John Byrne’s run on the Fantastic Four in the 80’s is arguably the best the title has ever seen. One of the biggest changes the legendary team encountered during his run was when The Thing left the team & She-Hulk replaced him. It was a risky move at the time, but Jennifer Walters rounded out the female ratio quite nicely with her brute strength, beauty and charming sense of humor. We all know that Byrne was a huge fan of She-Hulk and Fantastic Four #275 features the character in one of my favorite covers. She-Hulk, especially in the 80’s had to deal with a LOT of sleazy men gawking over her, this cover features a prime example of exactly that. I’m also looking at this cover and thinking this depiction of the character would be a great one to base look of the upcoming MCU tv series character on. There’s so much you could do with She-Hulk in a live action series and I’m hoping it adds the comedic elements of Byrne’s classic version of the character. I’ve always loved John Byrne and to this day his iconic 70’s and 80’s comic book art, in my opinion, is easily some of the best of the era. This cover is truly classic SHE-HULK!
One of the things I really enjoyed about ‘Avengers: Endgame’ was the “Professor” Hulk finally making his big screen appearance. I’ve gotta admit I was a bit disappointed that this version of the Hulk really didn’t do any smashing and even more of a let down was that we never got to see Hulk and Thanos get a rematch. Just because the Hulk’s got Banner in the brain doesn’t mean he still can’t kick some major ass! Regardless it brought back memories of the character as a kid when “Banner Hulk” was introduced and for me it was shocking to see the character this way. Incredible Hulk #285 was always a favorite of mine, where we really see Banner Hulk in full effect.
I mean the cover and the first page feature Hulk with his classic Banner attire and even some sweet ass combed hair!! Back in 1983 I was in awe that this could even ever be a thing for Hulk, the character during this period feels a lot like the ‘Endgame’ Banner Hulk, where he was a lot more reserved about doing any serious ass kickin’. Later in the 90’s we got Professor Hulk yet again, though he was much more of a bad ass often using guns instead of fists to fight his enemies. Still this great cover is a total classic from artist Ron Wilson and inker Joe Sinnot and of course who doesn’t love a classic showdown with one of his greatest villains-ZZZAX!!! Check out the first page of this issue, it’s one of my all time favorite depictions of the Professor Banner Hulk! He never looked so damn smart and sophisticated!!
So it seems that the Marvel Netflix shows have run into some problems recently with the cancelation of the Iron Fist and Luke Cage shows as well as the low viewership of the third season of Daredevil. The prospect of a second season of ‘The Defenders’ is certainly not in the cards anymore either. So with that being said could it be possible we just might get the classic comic book incarnation of the iconic team sometime in the near future? This new Netflix version of the team kinda bothered me, using the name when indeed, these characters never banded together in the comics (a couple briefly joined the ranks in the comics at different points in time) at least before this series was announced. It seems possible that a movie version of the team could indeed happen as Marvel Comics is reviving the original characters as The Defenders once again next month! A couple of the characters to complete one of the most classic versions of the team already exist in the Marvel cinematic universe, so banding the Defenders for the big screen would be pretty easy and thrilling as well while being able to add some awesome never before seen characters from to Marvel Cinematic Universe onscreen to the team.
We’ve already got some of the classic members in the movies, Doctor Strange & The Hulk/Banner are all ready to go cinematically. The pairing of these two existing core members for an insane cosmic/multi-dimensional adventure would be most excellent to see materialize on the big screen.
So for the time being I’ve taken a break from buying comic books weekly as they are pretty damn pricey these days and honestly there really weren’t too many titles that really grabbed and made it worth the weekly cash drop. As a huge fan of The Incredible Hulk ever since I was a little kid, I’ve got to admit I do miss reading about the adventures of the “Jade Giant” and really couldn’t get into the whole “Totally Awesome Hulk” stuff. The Banner Hulk was killed off a couple years back and it seemed perhaps that the original green goliath was gone for good (or at least for the time being as no one is ever really dead in Marvel Universe). Well now there’s a new HULK book out called The Immortal Hulk and my curiosity has been sparked as the first issue dropped in June and it’s been referred to as a return to form for the Banner Hulk. I’ll probably wait for the trade but I’ve gotta say this Variant cover by Sal Buscema sure does give me the goosebumps longing for a nostalgic old school Hulk adventure!!!
Here’s the second installment of the all time greatest one shot comics, featuring small self contained stories that begin & end all within the span of one single issue! Today we’ve got an excellent story from 2001 in The Incredible Hulk #26 (vol. 2) written by Sean Mckeever and drawn by one of my personal favorites, the amazing Kyle Hotz. I immediately had a soft spot for this issue as it takes place in Wausau, Wisconsin (and even features ‘Eagle River’ on a highway sign, a place where my family’s had a cottage for ages) a state that we don’t normally see superhero adventures taking place. I had a feeling that Mckeever must’ve been a Wisconsin native to include such random small towns in this story and I was right as his Wiki page states he’s from Appleton (I used to live there!).
