Monday, March 30, 2009

The Hulk is Coming...Back

When Marvel was young, THE INCREDIBLE HULK, their second attempt at a super-hero monster mag was heralded with little messages along the bottom pages of their other mags of the time. Although now considered classic, that original series lasted all of six issues before being cancelled. A few years later, after the character had bounced around in FANTASTIC FOUR, SPIDER-MAN and THE AVENGERS, someoned nade the decision to give the feature a second try, this time in TALES TO ASTONISH. The only problem was that this was the home of Giant Man and the Wasp. Perhaps to soften the blow, Ol' Greenskin fought Highpockets in issue 59 as written by Stan Lee and drawn by Dick Ayers (note the in-joke sign from that issue). In the back of the issue, though, was this full page Kirby/Ayers ad (with a somewhat disproportionate and surprisingly placid-looking Hulk) announcing the coming of the feature that would eventually take over the book.

1 comment:

Pat said...

I looked at the first six Hulk issues a couple years ago. In retrospect it seems obvious why the series didn't take off: 1. They never developed the supporting characters; Rick Jones, General Ross and Betty were as well known to us in the first couple pages as they would be for the entire series. 2. Mediocre enemies; the Ringmaster and his Circus of Crime is probably the villainous highlight of the series. 3. It took Stan awhile to figure out the changes; at first it was simply day and night, then I think he could change at will. Really it was when we learned that the changes happened with strong emotions (I think in the final issue) that the series became more interesting.

Incidentally, TTA became more the Sub-Mariner's mag (after Giant Man dropped out) than the Hulk. I recently reread the entire series and was surprised to realize that for most of the time they were in the mag together, Subby got 12 pages to Hulk's 10 and got the prime leadoff spot right up until TTA #99. Of course, Hulk did get the mag to himself starting with #102.