THE HULK! #27

comics

“Feudin'”
Writer: Lora Byrne
Artists: Gene Colan & Dave Simons

Bruce is hitchhiking when he is given a ride by a friendly trucker. This trucker then picks up an attractive woman and has Bruce go back in the trailer. The woman turns out to be a hijacker who with her hillbilly family hijack truck trailers. They find Bruce in the back and he gets involved in their schemes. The Hulk finally comes out after a bully wants to beat up Banner.

“Happy Accidents”
By Steven Grant

An article on the history of the Hulk. His green color came about after the grey color did not show up clearly in the first issue. An interesting article on the Hulk.

“One For My Baby–And One More For The Hulk”
Writer: Marc DeMatteis
Artists: Gene Colan & John Tartaglione

The Hulk wanders into Las Vegas and starts tearing up a casino. Later he calms down and the shirtless Banner is tossed out for being a bum. A showgirl takes pity on him and gives Banner a meal and change of clothes. The showgirl is the girlfriend of the lounge singer. Banner changes into the Hulk when mob thugs attack them. The lounge singer tries to use the Hulk to get out from under the mob but the Hulk is not something anyone can control.

So this is the final issue for the Hulk magazine. A suppose there are many reasons for its demise. An editorial at the beginning cites poor distribution and the constant change of staff working on the book. There is some truth to that. The ’80s saw the demise of the black and white comic magazines and this one was a casualty of the trend. My personal belief is the format they adopted. Its said that what worked for the comic series couldn’t work for the TV series. The reverse could be true. It tried too much to copy the series when the comic format called out for over the top battles with aliens and super-villains. It alienated comic fans and failed to draw fans of the TV series.

Now of course the stories had a hit or miss quality throughout its run. It successfully launched Moon Knight into its own series. I liked it and thought it ended with a quality issue. Two solid stories and a decent article. I always enjoyed these large magazine comics as a kid. So we will move on to something different next Sunday.

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THE HULK! #26

comics

“Namaste”
Writer: Marc DeMatteis
Artist: Gene Colan & Alfredo Alcala

After the Hulk rampages in Times Square, Banner finds himself wandering the streets in his torn shirt. He bumps into a woman who offers him help. She invites him to go with her to a religious retreat in upstate New York. He finds out that Baba Shanti the guru who runs the place is his old college roommate. There is also trouble from the local residents. A syndicate wants to open a casino and bring jobs to the area but they want the compound that is occupied by the religious cult. They set a fire and kidnap the girl. A riot brings out the Hulk.

“Where Troops Have Encamped”
Writer: Lora Byrne
Artists: Gene Colan & Dave Simons

Bruce Banner accompanies a friend who is visiting her sister. The sister lives on a compound of survivalists who believe civilization is coming to an end. When leaving they get a flat tire and go back. They finds the survivalists practicing with machine guns and flamethrowers. The survivalists take them prisoner and when they try to escape the woman is shot in the leg. This brings out the Hulk.

“Oh Boy-Hulk Toys
By Lora Byrne

Pictures of the Marvel staff checking out Hulk toys. A filler article.

“The River”
Writer: Lora Byrne
Artists: Gene Colan & John Tartaglione

Bruce is camping when a rain storm comes. The storm floods the river and carries off Banner who changes into the Hulk. The Hulk is helpless against the raging flow of the river.

This magazine was devoted all to the Hulk and I liked that. Didn’t miss the absence of Dominic Fortune. The stories were solid and interesting. I really liked the River. It showed the Hulk in a position of helplessness that is not usually seen. I think the magazine was on to adapting a solid format but it was too late by this time to save it.

THE HULK! #25

comics

“Dreams of Iron…Dreams of Steel!”
Writer: Bill Flanagan
Artists: Gene Colan & Alfredo Alcala

Banner gets a job at a school for special needs children. He makes friends with a former student now grown up. This friend Earl gets him a part time job at the factory he works at. One night Earl notices a mysterious figure working late at night. His fellow co-workers belittle him because of his mental retardation. In reality the supervisor is working with the competition to sabotage production so the company loses their government contract. Luckily the Hulk is around to save Earl and expose this.

“Split!”
By Steven Grant

An article on the origins of split personality of the Hulk. It starts with Frankenstein then goes into the romanticism of the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It explores Stevenson, Wilde, Wells and Kafka. It was a dry article.

