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CSBG Archive

Meta-Messages #6

This is the sixth in a series (of indefinite length and regularity) explaining the context behind (using reader danjack’s term) “meta-messages.” A meta-message is where a comic book writer comments on/references the work of another comic book in their comic. Each time around, I’ll give you the context behind one such “meta-message.” Here is an archive of the past installments!

Today we look at an instance of Peter David referencing a Hulk/Doctor Octopus fight in an Erik Larsen comic…

In 1992’s Spider-Man #19, writer/artist Erik Larsen got the Sinister Six back together, but he highlighted how powerful Doctor Octopus was with his new fancier arms.

A good demonstration of this was having Doctor Octopus beat up the Hulk…

Well, later in 1992, in Incredible Hulk #396 (in a story I just featured here, which made me think I might as well feature this one), writer Peter David and artist Dale Keown had a response to that fight…

The comments about “holding back” is a reference to comments made by Image creators about holding back new creations from Marvel (rather than give Marvel the new characters they saved them for themselves), hence the “Image” comment at the end of the issue.

99 Comments

Yes, it’s a reference to Image Comics. The previous lines of dialogue (“Last time, I was holding back” and “Waiting for a better opportunity to really cut loose”) are referring to things said about the formation of Image Comics and how they’d been holding back all this time at Marvel.

Yes, Image founders said that they were holding back their best ideas to use them in creator owned projects… It’s a statement that David has discussed in some BID columns! I really like the term “petty larceny”, anyway!

You missed the Erik Larsen page where Hulk beats Electro by giving him “the finger” which David has him use the same move against Doc Oct.

Good stuff, Brian. Some comments:

1. Doesn’t this count as two meta-messages? First, Peter David re-establishes the Hulk’s raw power credentials, then he deals out a take that to IMAGE.

2. Hey, Brian, how about featuring Roger Stern’s meta-message in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 226? In AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 194, Marv Wolfman has Spidey marvel (pun not intended) at the Black Cat’s jumping ability (page 15, panel 3). In AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 226, Roger Stern has the Black Cat marvel at Spider-Man’s much greater jumping power (page 14, panel 5). Heck, Stern’s Spider-Man work is full of similar moments. For example, in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN 45, Spidey comments on how he always seemed to be hurt or sick when he fought the Vulture in the past (page 23, panel 4). Likewise, in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 233, he thrashes the Tarantula while remarking on how the their previous battles must have been “off-days” for Spidey.

Brother Justin Crowe

June 20, 2010 at 10:23 am

Oh, Peter David, you really are five years old.

Just wondering how this column, labeled Meta-Messages #6, is “5th in a series”. Also wondering where I can find the 4 or 5 previous columns.

–Ed

Enjoyed this, thanks.

Ed, just click in the link right next to Brian’s icon right in the top of this page (the one with the dog head with apparatus on it). The text is “by Brian Conin”, then “in Meta-messages”. The first line has a link to all of Brian’s posts, the second has a link to all existing Meta-messages postings.

you should do the garth ennis wolverine/ frank tierri faceoff.

“Petty larceny”….lol, nice pun

Oh, Peter David, you really are five years old.

This was nowhere near as bad as his several months of random “Wolverine, copyright enforcer” moments in the Wolverine First Class series.

Peter David may be my favourite comic book writer. But I still can’t seem to get interested in the Hulk.

Thanks Brian. I heard the “petty larceny” line before but never saw the issues. Early 90’s had easy targets for scorn, but still funny stuff. It’s pretty overt, compared to a few prior columns I thought were more of a stretch. Cheers.

Maybe a dumb question, but who are the two agents at the end? They look like Richards and Stark, are they?

Gosh, I loathe Peter David.

Ryan: who?

Everyone: why is the petty larceny mention so remarkable? Because it minimizes the issue?

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

June 20, 2010 at 2:03 pm

At the risk of stating the obvious, “petty larceny” is a pun on Erik Larsen’s name, isn’t it?

@Luis – Nathaniel Richards and Howard Stark, agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Ryan: SHIELD has agents named after Reed and Tony’s fathers?

Steven R. Stahl

June 20, 2010 at 2:51 pm

Larsen actually justified Dr. Ock’s victory over the Hulk with his references to adamantium, leverage, and a power source. David, conversely, merely supposed that the Hulk was strong enough to do what he wanted, which was no better than having the Hulk get mad and thereby increase his strength to whatever level the writer needed.

If getting back at Larsen was David’s only justification for the plot, editor Bobbie Chase should have rejected it and told David to come up with something else.

SRS

Willie Everstop

June 20, 2010 at 3:06 pm

The two men at the end of the Hulk issue are Pantheon members Ulysses and Hector.

The agents in question, are members of the Pantheon, Ulysses and Hector.

The plot of the story isn’t simply the Hulk fighting Dr. Octopus, it’s a side plot.
It takes up about 4 pages of issue 396.

Randy: Tieri’s “response” issue of Wolverine is easily one of the worst comics I have ever read, culminating in an issue-ending “You know how I know you’re gay…?” joke. Awful.

That said, it’s probably is rife for inclusion in “Meta-Messages.”

@Luis – no their fathers were agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Hickman is writing it now, not sure if it had ever been mined before…

I completely agree with Stahl above. A comic writer’s job is to entertain his audience, not take pot shot at other writers or their characters.

It should be noted though that Spider-Man (and Hulk, sometimes) HAVE been holding back in many battles, especially against foes who they could kill if they went all-out. The Kingpin is an example; no matter how though he is, a normal human is no match for someone who can lift 10 Tons (I guess that’s another reason they eventually made him a Daredevil villain instead.)

PAD is awesome and I am always supportive of any early-Image Comics bashing. When huge hypocrisy meets horrible comics, that is early Image.

Note the “early”, though. Image would soon evolve into something a lot more interesting.

And PAD is right about one other thing too; adamantium arms or not, there is no way Ock could ever defeat the Hulk that easily. Wolverine, Constrictor and Spider-Man all have adamantium itens, and you don’t see them walking over the Hulk like that.

Trajan, I also noted the Roger Stern references to bad 1970s Spidey comics. But I’m not sure there was that much of a desire to bash Marv Wolfman specifically. I think most of the 70s Spidey writers (Wolfman, Wein, Conway) had Spidey pounded on by ridiculous villains like Tarantula. A dude that is basically a ballet-dancer with pointy shoes defeating Spider-Man? Conway could be so incredibly lame, while Wolfman seemed to have a fetish for having his heroes defeated and upstaged again and again. I believe T. remarked about the New Titans a couple of times.

