C2E2 2019: A SMASH-TASTIC Event!

I recently attended C2E2 and thankfully it turned out to be a much better visit then the previous year. I met some great (and legendary) artists and writers. I acquired some new Hulk swag for my collection. And I have the blisters to prove how much fun I had.

Jason Aaron and Marc Silvestri were in attendance. So of course I had to have them sign my copies of Incredible Hulk (vol.3) # 1 and 3 (I wasn’t a fan of the cover on issue #2). The cover on issue #3 has been a favorite of mine for a long time. The story was a bit rough around the edges for me, but I still enjoyed the idea of Bruce turning into a Dr. Moreau and the Hulk needing to stop him.

Ed McGuinness was again available this year. So I was focused on getting a graded signature from him. I managed to have him sign my copy of Hulk #30 (the compound Hulk issue) and his She-Hulk (181 homage) variant cover. In addition, I found he was selling an original splash page from Hulk #30 showing the entrance of Xemnu! Yes, it wasn’t exactly the Hulk, but it has the Red Hulk along the top.

And some of you may or may not know that Xemnu was the first Marvel character to have the name ‘Hulk’. So its a unique addition to my collection that expands on the history of the name, if not the character himself. In any case, I was just excited to own an original panel. The page was penciled by McGuiness and inked by Dexter Vines (sadly he cancelled at the last minute).

And last, but certainly not least – I got up early and waited in line three hours to meet the legendary George Perez (co-creator of The Maestro)!  I requested signatures on my hardcover copy of Hulk: The End (which features the Future Imperfect story line) and my copy of The Incredible Hulk: What Savage Beast (as he did the illustrations for the book).

I also snagged a selfie with the guy – such a nice man. I feel so incredibly lucky to have met him. This is his last year attending conventions, as he is retiring. So this was it or nothing!

In addition I snagged a couple rarer Hulk comics: a Fantastic Four variant exclusive to certain conventions and Incredible Hulk #166 (first appearance of Zzaxx).

All in all an amazing and productive weekend! Cannot wait till next year!

 

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REMATCH INCOMING: Hulk vs Thing

Attention all! The Immortal Hulk will be appearing within the pages of Fantastic Four – and in no small way. He has his sights set on a rematch with the Thing.

Arriving in July 2019 will be Fantastic Four #12. For those who don’t know, the Hulk first clashed with The Thing in Fantastic Four #12 in 1963. So the numbering here is certainly an homage to that meeting.

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I won’t go into much of the synopsis but Ben Grimm (The Thing) and his wife are on honeymoon after their historic wedding. But of course not all goes well when the Hulk decides to crash the party.

Whats interesting based on the cover is we see the Hulk fighting Thing out in the daytime? Could this be a spoiler that the Hulk will no longer be limited to emerging only at night? We will see…

For more info go here:

https://comicbook.com/marvel/2019/04/09/marvel-hulk-vs-thing-fantastic-four/

Variant Alert: Immortal Hulk #16 Bennet Wraparound

Immortal Hulk continues to provide stellar writing and horrific art. It’s no wonder Marvel is doing whatever they can to cash in on this run away train of a series. And there is no better way to make more money then supply rare variants.

Immortal Hulk #16 was recently released and along with it a special wrap around cover from the artist of Immortal Hulk, Joe Bennet. The cover features Hulk turning to fleshy goo and changing to Banner…or is it Banner changing over to the Hulk. In any case its a rather gross cover that makes me think of ‘The Thing’. Hulk is on the front with Banner on the back. This cover has made waves in the collecting community. Prior to it’s release pre-salers were offering the 1:25 variant for roughly $60 to $100.

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I made efforts to get to my local comic shop right at opening in hopes of grabbing it for cheaper. Upon arriving it seemed like they did not receive any…that is until my LCS guy surprised me with it. Offering me first dibs. Needless to say I was drooling…until I saw the price tag…$100. Now this price was way beyond what I would ever spend on a variant…but seeing the demand go up and up…this price was somewhat mid-level of what was on Ebay. I did not want to regret missing out – if indeed the price went higher..which it seems to have. (I missed out on an earlier opportunity with the Zaffino variant for IH #2). So I bit the bullet and bought it!

The price was extreme…but I don’t regret getting it. It’s a really nice cover and my first wrap-around. I only hope to have the chance to get it signed and graded. It will look nice in a slab. Until then…it is being well protected and stored.

As a side note seems Marvel is releasing a second printing of IH #16 in April with this same cover but the sky is orange rather then blue. The pre-sale price has been around $60…so not cheap but certainly more doable for those who prefer to pay less for this variant. I maaaayyy try to grab this one as well so I can display them next to each other, but flipped to show both sides…but I’m not going to hold my breath on it.

In short, if you have the money and opportunity – get it. Otherwise I might say save your money for a silver age comic you’ve been really wanting.

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Incredible Hulk: Last Call – David and Keown Reunite!

