Thursday, February 09, 2006

GUY GARDNER, WARRIOR #42 DC Comics, 1996

This post may be NOT SAFE FOR WORK. Not because there is any nudity or dead bodies or anything, but because you might be embarassed looking at this stuff at work. Try explaining to your Mormon co-worker why you're looking at pictures of sex-changed Guy Gardner.
Welcome to Dude Looks Like A Lady Week, where we celebrate superhero sex changes and the eternal problem of the Man Trapped In A Woman’s Body. Both are weirdly common motifs in mainstream comics as well as real life. Sometimes I feel like a man trapped in the aged Brigitte Nielsen’s body, and it totally creeps me out. Anyway, we’re going to spend the ENTIRE WEEK on our Dude Looks Like A Lady theme!

Yes, I know it’s Thursday.

Our first comic is Guy Gardner, Warrior #42, where our hero the redneck ex-Green Lantern is somehow turned into a LADY by his old foe, the shape-changing reality-molesting Dementor. There he/she is on the cover, where it cleverly says “Gal” instead of “Guy” because DUDE LOOKS LIKE A LADY!

I’m going to have to find a link to Aerosmith’s “Dude Looks Like A Lady” so when you click on the text you hear Steven Tyler screaming “ahh ahh dude looks like a lady.” That’s the effect I’m going for: you’re reading the post in your normal “voice” when all of a sudden – screaming big-lipped Steven Tyler! “DUDE LOOKS LIKE A LADY!!!”

Sorry, that was really stupid. Let’s put it behind us and move on.

You know what else is really stupid? Guy Gardner, Warrior #42 It was coming towards the end of the Guy Gardner series, which had been re-tooled as Warrior when Guy developed alien bio-powers and became more of a he-man high adventure hero by writer Beau Smith, the Toughest Man in Comics. This era of Guy Gardner usually featured art by Mitch Byrd or, as is the case with Warrior #42, art by Marc Campos of Saliva Strand Syndrome fame. I’m going to be delicate and say that both men have done better work than this issue.

The story, let’s get back to the story. Guy wakes up as a girl – a buxom, wasp-waist female version of himself. He receives an invitation to a trap – a fashion show that Dementor has taken over. The shapeshifting villain is holding all the models hostage, and will kill them unless…

Unless the sex-changed Guy Gardner shows up and puts on a private fashion show for Dementor, parading around in skimpy outfits.

That’s a sentence I never thought I would have to write in my life, ever.

I’m serious about the whole fashion show thing. Check it out:

You’re probably thinking the same thing I was thinking when I first saw this: “Wha-HUHHH??” I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be sexy, or funny, or what the hell that is supposed to be. What is the ideal reader reaction to this scene? I can’t figure out what they were shooting for with the whole let’s-give-our-butch-hero-a sex-change-and-make-him-strut-around-in-lingerie thing. It seems… creepy.

But perhaps I’m overreacting.

In addition to the cheesecake fashion show, we get a few morsels of “humor,” like Guy trying to adjust to the reality of having breasts:

Man it is a good thing he is not pregnant! That would be hilarious. I love that panel, because he/she looks so shocked and outraged that he/she found breasts there.

The entire comic is a framing device for the fashion show sequence and manly Guy’s humiliation and objectification by Dementor. The sexual politics of this comic are confusing to say the least, but I’m pretty sure that women are not being portrayed in a kind way here. The whole sex-changed Guy Gardner thing is handled in an awkward and juvenile way – like I’m one to talk. I can just imagine this comic getting into the hands of a confused pubescent young man and fucking with his head but good. “She’s hot, but she’s really a dude! Wait, aren’t all women whores? What’s happening to meee?!”

Eventually a character named Martika, who is like Zsa Zsa Gabor with psychic powers, arrives and does something and Guy gets changed back to Guy and it’s all very tiresome and rote. Thankfully, our beloved Guy returns to us in his normal manly not-gay form.

No, really. Guy Gardner: not gay.

He looks like the love child of the Ultimate Warrior and the Indian from the Village People. Damn, and look at the arms on that Guy! His biceps are bigger than his skull! Now that is burly, and not gay.

I think changing the gender of your protagonist is the final, feeble attempt at survival by desperate creators, one final attempt at turning things around. Think “Turnabout Intruder.” Let's consider Guy Garner, Warrior #42 as Exhibit A and turn our attention next to a comic whose entire premise is Man Trapped in Woman's Body, as Dude Looks Like A Lady Week continues....

