Friday, February 26, 2016

In Which Giant-Man Fights a Gorilla and the Hulk Might as Well Have Stayed Home

As promised, we're going to look at some more Silver-Age Incredible Hulk.  I didn't like the character mush as a kid, but he's grown on me quite a bit over the years.  He didn't have his own mag after the first six issues of his self-titled book, but he went halfsies with Giant-Man in Tales to Astonish, where we take a look at the Hulk's first appearance with number 60.  Got all that?

So, the issue starts with the Giant-Man story, because Marvel clearly has no clue as to who their rising star really is.

Well, the first thing about this tale that astonished me was that Giant-Man actually had a fan club.  He probably ought to treat his fans a bit better because... well, I'm not sure that's particularly fertile ground he's salting, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, he's got something that had him travel to East Germany.  I forget exactly what.  I doubt it's important. 

Well, now I'm astonished that his disguise was even remotely effective.  I mean, if you saw a guy walking around in a cowl like that, wouldn't you find that a bit out of the ordinary?  I would think large sunglasses and a hat might be a bit less conspicuous, but it's not like anyone is publishing my adventures so I'll just shut my yap.

Hey!  He's fighting a gorilla!  Awesome!


See that hammer and sickle on the gorilla's tights (and why does a gorilla have to wear a wrestling uniform? oh, well...)?  That way you know he's fighting a communist gorilla, which is even more awesome!

I normally wouldn't be okay with him giving the gorilla a "wham!"  Punching animals normally isn't cool, but I think in this story gorillas were given intelligence, so if they read The Communist Manifesto and decided this was the way to go, well... decisions have consequences, right?

Hey!  Giant-Man fighting SIX GORILLAS!  Maybe I was too hard on Giant-Man earlier.


He ran away from the chance to fight six gorillas.  Giant-Man, you are not awesome.

Anyway, like I said, the Hulk becomes a backup feature of the book.  Thusly:

This picture kind of weirds me out.  It looks to me like Bruce Banner is about to be forcibly administered heroin by the Hulk while General Ross looks at him disapprovingly and Betty is about to go flirt with him, which is totally enabling behavior on Betty's part.  If you're not seeing any of this, I probably should sign up for therapy. 

But I liked this blurb:

Yeah, it's not the funniest thing, but I give them props for not taking themselves too seriously.

Anyhoo, in this story Bruce Banner invents the first Hulkbuster armor and it's an unqualified success.  It shrugs off everything the Hulk throws at it and then this happens: 

Okay, does everyone see what happened?  We're used to Bruce going all Hulkified whenever he's angry or outraged, but this suggests that the same thing causes the Hulk to change back.  I hope I have this wrong, because someone has written themselves into quite a corner if that's the case.  Bruce gets wound up, and he changes to the Hulk.  Then, if the Hulk similarly gets wound up, he starts to change back???  If that's the case, what's the outcome of every conflict going to be?

Pretty much this:

And that was pretty much the end of that fight.

I'm going through these for the first time, so no spoilers from all you long-time Hulk fans!  I want to see how this plays out.

See you Monday!


Gene Phillips said...

Hey Adam,
It shouldn't spoil any future issues if I tell you that at this point Stan and Co. hadn't decided on what factor made the Hulk revert, any more than they had back in the six-issue solo series. At some point, though, the creators did make it gospel that Hulk usually didn't revert to Banner until he had calmed down. FF #25-26 is definitely one of the first times the "relaxation factor" was invoked, but it took a while for it to become SOP.

Unknown said...

Of course Giant-Man had a fan club. If there's one thing, comics from the early 60s have taught me, it's that everyone had a fan club. Jimmy Olsen had a fan club for crying out loud (presumably for people who weren't cool enough to join the Superman fan club). It wouldn't surprise me to learn that the Jimmy Olsen Fan Club had it's own fan club.