This would-be classic from 1973 shows us the Hawkeye we all knew and loved back when super hero tales came in monthly 20-cent installments. Long before his Avengers movie reinvention as a super assassin for SHIELD, Hawkeye was mostly a mouthy hothead with a recurve bow and a purple costume who wouldn’t hesitate to get into a fight with another superhero over a girl. In this case, fighting Daredevil over the Black Widow. He was great.
Since we’re from the future, we know, of course, that Scarlett Johansson will be revealed as the Black Widow, so fighting for her favor makes perfect logical sense.
As we excavated deeper into the stacks as part of our continuing celebration of The Incredible Hulk’s 50th anniversary, we came across this gem from 1970. Meet The Glob. Oh, sure, swamp creatures are everywhere now, but back then it was a novel idea for a villain. (Well, as novel as any other Marvel bad guy.)
Here’s your dose of Hulk trivia for the day: Marvel’s most famous swamp creature, the Man-Thing, first appeared in 1971. That makes The Glob the beta test version of the Man-Thing. Or maybe the true king of the swamp. I dunno. Let them fight it out.
What I do know, however, is that Marvel’s licensing arm needs to get busy turning this cover into one of those hipster retro/ironic T-shirts.
Continuing with our breathless coverage of The Incredible Hulk’s rapidly approaching 50th anniversary, here’s a nearly-forgotten gem from 1971. Comic books had not exactly broken through into the wider adult market at that point in time, so it was unusual to find an established writer willing to openly pen a story for a pulpy medium aimed at your average 12-year-old boy with a spare 15 cents rattling around in his pocket.
And yet, right there on the lower right-hand cover of The Incredible Hulk #140 is the blurb “Harlan Ellison Strikes Again!” Yes, the mighty Harlan was not afraid that his reputation might be soiled by working in the lowly comics field. Who knows what his reasoning was in taking on this job (beyond the obvious paycheck), but in hindsight it looks shrewd, introducing an entire young generation to his name and work. It was certainly my first exposure to him.
So what did Harlan concoct for the jolly green giant? (Spoiler alert!) In brief, the Hulk gets shrunk down by a bad guy to a microscopic world, where he finds a previously unknown race of green-skinned people. He finds acceptance and love before having it all ripped from him when he is returned to his normal size. Much smashing ensues.
All of which, now that I think of it, sounds amazingly like the plot for the “World War Hulk” storyline from a few years back. Ol’ Harlan really was ahead of his time.