> Marvel Masterworks Library

Incredible Hulk Masterworks Vol. 1
Regular Edition Cover

Vol. 8: Incredible Hulk
Variant Edition Cover

Click panels for larger images _________________________

Click panels for larger images


An INCREDIBLE HULK of a site! Oodles of information about the green skinned monster!

Tons of information from the official Universal Pictures site!

I was angry for a long time, and nobody liked me when I was angry. But then I found this page, with tons of space devoted to the TV show starring Bill Bixby, and I have learned to control my anger.



Original 27

  • First print: 9/89
  • _________________________

    Barnes & Noble Softcover

  • First print: 4/03

  • Same trade dress as 2003 Silver/Black design

    Marvel Masterworks: Incredible Hulk Volume 1

    Reprints: Incredible Hulk #1-6

    (Vol. 8 in the Marvel Masterworks Library)

    Current In-Print Edition: Second Edition, First Print
    Release Date: May 7, 2003

    REGULAR EDITION ISBN: 0-7851-1185-9 • List Price: $39.99
    VARIANT EDITION ISBN: 0-7851-1258-8 • List Price: $44.99

    150 Pages

    Scripted by Stan Lee
    Pencilled by Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko
    Foreword by Stan Lee


    Is he man or monster....or is he both?

    So challenged the cover blurb of the very first issue of the Incredible Hulk. But how could a freckled ten year old with a frog in his pocket and twenty cents to spend on a comic and some candy possibly fathom whether that gray (yes, gray!), hulking, Kirby Kreature was anything other than your typical monster? I mean...look at him! Isn't the answer self-evident? What you see is a huge, musclebound, imposing colossus, reaching those arms out to grab someone, anyone - maybe even you! Of course he's a monster!

    But take a closer look. Who is that funny looking guy in a suit, tie and labcoat? Why does he look so ill, as if his eyes are turning back into his head? That surely is a man! Of course he's a man! And those people around him - that woman in shock, and that old army general in awe! What can they know that we don't? Maybe they know the answer! Well, heck, now that I think about it, I don't know if this is a man or a monster! I guess the only thing left to do is plunk down that dime and two pennies and find out!

    Marvel had lots of ground to cover in the dawning of the Silver Age, but not many titles to do it with. Even after the preliminary success of Fantastic Four had emboldened Stan and Co., the most familiar terrain for the company was monster comics. Back then you had the Tales of Suspense and Tales to Astonish fare: your big hairy monsters, giant slimy monsters, huge scaly monsters, massive one-eyed alien monsters....you get the idea! They'd lumber into, fall onto, or bubble up under a small hamlet full of nervous shrieking women and men wearing hats, and shortly thereafter they'd wreak havoc by smashing/stomping/burping/puking their way to some ignominious end based on how clever the townspeople were. But with the further development of the FF (itself birthed somewhat with one foot in the monster genre) and the success at DC with the reviving of the moribund super-hero genre, the time was right for Marvel to continue their venture into that rejuvenated genre. In a classic example of Marvel magic, Stan Lee took the hoary concept of Frankenstein's monster, added a Jekyll and Hyde twist, and reinvented him for the atomic and nuclear age! Was it monster or superman? Or both? Aha!

    The first volume of Hulk Masterworks covers the only six issues of the Incredible Hulk's first run as a solo title. It bears the distinction of being the very second title introduced into Marvel's stable of super-heroics, but also the first title to get the axe! Stan and Jack were learning their way through the character and what it could offer, and that confusion is very clear throughout these initial stories. It may be hard to believe, but at first, our iconically green-skinned goliath was colored gray! But by Incredible Hulk #2, he is colored green, unnannounced, unexplained and without any fanfare. His behavior and intellect also fluctuate on a bi-monthly basis (yes, these early issues of Hulk were delivered every other month). Initially, the Hulk seems to be a shrewd intellect, but a very abrasive fellow at the same time. In the second issue, he's dumbed down, and as the series goes on, he also flashes signs of Banner's identity, except perhaps a darker side of the doctor's persona. It's quite something to see the editorial twists and turns that Stan, Jack and Steve took during Incredible Hulk #1-6.

    Besides the Hulk, in these pages we are also introduced to the young sidekick Rick Jones. This typically impudent teenager was directyl responsible for the accident that would afflict Bruce Banner with the menace of the Hulk. To repay this debt to the man who saved his life, he plays the confidante and only friend to Bruce Banner, and perhaps also reflects the guilty conscience of an American public trying to wrestle with atomic forces far beyond their control. Of course, this isn't the last time we'd see Mr. Jones. Ever since these early appearances, his legacy as the stand-in for the adolescent comics reader would become pervasive throughout the Marvel Universe, as he has played sidekick for the Avengers, Captain America, and Captain Marvel, the wide-eyed and powerless innocent that gets to stand next to the powerful giants of comics and live to share their adventures.

    Also introduced in these pages are other long-time cast members in the drama of the Hulk: General Thunderbolt Ross, the blustering but patriotic army general determined to protect the world from the Hulk, and his daughter, Betty Ross, who finds herself torn between her love for Bruce Banner and her fear of the Hulk.

    But just as powerful as the supporting cast is the shadow of atomic fear that pervaded the times. Marvel Comics always stressed the human side of the hero. In early issues of FF and especially this run of Incredible Hulk,, there's always the problem of exposure to the weird realities of gamma and cosmic rays, which take the human core and warp it any number of unexpected ways, creating both heroes and terrifying villains. Certainly General Ross is comfortable and secure with his arsenal of nuclear weapons, but what happens when exposure to nuclear radiation creates a human equivalent far more lethal? This loss of control drives ol' Thunderbolt to near lunacy in pursuit of the destruction of this human, atomic dynamo....this Incredible Hulk!

    In 2007, the Hulk celebrated his 45th year of creation. After all these many years of comics, cartoons, TV dramas and movies, after being passed through the hands of dozens of writers and editors, after all the great stories and character developments, are we any closer to being able to answer the question that was asked of those little boys with frogs in their pockets? Do we yet know if the Hulk is either man or monster? Or maybe....he is both! Best thing to do, if'n you ask me, is to enjoy this Masterworks volume and try and settle on your own answer!

    -- by Gormuu

    -- panel images provided by Gormuu

    Issues Reprinted
    Incredible Hulk #1-6


    HULK #1

    HULK #2

    HULK #3

    HULK #4

    HULK #5

    HULK #6


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