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Now here’s a thing I’ve not seen before:
This is copy of the Marvel Milestone reprint of the original Hulk #1
, sealed in a polybag promoting the 1994 Incredible Hulk video game
. Sealed inside the polybag is a smaller pack of…something, sealed within its own cellophane wrapper:
It appears to be a stack of three or four large-ish trading cards, or perhaps stickers, but it’s hard to say.
I’ve never seen this comic packaged like this before, but I wasn’t frequenting video game stores or even video game sections of toy and department stores, so it’s easy to believe that I missed it. What is odd is that I haven’t come across these in any collections in the ensuing 20+ years until this past week. But then again, I hadn’t seen one of these ’til this past week either, so there are still plenty of surprises out there for me.
Anyway, if any of you folks out there have bought and opened one of these wrapped Hulk comics, please let me know if those are trading cards or something else in that little package there. Thanks!
• • •
Commenter reaction to the Superman
cover scan I posted yesterday
was fairly unanimous in their negative responses to John Romita Jr.’s drawing. And…yeah, that’s not a great cover. Things look significantly better within the actual book, honest. I generally like JRJR’s art, though, as I believe I’ve stated on this site before, it’s a rarity for his art to be on a project I have any interest in reading. In fact, it’s been quite a while
. On Superman
he and Geoff Johns been doing fun work, bringing some life to a franchise that had been mostly ill-served by DC’s linewide revamping…though, as I’d said, Superman comics as a whole have been improving of late. We can probably stand to have one or two fewer Superman comics on the shelves, maybe, but what can you do.
So I purchased a comic collection Thursday afternoon, and among the assorted Iron Man issues and a reader copy of Sub-Mariner #1 (1968) and some British edition Freak Brothers comics and the one issue of Secret Defenders that still sells, I found a handful of copies of this:
…the 1983 Spider-Man Fire-Star and Iceman
insert for the Dallas Times Herald
newspaper, tying into the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends
animated series. Note that Firestar gets an extraneous hyphen, which also runs through the interior pages. I was kind of hoping we’d get “Ice-Man” inside the book, too, but no such luck.
Anyway, the story involves our heroes going to see The Nutcracker ballet, but not until after answering nature’s call:
…but ending up in a fight against the surely-must-have-turned-up-in-a-Bendis-issue-of-Avengers
villain Daddy Longlegs:
…whose motivation is summed up thusly:
And frankly, that’s a motivation I can understand, more so than the usual reasons of “I want to blow up the Earth/take over the universe/get revenge on the Kryptonian for making me lose my hair.”
The latter portion of the comic involves our super-pals sitting in the audience and actually watching the performance of The Nutcracker, the story of which is retold in the comic. Please enjoy this horrifying version of the Rat King:
…who surely must also
have made a cameo appearance in one of the Bendis Avengers
Since this publication was one of interest to a particular locality, there are ads for area businesses throughout the book, generally featuring Marvel characters in varying levels of association. Apparently there’s something to do with “swinging” in this ad:
…which you’ll note neglects the necessary hyphen in Spider-Man.
This ad, placed on the page right next to the previous ad, remembers the space for the hyphen, but not the hyphen itself:
And here’s Spider-Man again, still missing that hyphen, this time shilling for fine RCA television products:
Surely the unnecessary hyphens in each occurrence of “Fire-Star” used up the hyphen quota for this comic, resulting in Spidey’s rampant hyphen shortages. Ah, if only the people placing these ads had access to the decades-later wisdom of Metrokitty
Now, the Hulk isn’t in the story, though I would have paid one American dollar to have him dressed as one of the toy soldiers in the retelling of the ballet, but he does show up in a couple of ads. For example, this ad, where Hulk’s just kinda hanging out there around those boots for some reason:
Man, Hulk doesn’t even wear
boots. What’s going on here.
And please enjoy the subtle menace of this image, attached to a restaurant ad ballyhooing Santa’s appearance there:
No, not Hulk-Santa, the attached ad just says “Santa Claus.” I wonder how many kids interpreted it to mean that Hulk would be there, dressed as Santa? “HULK NOT CARE IF YOU RICH OR POOR / HULK SMASH YOU JUST THE SAME”
…Christmas jokes in August. You’re welcome.