Ooops.

I meant, Wolverine, Constrictor and CAPTAIN AMERICA all have adamatium items.

@Steven R. Stahl

Doc Ock’s comment about “leverage” seems like he’s trying to claim Ock used his superior incellect and basic physics to overcome the Hulk. The thing is, it takes no “leverage” to bring your arms together to peel something off your wrist (or at least the anatomy of the human body provides all the leverage you need). The only way Ock could have actually held the Hulk helpless like that is if he was just plain stronger. I can buy that the adamantium would make it impossible for the Hulk to crush or tear the tentacles, but the idea that each and every joint and servo in the tentacles is stronger than someone who’s been proven to be literally stronger than gods is a bit of a stretch. Even Ultron has non-adamantium internal components.

And yeah, comic book science, and all – just because it doesn’t really make sense doesn’t mean Larsen can’t say “Oh yeah? Well they ARE solid adamantium and better built than Ultron” and have it stick as long as he’s writing. Perfectly fair. But as soon as someone else is writing the story, they’re free to say “Nah, that didn’t really make sense.” At least David had the Punisher scoff at the Hulk’s claim that he let Ock win the first time.

And either way, “leverage” had nothing to do with it. Larsen was saying “Dock Ock’s stronger than the Hulk now, ’cause I said so.” He just wanted to make it seem like he was using SCIENCE! to do it.

Travis Pelkie

June 20, 2010 at 6:19 pm

I was going to comment on how this exchange was actually a big to-do between Peter David and Erik Larsen, which several people have already noted (and I thought about mentioning it on the cool comics post, glad I didn’t). I believe Larsen was really pissed and accused David of being a plagiarist due to taking the “give him the finger” line virtually verbatim from Larsen’s earlier story.

The David response is kind of clever, and I can see where, given the attitude of the Image guys in the press, one would want to “get back” at them, it probably belonged more in David’s CBG columns than in a comic story. I think David started as a Marvel PR guy, so to a certain degree, he was a company man (or maybe more “don’t bite the hand that feeds you” attitude). I can see where David would have been annoyed with the Image guys being given lots of lattitude at Marvel (taking over plotting/scripting duties from established writers, like Claremont) and then having them leave the company the way they did. But when someone like Valentino, who was writing/penciling/(I believe)inking Guardians of the Galaxy, is told that the colorist on that book is more important than he was, I can see where the Image guys wanted to make their own path.

But it is funny that Keown ended up going to Image after this.

What is Doc Cct doing during Larsen’s pages? He’s lifting Hulk off the ground with his arms. Just because your super strong doesn’t mean you can defy the laws of physics and stay pat on the ground when something strong enough to lift your weight tries to lift you. Especially when you are caught in mid air, already off the ground.

After that Hulk gets smacked around and some and thrown away. Maybe you can argue that wouldn’t hurt the Hulk, or Hulk would do something smart to get himself out of the situation, but then we really get into fanboy arguing (if I’m not there myself already).

Keowns pages show Hulk staying pat on the ground, as if being stronger makes him heavier. Which is a bit dumb, but it’s superhero comics and that stuff falls within the suspension of disbelief. The Hulk not being affected by the smacking around is fine and open for interpretation.

At the time Larsen had just redisgned and powered up Doc Oct, in hoping to have comic fans take him as a serious threat again. Doc Oct used to be a big baddy for Spider-Man but had become a joke. Larsen is a big fan of Hulk, this gave him an opportunity to have him draw him for a few pages and show how powerful the new Doc was. I can understand why Peter didn’t like it, partially for fanboy favoritism and because it doesn’t help the Hulk any, which is a major ongoing title for Marvel that he writes.

Editors of both titles probably should have stepped in, but at least in Larsen’s pages, he could make the case that Hulk didn’t know about Doc’s more powerful arms and caught Hulk off guard. David/Keowns pages very specifically flat out undo what Larsen was doing and made Doc Oct a pathetic looking super villain again.

Forget leverage, how do you suppose Ock was able to lift the Hulk up w/o falling over from the weight difference? I kid of course.

Steven R. Stahl

June 20, 2010 at 6:48 pm

I can buy that the adamantium would make it impossible for the Hulk to crush or tear the tentacles, but the idea that each and every joint and servo in the tentacles is stronger than someone who’s been proven to be literally stronger than gods is a bit of a stretch.

That’s the basic problem with the Hulk. There’s no logical basis for his strength — none at all. Granting him virtually unlimited strength might make him easy to write and let him do visually entertaining stuff, but it makes the basic character concept junk. Perhaps Mr. Cronin or someone he knows might tell readers just how many Hulk stories climaxed with the Hulk getting angry and becoming stronger.

A vital part of writing a coherent fantasy story is defining limits for the characters so that when one is in a dramatic situation, the reader knows what his options are and the solution isn’t the use of a power that no one, including the writer, knew he had, or an inexplicable increase in an existing power — reason to be revealed some time later.

If writers had to place limits on characters’ powers and use them in logical ways — a central problem with “Avengers Disassembled” was that Wanda’s previously nonexistent and nebulous power was cited as the explanation for practically everything that happened — Bendis and other writers would find themselves without jobs.

Ock didn’t kill the Hulk or even humiliate him. He just defeated him in a fight, and did so believably.

SRS

funkygreenjerusalem

June 20, 2010 at 6:56 pm

PAD is awesome and I am always supportive of any early-Image Comics bashing. When huge hypocrisy meets horrible comics, that is early Image.

How were they huge hypocrites?

I could care less, but from certain comments in the 90’s, I’d say there was just as ,much hypocrisy from those who derided the image founders, and then set about copying their style to sell books.

Funky, the Image dudes were huge hypocrites in presenting themselves as these heroic rebels against the big, bad corporation and later doing a lot of stuff that equals or surpasses the worst of Marvel. It’s the old “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss” thingie. I mean, Saint Todd, big defender of creator rights, just ask Neil Gaiman how that turned out.

