The ComicsAlliance Spring Break Swimsuit Special!
It’s Spring Break, that magical time of year when college students everywhere forsake their studies for a week of sun and fun, and here at ComicsAlliance, that means it’s time for another look at our favorite pin-ups from the Marvel Comics Swimsuit Specials! This time around, David Uzumeri joins veteran swimsuit special critic Chris Sims for a look at the bizarre swimsuits of mid-90s Marvel.
Chris: WOO! SPRING BREAK!
David: I always wished there would just be a surprise shark attack on MTV Spring Break.
Chris: I’m pretty sure they had a shark on “Singled Out” once.
David: Chris Hardwick, despite appearances, I think is still technically a human.
Chris: For our younger readers, “Singled Out” was like “Next,” only less morally reprehensible. Now let’s get going!
Chris: Ben Grimm could not be more embarrassed to be a part of this.
David: What is Ben so ashamed of? I mean Hulk looks menacing, Logan and Hank are loving it, but Ben just looks like he’s five seconds away from committing suicide. It’s like someone just told him Reed found a cure but got drunk and forgot it.
Chris: Maybe he looked to his left and noticed that the Hulk looks less like he’s wearing shorts and more like he’s just holding a cardboard cutout of shorts over his gamma-junk.
David: Coincidence! Kevin Nowlan does no wrong!! I do love how they’re purple shorts, though.
Chris: No, seriously! I love Nowlan, but look at that evil grin on Hulk’s face. He’s totally putting one over on us.
David: He looks like Jack Nicholson.
Chris: Wolverine doesn’t care, he’s been around. Hank’s beyond concerns like public nudity. But Ben? “Aw nertz, Banner’s got his pants off again. Just snap the pic, willya Stretch?”
David: And what the hell is up with Beast’s swimsuit? Half-checkerboard? Really? Maybe that’s supposed to get across that he is smart, and likes chess. His other swim trunks have a Risk board on them.
David: Yes! Drawn by incoming “Uncanny X-Men” artist Whilce Portacio, who apparently has his own clothing line in the Marvel Universe.
Chris: Yeah, that was a running thing in the swimsuit specials. To capture the “Sports Illustrated” style of caption, the artists were all credited as bikini designers.
David: I’d really kill to be a fly on the wall in the meeting that birthed this.
Chris: Maybe Whilce-Wear was a line of swimsuit specifically designed for women with elongated thighs, bowlegged calves, and duck-feet that forced them to stand en pointe all day.
David: Whilce-Wear! When you’re always a Lady Stilt-Man.
Chris: I like the story behind this one, though: That Cable and Boom-Boom are doing their best to make Jubilee laugh even though she’s been stricken with some disease that has turned her a bright roasted yellow-orange.
David: Jaundice is a serious problem, man.
Chris: So’s being Asian in ’90s comics.
David: So’s being Asian in ’00s comics. Poor, poor Sonny Sumo.
Chris: If you look close, everyone in this picture is on their tiptoes. Are they trying not to wake someone up? And if so, wouldn’t the constant clanking of Cable’s metal leg and gigantic Craftsman nailgun be a hindrance?
David: Why does he even need a nailgun anyways? Is he going to be leaving bodies in boarded-up tenements in Baltimore?
Chris: It’s the only way to save the future.
Chris: So I think it’s safe to say that the joke in that last one is that cable, tooth-gritting gun-toting tough-guy that he is, would never wear something as ridiculous as a leopard print thong, right?
Chris: What a difference a year makes.
David: I’d just like to point out that in the intervening year, Cable switched mechanical legs.
Chris: Maybe we were a little too harsh on the coloring of Asian characters earlier. Domino’s not Asian, is she?
David: I’m pretty sure she’s supposed to be pale white.
Chris: And yet, here she is in fetching shades of Schoolbus and Basketball.
David: I love how even their swimsuits have pouches and guns and knives. I kind of enjoy how it’s self-consciously silly, like, yeah, this is completely ridiculous, but let’s give Domino a pouch bikini and Cable a rocket surfboard.
Chris: I don’t know if you can make it out, but the theme of the ’93 swimsuit issue was that all the captions were Pip the Troll making terrible jokes.
David: Man, talk about characters I totally forgot about.
Chris: In this one, he tells Cable that if Domino “takes more than half an hour, it’s free.” So thanks for making this just a little creepier.
Chris: If you asked someone to draw an artistic representation of the perils of American colonialism in the form of a swimsuit pinup, this is what they would do.
David: I.. I… holy living mother of God, this is so racially problematic I’m not just making this up, right? This is a bunch of dark-skinned savages standing around an Aryan dude standing tall reverently? While Diamondback….. is…. I’m seriously speechless.
Chris: Yep. Everything about this picture just screams Political Cartoon, right down to Cap’s slightly bewildered expression. And there’s an adoring blonde half-wearing a flag staring up at his junk thrown in as a bonus.
David: Which is apparently padded, from the looks of it. Holy crap, this is Michael Golden?!
David: Michael “Patience is a Virue” Golden?
Chris: That’s him!
David: I mean, damn, some degree of political sensitivity is also a virtue.
David: Chickenfighting! Ah, Bishop. So happy, back before your infanticide days. I also love Warren just hangin’ around, playin’ with his buddies with his gigantic, ominous metal wings.
Chris: Like I said before, I like it when these pictures tell a story. And this one is telling the story of how these dudes are trying SO HARD to convince the girls to come sit on their shoulders. “Ha ha, it’s fun! C’mon Betsy! See? Warren’s doing it!”
