Friday 9 March 2012

Herb Trimpe's all-time Top Ten Hulk covers.

The Mighty World of Marvel - thirty six pages of magic that entered my life every Saturday in the 1970s. Its line-up changed over the years but one thing never changed.

Every issue began with the Hulk.

Even now, re-reading his old tales gives me more far pleasure than it ought to. Why is this? No doubt because anyone with any sense wants to be able to bend street lamps with their bare hands, and thus the Hulk appeals straight to the heart of what it is that makes super-hero comics appealing.

Reading The Incredible Hulk #127, a couple of days ago, for my post on that issue, reminded me just how much I love old Hulk stories. And so, fired up with a suitable passion, here's my ten favourite Hulk covers that were drawn by Happy Herb Trimpe - the Hulk artist of the 1970s.

Incredible Hulk #140, Jarella and Psyklop
The Hulk finally finds love - but not for long, as naughty old Psyklop crashes the party.

Incredible Hulk #110, Umbu, Ka-Zar and Zabu
Ka-Zar swings into action as Umbu the Unliving strikes.
Let's face it, what sort of mad person wouldn't want to read a comic that features a monster called, "Umbu the Unliving"?

Incredible Hulk #122, Fantastic Four, Hulk vs Thing
It's an orange monster vs a green monster! 
It's the Hulk vs the Thing!
It's all happening on the side of the Baxter Building!

Incredible Hulk #181, Wolverine and the Wendigo
The Wolverine makes his debut and heads straight for our hero.

Incredible Hulk #135, Kang the Conqueror
Thanks to Kang, time weighs heavily on the Hulk's shoulders.

Incredible Hulk #131, Iron Man
Can it be? Can it be curtains at last for our hero?

Incredible Hulk #109, Ka-Zar and Zabu
It's Ka-Zar again, as Herb gives us serpentine layout packed with power and portent.

Incredible Hulk #121, the Glob
I love that colour scheme.
I love the Glob.
I love the cover.

incredible Hulk #142, the Valkyrie
It's got the Hulk. It's got the Valkyrie. It's got a storm. It's got the Empire State Building.
Not only that but just dig how the angle of the masthead conflicts with that of the rest of the shot, to give us a cover seething with drama.

Incredible Hulk #141, Doc Samson
Doc Samson makes his debut.
And, just for a moment, he manages to convince us he's actually a threat to the Hulk.


Dougie said...

I too love Umbu and the Glob. Played by Elliot Gould and James Caan.

Kid said...

Actually, for just over the first year, MWOM had 40 pages. Shame it couldn't sustain its initial greatness. The fact that I'm still buying its current incarnation nearly 40 years later (with 76 pages) is truly astounding.

Super-Duper ToyBox said...

sometimes i just buy a comic for the cover- i consider it High Art. these are fun!

R. W. Watkins said...

The blonde on the cover of No 142 looks very Ditkoesque--like Gwen Stacy in the early Spidey comics and the villainesses Ditko drew for Charlton in the '70s.

Anonymous said...

Herb Trimpe (pronounced Trimp-y as I recall one Bullpen Bulletin page telling me) was indeed responsible for some of the great Hulk stories in my memory. But my first major run on MWOM was in Marie Severine's day, so my affection for her rendition is strongest, despite a few flaws which are now more obvious.

But on Trimpe, I confess to being traumatised 20-odd years later by the style of art he adopted, seemingly aping the latest hotshots on the block. It was probably the last straw for me and I've never regularly bought new comics since.


Anonymous said...

I always liked Trimpes art even when he tried to do a poor version of Kirby but for me he really shone when the (sadly) late/great John Severin inked his work - Loved all those covers they are really good and make you want to read the comic unlike so many of todays covers that are basically posters or girly shots - like you Kid I also oick up the new MWOM, 40 years after I picked up issue 1 in '72 in R S McColls in Rutherglen ! - McScotty

Boston Bill said...

I love Trimpe. He made me love the Hulk, and ol' Greenjeans never looked quite right drawn by anyone else.

I agree with the assessment of his style change later on. I bought an FF issue (during their Ant-Man days) where they battled the Frightful Four. I was astounded to read that it was Trimpe's work and assumed pressure from editors for the change.

But I'll always love Trimpe. I even loved the Godzilla comic because of him. He just worked with big and green!

Steve W. said...

Ant-Man's been a member of the Fantastic Four? How did I miss out on such a thing?

Boston Bill said...

Because you're lucky.

Anonymous said...

I was hoping to see the cover for Hulk #167 on your list. That's the cover where Modok is trying to crush Hulk under his foot. Those of you not familiar with the cover may wonder how could Modok stomp on Hulk with such puny legs. Well, what is cool is Modok is in a big robot suit!
Almost as cool is the giant monster with two heads attacking the Hulk as he is changing back to Banner in Hulk #169.
The second head is not to the side, but on top! Go to the Marvel Wikia and check it out! Never heard of MWOM. Must have been distributed in UK only?

Steve W. said...

Yup, Mighty World of Marvel was published in the UK between 1972 and 1979 and reprinted a zillion-and-one Marvel stories from the 60s and 70s.

Anonymous said...

I was hoping to see the cover to Hulk #167 on your list. Modok is trying to crush the Hulk under his foot. Those of you unfamiliar with this issue will wonder how could Modok stomp on Hulk with such puny legs. Well, Modok is in a giant robot suit!
#168 has a cool two-headed monster attacking Hulk as he is changing back to Banner. The second head is not to the side, but on top of the first head!
Never heard of MWOM. Must be a UK thing?
The Hulk must necessarily be depicted with huge muscles.
Ever notice that some characters that don't need huge biceps are drawn with them anyway?
For example, I have seen the Watcher drawn with muscular arms. He is does not engage in fistacuffs, so why draw him with the huge arms?

Steve W. said...

I do always wonder how strong characters like the Watcher and Galactus are physically.