It's summer, even here on What Were They Thinking? (the place where we look at all of the stupidest, most ill-advised things in all of comics history), so I thought we'd take a break from all of the racism, drugs and rape that we usually cover to chill out for a bit and hang out with some superheroes down at the beach, or by the pool, or even on an alien holiday planet. Yup, we're going back to the 90's and taking a look at the Marvel Swimsuit Specials (because they made 5 of the damn things).
So, what were the Marvel Swimsuit Specials? Well, each year between 1991- 95, around Summer time, Marvel would publish a comic that was basically just an excuse to put all of their heroes and villains in swimwear, basically ripping off Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit edition (infact the first of the Swimsuit Specials was called Marvel Illustrated: Swimsuit Edition, but they changed that the following year, no idea why though *sarcasm*). Each cover would feature a heroine in a bikini, starting off with She-Hulk in 91, then going through Storm in 92, Rogue in 93, then Sue Richards and Namor (not Reed) in 94 before going back to Rogue with some added Gambit in 95.
Now, I could talk about the storylines of each issue, but there's no point, they're bland, generic and not that interesting. The real genius of these issues, in case you couldn't tell from our magnificent cover picture, is the art. So let's just get to the good stuff, obviously starting with the shell.
Now, this is pretty much the Bobby Roode of awful 90's Marvel (if you don't get that joke, type Bobby Roode theme into the Youtube search bar and click on the first video). Namor's standard costume is a small scaly speedo, so when it comes time to do a swimsuit special the guys at Marvel said "Hey, might as well just put a shell over his crown jewels and nothing else". Add to that the increadibly shredded musclulature and the streams of what should be water but don't actually look like water and you have the best worst 90's panel you'll ever see.
Oh wait, I take that back. This is infinately more amazing and terrible. The Punisher, a man so badass that he once tortured someone with a popsicle, wearing a thong pouch of his own skull logo whilst alien ladiess fight over him in the background. Truely magniflicent.
Normally, I would ask why the hell Domino is yellow, but they do it to Psylocke as well (who actually wears more clothes in the swimsuit specials than she normally would in the pages of a standard X-Men comic). Or I'd make some remark about that surf board being the most 90's thing ever (Oh and being the 90's, even the swimwear has pouches). But instead I'm just going to take this time to point out that there isn't a single panel of any of the swimsuit specials that feature Cable, in which Cable doesn't look like the worlds creepiest pervert.
I think we can all agree that T'Challa looks utterly magestic here. Magnificently sculpted body, tight black speedo, bathing in a pool of putrid green slime that turns into acrid smoke when in contact with water, whilst a giant sea serpant sits in the background with it's tongue out like a panting dog. Yes, I bet that's turning everybody on.
Forgive me if I'm wrong but surely the point of having less clothes on is to not get so hot and also not to get your normal clothes wet whilst going swimming. Here we have Colossus, in swimwear, in his metal form. Metal, which heats up far more than human skin when in direct sunlight and which will sink if in deep water (I won't mention rusting because "natural metal" and all that). Speaking of rusting...
I want everyone to take a good long look at this picture, specifically at Iron Man. He is wearing surfing shorts over his armour. Iron Man is wearing a swimsuit over a lump of metal and electronics. Is he going swimming in his suit????
Does not compute
Like, I don't even care about the masks, because some of these guys might be a bit harder to identify without them, but the armour with shorts over it? He's not even protecting his modesty unless the suit has a metal penis sculpted onto it. I don't get it.
I still don't get it.
Yes, she is and yes, they went there.
Yes, she is and yes, they also went there.
Now, imagine the internets reaction if this had been in the Doctor Strange film. Imagine the reaction in the cinema. You can thank me for the image of Benedict Cumberbatch in this pose in the those shorts later.
Ben Grimm, the only sane person in the Marvel universe (also, hopefully not going swimming because he'll also sink). And then we have Beast... and Wolverine for that matter. Work it boys.
So, yeah. Best thing to say about these is that they are hilariously bad and, suprisingly, aren't sexist (which is amazing considering it's the 90's). The men look just as stupid as the women, are dressed in just as revealling outfits (mostly) and are put into just as ridiculous poses.
Still rubbish though.
It was the 90's.
[laughter] I was hoping to see the Sandman making a sand castle . . .
None of him making a sand castle, but there is a bit with Black Cat making a sand castle out of him…
Thanks for the Sue Richards pic, because that was my fav from all of them lol. Yeah I totally bought the mag at the time. Cos Hot!!! Extreme!!! VIOL no wait lol
Why. Just why. Why did this have to happen. Kill me, Gaben.
Still, Venom in a swimsuit is actually kinda funny I guess…
Who the heck ever decided this would be a good idea? The Venom one almost looks like self-parody.
I don’t see the big deal about it. It wasn’t even original. Shoot most of the independent comics has had swimsuit issues. I have some older 1970’s swimsuit like issues with Death, Vamperella, and a few more. I think i have a heavy metal somewhere like this. Except with these, no males.
I see it as a equality milestone. Both sexes now have pinups to either put on their wall, or keep in magazine. Nothing new, just smaller.
Now that pic of namor always bothered me. He looks half monkey with those long arms