Incredible Hulk #197

If I am not mistaken this is the first time Hulk encounters the swamp creature known as Man-Thing. I personally am not a huge fan of Man-Thing as I feel he is kind of a rip-off of Swamp Thing (but who ripped off who I can’t be sure. Seems both characters debuted in 1971…hmmm).

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Writer: Len Wein / Artist: Sal Buscema / Cover: Bernie Wrightson

Any way, this issue was released in March 1976. The most notable detail (and reason why I own it) in my opinion is the cover. It is the only Incredible Hulk cover ever created by Bernie Wrightson. The only other Hulk story he did was for a graphic novel of Hulk and the Thing. If you don’t know who Wrightson is, be sure to check out my post in memory of him.

I had hoped to get him to sign this but at the time this was a hard issue to find and had to resort to an online auction. With Wrightson’s passing that dream died with him (unless I buy a signed copy).

The issue in general is not a bad story. In addition to Man-Thing it includes a host of characters such as The Glob, “Doc” Samson, and The Collector. The two monsters in this story battle the Hulk and actually give Jade Jaws a hard time.

At the time of this writing this book is not expensive. Ebay prices typically have it around $10 – 20 at best, but of course there are exceptions. However, it is hard to find. At least it has for me. I’ve only ever seen one issue in all my searching and it was the one I own.

So this one won’t break the bank, but I’d plan to get it online. RIP Wrightson.

GET SMASHED!

In Memory: Bernie Wrightson

This post comes late, but I wanted to dedicate some time to this. On March 18th, 2017 the world lost itself a great artist. The master of the macabre, Bernie (Berni) Wrightson.

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Bernie began his career in 1966 working as an illustrator for The Baltimore Sun and would continue making work pretty much up until his death. His most notable achievement is being the co-creator of Swamp Thing for DC comics. His design for Swamp Thing would help make it one of the most recognized characters to come out of DC and to this day remains a popular character.

In my opinion however I find his greatest work to be the art he contributed to the immortal classic novel Frankenstein written by Mary Shelley. In 1983 he created a series of illustrations to go along with the novel. These images are hailed as the defining impressions of the novel. They were printed alongside the novel and have been reprinted at least a few times in the past thirty years. The original images are notoriously hard to collect, much less locate.

His work has inspired so many people including, but not limited to, Guillermo Del Toro, Joss Whedon and Mike Mignola. I personally place Bernie’s work among the great artists such as Gustave Dore and Francisco Goya. His work has also been of personal inspiration to myself.

And since this is a Hulk blog I must also mention he did the art for Marvel’s graphic novel #29 The Incredible Hulk and the Thing in the Big Change. In addition he did the cover for Incredible Hulk #197.

I feel I should also mention one of the last projects he worked on. As a follow up to his work on the Frankenstein novel he produced the art for the comic series Frankenstein Alive, Alive. This series began in 2012 and only made it to three issues. I myself have all three and LOVED the artwork. The story was also quite interesting and was building towards something unique. Unfortunately it was never continued beyond the third issue. I highly recommend you take a look at these if you have the chance.

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As a side note I was fortunate enough to have met him briefly at a convention in Indianapolis in 2016. I am really glad I was able to tell him my appreciation for his work and be graced with his signature upon a handful of items (one of which was a copy of his illustrated Frankenstein edition).

 

I hope if you are reading this (and especially if you are unfamiliar with any of the works mentioned) that you take the time to search out and appreciate his art. He truly found the beauty in horror and gave monsters a soul.