Incredible Hulk #4

This issue was released in November 1962 and is another book from the original series to include two different stories. Them being ‘The Monster and the Machine’ and ‘Mongu! Gladiator from Space!’

I was not a fan of the machine story. Though it did further explore characteristics of the Hulk. Specifically his ability to transform. During this time Banner discovered he was able to control the transformations using controlled doses of gamma rays. This machine he would use to dose himself would be the main reason for his transformations until issue #6. Also Hulk would more or less retain Banner’s mind.

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Writer: Stan Lee / Artist: Jack Kirby / Editor: Stan Lee

The Mongu story at least had a twist, albeit a bit lame, but for the time I’m sure it was clever. A being named Mongu arrives from space and basically challenges the Earth to bring forth its mightiest warrior for him to fight. Should he win, or no one shows up, he will summon his fleet to destroy the Earth. Well Hulk could not resist of course. However, in the course of the battle it is revealed that this Gladiator’s origins are much closer to home…and Soviet.

Overall not a bad book. I did quite enjoy some of the art and Stan Lee really let the Hulk show more of what he was capable of. I dare say the Hulk was actually Incredible.

As you can see from the cover my copy is a bit beat up and has some ink stains. But this is the price you pay for affordable silver age comics of the Hulk. This issue seems to fetch large prices on eBay. So it appears to be a sought after title ranging in prices from $200-400. My copy was around $100 due to its condition.

 

Average eBay Value:

  • $200-400 (2/28/2017)

 

Marvel Mini Book: Incredible Hulk (1966)

This tiny book is one of 6 different titles (including Captain America and Thor) released in 1966. They were sold via gumball machines in various colors (blue, yellow, red, green).


These books are regarded as the tiniest comic series in the world measuring 5/8 in. x 7/8 in. Basically the size of a quarter. When the Incredible Hulk’s original six issues ended in 1963 with #6, this tiny book was released three years later and could be construed as an Incredible Hulk #7.

The pages of this tiny book are fused together but could be pulled apart if desired. I have decided not to open this one in order to maintain its quality. The story seems to be more or less an overview of who and what the Hulk is and does. There are pictures and videos available online to see the interior pages. Though they seem to be simply pictures with the opposite page having a small blurb describing the image.

I was able to win this book in an auction for about $20 but most places are asking $60 given their low availability.

I keep this little guy safe in very capable hands.

Incredible Hulk #92 (Planet Hulk Exile 1)

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Writer: Greg Pak / Artist: Carlo Pagulayan / Cover Artist: Jose Ladronn and Bryan Hitch

During the Hulk’s long run he has had many stories. Most become your normal monthly fair, some memorable, some forgotten. But back in 2006 Marvel introduced us to a new and exciting vision of the Hulk. They gave Hulk his own world.

Now of course it wasn’t his world to begin with. Hulk was tricked onto a shuttle and jettisoned into space with the hopes he could live the rest of his life in peace on a quiet planet.

Well as is custom with Hulk and Banner things didn’t go as planned and Hulk’s shuttle would crash land on a planet full of chaos and corruption. A planet of death ruled by a tyrant.

This first issue would detail Hulk’s fist steps on this new planet, called Sakaar, and introduce new characters such as Miek, Korg and Caiera. Characters that would influence the Hulk and follow him at least a decade later. Basically take the movie ‘Gladiator’ and replace Russel Crowe with the Hulk. You then have the basic idea for this book, but so much better in my opinion.

I own the hardbound collection of the entire story and it is a big book. But given my love for the story, having read it many times, and now hearing of Planet Hulk concepts being used in the Thor: Ragnarok film I had to own a copy of the first issue. The art is amazing. The story is engrossing. Pacing is a bit fast, but it’s a lot of story to cover.

This issue was valued at about $35-$50 prior to news of the Ragnarok film. Afterwards, the value for it has risen from $50 to as high as $150. Thankfully I was able to win one in an auction for $45. So I didn’t pay much more then I wanted to. Will this price increase remain or eventually settle down? Who knows? But if you want a copy its a gamble either way for buying now or waiting.

In any case I loved the Planet Hulk story line and its influenced much of the Marvel universe and even inspired a Red Hulk version (which I have not read but looks shorter and less interesting). It was so popular in fact that Marvel re-used the title ‘Planet Hulk’ for a later release of a Hulk title occurring during the recent BattleWorlds events.

All in all a great read and with the new movie having the Hulk in armor, this may be the best time to own a copy. HULK SLASH!

 

 

 

Tales to Astonish #91

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Writer: Stan Lee / Cover Artist: Gil Kane / Artist: Bill Everett

Released in May 1967 was Tales to Astonish #91. This issue is notable for featuring, for the first time on the cover, the Abomination. However, the Abomination’s first appearance is actually in TTA #90. The Abomination has been a long time foe of the Hulk and one of the most recognized bad guys in the Marvel universe.

As is the structure of Tales to Astonish this comic hold two stories. The first is dedicated to Namor. I am not a fan of Namor so I will not go into detail on his story.