But I’m not defending Marvel Comics either. They’re guilty of many, many things too. But I’m not sure there is hypocrisy in Marvel aping the Image style, when the style itself started in Marvel books, and lots of Image titles felt like X-Men ripoffs anyway, only with extra kewlness. I think that falls more in the category of Marvel doing whatever it thinks it would sell, even sacrificing any last remnant of quality in their books, than with hypocrisy.

funkygreenjerusalem

June 20, 2010 at 9:11 pm

Funky, the Image dudes were huge hypocrites in presenting themselves as these heroic rebels against the big, bad corporation and later doing a lot of stuff that equals or surpasses the worst of Marvel.

What did they do that surpasses the worst of Marvel?
Seriously, look at Marvel’s treatment of Kirby, and tell me what they did that was worse?

I mean, Saint Todd, big defender of creator rights, just ask Neil Gaiman how that turned out.

Honestly, I can see both sides to that one – I definitely get Gaiman’s side, but I also get Todd’s – he paid him a million bucks to write an issue, and Neil put in some new characters that were totally reliant on Spawn for their existence.

But I’m not sure there is hypocrisy in Marvel aping the Image style, when the style itself started in Marvel books, and lots of Image titles felt like X-Men ripoffs anyway, only with extra kewlness.

They started that style in the image books, and Marvel kept trying to do it themselves after wards.
And I didn’t mean just Marvel, there are a few people who are highly critical of the image style/creators, who did working aping their style, or took their cues from them.

The style didn’t start in the Image books. It started in Marvel books being done by the Image guys. Then the Image guys left to found their own company, and did more of the same thing they were already doing at Marvel, only now with characters that were mostly carbon copies of Marvel heroes, but kewler (every early Image superteam had the Wolverine, the Colossus, the Psylocke, the Gambit…).

And then Marvel, who was highly critical of the Image creators, but not of the style (how could they, when it started at Marvel?), kept trying to do more of the same. Shame on Marvel for aping something pretty horrible in the first place, but how is that hypocrytical?

Maybe I exaggerate when I said they did stuff “worse” than what Marvel ever did, considering how Marvel dealt with Kirby, but Marvel didn’t present itself as a new force for creator rights, so while Marvel may have been nastier than Image, Image takes the trophy for hypocrisy. When you present yourself as the champion of the downtrodden, you should be held to a higher standard. Put your money where your mouth is.

That is why Todd McFarlane bugs me more than some sleazy exec at Marvel. He is supposed to be the champion of creator rights, correct? Gaiman’s characters being “reliant on Spawn” for their existence is the sort of excuse Marvel would use. For instance, saying Howard the Duck was reliant on Man-Thing for his existence, so that Steve Gerber gets shafted. There were other instances where Todd has been less than “championy” when it comes to how he deals with other creators, like his whole story with Bendis.

I would like to clarify my criticisms by saying again that they apply only to the early Image Comics and the sort of stuff going on in those titles, both the business decisions and the creative ones. Later Image became a much more positive force, ironically when all the posturing about how they would save the industry from the big, bad corporations started to die down.

funkygreenjerusalem

June 21, 2010 at 3:03 am

Then the Image guys left to found their own company, and did more of the same thing they were already doing at Marvel, only now with characters that were mostly carbon copies of Marvel heroes, but kewler

I can only think of two direct Wolverine riffs from the three teams in the Image launch, but all were different enough to count – every company has tried a Wolverine inspired character.
You can argue about originality, I guess, but there’s no hypocrisy there.

And then Marvel, who was highly critical of the Image creators, but not of the style (how could they, when it started at Marvel?), kept trying to do more of the same.

Again, I’ve never said Marvel was hypocritical about them – I just believe there were certain creators and commentators who were highly critical, yet then seem to have tried to do similar works, or at least chase the money train.
That said, just because those guys started that style at Marvel, didn’t give Marvel ownership of it… that was kind of the whole point.

Maybe I exaggerate when I said they did stuff “worse” than what Marvel ever did, considering how Marvel dealt with Kirby, but Marvel didn’t present itself as a new force for creator rights, so while Marvel may have been nastier than Image, Image takes the trophy for hypocrisy. When you present yourself as the champion of the downtrodden, you should be held to a higher standard. Put your money where your mouth is.

Who were they hypocritical to?
You are saying they are massive hypocrites, but aren’t giving any examples.
The one lawsuit you allude to happened about a decade after they launched, and was with one of the six.

That is why Todd McFarlane bugs me more than some sleazy exec at Marvel. He is supposed to be the champion of creator rights, correct?

I would have said that was Neal Adams, Steve Gerber or Dave Sim… Todd just wanted to own his creations and be well paid.
Since the industry went belly up in the mid to late 90’s, Image has provided refuge for many indie books, all creator owned.
However, before then, I believe they saw themselves as champions of creator rights by showing that creators could start their own company, and make big bucks, by marketing their product on themselves, the creators.

Gaiman’s characters being “reliant on Spawn” for their existence is the sort of excuse Marvel would use.

Well, they were co-created with Todd – one of them was a Spawn, the other was a Spawn hunter, and the third was an old man – he arguably could have existed without Spawn.
Courts ruled Gaiman has ownership, or co-ownership, but two of the characters only work in the book Spawn.

For instance, saying Howard the Duck was reliant on Man-Thing for his existence, so that Steve Gerber gets shafted.

No, it’s not the same as that.
Gaiman’s creations were a Spawn from a different time period and a Spawn hunter.

The courts ruled for Gaiman, and that’s cool, but I can see the argument that he didn’t deserve ownership – though I guess it comes down to the contract they had.

There were other instances where Todd has been less than “championy” when it comes to how he deals with other creators, like his whole story with Bendis.

What with Bendis?
That he fired him off a book when he believed he was putting his focus onto work from another company?
As Bendis tells it, he took on Ultimate Spiderman, and at the same time, though for unrelated reasons, wanted to stop writing Hellspawn.
Todd mistakenly believed that it was to make room in his schedule for Marvel work, and so decided not to use him on any books.
Bendis was doing work for hire on Todd’s creations – that’s the nature of the beast.
I don’t believe Todd ever tried to take ownership of Bendis’ creator owned property, Torso, that was published by Image at the time.

Oh, PAD. A class act every time.

Matthew Johnson

June 21, 2010 at 7:59 am

Another good “meta-message” you might spotlight is Triathlon’s conversation with Jarvis in Busiek’s Avengers (I think it was at the beginning of the “Kang Dynasty” story) about winding up “one of those Avengers nobody ever talks about…”

Travis Pelkie

June 21, 2010 at 8:21 am

To respond to Funky and Rene, I think what I would term the “hypocrisy” of the Image founders is that they railed about Marvel treating the creators of their comics as cogs in a wheel that are interchangeable who have no rights to what they create, but then set up studios that, to a degree, treated the creators as interchangeable and had no rights to what they created. Of course, you could say that at least at Image, the people going into it knew their rights better. I don’t know that it makes things better to know how you’re getting f-ed over, but at least you know it going into it. Image now seems to be better as it relies so much less on the studios creating X-Men wannabes and more on cool creator owned projects.

