Somehow, it slipped my mind that this month is the 61st anniversary of the debut of one of the characters who would come to define Marvel Comics, The Incredible Hulk. Though it was dated May of 1962, the first issue of The Incredible Hulk actually came out in March. Here’s the cover, featuring artwork from Jack Kirby and Paul Reinman.
It’s obvious from the cover that The Incredible Hulk was still a work in progress when he made his debut. First off, he’s grey instead of green. Secondly, while Bruce Banner was always portrayed as being a scientist who kept a tight grip on his emotions, I don’t think he ever looked as nerdy as he did on this cover. Third, the Hulk himself looks more like an oversized version of Frankenstein’s Monster than the Hulk that readers would eventually come to know and love. Though it is not mentioned on the cover, Banner initially transformed into the Hulk whenever the sun went down, like a werewolf. The Hulk coming out whenever Banner got mad was a later invention.
Because Marvel could never decide whether they wanted the Hulk to be a hero or a monster, the first run of The Incredible Hulk came to an end after just six issues but Marvel kept the character around and eventually gave him a regular feature in Tales to Astonish. He was even one of the founding members of The Avengers, though that didn’t last for long. Marvel eventually figured out that Hulk worked best as a loner and he was embraced by a counterculture who disliked the military almost as much he did. The character proved to be so popular in Tales of Astonish that he eventually took over the entire comic and the name was changed (again) to The Incredible Hulk. Hulk’s been a Marvel mainstay ever since, appearing on both television and in the movies.
And it all started 41 years ago, this month.
Previous Great Moments In Comic Book History:
- Winchester Before Winchester: Swamp Thing Vol. 2 #45 “Ghost Dance”
- The Avengers Appear on David Letterman
- Crisis on Campus
- “Even in Death”
- The Debut of Man-Wolf in Amazing Spider-Man
- Spider-Man Meets The Monster Maker
- Conan The Barbarian Visits Times Square
- Dracula Joins The Marvel Universe
- The Death of Dr. Druid
- To All A Good Night
- The First Appearance of Ghost Rider
- The First Appearance of Werewolf By Night
- Captain America Punches Hitler
- Spider-Man No More!
- Alex Ross Captures Galactus
- Spider-Man And The Dallas Cowboys Battle The Circus of Crime
- Goliath Towers Over New York
- NFL SuperPro is Here!
- Kickers Inc. Comes To The World Outside Your Window
- Captain America For President
- Alex Ross Captures Spider-Man
- J. Jonah Jameson Is Elected Mayor of New York City
- Captain America Quits
- Spider-Man Meets The Fantastic Four
- Spider-Man Teams Up With Batman For The Last Time
- The Skrulls Are Here
- Iron Man Meets Thanos and Drax The Destroyer
- A Vampire Stalks The Night
- Swamp Thing Makes His First Cover Appearance
- Tomb of Dracula #43
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