Tuesday, March 28, 2017

1964: The Return of Marvel's Missing Monster

From March 1963 to October 1964, the Incredible Hulk wandered in the wilderness, both literally and metaphorically.
After his comic book ended with its 6th issue, he was a monster without a title.
But Stan Lee made skillful use of this tortured former protagonist as an antagonist against the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Thor and Giant-Man, and that move accomplished two purposes. It kept the Hulk alive in the minds of young readers, and it nurtured their growing sense of a vast, interconnected fictional universe, a Marvel universe.
Namor served the same function at the same time.
Rarely out of sight or mind, the Hulk returned in a new feature in Tales to Astonish 60. Drawn again by Steve Ditko, the Hulk was finally established in the form in which most people now know him — as a scientist turned into a monster by stress, anger, the fight-or-flight response.
Shared titles were necessary in Marvel’s expanding universe, and each of them had its own theme. Tales of Suspense featured the out-and-out superheroes, Captain America and Iron Man. Strange Tales featured two characters on the fringes of the superhero world, Nick Fury and Dr. Strange. And once Giant-Man departed, Tales to Astonish featured the Hulk and the Submariner, two super-antiheroes.

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