Peter David’s hurried and incoherent retort shows just how thin-skinned he really is. Is there a more fragile ego in the industry? He always has to scurry after any perceived slight and ham-handedly reply, “NUH UH! NUH UH! NO, U!”

Also his characters always have to have some hokey ties to great literature. All of a sudden when PAD comes onto a book the characters start making out-of-nowhere references to Shakespeare so that he can puff himself up and consider himself a real author instead of, say, just being the guy who wrote “Imzadi” or the guy that wrote that Doctor Who/Winnie the Pooh crossover fanfic. He’d be a lot better if he wasn’t so insecure.

You make some good points, Funky. And Travis too.

Anyway, I wish the Image dudes could have copyrighted the Image style in the 1990s. One publisher doing it was bad enough. :p

funkygreenjerusalem

June 21, 2010 at 7:54 pm

I think what I would term the “hypocrisy” of the Image founders is that they railed about Marvel treating the creators of their comics as cogs in a wheel that are interchangeable who have no rights to what they create, but then set up studios that, to a degree, treated the creators as interchangeable and had no rights to what they created.

Only half the creators set up studios – McFarlene, Larsen and Valentino worked on their own.
I believe that those who did start a studio were the creator of the characters and concepts that got turned into books, which were then worked on by others.
The books started outside those studios, created by the person working on them – The Maxx, Pitt, 1963, and the lesser titles – were all owned by their creators.

Again, I’m not seeing the hypocrisy – they hired people to work on their creations.
For the most part, these guys seem to have done better than they did at Marvel – the question is, did they create for the companies, or just work off the stuff created by the studio head (manga style)?
And if they did create, did they get participation or paid for their creations?
Gaiman certainly didn’t, but again, I can see the argument that he was work for hire – it was one issue after all, that he was paid a heap for. (Personally though, I would’ve cut him in on the profits of those creations – if someone has a million buck idea for you, why not give them a cut?).

Also, were the image founders big self champions of creator rights, or were they proud of showing that creators were the attraction?
I always got the impression their message was you don’t have to let the companies dictate the terms to you, not that they were there to rebuild the system from the ground up.

Read both of these as a kid. Didn’t know about the personal beef but did get a kick out of Hulk’s revenge as I hated ultra strong Ock.

Travis Pelkie

June 22, 2010 at 7:04 am

Also, were the image founders big self champions of creator rights, or were they proud of showing that creators were the attraction?

(hope I did the block quote alright)

That’s a good point, FGJ, and I think probably at the root of what we’re discussing — whether or not the Image guys were pushing creator rights or creators as the big attraction to the comics. If you think they were more about creator rights, you’ll think they’re hypocritical. If they pushed creators as the attraction, then not so much. On the other hand, if the creators were the attraction, then the later issues of the early Image books should have sold less (which, yes, they did, but are any comics going to sell as well as Spawn 1 or Youngblood 1? no). Of course, when the Image guys got people like Alan Moore, BWS, James Robinson, Chris Claremont, they certainly advertised the talent as the draw. It just wasn’t the people who created the stuff.

I suppose I was imprecise with referring to the studios. Yes, Lee, Silvestri, and Liefeld all had studios pretty early on, but McFarlane and Valentino had a bit of “studio” stuff as well. McFarlane had Capullo take over Spawn art duties relatively early, and had a few spin off titles, and Valentino also had a few spin off minis from Shadowhawk. Larsen didn’t do much of that nature.

But to rail against how you were treated as a cog in the machine, then hire a bunch of work-for-hire artists that aped the styles of the guys that created the books, well, it seems a BIT hypocritical.

But I don’t think our views are that far off, Funky.

Hey look, the Anti-Pad Trolls have wandered out from under their bridge. Hey Joe Rice!

It’s interesting that PAD’s response is more remembered than the original story.

Was this this issue, where Marlo or Betty try to put a disguise on Bruce and he says people will just point and say it’s just the Hulk with a fin on his head?

I’m pretty sure that was later in another issue.

Although Larsen went after David personally by drawing him as a really annoying person with flies circling around him in a restaurant. Larsen did say it wasn’t intended to be David, but it’s a dead on drawing of him.

I don’t think Image was being hypocritical when they formed studio’s. I don’t think they ever said that every creator should do a creator owned series as their first book. They all worked on work for hire books, built up a fan following and then went creator owned. There is no shame in other creators doing that too, but with their books (as long as they were weren’t ripped off in some manner). Some of the founders had lots of ideas for characters but couldn’t do them all by themselves. Some of them were popular enough in the ongoing series and could support a spin off title – but said creator can’t draw 2-3 books a month. Thus, hiring freelancers to do that is perfectly okay. They might have seen themselves as mini Stan Lee’s with lots of ideas, just needing artists to produce them.

I don’t know for certain, but I believe some of those freelancers that worked in the studios would go on to do creator owned books at Image.

Hey, Scavenger! Eat shit or something, I dunno. Is that how this is supposed to go? Who the hell are you, anyway? Sorry to call out PAD on being a petty dick. Hopefully it was the only time he ever acted as such.

Fingers crossed!

Maybe the Image dudes didn’t set themselves up as champions of creator rights, but a lot of people at the time saw them as just that. I suppose that is a bit of what irked me at the time, how a portion of the industry and the fans were all to ready to proclaim them saints.

I also don’t think I could ever be taken by the supposedly mythic aura of guys that founded their own company after much controversy with Marvel, just to create a bunch of comics that initially were very reminiscent of Marvel comics themselves, only cruder.

I find myself surprised that a lot of comics that I later would consider my favorites came from Image, though. Astro City, Planetary, Noble Causes…

funkygreenjerusalem

June 22, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Maybe the Image dudes didn’t set themselves up as champions of creator rights, but a lot of people at the time saw them as just that.

So they are hypocrites for not being what some people saw them as?

I suppose that is a bit of what irked me at the time, how a portion of the industry and the fans were all to ready to proclaim them saints.