Anyway the story features The Hulk as he wanders aimlessly through the night on a lonely highway being drawn to a nearby city’s lights in the distance. The Hulk appears to be at peace in the quiet night, but hey we all know for the jade giant tranquility never lasts long. The cool thing about this particular issue is that Hulk kinda takes a back seat as the story really follows the exploits of b-lister down on his luck supervillain ‘The Killer Shrike’ and his wife Nadine who’re traveling the country aimlessly in his beat up van. I love what this one brings to the table as we’re able to see Simon Maddicks (The Killer Shrike) life as a real person. We witness the struggle of a woman who’s stuck by her mate as he’s chosen a life as a superhuman criminal constantly on the run from the law. She’s tired and ready to live a normal boring life. Shrike’s promising her soon he’ll be ready and willing to give up the life of crime and pulls into Wausau claiming that it could be the city for both of them to settle down in.
It doesn’t take long for her to realize Simon’s lying through his teeth as he eyes up a convenience store and tells her he’s got a new plan. Rather than looking for the big score like he has for years he’s gonna hit small towns hard where there’s no superhuman resistance. We get a real glimpse in to what life might really be like for a supervillain who at his core is just a regular small time crook. There haven’t been too many comics that have covered this topic so intimately and really given us a look at the starving supervillain’s daily life. It’s too bad The Killer Shrike doesn’t realize this small city’s also harboring the most powerful brute force on the planet-The Hulk. We get a compelling introspective into just what makes The Hulk tick and where his thoughts wander to when he’s in a state of peace with his surroundings. There’s a lot of great dialogue packed into this little story and Hotz’s unique artwork really brings this tale to life
The Killer Shrike suits up in his van and hit’s the convenience store with an easy small time score, or so he thinks. On his way out with the cash he nearly runs head on into you guessed it…good ol’ green jeans himself. The Shrike in sheer panic attacks The Hulk, who really just wants to be left alone. He’s doesn’t let up either as he’s convinced he can take down The Hulk himself, he keeps on striking until he levels an entire building upon the jade giant. The Killer Shrike however quickly realizes that very building also crushed his getaway van with his lover, Nadine inside. As things often go wrong when puny humans decide to pester the Hulk, this issue delivers a heartfelt punch to the gut as we witness one fateful night in the life of Simon Maddicks. I wish Marvel could capture this type of depth in their characters and villains more often as The Incredible Hulk #26 would be great issue to present to Marvel executives today as they ponder upon why their comic book sales have declined so much recently. Check this issue out next time you’re at the comic shop roaming through the back issue boxes, it’s a damn fine little slice of storytelling! P.S. here’s an old Marvel Universe profile for the Killer Shrike!
Here’s a personal favorite cover of mine way back from 1983! This particular issue was one I must have read 100 times as a kid and I just loved the imagery of the Hulk being attacked by a cluster of The Leader’s pink rubbery silly putty style humanoids. It got me thinking of how much I miss those old classic Hulk story lines and how today we don’t even have Banner or the original classic Hulk anywhere to be found. I realize the old days of the Hulk are likely gone as comic books today are a bit more of a real life social statement. I’m missing those days of the jade giant and Banner fighting monsters, the military and all the cool sci-fi adventures they embarked on. Times have truly changed but they can never take away those classic comics of yesteryear….
Maybe I’m out of the loop here but I recently discovered this whole Marvel Universe Live! thing by accident on Youtube! Anyway this is like a dream come true for the 10 year old me…..and… the current day me too it seems!
Well Marvel is all the rage these days with all of the movies still drawing absurd amounts of money so this here I guess isn’t that much of a surprise I suppose. The whole Marvel Universe Live is like Ice Capades but jam packed with Marvel Comics characters both popular and rather obscure-minus the ice skates. This has become a touring show and this trailer was was recently released check this shit:
Looks pretty fly huh? Well check out this live footage of The Hulk looking pretty awesome & doing some serious battle! Now THIS is fun:
The whole thing follows a story loosely inspired by the movies but we get a bunch of villains as well as a more classic look of costumes ripped from the classic comic books!
Anyway call me crazy but this looks like damn good albeit totally ridiculously stupid time, so check your local listings because Marvel Universe Live is on tour now! It look s like it costs around 25 bucks. It hits my city, Portland, Oregon March 3-6th at the Moda Center!