Let’s have a little fun and discuss some of the more graphic, violent, sad, or just plain awkward moments that have plastered the Hulk history. Be it a passing meeting between spouses of a gruesome scene that nobody saw coming – this year I’ll have you squirming in your seat!
I can’t even describe what I was feeling when it happened. One of the best written issues of Hulk history that still burns when read. The final arc of Peter David’s 12 year writing career for the Hulk had the Hulk face down one of the biggest nightmares. His wife… the woman he loved from the day he first laid eyes on her… was dying.
Dying from gamma radiation poisoning. Not even the strength of the Hulk could not save her. Banner’s brilliant mind could not stop the inevitable. Betty was going to die. In an issue that simultaneously infuriated and saddened you, you watched the love of Bruce Banner’s life collapse and never get back up – and for months we were under the impression that it was the constant exposure to gamma radiation from the Hulk. It was hard to read – and truly one of the most ‘incredible’ Hulk comics written.
At some point in the PD run the Hulk was pretty indestructible. He was super-smart, super strong and with a super secret powerful team that he lead. Ultimately, Earth bound catastrophes were beyond him. There was nothing they couldn’t handle – and sure, What could take on the Hulk at this point?
The Incredible Hulk #413-416 The Troyjan War
Enter Trauma’s father, Armageddon, the leader of the Troyjan empire. Trauma, as you might remember, was the alien killer who had his sights focused on killing Atlanta, one of the Pantheon. The Hulk left him for dead buried under an avalanche of snow… but of course, that was not the end. At some point Trauma became infatuated with Atlanta and decided that he was to make her his wife. None of this was to be Atlanta’s choice. Now, at this time we had quite a few story lines interjecting – one of the best things of PD’s run was the fact that every member of the Hulk family (well, the Hulk family of the time – we’re talking Rick Jones, Betty, Marlo… even Samson of sorts) had different issues they were dealing with.
Samson, angry with the Hulk for thinking he can phone in their therapy sessions, lets Rick, and the reader, know that the Hulk’s merged persona might not be the great idea he once thought it was. The Hulk hardly has time for these allegations as he is trying to keep the Pantheon from killing each other due to love triangle, and leadership business. Meanwhile, Betty is lost at what to do with her life now – Rick and Marlo are supposed to be getting married – but Rick might be having thoughts about settling down. All of this is happening when Trauma shows up to take Atlanta back with him.
The Hulk tries to stop Trauma and his army – and even let’s a little Savage Hulk out when it doesn’t happen – but gathers his team to head into space. Rick is a little sore that he was not asked to go and lets his frustrations out on Marlo. When the Hulk does reach the Troyjan ship and he and Trauma go for a second (or third depending how far back you want to go) round. Trauma thinks he has an upper hand… until, warned about the situation by Strange, the Surfer shows up to help out. Truama wasn’t too worried about taking on the Hulk – but when Surfer shows up… he begins to!
The Starjammers show up to help revive the Hulk from when he and the Surfer are pulled through a Troyjan jumphole without the aid of being safely inside a space vessel. With that, they jump back into action attacking the Troyjans for the return of Atlanta. Things don’t go well as Armageddon makes his appearance and says that the group either gives up Atalanta or the treaty against Earth will no longer be upheld. Meanwhile, Rick is visited by his great grandaughter. Yup – that happens.
Ultimately, Atlanta agrees to marry Trauma but the Hulk isn’t taking “I do” for an answer. The battle rages on – Surfer taking on Armageddon and the Hulk convincing Trauma to take him on strength vs strength. The Troyjan fashion choices end up betraying their prince as he is impaled on his pointy shoulder pad and with his dying breath tells his father to let everyone go. This is not the last we hear from Armageddon – but for now everyone leaves.
Gary Frank’s art is at top from here which is showcased the best in part 1 where the Hulk and Atlanta are doing an exercise with the entire Marvel Universe attacking them. Even a quick shot of a DC superbad makes a unconfirmed cameo. Overall, re-reading this story arc makes me miss this time period. PD had a grasp on this character unlike any other writer has had the opportunity to have since. Grade: B+
I am not sure how many times it’s brought up – at least a few dozen times a year – but no matter how many times it’s asked you always have two very opinionated sides. No, I am not talking about politics – I am talking about signatures. A while back Gary Miller was thinking about getting his Incredible Hulk #1 signed. I did all but beg him not to deface a piece of history like that – but he did it anyways. Of course, he can do as he wishes with his own property, but it still stings when I think about it. I hate scrolling through ebay and seeing just how many people have destroyed silver age comics with a markered autograph.