Who proclaimed them as saints?
People liked it because it was their favourite creators doing their own book and going wild.
I think people were less let down by any studio system and more that they wanted to read Todd McFarlene Spawn, not Greg Capullo Spawn.

I also don’t think I could ever be taken by the supposedly mythic aura of guys that founded their own company after much controversy with Marvel, just to create a bunch of comics that initially were very reminiscent of Marvel comics themselves, only cruder.

I don’t think anyone was, or that it existed.

You really seem to be angry about a view that never existed.

Travis Pelkie

June 22, 2010 at 9:34 pm

Rene, did Planetary come out before Jim Lee took Wildstorm to DC? I was actually just reading that earlier today.

Jamie brings up a good point that there’s no particular shame in setting up studios. I tend to be a hard line pro-creator control person (although there’s plenty from the big 2 I like, so I suppose I’m a hypocrite), so I draw more of a black and white line.

I think the litmus test is the Gerber test (let’s call it): if you create something (like Gerber did with Howard the Duck) that later goes on to become a big moneymaker for those you created it for, you should get some sort of compensation. Preferably, this would be spelled out in advance, so you know what you’re getting into. This is where I think the Gaiman/McFarlane lawsuit comes up (from what I understand of it, beyond it starting, in a way, as a pissing match over Miracleman). Neil created Angela, Cogliostro, and Medieval Spawn for Spawn 9, and not only did these characters appear in other media that Spawn appeared in, but they made up a large portion of the Spawn mythology after that in those other media.

It’s a bit ironic that the next issue of Spawn was the Dave Sim issue, a celebration of creator’s rights and depicting the characters created by the big two as prisoners.

Neil probably got what I believe Sim got for his script, $100,000 (which Sim donated all of to the CBLDF, their largest donation at the time, and probably ever), and from what I understand, Neil did his script so he could show his then 9 year old son something “cool” that dad wrote. Even though it was a one shot deal, Neil should be compensated in some way for his contributions to the Spawn mythology.

And that might be hypocrisy, because Todd went on in the press about not creating anything for Marvel because they would own it and he’d have no rights to it, so if he doesn’t then turn around and say, well, Neil created these important bits of my comic, here’s his compensation, he’s a bit hypocritical.

Man, it’s too bad that instead of all the legal battles between Neil and Todd, they didn’t just reprint Miracleman and then if anyone who says they own THAT sued, then THAT could be the big money wasting legal battle.

funkygreenjerusalem

June 23, 2010 at 1:48 am

Jamie brings up a good point that there’s no particular shame in setting up studios. I tend to be a hard line pro-creator control person (although there’s plenty from the big 2 I like, so I suppose I’m a hypocrite), so I draw more of a black and white line.

But the creators of the character did have control and ownership – some of them just hired other people to work on the books their characters were in.

Neil created Angela, Cogliostro, and Medieval Spawn for Spawn 9, and not only did these characters appear in other media that Spawn appeared in, but they made up a large portion of the Spawn mythology after that in those other media.

He co-created – even after court, they are co-creators and co-owners.
Also, Medieval Spawn… how separate from Spawn is that?
It’s not like Howard The Duck beginning in Man-Thing.

Neil did his script so he could show his then 9 year old son something “cool” that dad wrote.

No, he did the follow up mini because he’s son thought Angela looked cool.
Spawn #9 he did because he did – probably the large sum of cash Todd offered all the guest writers who jumped on.

And that might be hypocrisy, because Todd went on in the press about not creating anything for Marvel because they would own it and he’d have no rights to it, so if he doesn’t then turn around and say, well, Neil created these important bits of my comic, here’s his compensation, he’s a bit hypocritical.

He did pay for almost ten years.

Man, it’s too bad that instead of all the legal battles between Neil and Todd, they didn’t just reprint Miracleman and then if anyone who says they own THAT sued, then THAT could be the big money wasting legal battle.

It seemed to be disputes over Miracleman that kicked things off – it wasn’t until 2000/02 that Todd decided to say he was full owner of the characters and stop paying.

Travis Pelkie

June 23, 2010 at 2:22 am

alright, funky, I think you probably made your points overall better than I did. I guess I knew less about the McFarlane/Gaiman case than I was babbling on about.

I think the only point of yours I would still question is

But the creators of the character did have control and ownership – some of them just hired other people to work on the books their characters were in.

When a creator does this, they become a publisher, and the relationship changes, I think. I’m just not exactly sure here how to express what I’m thinking.

I think what’s buzzing in my head is that if you don’t like the way that a certain business practice is done (as Todd said in the press, but I just don’t have any citations off the top of my head, that he wouldn’t create new characters for Marvel because, among other things, of the way they treated Kirby), and then you go ahead and act that same way (in the Gaiman case, pay compensation and act as if Neil co-created [you did get me on that one, I mistyped by implying Neil completely created the stuff mentioned] the characters until you decide he didn’t), you’re hypocritical.

Man, how’d we start this? Oh, yeah, Hulk am big and strong. Pretty Keown art.

You’ve certainly made your points well, Funky, and I hope I made any sense at all (even when I have all the facts incorrect, apparently).

I use too many parentheses.

funkygreenjerusalem

June 23, 2010 at 4:44 pm

When a creator does this, they become a publisher, and the relationship changes, I think. I’m just not exactly sure here how to express what I’m thinking.

That’s true to an extent – but on the other hand Jack Kirby and Stan Lee created the Fantastic Four, but Martin Goodman, through Marvel, owned them.
It’s not like Kirby and Lee got a cut when others took over.
The image system said that Kirby and Lee would have owned the FF as well, and if they want to hire on other people to work on the book after them, they could – but as they created it, it was still theirs.
Do you think Jim Lee and Brandon Choi should have given ownership of Wildcats over to James Robinson and Travis Charest because they did four issues using the characters Lee and Choi had created?

You’ve certainly made your points well, Funky, and I hope I made any sense at all (even when I have all the facts incorrect, apparently).

If the facts were clear, they wouldn’t keep going back to court!

(Yeah, I live in a dream world there, I guess).

Travis Pelkie

June 23, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Yeah, that is a dream world, that if facts were clear they wouldn’t need court.

I’m pondering an example in my head, that I might type out later to address what I’m thinking.

But in brief, no, Robinson/Charest shouldn’t get ownership of WildCATS for doing 4 issues, but if they created a character for those issues, that’s where the ownership dilemma comes into play in my mind.

