Collecting the HULK magazines
Published from 1977 to 1981, and running a total of 27 issues, Marvel comics HULK magazine has a fascinating history. Originally title The Rampaging Hulk, the series was Introduced in January of 1977 as part of the Marvel black and white line of mature comics. Having found great success with Savage Sword of Conan, Marvel had high hopes of duplicating that success with a Hulk series that would be free of the comics code authorities’ interference.
The initial plan for Rampaging Hulk was to tell lost stories that took place after the original HULK comic book got canceled (issue #6 – March 1963) but before the HULKS solo return in Tales to Astonish #60 (October 1964). Issue #1 introduces Bereet, a techno-artist, who later became a series regular in the mainstream Hulk comic written by Bill Mantlo. Graced with beautifully painted covers by Norem, Jusko, Barr, Starlin, and more. Interior artwork provides some of the first John Romita Jr published art ever seen, contributions from classic Hulk contributors Herb Trimpe & Sal Buscema. George Perez, Terry Austin, Walt Simonson, John Buscema, Brent Anderson, Jim Starlin, Gene Colan, and more! The final two issues of Rampaging Hulk, issues 8 & 9, interestingly contain a pre-Avengers meeting between Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, Ant-Man & Wasp, supposedly all within continuity until it wasn’t.
Marvel unfortunately changed their minds about this early run and later (1982) retconned the stories as being fan-fiction written by the alien Bereet on her home planet. Beginning with issue #10 the title switched to Full Color and tried to cash in on the hit INCREDIBLE HULK TV show. Gone were the stories that tied it to the Marvel Universe, gone were the supporting cast like Rick Jones and Bereet. Instead, every issue would follow the TV show’s format of Bruce Banner moving from town to town, getting involved with that town’s problems, and most often becoming the Hulk to resolve the problem.
Besides decent lead stories, Marvel packed these magazines with some decent backups. My favorites were the Howard Chaykin full-color Dominic Fortune stories, but they also gave some solo stories to Bloodstone, Man-Thing, Shanna the She-Devil, and most notably MOON KNIGHT. Issue #13 is probably the most valuable of the run, featuring the first instance of Bill Sienkiewicz drawing Moon Knight. With diminishing sales, issue #24 returned to the b&w format (though Dominic Fortune still got the full-color treatment), it was too little too late to save the series which eventually got canceled with issue #27.
A fun series with lots of hidden gems, and a must-have for anyone that collects HULK comics, I highly suggest trying to track down this small 27 issue run, most issues, with the exceptions of the ones with Moon Knight backups, are fairly affordable!