David: Dude, how would you even support those impossibly long legs? And why is Jubilee just facing the camera with no context whatsoever making light shows for us? Why is she wearing such an unimaginably hideous swimsuit?
Chris: It took me a minute to figure it out, but in the swimsuit specials, everybody’s always wearing suits with their logo on it. But Jubilee doesn’t have a logo of her own, so she’s just got a gigantic “J” and some plasma bubbles.
David: And her ridiculous London Underground logo earrings.
Chris: Two things to note about this one: First, gigantic metal wings are going to provide a lot of resistance and stability that give you an unfair advantage in chickenfighting. Second, that Angel is basically sitting on an ice cube.
David: HORSEMEN OF APOCALYPSE FEEL NEITHER COLD NOR HEAT. HORSEMEN OF APOCALYPSE FEEL NO SHRINKAGE.
David: How is this different from Gamora’s usual outfit?
Chris: What struck me about this one is the little face on her bikini bottom. Look at that guy, he’s downright Flintstonian. “Eh. It’s a living.”
David: I’d like to think that that is not just a mask, and actually some kind of captured soul stuck in a trinket that she taped over her vagina.
Chris: I picked this picture out last night, and I’ve been looking at it for the past few minutes, and I just now noticed the Mole Man lounging around behind her. In his 1920s bathing costume.
David: I would not have noticed this if you hadn’t just told me. This must be the greatest day of his life. Mole Man is the hottest dude in that room. Compared to the collected Monstrous Manual or whatever behind him.
Chris: Yeah, but it’s kind of hard to catch the eye when there’s a literal giant pink cyclops staring at a sexy lady in a thong right next to you. You know, just in case you thought there was any subtlety whatsoever to these pictures.
Chris: Speaking of subtlety, here’s Hellstorm, who is not only straddling a giant lizard, but is also holding a flaming trident between his legs. It’s a prime example of the rarely seen Double-Phallic Pin-Up.
David: First, whoever wrote that blurb should be shot. Secondly, what the Hell is Etrigan doing there? Why are his pants too big? Did he just transform from something BIGGER into something smaller? And why does that monster have such a gigantic mouth?
Chris: Afraid I can’t help you, Dave. Pretty much all of my knowledge of Hellstorm comes from this pin-up. Can Hellstorm fly? Because he’s not really standing on anything.
David: Maybe the monster secretes an adhesive.
Chris: Oh snap, this just went TRIPLE-Phallic!
Chris: All right, here’s Persuasion, the Purple Girl.
David: Who the hell is Persuasion? Wait, is she actually just Purple Girl for real? Like, she is purple, and makes people do stuff?
Chris: Yeah, she’s the Purple Man’s daughter.
David: That’s an insanely creepy concept to begin with.
Chris: All right, look: I don’t want to call anybody out here? But if this wasn’t traced from a picture of Cindy Crawford, I’ll eat my hat. And I don’t own a hat, so I’ll have to actually go out and buy one, and THEN eat it.
David: I was TRYING to figure out who it was! That is totally Cindy Crawford. I’m surprised they snuck so many dirty jokes into this. The caption here isn’t even innuendo anymore.
Chris: This is basically a blacklight painting of Cindy Crawford from the inside of someone’s van that was adapted for use by Marvel. I’m pretty sure there’s a store at the mall that still sells the original.
Chris: It’s nice to see Thanos just straight up getting his mack on without murdering half the universe. “Girl, I drive a Volvo.“
David: He should do both simultaneously, really.
Chris: Also, congratulations to Adam Warlock for winning the title at this year’s WrestleMania.
David: And his frighteningly unaligned nipples. Also, Moondragon’s coquettish wink is just embarrassing.
Chris: Thanos’s feet are literally the funniest thing I have seen all week.
David: I KNOW! You wouldn’t have to wear your shoes open if you didn’t have such ridiculously huge socks, Thanos! WHY ARE YOU EVEN WEARING SOCKS TO THE BEACH
Chris: Just in shape alone. The fuzzy socks and the purple hi-tops are just icing on the cake to his gigantic–yet proportionally tiny–Warner Brothers feet.
David: Crap, I hadn’t even noticed how short they were.
Chris: They are almost Strong Sad-ian.
David: THAT’S WHO BEN GRIMM WAS REMINDING ME OF! Strong Sad!
Chris: Fun fact! The guy who drew this is now in charge of DC Comics!
David: At least these are pretty cool-looking dinosaurs. I like the spots. I’m not sure why Storm is playing with dinosaurs, though. This could basically be a still shot from Avatar.
Chris: Oh yes. I am definitely not mocking this. Not at all. I would never do that. pleaseletmewritebatman.
David: She’s also doing a ballerina pirouette in midair. The whole thing seems like, off to the side, there’s some Savage Land dudes holding up score signs.
Chris: Actually, now that I think about it? The last time I did one of these Swimsuit articles, there was one of Namor wearing a clamshell thong by Joe Quesada. So basically, the Marvel Swimsuit Specials are the path to editorial power. I think I’ve cracked the code.
David: I think it’s less that and more that like 75% of big-name artists in the ’90s ended up becoming an editor of SOMETHING. Even if it was just their own studio.
Chris: No, I’m pretty sure it’s a Line-of-Succession thing. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go practice drawing Black Widow in a bikini.
David: Oh c’mon, aim higher. Why not Aunt May or Destiny?
Chris: Believe it or not, that’s been done.