Like I said, I think I have an example, and I’ll write it up later.

Travis Pelkie

June 24, 2010 at 2:09 am

Ok, what I’m getting at is that I do think that creators have the RIGHT to hire other hands to work on books/characters/concepts that they create and still own. Where I think I’m differing from you, FGJ, is that I’m saying if someone creates something during that run, they should have rights to that creation. I mentioned the Gerber/Howard the Duck example. As the big two and some other comics companies operate, they are all work for hire (essentially, I’m sure there’s details that I’m glossing over, and I’m not counting things like Vertigo or Icon, which have some problems as well). The company owns everything.

The original “hypocrisy” point, I think, stems from my POV that the Image guys started that company (in part) for creative freedom coupled with personal enrichment (however you might define that). In other words, they wanted to do what they wanted, create their own stuff, and make the money from those creations. The creators benefit, not the company. What seemed to happen, and where I see the “hypocrisy”, is that these guys either set up studios or hired hands on to do much of the creative work. However, these were just hired hands, and the company (be it Homage/Top Cow/Wildstorm, Todd McFarlane Productions, Shadowline, or Extreme) were the ones that reaped much of the benefits. Like Marvel or DC do. Which Todd et al railed against in the press when the big 2, where they got their fame from, did the same thing. From my viewpoint, that’s hypocritical.

However, I do understand that I have an idealistic viewpoint, that ideally every creator reaps the majority of the benefits from the work they do. I suppose I live in a dream world too.

So my examples are these: both from Spawn, both from issues that Todd was not directly credited (at least according to comics.org, I haven’t read these issues in ages, so forgive any lapses in details. I’m trying to paint a broader picture). In Spawn 16-18, Grant Morrison wrote and Greg Capullo drew the introduction of Anti-Spawn, later called (iirc) the Redeemer. In Spawn 19-20, Orz and Andrew Grossberg wrote and Capullo drew the intro of Houdini the Magician.

My admittedly somewhat weak examples are this — iirc, after Spawn 19-20 came out, there was a miniseries featuring this version of Houdini. As far as I know, Todd didn’t claim ownership to the character, and I’m thinking the Spawn issues were a way to introduce that character to “spin off” to the mini. To me, that’s a GOOD example of what can be done. Your creative team took something they came up with, apparently took it to Todd (presumably Orz, being Spawn’s letterer, had this concept with Grossberg, or Grossberg came to Orz, dunno the details) (I SAID it was a weak example). Todd liked it enough to feature it in his book and it launched a mini that (hopefully) Orz and Grossberg had the rights to. Obviously, the Houdini book didn’t take the world by storm, but they got a chance to shine and I hope, but don’t know, that they held the rights to the character. (19 and 20 were the 2 issues that came out several months after issues 24/25 came out. That’s creative freedom, too. We don’t have to follow your bourgeois notions of numerical order!)

The example that first stuck in my head though, was the Morrison/Capullo issues with the Anti-Spawn. Let’s say that character took off, especially with the name change to Redeemer. Say Morrison and Capullo wanted to do a whole series based on that character, but changed some elements (enough to break the ties to Spawn enough to make the character more distinctly separate). Now, since the character first appeared in Spawn, under work for hire, McFarlane owns the character completely, even though he didn’t directly (although I’m sure he probably helped design the character and came up with the basic premise) work on the original appearance of the character. To my mind, though, the character (that we’ve said has been made distinctly separate from the Spawn series) is a Morrison/Capullo creation and they should be the primary beneficiaries of that character, and should ideally own the character.

I realized in thinking about this, McFarlane wrote just 11 of the first 20 Spawn issues. 1-7 and 12-15. 8 was Alan Moore, 9 Gaiman, 10 Dave Sim, 11 Frank Miller, 16-18 Morrison, 19-20 Orz and Grossberg. Strange.

I think maybe our differences are that you’re saying how it actually works, FGJ, and I’m saying what I think should be how it works. Idealist, remember? I think we have different viewpoints, and I’ve enjoyed airing them out over the past few days here, in what has been pretty civil (if I’ve been uncivil, my apologies).

But overall, as you said on Random Thoughts, comics rule. The details and minutia are the other fun part.

Cronin’s probably going, why can’t they just talk about Hulk already? :)

Hulk Smash!

just tryin’ to he’p things move along….

DFTBA

I loved this issue. I thought Hulk’s handling of Doc was perfect. Funny stuff. Larsen’s, on the other hand, wasn’t too bad. Just a bit of a stretch. With good will, forgivable in the context of the story and taking in consideration that the aim of Hulk’s defeat was to make Ock seem much more powerful, ruthless an perhaps smarter than usual which in the end would make Spidey and the story seem even cooler in the end.

Can’t see Doc Ock ever beating the Hulk. No way. Unacceptable. Easier to believe a real person could fly.

Heck, the Hulk could fart and blow Doc Ock through a wall!

I had read that there had been an ongoing feud between Erik Larsen and Peter David for a while, I guess this might have been the start of it. I read that Larsen was openly critical of Peter David’s Aquaman run.

Considering how awful Bendis’ Avengers has been, and considering how Stephen, inexplicably, buys every single issue of it, he could afford jump to something OTHER than “Disassembled” once in a while.

Hmm..it seems to me that Larsen was trying to evolve Doc Ock (whether you like it or not) and David took it upon himself to devolve the character in a completely unimaginative way — sure, you can get into real science and Marvel science and blah-blah-blah, but really — if David had wanted to show his displeasure he could have taken the time and churned out something a little more interesting, a little…BETTER.

Seriously, this was petty, lazy comic book writing from a miffed writer with a personal gripe. Not professional, and not a feather in his cap, either.

By the way, I’m not a David-hater. I like him a lot, and trust his name on a cover. But he kind of irked me with this and I never forgot.

I can recall the details of the Larsen/David Hulk/Ock feud in the 90’s but I still forget to give my insulin and my own phone number. Hmmmmmm….

I remember that. It’s another inconsistent fight between two foes.

Man, I always wished they had done a big Doctor Octopus story, because he seems like such a cool villian. Yet, they never did one. I loved both those stories, but I think Doc Ock always deserved better respect than he got by many of the writers.

Alex A. Sanchez

June 27, 2010 at 10:31 pm

For the record, Larsen was the Image creator who said that they Image guys were holding back their best ideas.

I love PAD’s work to death, but I have to side with Erik Larsen on this one. He drafted an entertaining story, and actually made Doc Ock cool!

