With The Avengers hitting theaters this summer, audiences are eagerly anticipating a chiseled parade of superhuman beefcake saving the world, not unlike if the Chippendales were conscripted as U.N. Peacekeepers. But did you know that Marvel Comics actually rated The Avengers according to hotness two decades ago?
It's true! In November 1989's Avengers West Coast Annual #4, writer Mark Gruenwald and artist Amanda Connor produced a short story titled "Rate the Hunks!" In this tale, Avengers heroines The Wasp and She-Hulk unsparingly ranked their male colleagues according to comeliness.
Given that "Rate the Hunks!" was penned 22 years ago, we here at io9 have contributed our own latter-day scores to represent modern ideals of masculine beauty. Welcome to one of the strangest back-up tales in superhero history.
Before we begin, here's Wasp's own explanation of her scoring system.
A "1" barely qualifies the guy for manhood, let alone hunkdom. Avoid them at all costs! EUUUWW! I'm talking about major league barf-bags like Attuma and Thanos! [...] And a "10" is a guy who's godly in hunkiness, someone you'd do anything — and I do mean anything for.
See, right off the bat, I take umbrage with these ratings. Thanos looks boss in a swimsuit, like a jacked California Raisin (and Adam Warlock's obviously hidden the Infinity Gauntlet in his swim-breeches). But enough of my bellyaching, here's the main show.
Sure, Thor has the visage of Gunnar Nelson in his prime, the calves of a mastodon with gigantism, and the hat of a floral wire service. But as this Tumblr so aptly demonstrates, life with Thor would be like the three seashells scene from Demolition Man ad infinitum. And do you think Thor understands the intricacies of human courtship? In Asgard, foreplay requires a mighty wallow in the spoor of Ratatoskr the bore-toothed squirrel who dwells upon the world tree Yggdrasil.
Iron Man: 8
I love how depictions of superheroes' alter egos change with the times. For example, illustrations of Tony Stark nowadays include a hint of Robert Downey Jr.
But according to The Wasp, the Iron Man of 1989 was Magnum fucking P.I. Mr. Baseball in a cybernetic exoskeleton! You win, 22 years ago.
Captain America: 3
I really enjoyed last year's Captain America movie because it reminded me of an adult film with all the nude scenes excised. Like Pirates! It had that glossiness that suggested the movie was filmed on a San Fernando soundstage, and scenes of the Red Skull and Arnim Zola at Oktoberfest spilling steins for Fräuleins Gone Verruckt were only accessible if you walked through the cowboy doors at your neighborhood video store.
But back to Cap. Yeah, he looks like Chris Evans these days. And that's a good thing! Who wouldn't want a tussle with Mace from Sunshine? But remember, this was 1989. Sex with Captain America would be like intercourse with Johnny Appleseed or Uncle Sam. His pillow talk is a stern reprimand to always close your icebox.
When I was a kid, I thought Quicksilver was essentially Steve Martin with Wolverine's haircut. Such early impressions are hard to shake.
As She-Hulk notes, Hawkeye has "a cute tush." This is canon, people. Also, Hawkeye is one of the few guys on this list who won't bear you children with squid tentacles growing out of their foreheads.
Minor digression — when I first started reading comics, I similarly assumed that the "Marvel Comics' headband/face latex" fashion as sported by heroes like Gambit and Havok was the pinnacle of grown-up fashion. Like, we'd be wearing those head condoms to weddings and board meetings. Hercules is sporting this look, so he wins points.
Black Panther: 9
Everyone always seems to gloss over that the Black Panther gets his powers after being anointed from head-to-toe with a rare herb.
That means one of two things — he either A.) never has body odor or B.) always smells like pesto. I could live with both options.
Lay off it, you two. Remember, even an android can cry. At this point in his career, Vision wore the most stain-prone costume in comic book history. That's confidence you can't program.
Here are the rest of The Wasp and She-Hulk's ratings. As much as I'd love to hypothesize what Doctor Druid looks like without his eldritch pajamas, whether or not Namor's shoulder blades have the bouquet of Vlasic dill, or if Quasar stole his costume from a middle school production of Jesus Christ Superstar, the news cycle does not wait for profound ruminations on The Falcon's overall-shaped tan lines. Also, I'm pretty sure this song was blasting in Gilgamesh's head 24/7.
Via CBR. Top images from the Marvel Swimsuit issues, which were an entirely different, much stranger affair.