Marvel’s Jeff the Land Shark is, without a doubt, one of the company’s biggest breakout characters of the last five years and to celebrate that fact, we’re providing five fun facts about everyone’s favorite semi-aquatic pint-sized terror.
Created by Kelly Thompson and Daniele Di Nicuolo, Jeff debuted in the pages of West Coast Avengers (vol. 3) in 2019. In-universe, Jeff was made by M.O.D.O.K. as part of a hoard of semi-aquatic sharks; Jeff quickly befriended Gwenpool and became the star we know and love today. After West Coast Avengers’ untimely cancellation, Jeff had a steady climb to fame with sporadic cameos in other comics and a prominent role in Thompson’s run on Deadpool.
However, Jeff ultimately proved to be too big to co-star in other characters’ titles. In 2021, he received his own Infinity Comic on Marvel Unlimited, titled It’s Jeff!, which was plotted by Thompson and pencilled, inked, and colored by the artist duo Gurihiru. The digital comic made its way to social media and boosted Jeff’s viral status.
Despite his high profile, Jeff is still a bit of a mysterious figure, which is why we here at GateCrashers have assembled five neat facts to shed a little light on everyone’s favorite little bitey boy.
Jeff Fun Fact #1: Jeff the Land Shark technically first appears in West Coast Avengers #6.
Most places online will state that Jeff first appears in West Coast Avengers #7, and while it’s true that this is the issue where he’s first properly introduced, it’s not the first issue that he appears in; in the previous issue, M.O.D.O.K. unleashes his land sharks, and in one panel Jeff can be seen chasing Gwenpool.
Does this small appearance mean that West Coast Avengers #6 should be the issue that skyrockets in price when Jeff is inevitably introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Maybe, maybe not. Sometimes what’s considered the valuable “first appearance” issue isn’t obvious, so it might be handy to have both the sixth and seventh issues if you’re counting on banking off of Jeff’s popularity.
Jeff Fact #2: Jeff won’t get bigger.
Jeff’s cute appearance and small size (compared to the other land sharks in West Coast Avengers) has led many to call him “Jeff the Baby Land Shark,” but… he might not be a baby after all. Jeff’s status as an infant was first put into doubt in Deadpool #3 when Deadpool is going through his “Deadpool’s Guide to Monsters” cards, and the one for Jeff mentions, “Is a tiny (baby???) land shark”.
In Thompson’s Captain Marvel, we get a confirmation that Jeff is already at his full size. Issue 22 revisits the post-apocalyptic future of 2051 (Earth-20368), first seen in Captain Marvel: The End, and introduces an old, grizzled version of Jeff, who is still small enough to be picked up and carried around.
In a tweet from 2021, Thompson elaborated that while the 616 version of Jeff is young, he’s simply the runt of M.O.D.O.K.’s batch of land sharks, and he won’t get bigger.
Jeff Fact #3: Gurihiru really loves Jeff.
It’s Jeff! was first teased in early 2021, with the promise that Gurihiru would be involved in the mysterious, unnamed Jeff-centric project. It made sense, considering Gurihiru had done most of the art on Gwenpool’s first ongoing title, The Unbelievable Gwenpool, and Jeff was introduced as a companion to Gwenpool. However, Gurihiru had been drawing Jeff long before they had been specifically paid to do so. They first drew Jeff for a Gwenpool Strikes Back #1 variant cover, where Gwenpool’s iconic shark backpack has been redesigned to look like the little land shark. He can also be seen in a tiny picture smiling next to Quentin Quire (who was Gwen’s boyfriend in WCA).
Gurihiru then proceeded to hide Jeff throughout much of their work at Marvel, including Power Pack: Grow Up! (written by Louise Simonson), Spider-Man & Venom: Double Trouble (written by Mariko Tamaki), and the pandemic-themed special Heroes at Home (written by Zeb Wells). Jeff cameos in many places: a drawing by Katie Power, a framed picture in Peter Parker’s kitchen, on the set of a deodorant commercial, among a hoard of squirrels, and even on Thor’s TV. The collected edition of Heroes at Home even challenges readers to find Jeff on each page, as if he was the titular character of Where’s Waldo?.
Additionally, Gurihiru depicted Jeff in a rather macabre way in the background of their Dark Marvel variant of Power Pack #2, which was shared on Twitter by Marvel Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski.
The final version of the cover featured on retail websites shifted and enlarged the “Power Pack” logo so that this grisly image was obscured. However, it appears the variant never actually got printed due to the impact of COVID on comic shops.
Perhaps one of the most notable times Gurihiru drew Jeff wasn’t in a comic at all. For Tokyo Comic Con 2019, they made a “women of Marvel” print which featured Gwenpool walking Jeff, who is wearing a fashionable hoodie and seems very interested in Squirrel Girl’s furry little companion, Tippy-Toe.
Jeff Fun Fact #4: Elsa Bloodstone was originally supposed to be Jeff’s human companion in It’s Jeff!.
In It’s Jeff!, Jeff appears to be crashing in Hawkeye/Kate Bishop’s home, but she wasn’t originally going to be the one living with the loveable land shark. According to a tweet by Thompson, foul-mouthed monster hunter Elsa Bloodstone was originally going to be Jeff’s reoccurring human friend. Elsa appears to be a favorite of Thompson’s, as Thompson has featured her in multiple titles, including Jessica Jones, Fearless, and Deadpool.
Elsa and Jeff first crossed paths in a one-page story in Marvel Comics #1000, which was written by Thompson and drawn by Pepe Larraz. The short comic sees Elsa sitting at a campfire with Jeff, describing the lengths she would go to in order to fight the forces of evil. Elsa warns Jeff that he better not be another monster that she has to slay, and he acts adorable, forcing her to concede that she’d kill for him.
Jeff and Elsa are together again in Thompson’s run on Deadpool, where Elsa joins Jeff as a recurring character. Deadpool and Elsa repeatedly have to save the tiny land shark from peril, which puts Elsa in the unusual position of having to protect a strange creature instead of killing it. It’s possible Deadpool takes place before the story in Marvel Comics #1000, as the story never explains why Jeff is with Elsa in the middle of the woods instead of being with Gwenpool.
It seems that It’s Jeff! was originally meant to pick up from the status quo established at the end of Deadpool, but Thompson scrapped this idea in favor of having Jeff be with Kate in order to create synergy with the then-upcoming Hawkeye show on Disney+.
Elsa did eventually show up in It’s Jeff!, however. In the twelfth issue, she had a brief appearance as one of Kate’s superhero guests for Thanksgiving dinner.
Jeff Fun Fact #5: Jeff go, “Mrrrrr.”
Wolverine goes “Snikt!”, Nightcrawler goes “Bamf!”, and Jeff has his own special noise: “mrrrrrr.” It’s a sound of contentment, joy, anger, sadness, surprise, and any other emotion that Jeff is experiencing. Occasionally, he’ll cap it off that strand of “R’s” with an “F” or an “M,” and when he’s feeling really wild, he’ll say “grrrrr,” but most of the time, he just sticks to a classic “mrrrrr.”
What exactly is this noise supposed to be? It’s possible that it’s a sort of “purr,” as Thompson has stated that Jeff takes a lot of inspiration from her cats, Clive and The Monarch.
There you have it: five facts about Jeff the Land Shark. You leave this listicle wiser than you entered. You are a champion, and the secret sixth fact about Jeff is this: Jeff loves you. When the burden of existence seems to be too much, the mischievous little scamp will always be there, in a comic, to lift your spirits and lighten that load.