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!!!
Ahhh yes I can still remember how stoked I was as a kid waaaay back in 1985 when John Byrne took over writing and drawing The Incredible Hulk for a far too short of a run. I was only 11 years old, but I seriously adored John Byrne, he was hands down my favorite comic book artist and The Hulk was my favorite comic book character. Byrne had been writing and drawing Alpha Flight, which of course I was a die hard fan of too, when he switched to full on Hulk mode with issue #314. I was thrilled!
I must have read that issue a hundred times and the cover itself couldn’t have been more awesome as it featured the Jade Giant in all of his Byrne-esque glory along with a gang of his deadliest villains behind him ready to start some shit. The Leader, Modok, The Rhino, Abomination & The Juggernaut! Byrne’s highly detailed artwork pushed The Hulk to new levels of awesomeness, the character was more massive than he’d ever been too. Though the villains on the cover end up being just part of Hulk’s over active imagination, the Byrne run fully made up for that with making Hulk-centric character Doc Samson one of, if not the main character of his short run. From that point in in Hulk history Doc Samson quickly became one of my favorite Marvel characters, the series also improved upon Doc’s costume, giving him a new one, ditching his classic but sorta awful lightning bolt suit he’d worn previously.
In the past we’d seen Samson tangle with the Hulk but never quite like this. I absolutely love how Byrne’s Hulk completely dwarf’s Samson in size like never before, yet he proves just how much of a bad ass the character really is with not only his brawn but also his brains. This issue is essentially one big fight between the two and begins with a more mindless version of the Hulk who’d been missing in another dimension called The Crossroads, exiled by Doctor Strange for over a year (those were great issues too!). Samson cleverly defeats The Hulk and makes Hulk history using his genius scientific intellect to actually separate Bruce Banner from The Hulk as two living breathing entities.
This was a great era of Hulk history and let’s face it John Byrne was easily one of the best comic book writers and artists of the 70’s & 80’s if not of all time. During this run he pumped out 8 issues, one being an awesome Marvel Fanfare where’s Byrne’s stunning artwork proved he was easily one of the best of all time when it came to drawing the jade giant. Another was The Hulk annual #14 which he wrote but master Hulk artist Sal Buscema drew. I love the Byrne era Hulk and apparently he’d had big plans for the series but was thwarted, there’s actually a great story about what went down here with the Byrne Hulk run for all of you Hulk-a-maniancs. Also check out ‘Incredible Hulk: Visionaries #1‘ Trade Paperback which features the whole output of Byrne 80’s Hulk. Ahhh those were the good ol’ days….
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….
Here’s a cool cover I’ve always been a big fan of that’s more relevant today than ever! Yeah it seems all we’re hearing about is how bad the Russians are and it’s looking like a conflict in the real world with the russians is closer than ever before. Well it just so happens in the Marvel Comics universe the Russians have their own awesome version of the Avengers by way of the Soviet Super Soldiers! I’ve always thought this was one bad ass super team and back in 1992 Marvel did indeed try to give them their own series. Today though that seems like the last thing Marvel would want to do, they just might revive them if things keep heating up and have them square off with The Avengers, let’s hope it doesn’t come to that though in the real world. Anyway issue #258 of The Incredible Hulk was their first appearance way back in 1981. The epic cover was epically drawn by the legend Al Milgrom a truly awesome battle for the Hulk!
We’ve got some artists in the comic book industry who really were meant to draw certain characters and one who always needs mention when it comes to The Incredible Hulk is Dale Keown!! Yep it really doesn’t get much better than Keown’s version of the Hulk & from 1990 to ’92 when he took over the art on the title it was clear his version of the Hulk would go down in history as one of the best. He’s right up there with Sal Buscema and John Byrne in my book as all time best Hulksters. In fact back in 1990 his artwork on Hulk reminded me a lot of Byrne’s version of the character. Keown would go on to Image to introduce us all to his own “Hulk” type character, “Pitt”. Anyway Here’s a great Keown cover from 1990 that shows he’s one of the best Hulk artists of all time!!
Oh and if you still don’t think Keown was one of the best Hulk artists ever here’s a few more images to prove my point!
Sal Buscema has been one of my all time favorite comic book artists ever since I was just a little kid! His name is synonymous with The Incredible Hulk as one of the longest artists ever on the classic book as well as drawing much of the Hulk-ified Defenders comics way back in the day. The guy is a legend. Period. Well one of my favorite things about his artwork in the comics is the classic Buscema powerful punch! He loves to draw incredibly painful punches that send both heroes and villains flying upside down in the air straight at the reader! It’s really his trademark, so let’s take a good long look at some of Buscema’s greatest hits in all their glory!!!
And finally just a few non-flying Sal Buscema punches that totally look like they hurt big time!
Phew! My head hurst just looking at all these painful punches! Thanks to 80 Page Giant Blog for many of the images!!
This awesome cover from The Incredible Hulk #293 sure does pack a powerful & pissed off punch!! A great piece of work from Brett Blevin’s rad cover from 1983, you can almost feel how much pain the Thing must be feeling here and not to mention the sheer agony of Reed Richards as we notice he’s tied in knots! Interesting enough this epic battle takes place in Banner’s mind where a savage “nightmare” version of the Hulk has been plaguing his own dreams! Soon enough we all know just who’s controlling Banners nightmares and sending the Banner Hulk back into a savage mindless beast! This leads up to a storyline that is basically Planet Hulk but sending him into the Crossroads-a mutli-dimensional realm where anything can happen and The Hulk is no longer the strongest one there is! This is a great era for hardcore Hulk fans…