Sunday, July 20, 2008

The UNEDITED First Appearance Of The Incredible Hulk

Well, my friends, I FINALLY found that linked to a SCANNED copy of The Incredible Hulk #1.

Now, of course, on the subject of color, any scan is QUITE subjective. There's the matter of what sort of color the scanner is picking, what sort of artifacts might be added in the JPEG encoding, what sort of "balance" your monitor has, and then, most importantly, how your eyes and brain picks up color.

HOWEVER, you can see it IMMEDIATELY how the color on the pages is absolutely nothing like the nice neutral gray on the cover.

Oh, and, by the way, there are a number of scans of classic comic books at the site I was looking for: The Classic Comics Reading Room.

So the next question of course is - where did the green come from?

Well, actually the appearance on page 1 looks a little green, and the frame towards the center of page 9 ...

But wait a second - here's something I never noticed before ...

As I mentioned yesterday, that despite the fact the story of the television version of The Incredible Hulk was QUITE different from the comic book version, the plot element of the Hulk getting shot in the shoulder made it into the pilot of the TV show. AND - check this out - the Hulk clearly has WHITE EYES on pg. 11 of The Incredible Hulk #1.

But my guess is that the green must have come from page 18. If I had to guess that must have been some sort of attempt to represent some sort of "shadow" lighting.

Now that same frame from the Illustrator-happy people at Marvel shows the Hulk as that same bluish-gray color from the rest of the issue, but, as it was originaly printed, the Hulk definited looked green in the right center frame of page 18.

Of course the Hulk I have always found fascinating. In The Origins of Marvel Comics Stan Lee was talking about wanting to create a character that was both the good buy and the bad guy. He admits to borrowing elements from Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. The TV version of course was inspired by The Fugitive, which itself was inspired by Les Miserables, and Les Miserables, in turn, was based upon a real-life person named François Eugène Vidocq, who, over the course of his life, was both a good guy and a bad guy.

Of course with the gray color one wonders whether or not Stan Lee ever heard the Jewish story of the Golem - a semi-human creature created by the rabbis to protect the Jewish community.

As a matter of fact, there is some downright fascinating language in the Wikipedia article about the Golem - that in the Talmud (Tractate Sanhedrin 38b) it says that Adam was first created as a golem when his dust was "kneaded into a shapeless hunk". Of course the Talmud being written in Aramaic, I suspect another perfectly valid English translation of this section would be that, at first, Adam was formed into a "disorganized hulk".

If that is a potentially valid translation (anyone? anyone?), I would suspect the shiver up the spine factor would be pretty high by now.

Although, if you REALLY want to start freaking yourself out about the Hulk not just being a simple comic book story but rather a deep-seated part of the human consciousness, there is this matter of some people who believe Jesus to be a manifestation of the Egyptian god Horus (now you tell me that bird piece from the Louvre couldn't have morphed into a crucifix), and the father of Horus is Osiris.

Osiris ... is GREEN ...

And according to the Wikipedia article, green in ancient Egyptian culture symbolized rejuvenation.

Particularly in the television series of course the Hulk was known for tremenous recuperative abilities.

Yes, the further you dig, the eerier it gets ...

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