“Carnival of Fools”
Writer: Lora Byrne
Artists: Gene Colan & John Tartaglione

Banner gets a job at a traveling carnival. When a drunk worker crashes the truck he’s driving it starts a fire which changes Banner into the Hulk. The carnival owner and his daughter figure out who Banner really is. They lure him into a cage and lock him up to charge admission to see the Hulk. When they change him into the Hulk it obviously doesn’t go as planned.

“Sayonara, Paco-San!”
By Jeff Mundo

A column that talks about the success of the mini-series Shogun. The series has generated interest in Japanese culture. He talks about the interest in samurai movies. One interesting movie series he talks about is Zatoichi. A tale about a blind masseur who travels around fighting bad guys. Kind of sounds like an interesting series.

“Slay Bells”
Writer: Denny O’Neil
Artist: Howard Chaykin

Dominic Fortune is attacked by a character called the Silhouette. He has a telegram from an Irish terrorists group that is threatening to kidnap the British ambassador. The letter was signed by Dominic and Dominic Fortune is the only Dominic to attend the Christmas party that the ambassador will be at. At the party on top of the Empire State building a blimp arrives with Santa. This Santa is the Dominic and kidnaps the ambassador for this Irish terrorist group. Dominic Fortune saves the day in spite of the interference of The Silhouette a Shadow parody.

The two Hulk stories could have easily been written for the TV series. They were ok but nothing special. I mean I could see right off the bat that the carnivals plan was dumb. And of course the Dominic Fortune was also ok but nothing special. Seemed like a mediocre issue. Definitely a decline in the quality of the series.

THE HULK! #24

comics

“The Man Who Would Be President!”
Writer: Dave Kraft
Artists: Gene Colan, Alfredo Alcala & Dave Simons

The Hulk is in a peaceful valley and comes upon an old Indian. He is there to die with his ancestors in the tribes burial ground. He is upset that a new dam will flood the valley and his tribe’s burial grounds. Just then the National Guard attacks the Hulk with knockout gas. The gas weakens him and Hulk goes off to hide. He is later found by a sect of Amish type people and taken in.

Meanwhile Carl Carruthers the governor of the state has grand ambitions for the Presidency. He hopes to uses the dam as a rallying point. He wants to cause the dam to burst and kill hundreds. He enlists the old Indian to lead a protest to take over the dam. Then Carruthers captures Banner and places him at the dam to use as a patsy. The old Indian convinces the Hulk when he appears to save the dam and expose the governors plan.

“It’s Not Easy Being Green!”
By Lora Byrne

An article with pictures about how head make-up artist Norman Leavitt prepares Lou Ferrigno for his appearance as the Hulk. It sounds like a very intense session to go through.

“The Tiny Terror Tumble!”
Writer: Denny O’Neil
Artist: Howard Chaykin

Dominic Fortune as an obligated spokesman for Ferdley’s Milk must appear with Tina Timmons, a little girl that sings sappy lovey dovey songs to make one sick. At a radio broadcast a man forces his way on stage and has to be subdues by Dominic. It later turns out that the man was Tina Timmons husband. Tina is actually a 34 year old midget who had a facelift to look like a little girl. He and her manager plan to use Dominic to kill her husband so he doesn’t expose her secret. Things don’t turn out as planned.

“Horrors Old and New”
By Jeff Mundo

Jeff Mundo tries to go on about a doctor in a fictional South American country that hears about psychology. It then goes into horror movies like Rosemany’s Baby, The Exorcist, Carrie etc. A rambling article that made no sense at all.

So the Hulk feature has now come full circle and is back to black and white. The reason given is the Marvel Color process is too expensive. Probably true but its also the beginning of the end for this title. Personally don’t mind black & white. Its what most of these old magazines formats were. This story is quite an interesting one. It deals with a sleazy politician ready to kill a bunch of people to get elected. Apparently thirty years ago they didn’t have much of a positive opinion of politician either.

The Dominic Fortune story was still in color as was the article. So this magazine was half and half. Probably already drawn in color and will continue to appear throughout its run in this magazine. This story had some moments but I just don’t care for the character.

