If there's one thing Frank Cho loves, it's dinosaurs. If there are two things, they're breasts.
A resident of the Savage Land, Shanna O'Hara began her life as a veterinarian working to protect endangered animals from poachers and other threats. Always an agile warrior, she took a more natural approach to combat and protected African wildlife in the field while honing her skills. After learning of the Savage Land she met her future husband, Ka-Zar, and agreed to marry him and dedicate her life to the protection of the sanctuary's animal population.
When she debuted in December of 1972, Shanna was nothing more than a thinly-veiled rip-off of Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, an adventure heroine created by Will Eisner and Jerry Iger in 1937.
In fact, the only noticeable difference between the two was hair color, and even that's been done away with over the years. In the recent Shanna The She-Devil miniseries, writer/artist Frank Cho put his own personal spin on the character, removing her from Marvel continuity and crafting a new origin. No longer was she an accomplished zoologist whose hatred of firearms and love of animals led her to move to the Savage Land and marry Marvel's answer to Tarzan. Now she was the the result of Nazi genetic experiments, bred to survive in the strange world where living dinosaurs populated a lush jungle deep within the frozen Antarctic wastes. She was found and awakened by a team of explorers, and the leader named her after a comicbook character.
Online retailer AFX, in conjunction with Diamond Select Toys, offered a Shanna mini bust at SDCC06, with a handful (a couple handfuls, from the looks of her) held over to sell on AFX's site. The bust, sculpted by Sam Greenwell, is limited to 1,000 pieces and retails for $50.
The statue was based on the artwork of Frank Cho, and if there's one thing old Monkey Boy Cho's good at, it's drawing the female form - thus the wisdom of giving him a series about a woman who runs around nearly naked all the time. Actually, the book wasn't originally supposed to have that "nearly" modifier on it; it was going to be part of Marvel's 18+ "MAX" imprint, but then it got shuffled into Marvel Knights and they had Frank go back and draw clothes on her. Awww. No worries, though: the hardcover collection is supposed to have the unedited version.
Now, if you are at all familiar with his artwork,
you know that the words "Frank Cho" and "mini bust" don't belong anywhere near each other. "Bust," certainly, but mini? Hardly. No point in trying to say it euphemistically: Shanna's got some huge tits. Simple as that. Mellifluous mounds of mammalia, designed for nothing more than sexual attention. Breasts are built to produce milk and feed young - tits are just for show. The big chest is a trait of all the women Frank Cho draws, and it's definitely present here. But we're not talking about Jim Balent style torso-balloons: Cho's women are big and curvy all over, not just in one spot, and their tits actually move and react to gravity.
Shanna is sculpted from the thighs up, holding a rifle and gazing toward the horizon, ready for an attack.
The gun is a bit under-detailed, in that it still looks sculpted, rather than like a real weapon. Her clothes, what little there are of them, are detailed well. Her outfit is basically just a few strips of animal hide tied like a bikini, but it has the appropriate texture and hangs (or maybe that should be "hugs") properly.
If there's one part of the figure that doesn't quite capture Frank Cho's artwork, it's the face. It's not that the bust is ugly, just that Cho draws very distinctive, determined faces, and the sculpt just seems a little soft in this regard. I'm not sure there was any way to do it better, so this isn't a detraction, just an observation. Her hair reveals that she's got the wind at her back, and the golden tresses are detailed well.
The base of statue is a mossy stone table, with the skeleton of some small dino curled underneath. The base is 1 1/4" tall, and the entire bust is 6 1/4".
The paint is very good all over: the stones have varying shades of brown and umber, with a subtle shading of green; the fossil-to-be is ecru with a darker wash creating shadows; Shanna's skin is tanned, but it's not one solid color; ditto her clothes, which have a dry-brush accentuating the shadows that form naturally. There are some spots where the wash or dry-brushing can get a bit heavy, such as around the hands, and her face is a bit pale, but neither of those will be distracting under normal lighting conditions.
The bust is hand-numbered on the base, and a matching certificate is included in the box.
A gold foil sticker seals the box, which I'm not crazy about - you have to slice through it to open the packaging, which, yes, is the point of a seal, but even limited busts and statues haven't really had that extra step to worry about before. Has there been some big rash of people passing off fakes? Whenever you buy any high-end collectible like this, you should always open it and remove it from its styrofoam shell to make sure that nothing was damaged in transit, and putting a seal on the lid sort of prevents that.
Shanna the She-Devil isn't the most recognizable character in the Marvel universe, but under the pen of Frank Cho, she definitely earned a lot more fans. The comic was good old-fashioned pulpy fun - dinosaurs, archaeologists, Nazis, mysterious diseases... it's like the illegitimate child of Jurassic Park and Raiders of the Lost Ark, with Aliens as a crazy bachelor uncle or something. The Shanna bust is designed and executed well, and will look great protecting your shelves from dinosaurs.
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