Issue(s): Hulk #6
Banner sees his attack and transforms back into Hulk, but this time his head remains Bruce Banner's. Luckily (!) Bruce has been making plaster molds of the Hulks face, so the Hulk wears one (that is some crazy nonsense).
Then he goes off to fight the Metal Master (turning down the offer to team-up, figuring he can conquer the Earth better on his own - but why is Hulk defending the humans by fighting him?)...
...eventually defeating him using the good old wooden gun technique. Somewhere along the way, some army soldiers get a chance to get close to the Hulk and notice that he's wearing a mask, but when they pull it off, the Hulk's face is underneath.
WHAT IS THE POINT OF THAT??
In this issue, Rick Jones forms the lame-as-hell "Teen Brigade", a bunch of ham radio enthusiasts.
Thanks to his defeat of the Metal Master, the Hulk gets a pardon for his past crimes, but the Hulk is pissed because he expects more. He's also grumpy because he seems to be stuck as the Hulk (again, why is he upset?), but as he becomes enraged he turns back into Banner.
This issue was drawn by Ditko instead of Kirby, and the art is quite nice, much closer to the look that will become the classic Hulk design than Kirby's Frankenstein monster.
This is the Hulk's last issue until he gets half of Tales To Astonish in Oct 1964 (he'll appear as a regular villain in early issues of Avengers in the meantime). What i find interesting is that throughout his original series he was not the raging, unintelligent, anger-triggered monster that we think of as the Hulk. At the same time he seemed to not be very popular; Sean Howe's Marvel Comics: The Untold Story quotes a contemporary fanzine saying "It stinks. A comic-book-length rendition of one of their hack monster stories with a continuing character modeled more or less on The Thing" (Don and Maggie Thompson in Comic Art #3).
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Hulk: Transformations TPB
interesting thing here. as you say, this is much closer to the look the hulk would have later and Ditko is responsible.
Posted by: kveto from prague | September 26, 2011 10:58 AM
I always forget that the original Hulk series only ran 6 issues. Growing up in the 80's, I thought of it like Thor and Captain America, as one of the long-running series, not knowing until later that all three of those were earlier series that had changed names, which is why they all had numbers much higher than FF. But to think that The Hulk, one of the most iconic Marvel heroes, who's had multiple tv shows and multiple films could have died in sales so quickly.
As for the mask thing - even in Mission: Impossible where they have new technology, it always seems silly. Especially when it's someone like Captain America under a mask (did the wings just push back against his head?). The, hiding under a mask trick, has always been one of my least favorite conceits (DC did it worse, when they would have Batman do it - do those horns just fold flat and pop back up?).
Posted by: Erik Beck | December 5, 2014 3:46 PM
This was an interesting read as a Hulk fan.. his personality seemed a lot closer to the Joe Fixit Hulk with many of his lines and general bad attitude, not the simple 'smash' Hulk.. also interesting is the machine to revert himself back and forth between personas.. Hulk and Thor are the two where early on it seemed like they didn't have the concept down yet. Stil, not bad by any means.. Cover reminded of 50s DC for some reason, I like it.
Posted by: RikFenix | May 28, 2016 10:32 PM
Never realized it before, but this might likely be the first time Ditko used the floppy latex mask gimmick in a super-hero comic. The scene shown above, where the Hulk is unmasked, predates a similar scene in which Spider-Man is publicly "Unmasked by Doctor Octopus" in Amazing Spider-Man #12. The Chameleon, an early Ditko Spider-Man villain, always had similar-looking rubbery masks flopping around all over the place, looking like human faces without any supporting structures behind them. He had used empty masks for weird visual effects in some of his pre-super-hero stories too, but I no longer have any references to them.
Posted by: James Holt | August 1, 2016 2:20 AM
Ditko did contribute to the classic look of multiple early characters but Jack Kirby designed Spider-Man's Costume. In fact Jack was intended to be Spidey's regular artist but Jack, no matter how he tried could not draw a scrawny Peter Parker. He was always too muscular so Stan assigned it to Ditko but kept Jack's costume design.
I placed this issue just before Avengers#1 on the reading order.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | October 23, 2016 4:37 PM
Kirby did not design Spider-Man's costume. That was pure Ditko.
