the Hulk and the angrier she got the stronger she became. Later, the living vampire Morbius cured her of a blood disorder and Jennifer could then transform into the She-Hulk at will and retained her intelligence/personality. She-Hulk’s strength is now set at a constant level but her strength will increase if Jennifer Walters takes the time to do some strength training in her human form. All that being said, She-Hulk can easily lift over 100 tons and possess an accelerated healing process.
Keeping with the Hulk spin-off, She-Hulk had a very similar design. While her cousin ran around in ripped purple pants, Jennifer would be wearing a shredded white dress. Increasing in size significantly, this dress would end up fitting more like a one piece bathing suit. The skirt was split all the way up the side and the bottom was not much lower than a bikini bottom. The arms were completely torn off and the bust was split open. Unlike female bodybuilders, whose high muscle mass and low body weight tend to reduce their cup size, She-Hulk had the opposite problem.
Just like her big cousin, She-Hulk would also join the Avengers. She started out in her original ripped white dress, but would change over to a different style of clothing before leaving. The Avengers are not big on uniforms, so it was up to Jennifer to find her own style. She started out wearing really short shorts and tight t-shirts (it was the 80’s), but would soon switch to the one-piece bathing suit style. The one piece bathing suit would be the base for many of She-Hulk’s future costumes.
After the Secret Wars in 1984, Ben Grim left the Fantastic Four. She-Hulk would join the team in Fantastic Four #265 as a replacement for the Thing’s strength. She would wear the teams blue and white uniform, but added her own twist. The Thing was a massive individual who ran around in his underwear. She-Hulk was huge, but also a lady, and could not be running around in her undergarments. So she took the classic Fantastic Four blue and white jumpsuit and turned it into a blue and white one piece bathing suit. The suit itself was blue and the white was added in with the belt, gloves, boots and collar. Of course the 4 was centered on the chest like her other team members, only hers stuck out a little more.
Unlike her cousin, She-Hulk is a team player. When the Thing returned to the Fantastic Four, she willingly left (They couldn’t call themselves the Fantastic Five, that’s just silly.) and returned to the Avengers. You could tell that she missed her former team, because her next costume was very similar to the one she wore while fighting with Fantastic 4. This one piece purple bathing had matching boots, a white belt and white wrist bands. I am unsure if she chose purple to be like her cousin, who wore purple pants, or the color purple looks good when you have a green complexion. Maybe a little bit of both?
She-Hulk’s white and purple costume is probably her most recognizable. It stuck with the one piece bathing suit she was comfortable with, but added a little color and dimension to make it her own. It was no longer a spin off from the Hulk, another team’s uniform or a plain solid color. This white bathing suit had a simple purple outline. Rather than wrist bands or full fingered gloves, she had weightlifting gloves. These worked perfectly with her body builder appearance. Such simple design changes were able transformed a bathing suit into a superhero costume.
Signature Costume Variations
She-Hulk’s signature costume would have some variations added to it at different times but none lasted long enough to be considered a true costume change. Sometimes she might wear pants, it might be a body suit with short sleeves and legs, and at one point it became a two piece, with booty shorts and a tube top.
It can be a difficult adjustment going from a small human female to a 7 foot, 700 lb, green skinned hero. In the beginning Jennifer feared the She-Hulk, later she embraced her green skin more than her human side, and eventually she learned to love both parts of her whole self. Because Jennifer accepts and take pride in her hulking female form, She-Hulk often wears everyday clothing instead of a costume. Well...she is proud of her body and tends to wear things that are tighter and skimpier than most people would feel comfortable wearing, but things you can find in a store. The form fitting could come from having to fit into store bought clothing, when you have to duck to get through most doorways?
Since Jennifer Walters likes to flaunt her green skin, fans like to turn regular pictures of their favorite celebrities into She-Hulk. All they do is change the skin color to green and instant She-Hulk.
She-Hulk costumes are not readily available for fans to buy. However, since all it takes is a few alterations to easily found clothing items and a lot of green body paint, fans have designed their own unique She-Hulk costumes.
Google Images (Images appeared on several sites and was unsure of original)
And of course: Reading way too many comic books.
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