Marvel Librarian vs. the Strangest Man of All Time

Welcome to Marvel Librarian, the new feature covering historic Marvel comics from the point of view of someone experiencing them for the first time.

When you think of the Incredible Hulk, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

Probably that he is big, green, and angry, right? Specifically, that he turns from mild-mannered Bruce Banner into the Hulk when he is enraged. Two of the most famous quotes associated with the Hulk — “You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry” and “That’s my secret, Cap, I’m always angry” — refer to this aspect of the character. It’s the logical endpoint of the Jekyll and Hyde story archetype, and a metaphor that resonates with many who have struggled with anger issues.

It’s also not here in these first issues of The Incredible Hulk, which is a big reason why they don’t really work.

Also, the Hulk is gray. And yes, I know that Gray Hulks become a thing later.

The Hulk’s design, as well as the quote “is he man or monster or is he both?” both take obviously heavy inspiration from Frankenstein. On paper, I can see why this concept was pitched. Just as Fantastic Four drew from Marvel’s sci-fi anthology comics, the Incredible Hulk could pull ideas from monster and horror comics. The concept of a monster with gray morality as your protagonist is a solid one. Unfortunately, the comics of this time period aren’t really equipped to actually grapple with the moral questions of something like Frankenstein. The question of “is he man or monster” tends to take a backseat to the spectacle of Hulk smashing.

In the first couple of pages, we’re introduced to most of the core cast. Our protagonist, Bruce Banner, is a scientist working on a highly dangerous experimental atomic weapon, one that even his fellow scientists fear. He works for General Thunderbolt, your stereotypical military man who wants his weapon and wants it now, and who berates Banner for being a cowardly nerd. Bruce’s romantic interest is Thunderbolt’s daughter, Betty Ross, whose personality traits begin and end with “worrying about Bruce.”

Bruce’s assistant here is named Igor just in case you somehow missed the Frankenstein connections. Anyway, I’ve worked with guys who act like Bruce is acting here, and it’s infuriating. Grabbing and threatening them is not the right answer, but on the other half, this is a nuclear weapon that hasn’t even been peer reviewed. I’d probably be pretty desperate to knock sense into Bruce myself.

So a teenager drives into the test area, and we get another cast member, Rick Jones, because everyone loves the trope of the unpowered kid who is friends with the actual hero. Otherwise, kids won’t be able to relate or something! It seems like they should have had better security preventing random teenagers from driving into the nuclear test area, but then again they let John Wayne film a movie downwind of a test site, so maybe this is a realistic development.

Meanwhile, Igor crosses over from “frustrated man with a legitimate grievance” to “murderer” by setting off the bomb while Bruce and Rick are in the test area. This doesn’t even make sense given that his motivation was being scared of the bomb. You’d think he would have sabotaged the equipment or something instead.

Bruce pulls Rick to safety in a tiny trench, because that’s enough to 100% shield you from an atomic blast, before taking the full force of the bomb himself, changing his life forever.

Bruce wakes up, assuming he’s a dead man walking from having absorbed so much radiation. Rick says that, since Bruce saved his life, he’ll be loyal to the man forever, something that will fully screw him over in the future.

Bruce’s head starts to pound and he assumes that’s the end for him, but then…

It’s the first appearance of the Hulk! One odd thing about this issue is that, since it mostly takes place at night, it’s lit in dark blue night palette. This means that the Hulk, who is supposed to be gray, is actually mostly colored deep blue.

Hulk bursts out of the room where Bruce was resting, smashing a jeep full of guards on his way out of the military base. Rick follows him, having pledged his undying loyalty to Bruce. The Hulk isn’t just mindlessly smashing, though, he has a goal: to get the gamma ray “formula” that Bruce was keeping in his home. See, the intelligence levels of the Hulk fluctuate a lot in these early issues.

When Hulk reaches Bruce’s house, he discovers Igor is already there, aiming to steal Bruce’s research. Igor threatens Hulk with a gun, but Hulk grabs the gun and crushes it in his bare hand. Rick shows up and stops Hulk from killing Igor outright. In the scuffle, they reveal the location where Bruce has hidden his “Top Secret Report on Gamma Ray Bomb.”

