Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Kirby Firsts (1940-1970)!

Here are some fantastic number one comic book covers from the years 1940 to 1970. They are all covers by Jack Kirby, many with the assistance of his longtime partner Joe Simon. Simon in fact might well have designed many of them and certainly inked even more. The covers here begin with first only issue of Red Raven  and work through the war years at Marvel and DC with Captain America and Boy Commandos. Right after the war and Kirby's return from overseas, the team took on many projects for Harvey Comics, Prize Comics and their own Mainline Comics. Also here are some covers for Jack's second stints at both DC with Challengers of the Unknown and Marvel with Fantastic Four, Hulk and many others after his partnership with Simon had ended. Look for the rest of Kirby's number one issues from his later career later this year.

More to come.

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Monday, January 30, 2017

The Hulk Versus The Thing!

The Irresistible Force and the Immovable Object. The Hulk fought The Thing a lot. They are the signature strong men of the Marvel Universe, though both have long ago been eclipsed by powers cosmic in scope. Still and all there's something palpable about two such powers slugging it out. Here are some covers from over the years where they do just that.

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Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Incredible Hulk - Slugfests!

The displaced Hulk continued his tour of the burgeoning Marvel Universe with a visit to the pages of the Amazing Spider-Man #14. Steve Ditko gets to draw the jade giant again with a Stan Lee script when Peter Parker alter ego heads out west and becomes part of a movie which appears to employ actors in the roles of the deadly Enforcers and the Green Goblin.

But of course these are the real deals and the scheme was to get Spidey into a deadly trap. The battle winds through the caverns of the area and the Hulk pops up in the middle of the battle. It's furious action before old Greenskin disappears again into the darkness.

He shows up again in the pages of Tales to Astonish #59 as a guest-star in the ongoing Giant-Man series. Hank Pym tries to get the Hulk to rejoin the Avengers and heads out west to accomplish that. He finds himself in the middle of the whole Hulk scenario dealing with Thunderbolt Ross, Betty Ross and Dr.Bruce Banner.

And of course the Hulk appears and battles rage and Hank Pym is forced to head back home having failed in his attempt to win the Hulk back to the Avengers fold.

But this story does serve as a nifty introduction to the Hulk's new ongoing series as part of Tales to Astonish with the very next issue. He would eventually be joined by the Sub-Mariner in a series which displaced the Giant-Man stories and even later would take over the numbering of Tales to Astonish when the Hulk would at long last get his own book once again. He wouldn't lose it again for decades.

While getting back his own series, the Hulk has one more guest-shot in him. He ends up battling Thor in a story which gives more detail of the awesome clash between Hulk and the Assemblers in pages of Avengers #3. Actually this flashback story, one early contender for the first retro-continuity, is related by Thor to fans who like many Marvelites of the time wanted to know which of the two titans was stronger, so he relates a more detailed rendition of their battle in the early Avengers yarn, one which at the time we didn't have time to see fully, nor really know happened at all. 

This story by Stan Lee from Journey Into Mystery #112 is beautifully rendered by Jack Kirby and Chic Stone and showcases the raw power of the Hulk as few stories had done to that point.

And that's a wrap for the early adventures of the Hulk. After getting his own series back he appeared less and less in other titles as other oddball heroes seemed to come along to fill that role like Ka-zar and The Inhumans. But it will always be the Hulk who did it first and in many ways best. His tumultuous journey across the landscape of the early Marvel Universe did much to define that very thing itself.

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