Ironically, PAD was the one being petty in this situation.

Just to clarify–I said: “In many ways, we’ve been holding back. Some of our best characters have yet to be seen and will appear here for the first time.” Clearly I was talking about holding back CHARACTERS. Many of us had created CHARACTERS that we didn’t give away to Marvel or DC.

Clearly I was talking about holding back CHARACTERS. Many of us had created CHARACTERS that we didn’t give away to Marvel or DC.

A policy, I might add, that was the same thing that, say, Roy Thomas was already doing over two decades earlier (choosing not to create new characters for Marvel that he knew he would not own).

Ock beating Hulk with adamantium arms or not would be quite stupid. He can lift about 8 tons per arm. One of Hulk’s biggest rivals in MU is Thor. Thor uses a magical uru hammer. Uru is another super metal like adamantium. Thor however can lift well over 100 tons. Thor hitting Hulk with hammer >>>>>>>>>> Doc Ock hitting Hulk with tentacles. Since Hulk can fight Thor for hours then Doc is hardly doing any real damage. Plus Hulk has ranged attacks. He could literally blow down a couple dozens trees. His thunder clap is likened to a bomb going off. If he wanted to reinvent the character then he should have picked a lower tier guy to do it on. Peter was right in that Hulk should stomp him.

The thing about Image is, it was about creator CONTROL, as much as creator rights. That means if you create, you own, you control.
If you want to sell off your characters to DC, you can do that.
If you want to hire a bunch of inferior studio guys to run your books into the ground, you can do that.
If you just want to draw your own character for 20 years without an editor taking you off the book you created, you can do that.

This post discussing erik larsen’s Hulk vs. Docotor Octopus fight is very inaccurate. Although there may have been other confrontations between the two, i believe erik larsen is REFERENCING byrne’s confrontation however small in the pages of John Byrne’s 80’s classic fantastic four run.

during john byrne’s run, back when sue had a miscarriage, dr. banner(Hulk) and doc ock almost went at it in the hospital. Reed Richard’s had to break it up. the scene was only 2 or 3 panels or a page at the most, but very memorable. classic scene.

i believe erik larsen was referencing that. but he didnt originate it in my opinion.

All of this talk of physics and leverage, etc. seems kind of moot to me. How on earth can Doc Ock’s legs support all of that weight? He was anchored only by his own two feet as he held Hulk aloft and smacked him around.

Duff McWhalen

June 28, 2010 at 7:43 am

Throwing in the word leverage does not make sense of the situation. Someone wanted their villain to look impressive, so they had him thrash the Hulk. The writer of the Hulk took a few pages to address the fact that to most people, a guy that throws down with Thor can’t really be beaten senseless by some guy Spider-Man has been knocking out with one hit for like 30 years up to that point.

He also took a few jabs at the other guy. In a comic book. These are comic books. Stop using words like “classy” and “petty.”

So Larsen didn’t consult the boys at MIT before he had Doc Ock fight the Hulk. Who cares? These are comic books. If you’re going to sit around worrying about the laws of physics every time you read one of these things, you’re going to give yourself an ulcer. It was believable enough. And at least he was trying to make a lame villain cooler by giving him a new look, new weapons, and a new attitude. I think Peter David did a real dis-service to the Doc Ock character by showing him in “The Hulk” back in his goofy old green jumpsuit and bowl haircut. As usual it was more important for Mr. David to be “right.”

“PAD” is a hack, and what’s worse is how un-funny the guy is. The guy is a horrible dork. His “jokes” are awful. But at least he’s friends with Harlan Ellison. Just ask him, he’ll tell you all about it, every chance he gets.

Classy, classy, classy.
Petty, petty, petty.

OK, Duff, what’s my punishment?

Honestly, yes, these are JUST comic books, but this forum (and this website) is for fans to come, overanalyze, debate, and reflect on the geeky stuff they love and hate. If we all took your approach (“bah, they’re just comics”) the business would never have evolved at all. In fact, why come on here at all if you just want to…hang out and discuss comics without ever getting analytical (in fear someone might drop atrocious terms like ‘classy’ or ‘petty’).

Classy, classy, classy.
Petty, petty, petty.

Hah! I did it again.

I love Peter David´s stuff, I love Erik Larsen´s stuff. I love that he held back Savage Dragon for Image. I don´t know if it´s a great comic but I like it. I remember reading both comics. As much as I liked Revenge of the Sinister Six, i didn´t like the way Doctor Octopus (my favorite bad guy) defeated the Hulk, but I loved the way Bruce got back at him. I realised, even back then, that there was a meta message there but I couldn´t care less, all I read was two fun comics. Seeing that featured here, brought so many good memories. Thanx, Brian, Peter, Erik and Dale.

Dave Anderson

June 28, 2010 at 3:52 pm

I don’t know what interests me in these Image debates. For most of the Image founders, I didn’t read their Marvel books, I didn’t read their Image books, and I didn’t like seeing their styles emulated by other creators / companies. So, I just didn’t read super-hero books for a few years. I was blissfully unaware of all these fights between creators, companies, and fans. But now I find it fascinating to sit on the sidelines and watch. This must explain why reality shows are so popular.

@ Dave Anderson:

I am in pretty much the same boat. This like IMAGE OF LOVE for me.

I’d like to know how Marvel treated Kirby since it’s suppose to be so bad.

Duff McWhalen

June 29, 2010 at 5:01 am

Danny, my point was that there’s no serious business afoot. There couldn’t be any punishment for discussing what you want even if someone honestly did want to punish you. But I wouldn’t say there’s anything analytical about calling a guy a hack or a dork. And that’s what sometimes happens when people start discussing these kind of stories.

“I believe Larsen was really pissed and accused David of being a plagiarist due to taking the “give him the finger” line virtually verbatim from Larsen’s earlier story. ”

The line about “the finger” probably actually came from the Peter David/Todd McFarlane debate, during which Peter David made a crack about Erik Larsen, referring to the latter’s anonymous criticism of Marvel in the infamous “Name Withheld” letter to CBG. Larsen reportedly gave Peter David “the finger” at that time.

Jim McClain”The line about “the finger” probably actually came from the Peter David/Todd McFarlane debate”

That’s doubtful.

As I mentioned before, “the Finger” was a joke that Larsen used in that same comic to take out Electro.

Erik actually mentioned that he felt PAD ripped him off, later PAD gave a list of times a Hulk/Finger joke that had made that preceded either of them using it.