For the Hulk’s story titled “Whomsoever Harms the Hulk…!” we find Abomination has defeated the Hulk and gone into hiding. The Hulk is revived by General Ross and turned back into Banner. Banner then lures Abomination back for a re-match in which the Hulk actually proves victorious. However, the Abomination is abducted by a stranger in hopes of making him any ally. Hulk then runs off to be alone.

The story isn’t amazing and its short. But it is the second encounter between Hulk and Abomination, so its historical if nothing else. Also, you see the Abomination very little. I was kind of surprised by that. Honestly, my only interest was in the the cover. It shows the two giants clashing for the first time ever. For me this was a special event. A rivalry on the same level as Spiderman and Doc Ock.

Good news is this comic is not that expensive right now. You can nab it for $30 or more depending on quality. I think I got mine for less due to the wear and tear on it.

eBay Prices:

  • $30-150 depending on condition (9/13/16)

Incredible Hulk #5

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Writer & Editor: Stan Lee / Artist: Jack Kirby

Another oldie but goldie, Incredible Hulk #5. This issue was released in January of 1963 as part of the original Hulk run. Featuring two stories this issue features the Hulk facing off against (in his first ever appearance) Tyrannus and General Fang (also his first and only appearance).

In the first story Tyrannus abducts Betty Ross and takes her deep underground. Banner learns of this and of course goes into pursuit as the Hulk .Tyrannus, using Betty as leverage, forces the Hulk to fight as a gladiator for him This doesn’t last long before Hulk smashes everything and saves Betty. It’s a simple story but its one of the better ones told in the original series. I also think the armor he wears is kinda cool. Especially the helmet. Would like to see that brought back.

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In the second story General Fang is the leader of an eastern army threatening to destroy another nation. A cry for help is broadcast across the world and Bruce hears the transmission. Determining he is the only one who can help he leaps into action as the Hulk and takes him down. He dresses as an abominable snowman in the hopes of scaring Fang’s army and fights a holographic dragon.

Overall a good set of stories and the inclusion of a villain’s first appearance makes this comic something special.  I also really like this cover. It’s been a sort of minor holy grail to me. My issue is more or less in decent shape (at least readable). The panels are a little faded and the cover is a bit raged. The biggest issue is that the comic is yellowed revealing it wasn’t properly stored. But these imperfections made it cheap enough for me to afford. A fresher copy can easily go for three times what I paid. So given my desire and funds available its the best I could do. Maybe one day a better issue will become available. For now I’m quite happy with it.

Average eBay Prices:

  • $175-$400 (based on condition)(8/19/2016)

 

 

Incredible Hulk #6

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Writer: Stan Lee / Cover: Steve Ditko / Artist: Steve Ditko

 

Here is one of the prize gems in my comic collection, Incredible Hulk #6. Released in March 1963, this was the last issue in the original run of the Incredible Hulk. Mean green would continue to exist in the Avengers or in Tales to Astonish until 1968 when Incredible Hulk #102 would reintroduce him. Yes, my issue is bit beat up but to own any of these old issues costs a small fortune. A beat up copy is sometimes the only way to have them all.

Sadly this comic has the weakest story of the run and some of the strangest moments I think most Hulk fans would rather forget. This issue proves that Stan Lee was really trying everything with this character and seeing what stuck.This is also the first issue where Ditko takes over the art direction from Kirby.

 

hulk maskFor example in these early issues Banner can only change to Hulk with the aide of a Gamma Machine (or the Moon). However, during one transformation, it isn’t completed. He is changed, except for having Banner’s physical head and face. So the Hulk has to wear a mask to disguise himself completely so no one knows he’s Banner. An interesting twist. I had never considered a disguise being an issue for someone who changed his body at the molecular level.

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In addition the Hulk is much smarter and outsmarts the metal master using a gun. A gun! I won’t spoil how. But its a pretty low-tech solution.

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And finally we get to see another moment that does influence the future of the character and become canon…but in reverse. In this issue Hulk becomes so mad that he actually reverts back to Banner without the use of the Gamma machine. In future issues it would be anger that would bring out the Hulk. I’m sure this moment would inspire future Hulk writer Peter David to bring this idea back and give us the ‘Savage Banner’ .

The comic ends with Metal Master defeated with the help of the Teen Brigade (First appearance) and Banner hoping to leave the Hulk behind him.

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Average eBay Value:

  • $130-350+ depending on quality (8/2/16)

Incredible Hulk #457

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Writer: Peter David / Artist: David Brewer / Cover: Adam Kubert

This post is a continuation of another post on Incredible Hulk #456. During the previous issue Hulk is recruited by Apocalypse to be his new Horsemen of War.

This comic features the Absorbing Man and Juggernaut. Both are no match for this new and improved Hulk. It will take the intervention of friends in order to bring the green beast back to reality. This issue was released in October 1997.

This War Hulk ends in this issue, which is a shame since (as I’ve stated before) I love this new look. And I must not be alone in thinking this as it became a featured armor in the popular MMO game, Marvel Heroes.

I would love it if this armor made a comeback.

Average eBay Price:

  • $4-8 (7/21/16)