But before we move on, I present The Official Dave's Long Box "The Pain" Award to this comic. Well-deserved.


Anonymous said...

Ah, another great theme, Dave. Can't wait to see what else you have waiting in the wings (or can I? I have a feeling this whole week is gonna' creep me out...)

You know what I find utterly hilarious about the final picture, with Guy in his "Guy Gardner: not gay" form? The huge biceps and how the earlier line "How do you all even cross your arms with all of this…stuff in the way?" still applies.

The 90s. Will we ever remove the stench from our collective nostrils? I think not.

Anonymous said...

I really hope we see the Justice League Task Force storyline with "Joan" Jonzz.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I'm glad I never wasted my time with that issue. Sounds like one of the worst comic stories ever.

Anonymous said...

Shade the Changing Man (Woman) #27 was another one of the man-into-woman comics. It was well done, just more than a little creepy.

Anonymous said...

Everybody knows that when you change sexes, each thigh swells up so it's bigger around than the rest of your whole body.

Anonymous said...

Look at the cover.

Smith is credited as "Beau."

Whatever else may be wrong with that comic, you've got to close your eyes and nod sagely at the conviviality of it.


Health Incognito said...

To hell with crossing his arms, I want to know how he's working those heels.

Could it be our Guy has had some...practice before?

Perhaps in front of mommy's mirror?


Guy was one of my favorite characters until they turned him into the Warrior. I just gotta wonder who thought that was a good idea.

Anonymous said...

Two other characters who did the old "switcheroo"...

Dr. Fate and Dr. Strange.

Fate did it 2x.
Once because he was being inhabited by only one half of a (brother/sister?) combo.

*this was during quite a few issues at the START of his JM DeMatteas penned 1988 run*

The other because Inza took over.
*this was at the END of the same run, from issue 26 to the end - 41*

Strange did so by placing his astral form into the body of Morganna Blessing (his then girlfriend) while his body was bleeding all all the floor in a Greenwich Village bistro after being impaled by an alien warrior.

She then mystically dons his garb and goes into battle.

*This was issue # 79 of his 1970's-'80's run*

Both worked fairly well for limited themes.

Tim Easy said...

awesome theme Dave!

kick it, Ice!
"put me in the gas chamber and watch me inhale, is this real or fiction, well you'll never know, as you're locked to the pulse of the rhyme flow!"

Bully said...

I remember a Star Trek prose short story in which all the men on the Enterprise (except for Spock) were turned into women and all the women into men.

No, it wasn't an internet-only slash story--it was actually published in a Bantam authorized Star Trek anthology in the 1970s. (This was, of course, long before the song "Dude Looks Like a Lady", else I would have sung that when I read the story.)

It was my first clue that some Star Trek fans had really, really serious issues.

Anonymous said...

Is that Lady Blackhawk in the panel where Guy discovers his/her breasts?

What was she doing there?

I must know!

Anonymous said...

Heh, this is a great idea for a spotlight week, there were a lot these gender benders during this time. Liefeld even had a whole event where everyone of his characters were turned into a woman.

I don't have too many Warrior issues, a few here and there, but I stopped before this one appeared on stands. Just how is he standing in that unveiling panel anyways?

Tegan O'Neil said...

Don't tell me you're going to mock Mantra! I loved that book! Of course, I haven't read it in years, and stopped reading it before the character turned from a mean long-haired brunette into a not-so-mean short-haired blonde. Maybe I should just walk away now...

And surely we're not going to be able to escape the week without a special look at The Superia Strategem, the storyline wherein Mark Gruenwald's legendary run on Captain America officially jumped the shark?

Or Earth-X, where Thor was a woman.

Or Deadman, who does it just about every time he ever appears...

Wow. It is just plain depressing / weird to think of how many times this has been done in comics.

Anonymous said...


Do they have to look like a lady, or be part lady? Two come to mind - DC's Dr. Occult and Starhawk from the Guardians of the Galaxy.

word verification - pmtpj (read: payment pj) - that special gown she wears at night just for you 'cause you finally raked the yard.

Anonymous said...

Guy doesn't look like a lady in ANY of those panels. A fucking alien FREAK with occasional semi-female-shaped parts, yes. Like a lady, no.

That was some bad art, man.

dwinn said...

I'm kind of surprised Beau Smith hasn't shown up here and called you out for an ol' fashioned cowboy-(and completely manly- and heterosexual-) style beatin', Dave.

Scipio said...

"You and your new boy toy need a spanking?"

Okay, Guy; I KNOW I rented a movie with that line in it...