THE HULK! #23

comics

“A Very Personal Hell.”
Writer: Jim Shooter
Artists: John Buscema, Alfredo Alcala, & Steve Cliff

Banner is having a tough time after an unsuccessful attempt to access research at the university. In New York he stays at the Y. While there two guys attempt to rape him in the shower. Banner convinces them that he will turn into the Hulk and manages to escape. Escaping to the alley he starts to lose it and Hulks out. The Hulk knowing someone tried to hurt him lashes out at the world. The Hulk stumbles into a basement apartment of a woman stoned out of her gourd. Her abusive boyfriend comes back and starts to beat her but the Hulk smacks him good. The stoned girl them falls asleep in the Hulks arms and he changes back to Banner.

Banner is wandering the city looking for a job and runs into Alice the woman that he bumped into while escaping the university. She decides to befriend Banner and get him a job at a restaurant. The woman is in a custody dispute with her husband and has a controlling mother. The mother threatens to testify that her daughter isn’t a fit mom. This turns Banner into the Hulk who goes on another rampage. The Hulk goes back to the stoned woman’s apartment since she was the only one who befriended him. The boyfriend comes back and sets the building on fire. Hulk rescues the woman and tears down the burning building. After he changes back to Banner he returns to Alice’s place and finds that she committed suicide. She leaves Banner a thousand dollars which he gives to the stoned woman in the hospital to get her far from her abusive boyfriend.

“Clothes Call”
Writer: Roger Stern
Artists: Brent Anderson & John Tartaglione

Banner wakes up after turning from the Hulk on the outskirts of Bradbury, Iowa. He needs a change of clothes and tries the local men’s store. The proprietor doesn’t serve drifters without shirt or shoes so he tries to steal a shirt on a laundry line. The shirts owner a woman chases him off with a broom. While escaping he runs into Barbra Jean Benson who offers to help. Barbra though has other ulterior motives and tries to seduce Banner. At this time the husband comes home. He grabs Banner’s wallet and sees that this is the man who becomes the Hulk. He gives him his shirt and shoes to get rid of him.

“Moo Over Manhattan”
Writer: Denny O’Neil
Artist: Howie Chaykin

Dominic Fortune has signed on to be the spokesman for Ferdley’s Milk and must shill for this product every chance he gets. He meets up with an old childhood friend who is now the famous actor Chisholm Smith. Chisholm is in secret a Nazi sympathizer and plans to help Baron Strucker assassinate a U.S. Senator that advocates a more active role against the Nazis. Its up to Dominic to foil the assassination and at the same time extol the virtues of Ferdley’s Milk.

“The Machinery of Seduction”
By Jeff Mundo

An article titled Jeff Mundo’s Dark Corners which has apparently become a regular feature for this title. This time a humorous look into the addiction of pinball machines. Kind of interesting.

Wow the main story was one dark read. It generated a ton of controversy with the attempted homosexual rape scene. The writer claims that it was based on a true event that happened to him while at the Y. Makes you never want to stay at the Y. This was definitely something out there from the normal stories. It was very interesting and seemed to be based on a personal Hell of the writer. What with homosexual rape, drug use, domestic violence and suicide it covers about every depressing topic imaginable. A very depressing and dark story.

The second Hulk story was a welcome change of pace. A sort of how Banner has to deal with finding a change of clothes after a Hulk incident. A humorous and lighthearted story that was needed after such a dark and serious main story.

The Dominic Fortune story is ok. Once again there is nothing wrong with the basic premise. I just don’t feel anything for this character.

THE HULK! #22

comics

“The Failure of Hydropolis”
“Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Ron Wilson & Alfredo Alcala

Banner and Dr. Sheila Marks are off on vacation in Bermuda. They hope to continue Dr. Marks attempts to isolate the Hulk personality. Their working vacation is cut short by a massive tsunami that was caused by an underwater nuclear explosion. The survivors are scooped up by a submarine with a giant mouth and taken to an underwater city. The city called Hydropolis was created by a mad scientist named Rypel. Rypel plans to set off nuclear explosions on both coasts of America and effectively sink the continent. This will start World War III and effectively destroy the world. He then plans to turn people into a hydrid aquatic gill people. He has already turned his brother into one. Unfortunately Rypel didn’t count on the Hulk to foil his scheme.

“Ghoul of My Dreams”
Writer: Denny O’Neil
Artist: Howard Chaykin

Dominic Fortune is arrested at an illegal casino in 1937. He gets out of jail with the intervention of the police commissioner. He needs Dominic’s services to save a friend Zelda Pinkley. She is involved with a mobster named Louie Kelt. He finds out that Kelt uses zombies as his enforcers. While rescuing Zelda he defeats the zombie mobsters and finds out Kelt is himself one of the undead.

