Sunday, August 30, 2009


Sal Buscema drew the Hulk comic for ten years from 1975-1985. It was his rendition that was the current one when I was coming up. In a way, I just thought that his Hulk was how the Hulk should properly look in comics. I’m reticent to say his Hulk is the definitive one for me out of deference to Kirby, but I suspect it probably is...

It’s difficult to pick one page of his work. He’s a very good storyteller, effectively building up tension, only to release it when the reader turns the page. Here are two pages from 1981 that just make the reader want to see what happens next:

One of my favourite stories had the Hulk chase a villain called Curtis Jackson across America for months (an eternity in kid time). When it seemed the Hulk had finally caught Jackson, after smashing his helicopter on top of a skyscraper, the criminal managed to get away again at the last second. The Hulk threw one of his biggest tantrums ever, reducing the skyscraper to rubble:

That story appeared in 1979, but I read it in Marvel UK reprints in 1984. Alongside the British weeklies, one would also pick up US originals occasionally, which were invariably years ahead in terms of storyline. In 1983, I picked one up and discovered that the Hulk was now operating with Banner’s intellect intact, which was interesting. He had gotten involved with a new love interest Kate Waynesboro, and set up a research facility for himself. In the story I picked up, he goes into the future in a story riffing off of a Harlan Ellison story:

The intelligent Hulk bit had already been done by Lee and Kirby in the 60s (like most everything in Marvel Comics), but this was the start of a protracted storyline using this gimmick. Indeed, the Hulk has never returned to the straightforward “Banner angry = Hulk” scenario since the early 80s. There is always added psychological baggage now.

Anyway back in 1985, Banner’s intelligence wore away leaving a truly mindless Hulk. Here is the final nail in Banner’s coffin as the Hulk rejects Waynesboro:

Buscema continues to draw the Hulk sporadically, most recently this cover from January this year:

Buscema drew one panel in 1982 which I think is my favourite portrait of the Hulk. It's the one on the right:

So there you have it, Sal Buscema.

And I guess I really should include the next page from the story I started with...

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