The Incredible Hulk is an ongoing comic book series featuring the Marvel Comics
superhero the Hulk and his alter ego Dr. Bruce Banner. First published in May
1962, the series ran for six issues before it was cancelled in March 1963, and
the Hulk character began appearing in Tales to Astonish. With issue #102, Tales
to Astonish was renamed to The Incredible Hulk in April 1968, becoming its
second volume. The series continued to run until issue #474 in March 1999 when
it was replaced with the series Hulk which ran until February 2000 and was
retitled to The Incredible Hulk's third volume, running until March 2007 when it
became The Incredible Hercules with a new title character. The Incredible Hulk
returned in September 2009 beginning at issue #600, which became The Incredible
Hulks in November 2010 and focused on the Hulk and the modern incarnation of his
expanded family. The series returned to The Incredible Hulk in December 2011 and
ran until January 2013, when it was replaced with The Indestructible Hulk as
part of Marvel's Marvel NOW! relaunch.
The original series was canceled with issue #6 (March 1963). Lee had written
each story, with Jack Kirby penciling the first five issues and Steve Ditko
penciling and inking the sixth.
Tales to Astonish
Cover of Tales to Astonish #60 (Oct. 1964). Art by Jack Kirby and Sol Brodsky
A year and a half after the series was canceled, the Hulk became one of two
features in Tales to Astonish, beginning in issue #60 (Oct. 1964).
This new Hulk feature was initially scripted by writer-editor Lee and
illustrated by the team of penciller Steve Ditko and inker George Roussos. Other
artists later in this run included Jack Kirby from #68–87 (June 1965 – Oct.
1966), doing full pencils or, more often, layouts for other artists; Gil Kane,
credited as "Scott Edwards", in #76 (February 1966), his first Marvel Comics
work; Bill Everett inking Kirby in #78–84 (Feb–Oct. 1966); and John Buscema
penciling Kirby's layouts in #85–87. The Tales to Astonish run introduced the
supervillains the Leader, who would become the Hulk's nemesis, and the
Abomination, another gamma-irradiated being. Comics artist Marie Severin
finished out the Hulk's run in Tales to Astonish.
Beginning with issue #102 (April 1968) the book was retitled The Incredible Hulk
vol. 2, and ran until 1999, when Marvel canceled the series and restarted the
title with the shorter-titled Hulk #1.
The Incredible Hulk vol. 2 was published through the 1970s. At times, the
writers included Archie Goodwin, Chris Claremont, and Tony Isabella. Len Wein
wrote the series from 1974 through 1978. Nearly all of the 1970s issues were
drawn by either Herb Trimpe, who was the regular artist for seven years, or
Sal Buscema, who was the regular artist for ten years, starting with issue #194
(December 1975). Issues #180–181 (Oct.–Nov. 1974) introduced the character
Wolverine, who would go on to become one of Marvel Comics' most popular. The
original art for the comic book page that introduced Wolverine sold for $657,250
in May 2014. Key supporting characters included Jim Wilson and Jarella, both
of whom would make few appearances outside of this decade.
In 1977, Marvel launched a second title, The Rampaging Hulk, a black-and-white
comics magazine. This was originally conceived as a flashback series, set
between the end of his original, short-lived solo title and the beginning of his
feature in Tales to Astonish. After nine issues, the magazine was retitled
The Hulk! and printed in color. A nine-part "continuity insert" that in many
ways contradicted the original comics stories was retconned later as a movie
made by an alien movie producer, Bereet who also portrayed her people as
1980s and 1990s
Following Roger Stern, Bill Mantlo took over the writing with issue #245 (March
1980). Among the adversaries Mantlo created for the series were the U-Foes
and the Soviet Super-Soldiers. Mantlo's "Crossroads of Eternity" stories,
which ran through issues #300–313 (Oct. 1984 – Nov.1985), explored the idea that
Banner had suffered child abuse. Later The Incredible Hulk writers Peter David
and Greg Pak called these stories an influence on their approaches to the
series. After five years, Mantlo left the title to write Alpha
Flight, while Alpha Flight writer John Byrne took over the series and left
it after six issues, claiming, "I took on the Hulk after a discussion with
editor-in-chief Jim Shooter, in which I mentioned some of the things I would
like to do with that character, given the chance. He told me to do whatever was
necessary to get on the book, he liked my ideas so much. I did, and once
installed he immediately changed his mind—'You can't do this!' Six issues was as
much as I could take." Byrne's final issue featured the wedding of Bruce
Banner and Betty Ross. Byrne had done a seventh issue, consisting entirely
of one-panel pages. It was eventually published in Marvel Fanfare #29.
Al Milgrom briefly succeeded Byrne before new regular writer Peter David took
over with issue #331 (May 1987), the start of an 11-year tenure. He returned to
the Stern and Mantlo abuse storyline, expanding the damage caused, and depicting
Banner as suffering dissociative identity disorder (DID). In issue #377 he
merged Banner, the green Hulk, and the grey Hulk into a single being with the
unified personality, intelligence, and powers of all three. David claimed he had
been planning this from the beginning of his tenure on the series, and had held
off so that he could make the readers have an emotional attachment to the grey
Hulk. David worked with numerous artists over his run on the series,
including Dale Keown, Todd McFarlane, Sam Kieth, Gary Frank, Liam Sharp, Terry
Dodson, Mike Deodato, George Pérez, and Adam Kubert.
In 1998, David followed editor Bobbie Chase's suggestion to kill Betty Ross. In
the introduction to the Hulk trade paperback Beauty and the Behemoth, David said
that his wife had recently left him, providing inspiration for the storyline.
Marvel executives used Ross' death as an opportunity to push the idea of
bringing back the Savage Hulk. David disagreed, leading to his parting ways with
Marvel. His last issue of The Incredible Hulk was #467 (Aug. 1998), his
137th. Also in 1998, Marvel relaunched The Rampaging Hulk as a standard comic
book rather than as a comics magazine.