“Of Chrysanthemums & Fireworks”
By Jeff Mundo

A column on special effects and how they work. Not a bad article and quite information on the history and mechanics of some popular special effects like matte paintings.

This Hulk story is a pretty good story. It gets into actual comic book type stuff. Sort of a James Bond feel to it what with an evil madman bent on destroying the world and remaking it. I think that this title needed more of these types of story.

The Dominic Fortune story is ok. I mean I really like the idea of a zombie mobster in 1937 New York. But the actual result is just not interesting me. Neither the story or art just does it for me. A poor substitute for the Moon Knight backups.

THE HULK! #21

comics

“Into The Myth Realm”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Bob McLeod

Bruce Banner it transported to another dimension. The dimension is called the Myth-Realm and all our myths are real here. Banner initially is confronted by a gnome fighting a dragon. The gnome named Nimbli who speaks in rhymes tosses the sword to Banner who then kills the dragon. The two hop on a pair of centaurs and escape flying demons. They arrive at a castle on a boat. The castle belongs to the wizard Saragon. He brought Banner to the realm to rescue the princess Morgaina from the evil sorcerer Darkshorn. The spell around the castle can only be entered by monsters and they need the Hulk.

So Banner goes off with Nimbli and fights a variety of mythical monsters. When he reaches the castle he takes a potion that changes him into the Hulk. He rescues the princess and defeats the evil Darkshorn. At the end it is revealed that this was a dream. Banner was put under hypnosis by a psychologist to help him come to terms with his dark side.

“Marvel’s Changeling Heroes”
By Tom Rogers

An article on the changeling heroes of the Marvel universe. This includes the Hulk, Ghost Rider, The Man-Wolf, The Impossible Man, Snowbird, Nova, Starhawk, The Thing, Thor, The Cat/Tigress, and Werewolf by Night.

“The Movies Critics Don’t See”
By Jeff Mundo

A column on the dreck movies that are made. How some like Halloween and Texas Chain-saw Massacre gain respectability by being successful and how some great directors got their start on cheap B movies.

“All In Color For A Crime!”
Writer: Denny O’Neil
Artist: Howard Chaykin

Dominic Fortune is a flamboyant adventurer in 1937. He is involved in rescuing a fourteen year old boy from a comic book company that’s keeping him prisoner. The company is a front for the Nazis who are using comics for propaganda. Dominic rescues the boy and shuts down the insidious Nazis plan.

This Hulk story was a weird one. It starts right out with Banner being transported to this magical realm. I have to admit that I liked it. It was offbeat and made you want to find out what the hell is going on. The ending made sense and still left the reader wondering if it really was a dream or real.

The articles were OK. Nothing real special but not horrible either.

The new backup feature Dominic Fortune I really didn’t care for. While the concept sounds intriguing it just doesn’t click with me. I do miss Moon Knight.

THE HULK! #20

comics

“Power Unchained”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Ron Wilson & Alfredo Alcala

Banner is watching TV in a hotel when he hears of a nuclear accident at the Moneghan Point Plant in upstate New York. He knows an old associate who works for the N.R.C. and calls him to offer any help. The man is now head of the N.R.C. and is on his way to the plant and asks Banner to meet him. When he gets there his friend has a long winded press conference with hostile reporters and anti-nuke activists. After that they find out the problem is worse than reported. A mudslide has caused a collapse of a reactor onto one of the cooling pipes. After Banner is asked to brief the press he tells them that a full meltdown is very possible which causes a panic. The panic turns him into the Hulk. The Hulk has a vague idea to stop the meltdown. He breaks into the reactor and lifts the fourteen ton reactor off the pipe stopping the meltdown.

“This Man Tell Hulk What to Do!”
By Steve Swires

An interview with Kenneth Johnson the producer and creator of the Hulk TV series. He didn’t initially want to do any superhero shows but was drawn to the concept of the Hulk. He wanted to make it as realistic as possible and decided that what works in comics wouldn’t work for live action. An interesting interview and I do agree with how he decided to handle the series.

“Lethal Lovelies”
Portfolio by Bruce Patterson

A collection of drawings of some of the women that Hulk has encountered with a brief biography. The women are Bereet, Hellcat, Red Guardian, Valkyrie, Casiolena, Jarella, Harpy and Moonstone.