Peter David Sig #1
To me, having someone signing a comic is basically tarnishing what could be an otherwise perfect issue. Not only would I NOT pay for a signature I wouldn’t even buy an already signed comic. Now, I can see how you might want the writer – or artist – to sign a book they connected with but by doing this the book cannot be considered mint anymore – and one of the most infuriating things I see is when people have writers or artists sign books they had nothing to do with!
Adam Kubert Sig
Stan Lee signing an Incredible Hulk #1 – okay, he wrote it – makes sense. Stan Lee signing Incredible Hulk #377 – NO! Makes no sense – yes, Stan Lee created the Hulk – but he has nothing to do with that issue! Having him sign a poster or something… okay… but an issue he had nothing to do with, come on! The worst part is, if you search out Stan Lee sigs on ebay you will get a huge amount of merchandise all signed by Stan. So it’s not like the signature is rare or anything – in fact, that’s pretty much all he does these days! He goes to cons and charges people to autograph stuff!
Trimpe Sig #2
This is all being said, of course, as I show you more and more items that are signed in my collection. Well, there are a few ways I will get things signed: #1 – Trades – I will have a trade signed because a trade, for all intents and purposes, is a reprint of material that has already been published elsewhere.
Mike Mignola Sig
#2 – A comic that is signed on the INSIDE – still defacing a comic – but at least the cover isn’t ruined by it – or I will have my extra copy of a comic signed. I would refuse to get my one and only copy signed. (Same thing applies to action figures)
Peter David Sig #2 - inside Hulk Visionaries Vol. 1
Another way to get a comic signed – if you have a CGC comic – have them sign the case. You are not ruining the comic but at the same time you get the sig you’re looking for! Herb Trimpe is coming to the 2012 comic-con – I am planning on getting something signed by him – and it’s a CGC comic – I am doing exactly what I just described, having him sign the case.
Trimpe Sig #3
#3 – I would have any poster signed. Original Art – by the artist ONLY – should be signed. Statues can be signed on the base ONLY. Have you seen some of these statues that people have signed on the statue itself? They have ruined the whole thing! It’s now an eyesore!
Aaron Lopresti Sig
CGC now has a service called the Signature Series where they grade the comic AND authenticate the signature on the book. I see the good in this service as it is impossible for forgers to pass off bunk sigs on graded books – but this is where I am most astounded – who pays more for an autograph? I have a whole bunch of stuff signed – it’s not really something I care about – what I hold dear is the memory of how I got the autograph.
Tim Sale Sig - Inside Hulk: Gray HC
For example, here is Bruce Cambell’s signature inside his “If Chins Could Kill” book:
How in the hell does that scribble say Bruce Cambell?
It’s made out to me and I remember pretty much everything about that night. Meeting him, how nice he was, cordial, looking to talk to his fans rather than just sign and then move along to the next guy. It was fantastic! That’s what I think about when I see this.
Randy Queen Sketch and Sig - on Print
When I look at the Herb Trimpe signatures I think about the first commission I had him do for me – in the email he sent he said to send along a few comics and he will sign them. So I sent a few extras and they all came back signed – it was a nice extra that he did for me (I think I sent one of them to Fiddy) – but no way would I have paid for that! I can’t wrap my head around why people would actually PAY to have people sign something – or even worse – pay a premium for something that is already autographed. I mean, where is the memory in that?
Tripme Sig #4 - on DF Limited Print
I know I may sound pretty harsh on signatures – but it’s one of the issues that has no shades of grey to me. You might say “But doesn’t it add value to your comic?” and I would say… Yes and No. Yes, obviously there are some collectors out there who are ready to pay a premium for a simple scribble on a cover – but they are a very select group. You have now made your collectible less collectible to other collectors. So, who is in the majority? The people who like signatures on there comics – or people who would rather have a clean comic – I feel a poll coming on!
One of the most signatures in my collection is Trimpe’s – on the box of a Hulk bust. Yup, someone had him sign the box… I have no idea why. I wanted the bust and this particular auction was going for a decent price so I got it – but the signature had no bearing on my choice to purchase it. In fact, to be completely honest, I thought it was pretty silly that someone had him sign the box – a box that ended up in storage in my attic.
Herb Trimpe Sig #5
But anyways, let me know what you think – do you guys out there collect signatures? Would you pay a premium for one? And why?
Yes, that’s right – volume 8! While I applaud Marvel for continuing this series going I do have to give a strong jeers to the fact that they are charging $29.99 – and have even stopped using the glossy paper stock. Maybe they didn’t think anyone would notice – or more like; they don’t care. Still, I would love to see a collected Omnibus of the Hulk PD years – just as they did with the ASM McFarlane years.