Hulk sees a picture of Bruce, and recoils away from it. “It is weak — soft! I hate it! Take it away!” Even if they don’t have the “turns into the Hulk when angry” aspect yet, they at least get the character’s self-hatred of its alter egos right away. The idea of the brutish Hulk hating what he perceives as the weaker elements of his personality is an unsubtle metaphor for the way toxic masculinity forces men to hide weakness.

I think part of the reason why this doesn’t really work for me yet is that Bruce really doesn’t come off as weak in the opening pages. He’s stupidly stubborn about not letting anyone else review his work, and then his next action is driving into a test site to rescue a teenager. To provide better contrast to the Hulk, it would have made more sense to me to make Bruce obviously shy and retiring, to have him quail in front of Thunderbolt and his co-workers and nearly chicken out of rescuing Rick.

The Hulk declares that he’s glad he was changed. He points out that Rick is the only one who knows his secret, and advances on him threateningly. At that moment, the sun rises, and Hulk turns back into Bruce. That’s right, in the original book, Hulk operates on werewolf rules.

The main problem with this setup — and probably the reason they ditch it almost immediately — is that the Hulk’s changes are completely predictable, which immediately removes the tension of Bruce changing into the Hulk at any time.

Because it’s the 60s, Igor wasn’t just a Frankenstein reference, but a communist spy! Bet you didn’t see that coming! He uses a transistor radio built into his thumbnail to broadcast a message to the USSR, which reaches this guy, the Gargoyle. The Gargoyle decides to head to America to challenge the Hulk. He does so by getting a nuclear sub to fire a missile containing himself at the USA, and instead of immediately setting off WWIII, this plan works flawlessly.

Meanwhile, Bruce gets the somewhat sensible idea that, since he’s going to turn back into the Hulk at nightfall, he should drive out to the wilderness so as not to hurt anyone. And he takes his teenage sidekick with him because screw Rick’s safety, I guess. Another poor decision: Bruce is still driving at nightfall, so when the sun sets he turns into the Hulk and crashes the car.

Meanwhile, Betty laments that things used to be simpler and gosh darn it why does she have to live in the 60s with fantastic happenings and nuclear anxiety and complicated anti-heroes. She goes for a walk in a desert landscape that looks kind of blasted and apocalyptic. Of course, she gets snatched by the Hulk and swoons in his arms, because there’s no way we could get this sort of book without the monster carrying off a beautiful maiden.

If you thought you’d see the Hulk get to fight the Gargoyle, or anybody really, too bad. The Gargoyle shows up and uses a mind control ray on Hulk and Rick, making them his prisoners, and taking them into a jet plane back behind the Iron Curtain. The USA’s monitoring of its airspace is about as lax as its monitoring of kids wandering into nuclear test sites. (Also, Betty just kind of gets ditched.)

When they cross time zones, the Hulk changes back into Bruce, breaking him free of the mind control, but also causing the Gargoyle to learn the Hulk’s secret. The Gargoyle laments that he can’t ever change back to being human, and Bruce tells him there is a way, but he would lose his genius-level intellect.

And so, the Gargoyle, brilliant Soviet scientist, lets his American prisoner experiment on him with deadly radiation.

Bruce is actually being honest, though, and the experiment does exactly what he said. Now an ordinary man, the former Gargoyle denounces the USSR, helps Bruce and Rick escape back to the US on a rocket, and suicide bombs his own labs.

That’s right, the Hulk solved the Cold War. You’re welcome!

For our second issue, we’re going straight to the well of monster comic ideas.

Oh, and the Hulk’s green now.

The Toad Men’s plan is to capture Bruce Banner, who they have identified as the “most brilliant scientific mind on Earth” (eat it, Reed), and force him to give information on humanity’s scientific abilities. They offer up one of our first examples of something that’s all over these Silver Age Marvels, the idea that magnetism can do literally anything the plot demands, which will be taken to its logical conclusion with Magneto. Any time they use magnetism to do things like pick up people, I can’t help but think of that one riff from Mystery Science Theater.

Bruce takes Rick to a natural cave that he has somehow single-handedly outfitted with a ten foot thick concrete wall, planning to lock himself inside every night to contain the Hulk. Before he can finish explaining, he and Rick are captured by the Toad Men and their magnetic rays!

Here’s another example of Magnetism Not Working That Way:

They also threaten to lift up entire cities and empty the oceans. The Toad Men’s knowledge of magnetism is only surpassed by Insane Clown Posse’s. Anyway, the Toad Men decide that Rick is useless and send him back to Earth, calling him a “witless stripling,” which is a great insult. Meanwhile, the spaceship passes into the dark, and Bruce changes into the Hulk.