The Erik Larsen Finger at the PAD/Todd debate didn’t happen until after, I believe the Image guys had already left Marvel and started up by then.

Keowns pages show Hulk staying pat on the ground, as if being stronger makes him heavier. Which is a bit dumb, but it’s superhero comics and that stuff falls within the suspension of disbelief.

A person who is off the ground can move his body around. Witness a diver who changes direction and position while he falls.

But, a person who is on the ground can shift his center of gravity to help or hinder someone who is trying to pick him up. Professional wrestlers call it “dead ass-ing” the opponent when the person being picked up works against the maneouver.

If you don’t believe me, here is an experiment you can try:

Find a friend whom you can pick up.
Pick him up.
Put him back down.
Have him lean away from you and pull down while you try to pick him up again.
Is it significantly more difficult to pick him up now?

This demonstrates the same physics property that allows someone to pick up something that is heavier than they are by using a pulley.

Theno

Eric Qel-Droma

July 6, 2010 at 6:17 pm

PAD’s “rematch,” while snarky for those in the know, at least returns the characters to their proper places. That it humiliates and diminishes Doc Ock as a character*… okay. I can see the argument. But I remember being 16 or so and reading that issue and just nodding my head: “No way does Ock beat Hulk.” And I want to be clear that I love Doc Ock as a major Spidey villain. I’m a huge Spidey fan. But a character being my favorite shouldn’t change his power levels.

However, Kolymar argues that Ock’s victory is somehow justified because it is “forgivable in the context of the story… the aim of Hulk’s defeat was to make Ock seem much more powerful [and] make Spidey and the story seem even cooler in the end.” There I have to disagree. That the editor allowed Larsen to get away with Ock thrashing the Hulk ignores continuity and destabilizes the basic ideas of the shared universe/sandbox that the other writers get to play in. Characters’ basic power levels should not vary according to whim. YMMV, of course, but I, for one, was glad to see the Hulk reclaim his toughness title.

*And Ock had gone through some serious setbacks as a villain in Spidey continuity. At one point, he was too scared of Spider-Man to even think of fighting him. But *randomly* powering him up and having him beat the Hulk was not a good way to “fix” the character.

I second that, Eric. I think this is mostly an editorial matter and the center of countless discrepancies over characterization.

Any plans for more of this series? It’s an interesting topic.

It doesn’t matter whether the Hulk is shifting his weight or not, Ock should not be able to lift all that while standing on just his own legs! For most of his feats of strength to work, he would need to have at least one of his arms braced against the ground or wrapped around something strong and grounded, or very heavy. I guess his body’s used to carrying around the extra weight of those arms, which might already be a couple hundred pounds of metal, but there’s no way he could lift all 4 arms and another large object while standing on just his feet. His arms could provide massive leverage if used right, but they are rarely drawn as such.

Hey Brian, I love all your cool columns.
Another great meta-moment (that also comes from Peter David) is from Captain Marvel. The series with Genis. Where he has to fight Fredd, his evil clone brother from an alternate future. Or something like that. Not a particular call-out to any comic, but just some of the crazy comic tropes in general.

Thanks and keep up the good work.

“I’m saying if someone creates something during that run, they should have rights to that creation.”

A nice principle, but not terribly practical. Take Superman. Siegel and Shuster created Superman and Lois Lane; a later writer created Perry White and Jimmy Olsen (for the radio series, initially); Marv Wolfman created Cat Grant; Jack Kirby created Morgan Edge; and so on. It would get to the point where every issue becomes an accountant’s nightmare of figuring out who gets how much in royalties, or else they’d have to throw out the entire supporting cast every time a book changes writers.

I think when they debuted the new/current Doctor Octopus (Amazing 600 I think), they referred to the Hulk’s payback as one of the reasons Ock was in such poor health.

completely a meaningless side note, but god did i love that sinister six story! i think i was 12 or 13 when it came out and it really amped up my collecting…i think i’m gonna go track it down today…

Reminds me of NEW WARRIORS #72(?) where then writer Evan Skolnick wrote ‘I didn’t rob and lie only to be feld for this!’ in reaction to the whole Heroes Reborn deal. That issue is filled with plenty of jabs.

Hahahaha. Just found this. Interesting to read the back story on Peter David and Erik Larsen. Also amusing to see the comic book logic debates.

When I read this in younger days, I also fell in the disbelief camp. The Hulk is one of the strongest characters in the Marvel Universe. Doc Ock was one of my favorite Spiderman villains, but I didn’t believe he had a snowball’s chance in hell of defeating a Class 100+ Superhero with his “can lift three tons per arm” apparatus, no matter how much “leverage he had”. Logically, the Hulk

– would have bent his arms together, pried himself free and hit the ground hard enough to make Ock fall through the floor

– Or punched one of the arms (while Ock held on) hard enough to send one hell of a shock wave to send Ock reeling.

– Or done a hand clap (with Ock unable to restrain him) and sent Ock reeling.

Whether you like or hate the authors, the thought of Ock’s arms being able to restrain the Hulk’s arms (up in the air or not) defies logic

jackactionflash

August 25, 2013 at 12:58 am

I don’t think it was a bad idea per se to have Doc Ock actually defeat Hulk….just not in that manner. Lex Luthor is certainly weaker than Superman but he poses a threat because he is clever. In the Larsen scene, Doc Ock doesn’t outsmart Hulk….he just sort of beats him up. And that’s why it doesn’t work for so many people.
That said, PAD’s scene makes Doc Ock look straight up like a chump when he should be portrayed as a bigger threat than that.
So I would say both scenes don’t really strike the right balance, IMO.

doc ock cannot defeat the Hulk, augmented tentacles and all. about image, i was excited about the company in the beginning, then I bought the comics and learned that the characters were almost exact copies of Marvel and DC heroes in apprearance and personality. sheessshh, and they call it holding back. CRAP!!

Up front: I did NOT read ALL of the comments before writing this. My apologies if this point has already been made.

The problem where Larsen fails and David/Keown wins is: The ability of Doc Ock’s arms to lift is determined by the his anchoring. In the Larsen panels, his legs would have collapsed under the strain of lifting the Hulk without using an arm or two to anchor the lifting arms. The David/Keown panels, using all 4 tentacles to try to lift the Hulk would fail as depicted.

Incredible Hulk 396, was the first Hulk comic I ever bought.

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