Adam said...

I like the "WarriorETTE" bit. Because that's the feminine version of "Warrior", of course.
Damn that Warrior comic (ie, the whole run) was full of cheesecake. What a crock of shite. It was hard enough sticking with the series BEFORE they did that whole Warrior thing.

Anonymous said...

JM: Lady Blackhawk somehow got kicked into the Modern day DCU by Zero Hour. She's a regular in Birds of Prey.

Trent Jensen said...

I don't think your co-worker would have to be Mormon, necessarily, to be disturbed by those images. I'm sure it helps, though.

Chris Sims said...

Isn't Warriorette one of the writers on Comics Should Be Good?

zailo said...

If Guy can go from average joe to space faring ultra policeman to morphing-hands-into-weapons alien, being turned into a woman should be a walk in the park.
I think your next entry should be the golden age Trans-sexual Funnies (c. 1946). Or maybe Airboy's Misaventures in Tijuana #7 or All Star Adventures Down by the Docks (1945).

NiolK said...

Nobody but Giffen, DeMatteis and Maguire should do Guy Gardner. Their Gardner kicks ass all other are shite.

David C said...

The main problem with this theme in comics is that the concept is almost never explored in any depth. Publishers always seem to pull back from the implications, even when it's at the heart of the entire character concept, as with Mantra.

My understanding is that Mike Barr expected to have a much freer hand with Mantra than he was given. Ultimately, Malibu decided what they wanted was lots of teen cheesecake, so they got a new Mantra to deliver just that, without a transgender angle.

Anonymous said...

I know this post is coming a bit late but, PLEASE include Aquaman as Wonderwoman....pleasepleaseplease The Justice League... damn... what was it called???? You know, with Kobra.... Dis-ordered Minds, maybe?

The whole, "confession" about wanting to get closer to her, but not like this.... HIGHlarious!

BigSleep666 said...

Three more:
Sasquatch from Alpha Flight
Lord Fanny from The Invisibles
Coagula from Doom Patrol

Tom Bondurant said...

The Justice League... damn... what was it called???? You know, with Kobra.... Dis-ordered Minds, maybe?

That would be JLA: Foreign Bodies, by Len Kaminski and Val Semeiks.

And count me as another vote for J'Oan J'Onzz.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Joan J'onnz MUST be spotlighted in the Long Box! That is one of my favorite Peter David stories ever.

By the way, Dave, I don't think the whole "Dude Looks Like a Lady" was stupid at all...pretty funny, actually.

Unknown said...

Are you going to include any manga? You know they have weird gender/sexual issues over there in Japan (sorry to any Japanese people who might read this). Two examples of gender swapping that I can think of off the top of my head are Cheeky Angel and Pretty Face. Cheeky Angel is about a guy who gets magically transformed into a girl, and Pretty Face is about a guy who gets in a car accident and the plastic surgeon who fixes him up gives him a girl's face as a joke or something. Weird stuff.

Matter-Eater Lad said...

It's kind of amazing to realize that the least embarassing look Guy Garder has ever sported was the one with the black turtleneck, sleeveless green leather jacket, and black tights.

Anonymous said...

I'm a transsexual and I'm also weirdly fascinated with bad gender-switching comedy movies (like "The Hot Chick," "Juanita Mann," "Sorority Boys," etc. etc.) Some of the dumbest comedies in the universe have a sex-change as their hook. I'm totally dying to see what else you come up with for this theme! Your blog rocks! Just, you know, don't be hatin' on the trannies or anything. :)

David Campbell said...

Thanks pal! Fear not; I shall endeavor to mock dumb comics and yet still respect my transexual brothers and sisters.

BigSleep666 said...

Kind of like Supergirl, or X-23 or whatever.
I think the female version of an established male character is really interesting, as a comics concept:
Spider-Woman & Spider-Girl
Batgirl & Batwoman

call me jack... said...

just a couple things:
1) guys, these are comics. far more bizzare stuff happens than simple chromosome rearranging all the time, and we aren't wierded out by it. the comments I've read have been sensitive that this is a real life issue with transexuals, but tread carefully.

2) anyone else remember when that rumor was swirling around that Angel was going to be a woman in X3? that was hilarious.

call me jack... said...

looks like someone addressed what I said just before I put my comment up. :X

Anonymous said...

Couldn't this issue also fall into that o so special category "The Editor Just Doesn't Care"?

It's a miracle we survived the 90s.


kalinara said...

I thought it was a hilarious issue myself.