One thing they really can’t decide on in these early issues is how intelligent the Hulk is. While he doesn’t have Bruce’s scientific mind, he’s also a lot less animalistic than I’m used to the Hulk being. The above panel is a great example.

The army shoots down the Toad Men’s spaceship. Now in sunlight again, somehow, the Hulk has turned back into Bruce, who is immediately arrested for treason, for “a sneak attack on your own country,” which is a hell of a conclusion to jump to when you see one unarmed human in a spaceship full of hostile aliens. Meanwhile, the Toad Men that weren’t smashed by the Hulk hide underground, and send the signal to the rest of the fleet to attack.

Their main plan? To use magnetism to send the moon crashing into the Earth. The only one who can stop them is a child hero with an ocarina the Hulk, probably.

Unfortunately, the Hulk is more preoccupied with going to get revenge on General Thunderbolt, who locked Bruce up. This inevitably leads to him abducting Betty Ross. Again.

The Hulk rants about how much he hates humanity and vows revenge, but then the sun conveniently comes up and he changes back to Bruce. Bruce decides that the way to counteract the Toad Men’s magnetism powers is with gamma rays, which, sure, it’s not like either of those things have any real meaning in these books. He stops the invasion, the moon goes back to normal, Bruce is cleared of the bogus treason charges, and everyone is happy, except for the Hulk, of course.

Okay, so there’s this weird thing where they can’t decide if the Hulk can fly or not. Kirby will draw the Hulk obviously flying, but then the dialogue and captions will explain that he’s actually leaping, and then in other panels it’ll look like he’s leaping. It seems like maybe Lee didn’t like the idea of the Hulk being able to fly. Honestly, I have to kind of side with Lee here, the Hulk being able to leap long distances makes more sense for his power set.

This issue continues the plotline of Bruce locking himself away behind a concrete door at night when he becomes the Hulk. Rick is in charge of getting him out, and he pretty sensibly worries about what will happen to Bruce if something happens to Rick, considering no one else knows he’s down there. You’d think the world’s most brilliant scientific mind could just put some kind of timed release lock on the door, or maybe even something like a weight sensor to detect when he’s no longer the Hulk, but why do that when you have a teenage kid who works for free?

When Rick leaves the cave, he’s ambushed by the army, who demand he brings in the Hulk. They claim that they need the Hulk to test a new missile, because he’s the only one who can withstand the G-forces. Rick buys this without question, frees the Hulk and leads him to the rocket. This, of course, is all a plan to blast the Hulk into outer space so he’s never seen again.

The end! Next week on Marvel Librarian, we’ll be talking about the Fantastic Four again…

Okay, no, obviously that’s not what happens, but what does happen makes way less sense. The Hulk, exposed to sunlight after the launch, turns back into Bruce. Then the rocket passes through a belt of radiation, much like in the Fantastic Four’s origin. At the same time, on Earth, Rick pulls a lever at the missile command to bring the rocket back. Somehow, this series of events ends with the Hulk being mentally linked to Rick.

Look, I’m reading and enjoying Silver Age comics. On some level I’m on board with ideas like space radiation giving you superpowers instead of cancer. The problem with this is it’s just too convoluted.

Anyway, the missile crashes, and the Hulk comes ripping out of it. Rick is shocked that the Hulk can exist in broad daylight, but he doesn’t have too much time to question it, because Hulk wants revenge for Rick tricking him into that rocket. When Rick screams at the Hulk to stop, he, surprisingly, does so, and it’s revealed that Rick can now mind control the Hulk.

Does Rick stop to wonder if it’s moral to control a sentient being, even one as dangerous as the Hulk? Or does he immediately decide that he’s going to make the Hulk carry him around on his shoulders while gloating that he’s now “master of the mightiest creature on Earth”? The latter, obviously, we don’t have time for ethics in superhero comics!

There’s one small problem with Rick’s new superpower: his control over the Hulk goes away when he sleeps. He wakes up to find that Hulk has inexplicably torn up a utility pole and is menacing people with it. He has no choice but to go lock the Hulk back up in the concrete bunker while he sleeps.

