Sunday, May 13, 2007

World War Hulk 1961!

In the comic book event World War Hulk, Marvel has the exiled Hulk return to earth after the good intentions of some super heroes goes awry, their actions eventually killing all the people the Hulk cared about on his new, adopted world. Understandably the Hulk is pretty angry and seeks revenge on all those he felt wronged him. I'm looking forwards to it because I like the character and get a kick out of the whole Hulk Smash! aspect. Comic books need to have plenty of hitting things and blowing stuff up. Without it you may just as well read a regular novel, what some people call a "real book".

But did you know there was a World War Hulk story back in 1961? Not only did it feature a character also called the Hulk (later re-named Xemnu the Titan for those of you not up on your Marvel history) but it only took 2 issues to tell the entire exciting story! In Journey Into Mystery #62 (November 1960), a giant furry alien called the Hulk escaped from a space prison and crashed onto the planet Earth.

Unable to conquer his home planet the Hulk set out to take control of the Earth with the unwitting assistance of a scientist who should have known better. Erroneously believing that any highly-advanced race of aliens couldn't possibly be evil the scientist revives the comatose Hulk. Of course, things go horribly wrong for Earth as the revived alien embarks upon a plan to attack his home world, using the populace of the Earth as his slaves. Using his scary mind powers the furry Hulk easily took control of the planet and was defeated only when a scientist tricked the Hulk into getting into a spaceship, exiling the creature into space. Does that seem familiar? That is because it has happened a few times since Journey Into Mystery #62. It not only occurred in the Planet Hulk story arc but also in the original 6 issue run of the Incredible Hulk series from way back in May of 1962.
A few months later in Journey Into Mystery #66 (March 1961) the Hulk returned, and this time it was personal!
Using his alien powers of super hypnotism the Hulk forced a passing meteor to smash into his prison ship, causing it to crash land onto Earth once more and freeing him from the makeshift prison.
The furry Hulk, having returned from a forced exile in space returns to Earth and declares war on mankind.
While the Hulk could easily conquer the Earth once more by using hypnotism as he did previously, he is pretty annoyed and prefers to use his superior hitting powers to force humanity into subjugation.
Eventually, the scientist the Hulk hates above all other humans shows up in town. Humanity can be saved from the rampaging Hulk if the scientist can exact his plan. Enraged, the Hulk delays his plans of planetary Armageddon for the chance to smash the human that had once outwitted him. The theme of the Hulk hating a puny scientist is one that would be used later in the Bruce Banner/Hulk dynamic and would essentially remain the status quo for decades until Bill Mantlo and Peter David explored in greater depth and evolved the concept.

The Hulk thinks the human will be easy to destroy but unbeknownst to him, the scientist has a crazy plan that just might work. The brave scientist would ultimately defeat the Hulk with the one thing he had no defense against...His own power! In the early 1960s all that excitement cost a reader a grand total of 20 cents! Even adjusted for inflation, what will the current World War Hulk story, cross-overs and tie-ins cost? The again, can you really put a price on quality entertainment, even if it is kind of recycled from 40 years ago? I think Marvel and Civil War answered that question already!

I suspect that the current World War Hulk comic book event will end in a similar fashion as the one from 1961. The 2007 Hulk will be forced to look into another kind of mirror and examine the motivations behind his rampage and surrender to the authorities or at least, return to the old status quo of being hunted by the military and hounded by various super heroes wherever he goes.



  1. "I will hypnotise your very atoms until they fall apart!"

    Must admit I'm a bit vague on the whole atom-hypnotising thing. Isn't he basically saying "I will look at you - TO DEATH!!"?

  2. Not any stranger than hypnotizing a meteor into crashing into your spaceship!

    Don't diss the Silver Age!


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