Fantastic Four #12
Issue(s): Fantastic Four #12
Possibly in a nod to fan complaints/comparisons, the Thing is mistaken for the Hulk and attacked by the military. Once that is all settled, General "Thunderbolt" Ross convinces the FF to help him track down and defeat the Hulk, who he believes is sabotaging scientific projects. The FF track down the Hulk and fight him, but it turns out the Saboteur was a communist spy who has been using a giant robot to frame the Hulk.
Early in the issue, after the male members of the FF fantasize out loud about how they would each defeat the Hulk, we get the following dialogue:
Sue actually does prove useful on several occasions during the issue, but this line of dialogue isn't referenced again.
Reed seems to suspect that Banner is the Hulk, but doesn't say anything.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: The Hulk has not been pardoned yet.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel's Greatest Comics #29
Inbound References (5): showAlicia Masters, General 'Thunderbolt' Ross, Hulk, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, Rick Jones, Thing
she didn't do anything for my morale.
Posted by: min | December 6, 2007 2:35 PM
To prove how tough he is, the Thing rips apart General Ross' collection of bound phone books. Seems like kind of a strange hobby for ol' Thunderbolt...
Posted by: Gary Himes | August 22, 2014 9:05 PM
I wonder if, back then 20 years before the Marvel Universe Handbook, they had a list posted somewhere where they had decided who was stronger than who. I mean, in theory, The Hulk is always the strongest, but with The Thing and Thor (and soon, Iron Man), did Stan Lee actually think about that much and have an idea in the back of his mind?
Posted by: Erik Beck | December 4, 2014 8:22 PM
I believe that Stan, and maybe Jack too, always said Thor was the strongest because as a god he was in a different category. The way Stan and Jack handled him, Thor seemed like Marvel's answer to Superman, in the power department.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | April 22, 2015 6:32 PM
Hi fnord, Alicia should be listed as a character who appears in FF #12.
Posted by: Shar | August 17, 2015 3:49 PM
Posted by: fnord12 | August 17, 2015 3:52 PM
In the Fantastic Four #10's letters page, Stan Lee mentions that he and Kirby were already planning to have Fantastic Four meet the Hulk, in response to fan requests.
Posted by: Aaron Malchow | August 30, 2015 1:27 PM
This issue always made me laugh- Rick figures out who the spy is because he has a card IDENTIFYING HIM AS A SPY in his wallet.
Posted by: Michael | August 30, 2015 1:44 PM
Michael, as you might already know, the card is probably a reference to Communist Party Membership Cards that American Communists were reported to have used in the 1940s and 1950s, especially if they were considered high-ranking Officials within the party. By the time this story was published, that idea might have been somewhat outdated, but was probably still a very powerful stereotype.
Posted by: Aaron Malchow | September 5, 2015 3:48 PM
I loved the part where the 3 FF men talk all that smack about how they would handle the Hulk. It's expected coming from Ben and Johnny but when Reed joins in you just have to laugh.
Posted by: Robert | January 28, 2016 11:38 AM
I actually just started reading the Silver Age entries and am kinda surprised fnord didn't do much for this issue since it's so pivotal. It's true the 60s stuff isn't really up my alley but since I'm friends with the great Stan Lee I want to take a deeper look at the framework he laid down for the legendary Marvel Universe... anyway, this is an acquired taste I guess with the art and it's pretty amazing you could have such a monumental event like the Hulk vs Thing battle wrapped up in one issue.....
Posted by: Brimstone: Wrestler, Celebrity, Actor, Author, Food Critic, Comics CEO | January 31, 2016 6:44 AM
Thanks for the clarification Aaron, I suppose that is likely the origin of the well-worn phrase "card-carrying communist."
Having read most of the 60's Marvels as a kid, many of them in real time, off of the spinner racks, my working idea was always that the Hulk's strength was potentially unlimited, based on the idea that the madder Hulk gets, the stronger he gets. Thus he was potentially stronger than anyone.
By reading this story in FF #12 (a very long time ago), I had the idea that the Hulk was a bit stronger than the Thing from the get-go, but that the Thing had a few advantages, like being more intelligent, a better-disciplined fighter, and a better strategist. Jack and Stan seemed to be making the point that there was more to being the better fighter than mere strength alone.
Thor could go toe-to-toe with the Hulk and seemed to be about even in terms of raw strength, but his mighty mallet gave him an edge. When he and the Hulk once went one-on-one in Journey Into Mystery, honor-bound Thor fought without using the hammer, and it came out in pretty much of an even draw, as I recall. However that story was only from Thor's point of view as he was recounting the fight to a group of young kids... and as Vince Bugliosi once said, "no matter how thin you make the pancakes, there are always two sides." That was Thor's side.
Posted by: James Holt | July 13, 2016 7:50 PM
James, the weird thing is that the idea that the Hulk gets stronger as he gets angrier wasn't introduced until Tales to Astonish 59- well after this issue.
Posted by: Michael | July 13, 2016 9:45 PM
Michael, I don't doubt that you're right... I actually started reading Marvels with the story which introduced Kraven the Hunter in Amazing Spider-Man, whatever year that was, and was immediately hooked. Then I later read these early FF issues as they were being reprinted in Marvel Collector's Item Classics, so my perspective on everything was a little skewed. There was no real back issue market at the time. One book store that I knew would occasionally sell old comics with the covers torn off (for return to the distributors for credit). I picked up many older comics that way, and also was allowed to read some of the older comics that my cousins and a few other neighborhood kids had collected. Thus I eventually read almost everything, but a lot of it was out of sequence. I had a great time with it though, and it immediately converted me from being a Superman/DC comics reader. I was probably about 9 and had been looking at Superman comics ever since before I was able to read.
Posted by: James Holt | July 13, 2016 10:00 PM
After posting the above comments about 2 weeks back, I acquired some reprints. I had confused this story (Fantastic Four #12) with Fantastic Four #25-26, so my comments above really don't apply to this earlier story, where the Thing/Hulk fight was inconclusive, and the characters were much less well-developed. My bad. My apologies.
Using this site as the main resource, I've been going through these early Marvel Age stories starting with the 1962 index page, and seeing how the characters develop in chronological context. Previously I'd read all the pre-1964 stories as reprints, after internalizing later retcons, refits, and expanded character developments, in my memory. Reexamining the 1962-63 period using this site as reference provides better perspective. The reviews and commentaries are of great help. Thanks.
Posted by: James Holt | August 1, 2016 1:38 AM
Actually according to the Marvel Chronology Project, the first crossover was Amazing Spider-Man#1 with the FF meeting Spider-Man which they place between FF#9 and Strange Tales#104.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | October 23, 2016 4:00 PM
Interestingly FF #12 and Amazing Spider-Man #1 both had March '63 cover dates and both had newsstand release dates of 12/10/1962 according to GCD. By those criteria, they would be tied for first place on the crossover finish line.
In fnord12's chronology which may not always agree with the MCP, FF #12 precedes ASM #1, so, according to this site's chronology, FF #12 is accurately described as the first crossover.
Posted by: James Holt | October 24, 2016 4:36 AM
I can accept that.
Posted by: Bobby Sisemore | October 24, 2016 6:01 PM
Comments are now closed.
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