This major status quo shift — from the Hulk changing back and forth at night to Bruce being the Hulk all the time, but controlled by Rick — which is portrayed as permanent, seems to speak to the idea that they were floundering a bit with this book. The day / night changes are too predictable, and the concrete bunker too simple a solution to make drama. Unfortunately, the setup with Rick being in control is also clunky.

So now we have this bozo, and if you guessed that he’s exactly like the Miracle Man character we covered last week in Fantastic Four, you’re right, of course.

To his credit, the Ringmaster has a better plan than the Miracle Man did. He and his circus travel from town to town, putting on their acts. The Ringmaster hypnotizes all the townspeople who attend, steals their valuables and ransacks their houses, and then skips town. I’ll at least give them credit that this makes some sense as a thing a man with mind control powers might actually do.

Rick goes to see this circus, but as he is hypnotized, he calls out to the Hulk mentally for help. When the Hulk shows up, the creature who has eluded the US Army for several issues now is quickly subdued by circus performers with high pressure hoses. He’s chained up and carted away.

We then discover the flaw with the Ringmaster’s plan: once his victims from the previous town wake up, they can tell the police all about the weird circus that came to town. The FBI, along with Rick, storms the circus tent. The Hulk wakes up and goes on a rampage, but Rick stops him and uses him to help him escape.

I don’t know, this just makes me tired.

“The Monster and the Machine” opens with Rick about to pull the lever on a machine that will change the Hulk back to Bruce Banner if it works, and end the world if it doesn’t. That doesn’t seem like a very good tradeoff, personally.

I’m including this panel because it amuses me that 1960s comics always seem to illustrate romantic interest by having one or both parties have giant photographs of their love. Where do they even get these? Was this sort of thing actually common or is it just comics shorthand?

It’s going to be a while, I think, before these comics get to a romantic story that isn’t just bland pining for someone they just met. Love Betty’s dress, though.

To Betty’s credit, she works out that there’s a link between Bruce, Rick, and the Hulk, something that her father hasn’t thought of yet. She tells her father, Thunderbolt Ross, who is testing an “iceberg missile” that will freeze Hulk solid.

Hulk is still under Rick’s mental control, and when the military comes for him, he orders Hulk to fly or leap away, depending on if you believe the art or the writing.

“We’re hunting for the Hulk, and I just saw a big green thing fly by. Better not tell anyone.”

They drag Rick in and all but accuse him of murdering Bruce. Meanwhile, the flying Hulk gets into some wacky hijinks. He rescues a school bus full of kids from an oncoming train — I suppose in an effort to make him seem more like a heroic figure — then storms a movie set and eats all of their food. Eventually, Rick calls him to to rescue him from the military, and this happens:

Hulk grabs Rick from the jeep and leaps away. They go to the underground concrete bunker with Bruce’s hidden lab. Rick looks at Bruce’s notes he was making on a way to change him back, but doesn’t fully understand them. He asks Hulk if he should try anyway, and the Hulk says to go for it, which is how we get back to the first panel of the comic.

The machine works and Hulk is changed back to Bruce, but extremely weak on account of the massive amounts of radiation. Bruce decides he needs Hulk’s body with his own brain, and does a “one in a hundred” experiment to make that happen. There’s an attempt at suspenseful buildup as Hulk leaves the slab.

Geez, way to treat the guy who’s been sticking his neck out for you this whole time. I guess that’s kind of the point, though — Rick thinks to himself that Bruce-in-Hulk is fiercer and crueler than he was before. I’m not sure Bruce or Hulk have been written with enough nuance at this point to really sell this problem, though.

Oh, and have you noticed we’ve got a third status quo as of the fourth book? From changing back and forth at night, to being Hulk all the time but controlled by Rick, now he’s Bruce’s brain in Hulk’s body but still with an anger problem. This really feels like they’re throwing ideas at the wall to see what sticks.

Maybe this whole comic was just an excuse for Kirby to draw panels of people transforming.

Here’s a three panel setup from the beginning of the “Gladiator from Space” story that I really like. The wheels coming in closer and the people catching on and fleeing really tells a little story.

Anyway, Mongu! Gladiator from Space! lands in this park. He challenges any Earthling to fight him. If the Earthling wins, Mongu will leave the planet forever, and if they lose, he’ll signal his armies to conquer the Earth. A pretty standard setup that I assume happened all the time in 1962. You couldn’t take a trip down to the grocery store without tripping over some alien conqueror.

Bruce changes into Hulk using his new machine and goes to fight this guy, only to find, surprise!