“A Long Way to Dawn”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Bill Sienkiewicz

Moon Knight leaves the hospital where his girlfriend Marlene is in critical condition. He wanders the city and encounters the people that populate it at night. A drunk doorman. A cabbie letting the air out of a competitors cab. A pimp and streetwalker. He rescues a junkie from drowning in a fountain and rescues a bag lady from a mugger. By morning he returns and finds out that Marlene will recover.

The Hulk story came out at the time of the Three Mile Island accident. So this is basically an anti-nuclear story with a lot of the preachy arguments against nuclear power. Not a real good story.

The Moon Knight story is the last that will appear in the Hulk. The series was so good that it got its own book. I will have to check that series out sometime. I really thought that the Moon Knight stores were the highlight of this magazine and were consistently excellent whereas the main feature is spotty like his issue. A backup that will be missed. This story ties up loose ends and was a very poignant and enjoyable ending to its successful run as a backup story.

THE HULK! #19

comics

“Master Mind”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Gene Colan & Alfredo Alcala

Dr. Sheila Marks is a psychologist with a controversial method of treating multiply personality disorders. Banner has come to her for help in treating his condition. She agrees to try her experimental treatment on him. It makes the Hulk personality come out without the transformation. The Hulk personality is paranoid and delusional. Now Banner runs through the streets of New York striking out at imagined monsters. Dr. Marks must somehow find him and bring back Banner’s personality.

“It’s A Monster!”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Gene Colan & Bob Wiacek

An old man is celebrating the world record he set for sitting on a flagpole 60 years ago. People these days think its stupid and that depresses the old man. At this time the Hulk is rampaging through the place. Everything gets him angry cars, loud construction equipment, smokestacks and screaming people. He comes to the flagpole and smiles thinking a man on a flagpole is silly. This brings tears to the old man for someone finally appreciates what he’s doing.

“Heaven Is A Very Small Place!”
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artists: Herb Trimpe & John Severin

The Hulk is out in the middle of the desert when he comes upon a small town. This town is a slice of Americana. The thing that Hulk notices is that the people don’t go screaming in panic when he arrives. In fact they go about their business as if nothing out of the ordinary. The Hulk likes this and wants to stay in the town forever but its actually a mirage and disappears. This causes the Hulk to hit the ground causing a small tremor picked up hundreds of miles away.

Well three Hulk stories and all of them dealt with the psychological nature of the Hulk. The first with the conflicting personalities of Banner and the Hulk. Both hate and fear each other. The second story about how people and the Hulk have different perceptions about the world around them. And the third was what the Hulk really seeks out. He wants desperately to be accepted as normal. The third one was my favorite. This really captured the tragedy of the Hulk and made the reader feel sympathetic toward him.

So these stories were essentially thinking mans stories and I found it a nice change of pace from battling the various evil no goodniks that the Hulk usually fights.

THE HULK! #18

comics

“Cast Away”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Ron Wilson & Alfredo Alcala

Banner once again turns into the Hulk while in a hospital. The Hulk confused and angry busts out and terrorizes the people in some African city. The army comes and accomplishes little except to made him even more angry. Having enough of people screaming and running from him or soldiers shooting at him, the Hulk takes off. He jumps to a horseshoe shaped island off the coast. The island is inhabited by an old man who having no money or prospects abandoned civilization to live out his live on the deserted island. Banner helps the old man build a place and seems to have found peace. But pirates come to the island and shoot a young tourist. The Hulk literally digs up the whole island and takes to back to civilization so the young man can get medical attention.

“Shadows in the Heart of the City”
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Bill Sienkiewicz & Klaus Janson

Moon Knight goes after his brother the serial killer Hatchet-man after he seriously wounds his girlfriend Marlene. The chase takes him through Central Park and he manages to save the life of another potential victim. A fight results in the Hatchet-man slipping and impaling himself on a tree.

This was a fascinating Hulk story. It was filled with a lot of pathos and hope. The old man’s story of where he worked all his life and forced to retire when he hit 65. He then loses his house because he can’t pay the taxes and forced to live with his daughter. Feeling useless he takes off on a ship and eventually finds the island. He is happy to live a carefree live. His story sounds very real and living on the island without dealing with the B.S the modern world throws at you sound very appealing. Also the full page of the Hulk knocking the island loose is awesome. A very laid back and interesting story.

The Moon Knight comes to a conclusion with his brother. Flashbacks to their childhood give the reader some understanding of how both brothers think and the rivalry that developed between them. As always the Moon Knight is a great and interesting backup feature.