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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 151

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we take a look at an interesting but short-lived comic book series from the early 1960s that was canceled after six issues, surely never to be seen again – Lee and Kirby’s Incredible Hulk!


The drama of the Incredible Hulk opens with an incredibly dynamic and brilliant illustrated opening sequence that was pretty much the most powerful origin sequence out of any of the Silver Age Marvel heroes (I suppose the Fantastic Four comes close)…

The look on Banner’s face when he’s getting pummeled with radiation – amazing.

As the series went on, new adjustments were made – by the end of #2 he was green, not grey and by the end of #3, he could come out during the daytime, his transformations were no longer triggered by the night.

In issue #5, he had a memorable battle with a foe who would stick around for quite awhile, the underground tyrant Tyrannus!

Finally, after defeating the Metal Master in #6, the series was wrapped up (with Steve Ditko pencils now) and the Hulk got a “happy” ending…

Naturally, though, this ending did not last long, as six months later the Hulk was back at it again, this time in the pages of the Avengers! And the rest, as they say, is history!


Huh. The early Hulk is surprisingly verbose.

Does Igor ever show up again? He seems like somebody who would make a good recurring villain (this is where somebody tells me that he is a recurring Hulk villain.)

That would be Igor Blonski (sp?), who becomes The Abomination.

Hulk seemed to basically be the Mr. Fixit persona in the beginning. I had never read the original Hulk, so I thought he was the rampaging, dumb Hulk to begin with.

So did Igor Blonski get retconned into Emil Blonski, or are they actually two different people?

If the guy who just saved my life turned into a giant gray monster, bursted through a wall, and TOTALLY destroyed this speeding jeep, and I am NOT going follow him. Rick Jones stupidty/dedication is incredible.

rick was following the hulk around after the blast out of loyalty for banner saving his life. and possible guilt since Banner saving Rick became the hulk. and interesting to see the Hulk was grey in his very first issues as Stan wanted .

Igor Drenkov is not Emil Blonksy, the Abomination. He only appeared once after this, in a 30th anniversary issue written by Peter David. Though this link actually indicates he appeared recently, mutated into some creature.

Justin Zyduck has a pretty good piece on Igor here.

I think Igor would’ve made a better Red Hulk choice.

Also, I struggled to get past “It’s ding-dong well about time! ” Nobody questioned Stan Lee on this? An editor or letterer or the printer?

So annoying that that origin has never made it to film.

A great choice, Brian a few random comments:

1. Steve Ditko: The art in Hulk # 6 was provided by Steve Ditko, who went on to handle the Hulk in his early TALES TO ASTONISH appearances.

2. Jack Kirby: I am in total argreement on kirby’s fabulous art in HULK # 1. In my opinion, it stands as Kirby’s best work during the early phase of MARVEL (1961-1963).

Still more random comments:

1. The Jack Kirby Hulk: Kirby, as these excerpts show, seemed to have a decided preference for a crafty Hulk, the ID unleashed, as it were. While most subsequent treatments of the Hulk have gone for a child-like, James Whale type Frankenstein’s Monster, Kirby’s Hulk looks more like a riff on Mister Hyde.

2. The Ditko Hulk: Ditko’s run on the Hulk (INCREDIBLE HULK # 6, TALES TO ASTONISH # 60-67) is more important than most people realize:

A. Villians and supporting characters: Both Glenn Talbot (TTA # 61) and the Leader (behind the scenes in TTA # 60-62, origin and appearance revealed in TTA # 63) were co-created by Ditko. Frankly, Ditko, in the form of the Leader, introduced the first really significant Hulk foe (Tyrannus, while interesting, is not quite the Leader’s equal in the hulk’s Rogues’ Gallery).

B. Transformations: It took a very long time for the Hulk’screative team to settle on what circumstances will cause Banner to change. During Kirby’s tenure, the engine for transformation was in constant flux: nightfall (HULK # 1-3), stuck in Hulk’s body and can’t change (HULK # 3-4), uses machine to change (HULK # 4-6). However, in TTA # 60, the Lee-Ditko team made strong emotion (rage, fear, worry, etc) the engine for the transformation. Indeed, I would argue that it was Ditko who first came up with this concept.

C.Ditko as the creator of the “Emotions cause Banner to change Hulk”: Check out HULK # 6, page 22. Note that the machine does not seem to work. Now look at page 23, where the Hulk, in the midst of a violent rampage, changes back. Banner state that the ray had a “delayed reaction” (page 23, panel 11). Now look forward to TTA # 60 (As noted previously, drawn by Ditko), where Banner states that extreme emotions trigger the change. When Banner becomes overly excited, he turns into the Hulk. When the Hulk gets overly excited, “It all works in reverse! When I’m under the heaviest possible strain, the chemistry starts again, and I revert back to Bruce Banner!!”(TTA # 60, page 3, panel 10).Bearing this sequence in mind, look again at the transformation scene in HULK # 6, page 23. If one ignores Lee’s verbal explanation, it certainly looks like rage is triggering the change to me.

3. Honoring the Ditko Hulk run: How about it, Brian? Follow up DAY 151 of A YEAR OF COOL COMICS with a look at Ditko’s neglected but very influential run (HULK # 6 AND TTA # 60-67).

Igor very recently reappeared in HULK: WINTER GUARD #1. He turned into a giant monster and was destroyed by Darkstar.

I wish Marvel would publish a silver age run of Hulk #7-58 to make up for the missing issues between #6 and Tales to Astonish #59 (when the Hulk took over half the title). I’d totally buy that.

The first six issues of Hulk alone, as Trajan23 indicates, wildly fluxuates between Hulk as monster, to Hulk as anti-hero/monster hero to Hulk as full-on Superhero, complete with device to transform him and the ability to fly. I remember reading the first 6 issues in reprint form as a kid and finding it so bizarrely off-kilter from the Hulk I knew.

Trajan is quite right that, really, the version of the Hulk we know and love is probably more to the Lee/Ditko issues of Tales to Astonish than the original run by Lee/Kirby.

Man, General Ross is practically red with rage in those comics.

I believe Ditko inked Kirby layouts on #6, Trajan23.

Oops, my bad … that was Hulk #2.
I knew that Ditko inked Kirby on some issue of Hulk…

Is that a tribute to Eric Burdon in issue 5 p9, or couldn’t they spell?

Enero: “Also, I struggled to get past “It’s ding-dong well about time! ” Nobody questioned Stan Lee on this? An editor or letterer or the printer?”

So annoying that that line didn’t make it into the film.

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