Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Monster Unleashed!

In the early summer of 1968 one of the most iconic images of the Incredible Hulk burst into our shared consciousness. Marie Severin and Frank Giacoia, then the regular art team on the Hulk created the cover above. The Hulk, seen here in his powerful but somewhat handsome phase which Severin ushered in, reaches menacingly toward the reader, bits and pieces of the street and sidewalk crumbling about his emerald shoulders. The Hulk here famously has only four toes on his Gamma-spawned gunnboat, a clear oversight by the art team as well as editorial. Most likely in the speed of production this detail was just plain missed, but any true believer can conjure all manner of No-Prize winning excuses for it. It doesn't take away from the raw power of the image in the least.

Here's a look at this classic pose in the raw.

It's a cover that has been used time and again for reprint efforts, even serving as the cover for the second Essentials volume of the Hulk's adventures.

The very next month gave us this sky-high brawl between Jadejaws and his arch-foe in these two comics, the Missing Link. The Link is a mutated Neanderthal caveman, dug up by a foreign power and overwhelmed by radiation from a nuclear blast. He was contaminated undergoing a constant metamorphosis, becoming more and more dangerous. The Missing Link was dropped into the heart of New York City by the Soviet version of S.H.I.E.L.D. and immediately started busting up the place in conflict in the Hulk. He was a man, out of time and lost. He was used as a living weapon, but turns on his masters and destroys them and himself.

He would turn up again a few years later in the Hulk, living in Appalachia, having recovered as do almost all comic book characters. Now he was a man out of time, but a man of peace, though tragically doomed. The Link will always be a fave villain, a baddie who really wasn't all that bad.

Herb Trimpe and John Romita

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