EDIT: For more information about Daddy Longlegs, I refer you to pal Andrew.
images from Spider-Man Fire-Star and Iceman (1983) by Jim Salicrup, Jim Mooney and John Tartaglione
So you may remember my brief lamentation regarding my girlfriend not spotting any copies of Swamp Thing during her most recent trip to Mexico. To assuage my despair, longtime reader, and resident of Spain, John P. informed me that he had an item or two that might be of interest. And one internationally-shipped package later, BEHOLD:
That is Super Powers
#6, a digest-sized comic published in Portugal in 1987. It reprints, in color, issues #29-#31 of Saga of the Swamp Thing
from 1984, comprising Alan Moore, Steve Bissette, John Totleben, and Rick Veitch’s Arcane trilogy. Leaves out the annual that wraps up the storyline, however.
That’s okay, though, as the comic does feature fan art:
That wasn’t bad, I thought. (And before you ask, no, it’s not autographed…that signature is printed on the page.
This next item is the newest of the bunch that John P. was good enough to send – this is the first issue of the New 52 Swamp Thing series, as issued in Spain:
It’s a squarebound book, presenting the first four issues (and cover images) of the Scott Snyder/Yanick Paquette/et al. series, on nice slick paper with no ads (except some house ads inside the covers).
Here’s an earlier La Cosa Del Pantano, dating from 1988:
It’s 48 pages, staplebound, also adless save for house ads and a couple of pages of editorial matter at the back. It reprints Saga of the Swamp Thing
#21 (1984), with Moore, Bissette and Totleben’s revision of Swampy’s origin, followed by the first chapter of the Nukeface story from issue #35 (1985).
The fourth and final item John P. sent me was another digest from Portugal, Batman Ano Um #1 (1987):
It reprints, as you might have guessed, or perhaps divined by looking at the scan above, the first chapter of “Batman: Year One” by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli, and has as its back-up story the Moore and Shawn McManus story from Saga of the Swamp Thing
There’s also a Marv Wolfman/Don Newton Vigilante
story in there, too. An interesting mix of material, I thought. Also of note, there’s a one-page of biography for Batman’s cocreator Bob Kane…and another biography on the facing page for the usually-overlooked Bill Finger.
The Portuguese comics also include this ad for the publisher’s Hulk comic:
…also featuring Sub-Mariner and Rom.
Since my Portuguese is a little rusty, I typed part of this ad into the ol’ Google translator to see what they were saying about our Incredible friend:
“The hate comes up – Hulk loses control
“With terrible nightmares that lead to irreversible abyss of madness, Hulk becomes a savage monster that brutally destroys everything in its path. Read this fantastic story. And much more!”
Also: “Rom the Space Knight” is okay, “Rom, o Cavaleiro do Espaço” is fantástico.
Anyway, a big thanks to John P. for sending these my way. They’re great, and I really appreciate them! The Swamp Thing Shrine grows ever larger.
…here’s this Dick Tracy Weekly cover:
I’m pretty sure each of those panels were from different daily Dick Tracy
strips, but between you, me, and the two-way wrist radio, I prefer to think that those are in fact four consecutive panels from the same single daily strip. That
‘s a Dick Tracy comic I’d totally read…just a surreal jumble of mismatched actions and images, day after day, forcing the reader to bring his or her own meaning to what they see before them. But that would require the funnypages demanding some minor effort from the readers, and no newspaper editor wants to field that phone call.
Bully, the Little Stuffed Bull, had a post about the current Dick Tracy strip a while back, and…well, no one’s gonna confuse that with a good strip, no, but the example panels Bully displays there demonstrate an almost mesmerizing level of…quality, shall we say, that probably provides amusement despite itself.
And then there was this.
• • •
In other news:
- Like I said in the comments there, I absolutely have no memory of this character even existing. And I know I sold these comics to unsuspecting customers at the time.
- Some discussion of early Comico Comics promotional material, including that swell Mage mobile we used to have here in the shop.
- Apparently pal Ian is getting good value from Satan on the trade-in value for his soul, as not only is Ian writing Darkwing Duck for Boom! Studios, but now he’s got his mitts all over Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers.
All kidding aside…good on you, Ian! Don’t forget us little people!
