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The Incredible Hulk - The Key Issues

Updated on September 1, 2016
Hulk smash.
Hulk smash.

The Incredible Hulk

One of the best loved and easily recognized characters in comic books. The green behemoth has been around since 1962 when he was created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby.

Incredible Hulk # 1

After attempting to save teenager Rick Jones from a blast of Gamma radiation, scientist Bruce Banner is exposed to the blasts rays, an accident that would profoundly affect the scientists DNA and cause an unexpected bodily change in him that would see him turn in to the raging behemoth known as The Hulk!

When Stan Lee created The Hulk he had an idea of a character based loosely on the Frankenstein monster and Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde from Robert Louis Stephenson's classic book. With echoes of Quasimodo the Hulk would be a somewhat sad and misunderstood character, hunted by the military and shunned by the public even though in the main Hulk just wanted to be left alone.

The Hulk makes his debut in Incredible Hulk # 1 in May 1962, initially Hulk is grey colored as Lee wanted Hulk to be of no particular ethnic group however the colorist on the issue Stan Goldberg had trouble with the consistency of the grey coloring and Hulk ended up being different shades of grey and even coming out green, when Lee saw the green colored Hulk he decided that is the color he should be and Hulk would be traditionally portrayed as green from then on, although a grey Hulk would be shown many years later.

In the early Hulk stories Banner would turn into the Hulk at sunset and return to normal at sunrise.

In this first issue we meet many of the characters that would play a major part in Hulk stories from then on, future wife Betty Ross and her father General Thaddeus . E. " Thunderbolt " Ross who obsessively hunts The Hulk and later Bruce Banner and also Rick Jones the teenager Banner saves from the gamma blast who becomes the sole confidant of the Hulks true identity in the early Hulk stories.

Incredible Hulk # 2

Hulk is portrayed for the first time with green skin.

The Avengers # 1

Initially a founder member of the Superhero group The Avengers the Hulk leaves the group after just one issue after being unable to control his rages.

"Coming ready or not"
"Coming ready or not"

Fantastic four # 12

The Hulk makes an appearance in Fantastic Four issue # 12 one of the first crossover appearances in Marvel Comics helping to lay the foundations of a Marvel Universe.

Fantastic Four # 25

The first time of many when we would see the Hulk battle the Thing from the Fantastic Four. In this instance the Hulk really does smash the Thing, and much of New York, however the Thing swears revenge and the two would have many more battles to come.

Tales To Astonish # 59

The Incredible Hulk comic is cancelled but Hulk makes his first appearance in Tales To Astonish and from issue #60 the joint Giant Man / Hulk double feature would begin. It is in these issues where we first see Banner metamorphosize into The Hulk due to stress or anger rather than day becoming night.

Hulk battles with Abomination on the cover of Tales To Astonish # 91.
Hulk battles with Abomination on the cover of Tales To Astonish # 91.

Tales To Astonish # 90

After deliberately exposing himself to the same gamma radiation that caused Bruce Banner to turn into the Hulk, Russian Emil Blonsky becomes the Abomination. The Abomination has a large scaly humanoid appearance including having fish like gills. Traditionally the Abomination has been portrayed as being stronger than the Hulk and in this initial appearance defeats him, unlike Banner, Blonsky keeps his human intelligence when in Abomination form but also remains in the form of the Abomination and does not change back to human. Although naturally stronger than the Hulk, the Hulk is able to defeat Abomination when a battle rages for a while as Hulks anger levels rise the longer the fight goes on and Hulk gets stronger and stronger.

Incredible Hulk # 102

After sharing billing in Tales To Astonish, Hulk, once again is given his own book starting with Incredible Hulk # 102 which carries on the numbering from Tales To Astonish.

Incredible Hulk # 141

The first appearance of popular supporting character in Hulk comics Dr Leonard " Leo " Samson - Doc Samson.

Incredible Hulk # 181

An important comic not so much in the history of the Hulk but for the history of comics in general as this book is the first appearance of popular member of the X-Men the Wolverine, although Wolverine had made a back page cameo appearance in the preceding issue # 180 this book sees Wolverine battle Hulk and the creature known as the Wendigo.

Incredible Hulk # 340

Hulk and Wolverine have battled many times over the years, this issue is one of the more popular Hulk v Wolverine issues that features a famous cover by former Spider-Man artist Todd McFarlane.

Other Hulk Stuff.

Two great stories to read if you are interested in the Hulk are Planet Hulk and World War Hulk, stories that tell how Hulk is tricked into space by the Illuminati, his adventures on the planet Sakaar and his return to Earth seeking revenge on the Illuminati.

The Hulk was portrayed on television by former Mr Universe Lou Ferrigno with his alter ego Bruce Banner being played by Bill Bixby although in the TV series Banner was named " David " Banner.

The Hulk has been portrayed on the big screen by Eric Bana in the 2003 movie Hulk, by Edward Norton in The Incredible Hulk 2008 and by Mark Ruffalo in The Avengers 2012.


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    • nuffsaidstan profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago

      Thanks Jupiteroo, and yeah Geekdom FF#12 is probably the first Marvel crossover alongside Amazing Spider-man # 1 which also featured the FF and both came out in March 1963.

    • jupiter90 profile image


      4 years ago

      I could never get into the incredible Hulk. But, you wrote a great hub anyway, nuffsaid.

    • Geekdom profile image


      4 years ago

      I did not realize Fantastic 4 #12 was one of the first crossovers. It is so common, I never thought about it.


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