But then I've always had a really strange sense of humor, I'm told. :-)

Looking forward to seeing the rest of your spotlighted theme. :-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks Tom! Foreign Bodies, it was! Funny stuff! You are all remembering that "Joan" appeared in The Nail mini-series as well?

Paul S. said...

*Winces uncomfortably as he finds Gal Gardner kind of hot.*

I don't suppose this week is also going to include the Superia Stratagem from Mark Gruenwald's cap run.

Anonymous said...

See, if I were the editor, when I saw the script, my call to Beau Smith would have gone something like this (with apologies to Bob Newhart):

"Yeah, Beau? Hi, it's Jason. At DC Comics. Uh huh. Uh huh. Sure. Well, I was calling about the script for isue 42. Yup, came in the mail this morning. OK. OK. Well, let me get right to the point. We've taken out a restraining order. If you ever come within 500 yards of DC's offices or send us any mail ever again, we'll have you arrested. Have a nice day!"

What exactly does it say about Guy Gardner that his arch nemesis -- the villain who is supposed to represent all he fights to stop -- uses his evil power to make Guy Gardner dress up like a girl. I mean, seriously. Just imagine Doctor Doom trapping Mr. Fantastic in a sinister snare: "I've got you right where I want you, Richards! You're accursed friends are all trapped in my castle, strapped to dynamite with lasers pointed at them and suspended above shark cages. They will die unless you do exactly what I say, and what I say you must do is ... wear these culottes and this charming blouse with a plunging neckline. Yes, you heard me, Richards! A plunging neckline!!!!" Any jackass (except, apparently, Beau Smith) would realize that this would be the lamest supervillain plot ever. Ever.

As for the art, the lass said, the better. Yet somehow, I can't stop staring at her thighs in that bikini shot. At least, I think they're supposed to be her thighs.

Anyway, my word verification was "pltzrkdi," so I think it's time for me to mosey on back to the 5th dimension.

Anonymous said...


Thanks, but I'm a regular Birds of Prey reader. That's actually why I was suprised since I thought Lady Blackhawk's first contemporary appearance was in that book.

I had assumed that Gail Simone simply wanted to use the character, tossed in a quick Zero Hour-related explanation and gone on from there.

I take it there was a more elaborate story involving her in Warrior?

David C said...

My understanding is that Lady Blackhawk was purposely introduced in a very off-handed manner. Beau liked the character, and just used Zero Hour as an excuse to have her drop into the series, no real details other than "wow, stuff's going all wacky with time, ain't it?"

Anonymous said...

Some of my regular readers linked me here. I've gotta say I had a hell of a good time not only reading your thoughts on GGW#42, but your reader's comments as well.

I enjoyed the fact that so many had so much to say. I appreciate everybody having enough passion to post up. Most of all I appreciate everybody being honest. That's about all you can ask of folks.

Thanks for the fun read, Dave.

Beau Smith

Anonymous said...

If that last comment from "Beau Smith" is legit, then kudos to you Dave. That's pretty badass to get the man himself to leave a message. I give him credit for publicly acknowledging your blog in the face of a less than positive review. If more writers and artists bothered to take stock of the opinions of their readers (whether they actually regard these opinions is another matter), perhaps the overall quality of comics would improve.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the kind words.

Well, this is the same Beau Smith that wrote that 2 year run on Guy Gardner: Warrior. It's legit. You can always email me at

As a writer of comics for 20 years I know and understand that you can't always please everybody with the writing that you do,but ya try your best.

As far as my run of GGW #20 through #44 plus 2 annuals, please keep in mind that when working with a publisher like DC or Marvel you are playing with their characters and by their rules. Editorial had certain plans that they wanted to happen in GGW. As work for hire you have to keep that in mind. You just weren't allowed to hand in any story out of the blue. I was under the guide lines to erease as much of the Green Lantern stuff as possible as well as to steer away from the Giffen/McGuire stuff that had come before , most of all the "One Punch" scene.

Remember this was a time when DC was deconstructing the GLC. Hal was a "bad guy" and their sales were rising because of they thought this was the way to go because sales and interest in the GLC had been low.

As a writer and marketing guy I knew that sooner or later this too would pass and they would come back to what had come before. It's a pattern, it's history, it always repeats itself. Look at any character "dying", costume changes, etc. If you wait long eough it all comes back...and faster when sales drop or rise.

Thanks again.


Felicity Walker said...

I'm looking but I can't find the link to the next entry in Dude Looks Like a Lady Week. Was there one?

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