- So anyway, I looked, and I can’t find anything in any Avengers annual (or Fantastic Four annual, or even West Coast Avengers annual) from that time frame where Reed and She-Hulk collect the pieces of the Hulk’s crutch. I really don’t remember that sequence at all. THE CRUTCH MYSTERY CONTINUES.
However, I didn’t look for anything involving the Thing using a repurposed version of the Hulk crutch, as mentioned in that same comment. I mean, it’s not like I’m obsessed with this.
image “borrowed” from Comics.org.
Here is some follow-up to comments left on yesterday’s post about Hulk breaking his leg in Secret Wars…but first, let’s pause for a moment as we realize that not only did I just type the sentence “here is some follow-up to comments left on yesterday’s post about Hulk breaking his leg in Secret Wars,” but this is like my third day in a row mentioning said event on my website. …Who says crossover event comics don’t have lasting effects?
Anyhoo, reader William says:
“Although, to be fair, Secret Wars started the Hulk from the then-Bruce Banner controlled version to a more savage one that had to be exiled off of Earth. That storyline dominated the book for at least a year. It wasn’t a permanent change, or the one advertised, but it was a rather major change.”
That “Hulk regressing to savagery” plotline was already in motion prior to the Secret Wars thing, as I recall, though the SW series did sort of speed up the timeline a bit, with Hulk going away to the Secret Wars a bit unstable in one issue, then coming back the next really out of sorts. Now, this Hulk with Banner’s brain story was always eventually going to end with that particular status quo being reverted, I’m sure, regardless of the existence of Secret Wars, but being able to tie in what you were planning to do anyway with the high-profile crossover event is just one of those skills comic writers were beginning to realize they’d have to learn at the time.
Now, the Hulk breaking his leg…that felt more like something forced into the ongoing Hulk comic, especially since that particular “change” was disposed of almost as soon as they were able to get rid of it. Not that the broken leg was anything other than a cosmetic change anyway…no scenes of the Hulk saying “ooh boy, I’d like to fight the Abomination, but, man, you know, my leg.” He just had the crutch, and then eventually the crutch went away.
“And then there was those FF issues where Byrne kept forgetting to draw Banner’s crutch. And that Avengers Annual where She-Hulk and Reed collected said discarded crutch. And I believe the Thing eventually used it after taking a smackdown from the Hulk. Forget to mention all that, Mikester?”
Geez, ask me nicely, why don’t you?
Bruce Banner guest-appeared in Fantastic Four #266-268, as one of the consultants assisting Reed and Sue Richards during the super-power/radiation-related difficulties with Sue’s pregnancy. Now, how exactly this fits in with Hulk continuity at the time, I’m not sure, but Banner’s there, and, as Mr. Anonymous points out, sure enough that crutch only sporadically appears in these issues. There’s a splash page appearance here, and single panel appearance there…but yeah, it’s not consistently presented. And it doesn’t really have anything to do with the story, anyway.
As for later appearances of Hulk’s Crutch in Avengers and other places…I’ll have to look into it and get back to you on that. For, you know, an exciting fourth day on the topic. Hopefully there’s a “Hulk’s Crutch” entry in my Marvel Universe comics.
Kid Nicky sez, he sez
“You could easily argue Spidey’s symbiote has had a huge impact on the Marvel U. The new Venom was a part of Dark Avengers,so to this day it’s still a major plot point.”
That is something I brought up in that four year old post of mine I linked at the end, where I said
“…There was Spider-Man’s new black costume, probably the only lasting impact the series has had, though the evolution of that costume into his arch-nemesis Venom was more after the fact than because of anything in Secret Wars itself.”
I should probably amend that to the “only significant lasting impact,” since, as Nimbus says earlier in the comments, this is where the Julia Carpenter version of Spider-Woman was introduced, and apparently she still turns up now and again.
And perhaps I should give a little more credit to Secret Wars for the villainous nature of the black costume, since its nefarious aspects started turning up right away in Amazing Spider-Man, while Secret Wars was still running, so obviously editorial had that particular story arc in mind from the start. But I’m pretty sure no one had any idea that the real impact it’d have on the Marvel Universe would be as part of the villain Venom, created years later.
There is this sign that something is amiss about the costume in Secret Wars #12:
I like Johnny Storm’s (EDIT:
or, okay, Reed’s) response. “Why you talkin’ crazy, crazy man?”