It was communism all along! I can’t believe they actually named this guy “Boris Monguski.”

We had a discussion in the comments last week about how they rarely specify a real-life country in these kinds of stories. Here we have “the Iron Curtain,” “commies,” and “reds” as euphemisms for these guys who are obviously supposed to be Soviets. It’s kind of pointless considering they later identify the fake spaceship as a “disguised MiG.”

Anyway, the Hulk beats the communists, ties them up with their own belts and attaches them to their escape helicopter somehow. They get the upper hand on him only briefly by capturing Rick, because of course Hulk brought an unarmed, defenseless teenager to what he believed was a battle against a space gladiator. In J. Jonah Jameson-like fashion, the newspapers report that the Hulk was actually in league with the gladiator and it was all a staged setup to make the Hulk look like a hero, I guess.

I’m skipping ahead to issue 6 because it gets referenced in the upcoming Avengers books, and you can’t stop me.

So as of issue #4, Bruce can change back and forth from the Hulk freely using his gamma ray machine, but it weakens him every time. This issue opens up with the military testing a missile too close to Bruce’s secret lair, so that the Hulk can’t get back safely without being spotted. He only makes it back when the military folk are distracted by an alarm.

The Hulk changes back to Bruce, and this time Bruce retains super strength for a couple minutes because this issue is going to be about Bruce and the Hulk partially turning back into each other uncontrollably. I’m sorry, but they really need to choose some rules for the Hulk and stick to them at least for a couple of issues. All this does is make me think that they can’t decide on what their hook for the Hulk as a character is, and that they can’t come up with solid stories for the character that don’t involve changing-back-and-forth shenaningans.

In hindsight, we all know the piece that they’re missing — that Bruce turns into the Hulk when he is angry. It’s an incredibly simple elevator pitch, one that basically anyone can understand. The idea of turning into a big, green, scary, unreasonable monster when angry is an incredibly on-the-nose metaphor, but that doesn’t make it a bad one, especially for the kids reading the book. The experience of going out of control when angry and regretting your actions is common to adolescence in particular, and probably a large part of why the character would eventually endure. Of course later books would sometimes play with the nature of the Hulk and how he changes, but it’s different once you’ve established a long-running status quo.

At this stage, though, there’s no simple hook to draw a reader in. Bruce is so thinly sketched that it’s hard to be all that invested in his plight — I would contrast this with Ben Grimm in the Fantastic Four books, where they do a much better job of making the reader understand Ben’s character and his pain over having been turned into a Thing. Rick is also bland, and Betty is nothing more than a woman-shaped object for Hulk to kidnap.

Anyway, now that I’ve talked about my problems with this book, have some distressingly phallic imagery:

It’s not just me, right? Please tell me it’s not just me.

It’s the work of the Metal Master, who is kind of a cut-rate Magneto. He came from a planet where everyone has the power to manipulate metal with their minds. While most of them use it for peaceful purposes like art, the Metal Master was exiled as a criminal and has come to Earth to conquer it. He demonstrates his power by melting all of the military’s weapons and armor.

Look, I’m not saying that the Metal Master isn’t a legitimate threat, because he is, but it seems like you could probably take this guy down with a significantly large group of people armed with wooden baseball bats. Of course, if they did that, they wouldn’t need the Hulk.

Bruce hears of the threat and changes back to the Hulk, but his powers are still on the fritz, so he turns into the Hulk with Bruce’s head. This problem is solved because he, for some reason, has made an exact replica mask of the Hulk’s head that he can wear to hide his identity and why invent this problem if you’re going to just negate it with an implausible solution one panel later.

They also devote several more panels to explain that the Hulk can’t fly, only leap, and this just strengthens my conviction that this was some kind of dispute between Kirby and Lee over the idea that the Hulk could fly.

Hulk fights with the Metal Master, who pelts him with all sorts of metal junk and tries to catch him in a metal cage. When it looks like the Hulk is getting the upper hand, the Metal Master proposes that they work together to subdue humanity. Hulk considers it, but decides that he wants to work alone — but the distraction is enough for the Metal Master to get the drop on him and knock him out cold.

The military shows up and pulls the mask off the unconscious Hulk only to reveal that he has the Hulk’s face now! Manufactured crisis averted! But at least the military is suitably confused as to why he was wearing a mask that looks identical to his face.