This has been a time for resurrections. The Hulk is back from the grave, immortal and kicking A$$. And now it seems one of the greatest Hulk creator duos is returning to helm a one shot issue, ‘Incredible Hulk: Last Call’ – Peter David and Dale Keown. Writer Peter David wrote for the Hulk spanning for over a decade. Dale Keown came on-board to pencil for David near the end of his run.

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This is not the first time they have made a comeback. Back in 2002 the pair worked on Hulk: The End, probably one of the best single-issue Hulk stories ever made. So I am quite excited to hear these two are coming back for another round.

We don’t have many details at this time. The synopsis seems to circle around Banner being tired (once again) of being the Hulk and wants to end it. But then he encounters a fight worthy of the incredible hulk.

No information at this time of a potential release date.

Side note: Does the title change indicate the possibility that the series will switch from Immortal to Incredible – if so what are the implications? Or is this just a single issue homage to the old moniker? We will see.

Marvelocity: The Art of Alex Ross @ Dunn Museum 2019

On March 9th, 2019 the Dunn Museum in Libertyville, Illinois hosted the opening of an exhibition celebrating Marvelocity: The Art of Alex Ross.

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This was incredibly exciting to me as I’ve only recently discovered this man’s work through his covers on Immortal Hulk. Learning that he physically paints his work blew my mind so I knew I had to meet him. So, of course, once I learned this was happening I made a point to be there bright and early.

I arrived at the gallery at opening time and took my time in absorbing the works on display. It was an assortment of items ranging from complete paintings to drawn boards and even sculptures he helped make.

He even had childhood items on display showing his early love for comic books. Many of these items were featured in his book, Marvelocity – released late 2018.

Not too long after I got into line to meet Alex as he was doing a signing later in the day. Though I had to wait a few hours (mostly handled by watching ‘The Avengers’ on my iPad) it was worth it.

It was so great to meet this guy. I was admittedly a bit starstruck so I regret not having a clear head to ask for a photo with him. Nonetheless I received his signature on a number of items including the official Dunn museum Hulk poster for the event, the Marvelocity book, and my copy of Immortal Hulk #14 (which released earlier that week).

 

The work of Alex Ross is amazing and I hope to find another opportunity to see him again. His body of work is incredible and as an aspiring artist myself he is truly inspirational.

If you happen to live in the area or plan to visit I highly recommend you visit this exhibit. It will be active until September 8th, 2019.

For more information: https://www.lcfpd.org/museum/exhibitions/

 

 

Hulk #30

Do you like the green Hulk? Do you like the red Hulk? Well good news! With this issue you don’t have to choose!

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Writer: Jeff Parker / Artist: Ed McGuinness

This is probably one of the most unique and fun issues to come out for the Hulk in recent memory for me. This issue was released in April 2011 with Ed McGuinness (artist) and Jeff Parker (writer) as the creators.

In short this issue is crazy. The art is amazing and the story is moved along by the inclusion of such a random assortment of characters. Not to mention you see the one and only time the two Hulks are merged into the ‘Compound Hulk’. Both Hulks come together to fight Xemnu who demands a fight to prove himself the better Hulk (see Journey into Mystery #62).

A character known as the ‘Impossible Man’ offers to help and merges the two brutes in order to not only defeat Xemnu, but the assorted other monsters he summons. The Impossible Man is a welcome addition of comedy and is very much a merging of Jim Carrey’s ‘The Mask’ and Genie from ‘Aladdin’.

 

Of course this merging is not exactly the ideal plan for both brutes who prefer to work alone. As such we get some interesting verbal sparring between both Hulks as they fight to gain full control of their new form and eventually find a reason to fight as one.

The story is more or less self contained. So you can easily buy this issue and not feel lost by any preceding events and receive a satisfying conclusion all within this one book.

In short, I can’t recommend this book enough. Go and buy it. That being said it does seem sort of hard to find, but not too expensive. And it seems this form of the Hulk has made quite an impression as there are Funko pops and other assorted items for the compound Hulk. Such as the NYCC exclusive figure.

Note: the photo shown is of a signed copy I own. Signature by Ed McGuinness.

Variant Alert: Immortal Hulk “Best Defense” #1 (Joe Bennett)

Attention Immortal Hulk fans! The original Defenders are coming back and that means old jade jaws is teaming up. As a prelude to this event Marvel released this short series titled under ‘The Best Defense’. Issues will be released for all members including Dr. Strange, Silver Surfer and Namor.

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Recently released (12/5/18) was Hulk’s issue and I managed to grab this variant created by the main artist of the Immortal Hulk series, Joe Bennett. It includes all the Defenders together with Hulk up front and center. A sharp looking cover in my opinion. Reminds me of the first Defenders issue, though it doesn’t pay homage by matching the poses or layout of that first issue.

This issue is 1:25 if I remember correctly. So not impossible to find but still rare. Currently on Ebay its priced for around $10-15. I managed to get mine at my LCS for about $15.

I recommend adding this one to your collection if you can!