Posted by: ChrisW | October 23, 2016 9:58 PM
Legend is that Kirby did design a Spider-Man costume, but Lee didn't like it, and so asked Ditko to redesign it, which he did, and so Ditko's design then became the standard blue and red costume we know and love.
Posted by: James Holt | October 24, 2016 4:43 AM
The Spider-Man costume Kirby designed was primarily red and looked like a cross between Archie's Fly Man and the Golden Age DC Sandman under Simon & Kirby. Instead of wrist shooters, he had a web gun. One or two scans of it are available on various websites. Ditko himself stated that Kirby's costume was totally different than his, and did a side-by-side drawing to show it(it was reprinted in either Comic Book Artist or an early Alter Ego).
Posted by: Mark Drummond | October 24, 2016 11:27 AM
The scan I've seen of Kirby's Spider-Man has been claimed to be a forgery, according to this site: http://ohdannyboy.blogspot.com/2012/05/hoax-of-year-jack-kirbys-spiderman.html
That link also displays the Ditko side-by-side drawing.
Noticeably, early on, both Kirby and John Buscema seemed to have some trouble drawing the Ditko-designed Spider-Man costume. John Romita on the other hand was able to duplicate it quite faithfully right from the start.
Posted by: James Holt | October 24, 2016 1:16 PM
Thanks for the information. Now that you mention I do remember seeing a picture of the web gun.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | October 24, 2016 6:06 PM
Obviously this depends on the fifty years of hindsight we have now, but I'm baffled at the idea that people think Kirby designed Spider-Man. When did Kirby ever design a character like that, before or since? The full mask covering the entire head with the glaring eyepieces, the intricate weblines, the fact that you can recognize the character from seeing basically any part of his body. With Kirby, it's only characters like the Hulk that you know who's standing there just by seeing their foot in one corner of a panel.
Thinking about James' comment above with regards to Ditko's use of masks, it's interesting to realize how few of Kirby or Ditko's characters used masks at all. The FF didn't. The Challengers of the Unknown or the New Gods mostly didn't. Dr. Strange didn't. Or the villains. Dr. Doom, the Red Skull and the Goblin had masks, but those were effectively their faces. The Vulture, Kraven, Sandman didn't wear masks. Electro did, but his was a neat design. Mysterio's made sense because he was into special effects. The Lizard or a number of FF foes just looked like that. Doc Ock wore sunglasses, kind of a reverse "Clark Kent" thing. "Where did that pudgy scientist with four mechanical arms go? He was here a moment ago!"
Posted by: ChrisW | October 25, 2016 1:49 AM
"When did Kirby ever design a character like that, before or since?"
No such character but if I had to pick one it would prolly be "The Bug!"
Posted by: James Holt | October 25, 2016 12:58 PM
The Metal Master is currently appearing in the BLACK BOLT series. Pretty cool. I think his only other appearance was in an issue of ROM.
Posted by: Andrew Burke | September 12, 2017 1:55 PM
Really, Metal Master is back? I like it. There was a throwaway cameo in one panel by Busiek in the Maximum Security series but that hardly counts as a 'real' appearance IMO.
I liked the way Mantlo kept using old Hulk characters in ROM, such as the Gremlin, the Missing Link, and the Metal Master, among others. I actually thought his Gremlin story in ROM was the best use of that character to date; unfortunately, Gremlin was kind of gratuitously killed off in "Iron Man" during the Armor Wars and hasn't been brought back yet to my knowledge.
Posted by: intp | September 12, 2017 4:22 PM
According to an interview referenced in Les Daniel's history of Marvel Comics, Jack Kirby consistently maintained that the Hulk book sold reasonably well and was not cancelled due to poor sales. Daniels' theory was that the Hulk book had to go to make room for Spider-Man's book due to Martin Goodman's limited distribution arrangement. I can certainly seeing it being the easiest one for Stan to drop, as he hardly seemed to know what to do with the character.
One thing that kind of bothered me about this issue is that the Hulk's pardon was seemingly never referred to again in any of the stories of the time. Joe Casey threw in a nice reference in his Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes story, but that's the only one I can recall, and that was decades later. Hulk quickly goes on to become public enemy # 1 almost right away. His second pardon years later under Bill Mantlo makes no reference to the earlier pardon, either, as I recall.
Posted by: intp | September 21, 2017 5:07 PM
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