There’s a bit of irony here in that my general point is that crossover-inspired changes to the status quo usually lack lasting impact, and here I’m still talking about a very minor occurrence from a crossover series published 25 years ago.
Well played, James Shooter. Well played, indeed.
image from Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #12 (April 1985) by Jim Shooter, Mike Zeck & John Beatty
“This monumental adventure figures importantly in the continuity of nearly every single Marvel title. Events in this maxi-series will permanently and shockingly alter the histories of everyone from Captain America to the X-Men to Spider-Man! No matter who your favorite Marvel hero or villain is, you’ll find yourself absorbed in THE SECRET WARS to stay on top of the catastrophic changes in that superstar’s life!”
“…But what could possibly wound the Hulk, the Fantastic Four to change its membership, or make Spider-Man put on a new costumer? [Jim] Shooter tells us that these dramatic effects are nothing compared with the uncanny turbulence the Beyonder can cause!”
from Marvel Age #12 (March 1984)
• • •
AND THEN, NOT TOO MUCH LATER AFTER THAT…
WELL, THAT JUST ABOUT DOES IT
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• • •
“You know, a lot of fuss was made about ‘The Big Changes in Secret Wars!’ And the fact is that change was not the point of Secret Wars. It was never the point. I don’t know how the talk started because here at Marvel, we always have changes. […] So the fact that in the twelve issues that made up the saga of Secret Wars there were significant events in the heroes and villains’ lives, considering how many issues there were, how could there not be changes?”
Jim Shooter, from Marvel Age #27 (June 1985)
• • •
images from Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #12 (April 1985) by Jim Shooter, Mike Zeck & John Beatty, Incredible Hulk #295 (May 1984) by Bill Mantlo, Sal Buscema & Danny Bulanadi, and Incredible Hulk #296 (June 1984) by Mantlo, Buscema & Gerry Talaoc. Yes, the Hulks came out before Secret Wars #12, but take place afterward.
Thanks to Andrew Weiss for research assistance.
For further discussion of crossovers and their impact on characters, or lack thereof, here is this previous post of mine, from which I recycled some of the above quotes.
Defenders #30 (Dec 1975) – cover by John Romita & Mike Esposito
“Hulk smash puny Romans!”
Some notes about the comics that came out this week:
JLA #95: To everyone giving Claremont and Byrne a bad time about the “Crucifer” vampire villain in their JLA story…I’d like to see you make fun of the name “Crucifer” to these guys. Besides, how can you not love a villain named “Crucifer?” It made me laugh, anyway.
Avengers/JLA #4 – cover to cover mayhem, lovingly detailed by George Perez. The plot can give you a nosebleed, but the plot’s sorta secondary anyway, what with all the superhero fight/team-up goodness in this here funnybook.
Punisher #4 – so the Punisher spends the entire issue tied to a chair, and he still comes across as the most dangerous person in the story. Garth Ennis is so right for this comic.
Oh, and by the way, this week was apparently “Dead Galactus Week” in new comics. Just thought you should know.
I still need to read the new Comics Journal Special…unpublished Jack Davis newspaper strips in this issue, folks, so check it out if you haven’t yet!
I did read the preview copy of Swamp Thing #2, due next week…whereas the first issue felt like some weird combo of Alan Moore’s and Mark Millar’s runs, the new issue opens up with a sequence that could have come straight out of the Rick Veitch issues: very creepy, but pretty goofy at the same time. Nicely done.
If I were to use my three-word-review format for the Hellboy movie, those three words would be “shoulda been animated.” Okay, I cheated a little. That’s okay, because I haven’t seen the movie, either. But those trailers don’t exactly fill me with confidence. So much of Hellboy‘s appeal is in Mike Mignola’s art that the characters seem to lose something in being translated to live-action. Maybe I’m wrong, but if I’m not compelled to see it, I’m not going to put up with the usual misery of the theatre-going experience just to see a film I’m lukewarm on.
I do very much enjoy the Hellboy comics, though, so if you haven’t run out and bought the 25-cent Hellboy comic at your local comics emporium…well, go do so already.
Sorry…today’s post is a little disorganized…still trying to get back into the swing of things. In the meantime, please enjoy this Return Donna Troy petition.