So, I have sort of a treat today – I was going to post the new WWH minimate – but I just got this in the mail and I have to talk about it! I will post the minimates tomorrow – but today, let’s talk about this landmark issue, shall we? I mean, who hasn’t read this issue? One of the most popular issues of the Hulk… well, ever! It sold out and they released a 2nd print – and the 2nd print cover, although the same, the new colors were WAY cooler! But a funny thing happened… I’ll get to that in a minute –
First I will discuss what happens in this issue. Samson, with the help of the Ring Master, was out to “cure” Bruce Banner. So, into the mind of Banner Samson went to talk to Bruce, Green Hulk and the Grey Hulk. The three battled for control of Banner’s mind – and we follow along as they remember Bruce’s childhood, and his abusive Father – who ultimately killed his Mother – and his alienation of his formative teen years – even his suppressed college years. In the end, Banner’s Mother was the figure who convinced the three personalities to merge into one body – and thus was born – the”Smart” Hulk!
This was in the plans for some time – from the very beginning of PD’s run he said that this was always his intent. Now, PD didn’t lay the ground work for the abusive Father or even the Grey Hulk’s return – that was all writers before him – but it was PD who put all the history and continuity of the Hulk to great use. The “Smart” or “Merged” Hulk – I prefer “Merged” – dominated the comic for years to come – some people love that incarnation – while some purists were soured on PD’s writing of the Hulk ever since…
Now back to the copies of this book. As you can imagine – this book coming out in such a popular time for comic books in general – this is not a rare book – in fact, the second printing is pretty common as well. You can find both pretty readily. It’s only when Gary Miller helped me a bit in compiling the COMICS pages that I was told about an extremely rare 3rd printing of the book. That’s right – a 3rd printing! I was immediately skeptical, as I had never heard of such a book existing, and even inquired with every comic book shop owner I knew. NO ONE HAD HEARD OF THIS BOOK! It’s not even listed in Overstreet, which is odd – but, are you ready for this? Scroll down, take a gander at this:
That’s right! It’s the elusive 3rd printing of #377! Anyone who has this issue has a rare piece of Hulk history. I did find it listed in the Comic Book Data Base – but the information on the site isn’t exactly correct. See, if you look at the little price box at the top, the original price was $1.00 – but the 3rd printing was released much later – and has a price of $1.75. In fact, if you look at the copyright information – the original is dated 1991 – but the 3rd printing? 1994.
Three years later? I would love to know the story behind WHY this was released so much later. It’s an oddity to be sure – and I am really excited to finally have one on my collection! Hope you guys are as impressed as I was about this little known comic in the Hulk series! So, thank you Gary Miller for making me aware of this great issue! – boy it was a hard one to track down! And good luck to anyone out there who is now on the hunt!