In the most recent episode of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, released for streaming on Disney+, “Just Jen,” the eponymous attorney is invited to a wedding for her friend Lulu (Patti Harrison). While this does constitute an allusion to the world of comics, this time, it does not refer to something that originated within the panels of a Marvel Comics title, no matter how obscure (re: Luke Jacobson). Instead, the bride’s name, Lulu, alludes to the Friends of Lulu, an important real-life organization with a legacy that changed comics with a simple message: comics are for everyone – including women!
The “inconvenient wedding episode” seems to have divided many fans along gender lines, with its subversion of the final reveal at the end of last week’s episode of Daredevil’s helmet that made fans assume that the sixth episode of the season would feature the hero. When the helmet appeared, some fans assumed the series would drop everything to follow Matt Murdock for a storyline. Instead, Marvel gave us an episode about women’s issues (a wedding, dating, a B-plot with a divorce case about a crap hubby), which made people angry.
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But women and wimmen’s comix are here to stay, and that was the point of Friends of Lulu. According to Comics Beat, Friends of Lulu was an organization that was established in response to the state of the comic book industry in the early 1990s. At WonderCon 1993 in Oakland, California, the founding members of the Friends of Lulu – which included people like cartoonist and comics historian Trina Robbins – handed out fliers and arranged a meeting at a nearby coffeehouse.
The organization takes its name from the 1930s and ‘40s comic Little Lulu, whose eponymous protagonist oversees a clubhouse with a “No Boys Allowed” sign on the door. However, in spite of the exclusive edicts of the organization’s namesake, membership for the Friends of Lulu was not limited to women. In order to better emphasize the driving purpose of the Friends of Lulu – inclusiveness – anyone who was committed to furthering the group’s mission of bringing comics to everyone was admitted.
One of the main reasons cited for the creation of the Friends of Lulu was an oft-repeated adage from certain sectors of the comics industry: that “women just don’t read comics.” The Friends of Lulu sought to correct this misnomer, and it ultimately gained the support of industry legends like Neil Gaiman (Sandman). Now, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is here to prove the same point with superhero TV.
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Just one of many examples that have disproved that “women don’t read comics” can be found in 1980’s The Savage She-Hulk #8, during the character’s first run at Marvel Comics. In the letters column of that issue, Marcie, a seventh grade student at St. Dymphna Girls’ School l wrote and stated that she and all her friends “really enjoy the She-Hulk.” She continues, “Even my history teacher, Sister Rose, reads it.”
While the letter proves that the idea that “women don’t read comics” is wrong, it also includes a sentiment about one of the supporting characters that still rings true today: “It would also be real nice to see that creep, Bukowski, get it but good.” The more things change…