Hulk is placed in a jail cell, and Rick goes to visit him. The Hulk thinks that Rick betrayed him because he’s the only one who knew about the Hulk mask, as opposed to them just discovering it while he was unconscious, but I guess no one said the Hulk was smart. His intelligence seems to fluctuate based on whatever it needs to be, which is another reason it’s hard to get attached to the character. A sulking Rick asks if he can join the army, and the comic stops dead for nearly a page for Thunderbolt Ross to narrate an army recruitment ad.

Sixteen-year-old Rick, old enough to be the sole caretaker of the Hulk, is not yet old enough to join the army, so he does the next best thing:

Ham radio! Forget the Hulk, it’s time to talk to truckers and grandpas sitting in basements!

Rick and his friends form the Teen Brigade to communicate about threats using ham radio. One of them says “Reet! I’ll buy it!” which is apparently a slang term for “right.” How do you do, fellow kids?

Meanwhile, Betty cries about how Bruce is missing again and how much he means to her. Y’know, guys, if you actually want to sell this, you should probably like… spend a few pages or at least a few panels establishing their relationship to each other? Based on the general output from this period I’m pretty sure they’re currently only capable of writing “pointless mutual pining.” But then again, it could well be a calculated thing for their child readers.

The Hulk escapes from his cell and changes back to Bruce. Rick, who has chosen Bruce’s secret hideout as the place where he will go to sulk about the fact that the Hulk doesn’t want him around any more, sees Bruce and helps him into bed. Bruce has a plan to beat the Metal Master, and they rally the teens for help.

At the same time, we see many nations send missiles and planes after the Metal Master. You’d think at some point they’d stop doing that.

The Hulk, with Bruce’s intelligence — that’s where we’re at in the current Bruce/Hulk dichotomy spectrum — builds this huge gun, which the teens point out won’t work.

The Hulk confronts the Metal Master with this gun, and the Metal Master is shocked when he can’t do anything to it. He comes closer and closer in an attempt to make the gun explode, until he’s grabbed by the Hulk. He immediately folds like a house of cards, agrees to put everything back the way it was, and then leaves the Earth, in the span of like two panels. So I guess that’s sorted. Logically, he only was beaten because he was tricked into going within arms’ reach of the Hulk, and he could just come back and not do that, but we’ve only got a few more pages to go.

If you guessed that the gun was a fake made of cardboard, congratulations, you’re smarter than the Metal Master. But I guess nothing says that alien conquerors have to be smart.

The Hulk uses the gamma ray machine to change back into Bruce, but it fails, and of course now he decides he doesn’t actually want to stay as the Hulk forever. He also stopped between panels to apply some fashionable winged eyeliner. Rick tells him that he’s received a pardon on account of saving the world, and the Hulk flies into even more of a rage, claiming he deserves more than a pardon for what he did. In a reversal of how this usually goes, Hulk getting angry turns him back into Bruce.

I’m glad this is the last issue I’m covering for a while because I really am tired of the constant random rules changes.

Later that evening, Bruce goes out with Betty, who has caught on to the whole “Bruce is never around when the Hulk is” thing. Bruce decides that the best foundation for a healthy relationship is to hide a huge, dangerous, life-changing secret from his partner.

This is more or less the end of the line for this incarnation of the Hulk. The book was a poor seller, and was canceled after this issue, only to start up again several years later. In the meantime, they would develop the Hulk as a character in other books like Avengers.

At least in my opinion, it’s not hard to see why this was a flop. I’ve summarized a lot for you, but there are big stretches of these books that just aren’t very interesting. The bland characterization of Bruce, the Hulk, Rick, and Betty pales in comparison to the much bolder personalities of the Fantastic Four. The constant changes in how Bruce changes to the Hulk and back again feels as though they keep throwing ideas to the wall in the hope that one sticks — of course, they wouldn’t really solve the character until they come up with the idea that Bruce changes when he’s angry. Apart from the Westerns, this was my least favorite of the batches of comics I read for the 1962 articles.

Is it all bad, though? No. Obviously they have a grain of a good idea here, because once they finally nail down what the Hulk is about, he’s a character that endures for decades. There’s some solid Kirby art and some decent ideas on display. It just doesn’t cohere into a whole.

Next time on Marvel Librarian! Reed Richards finally meets his DOOM! It’s the first appearance of Doctor Doom, and the introduction of Namor, the Sub-Mariner, in Fantastic Four #4-7.