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Sunday, 28 February 2016

Green-skinned nostalgia

Here are three Hulk-related oddities I accumulated over a period of 15 years or so. If the period in question was 2001-2016 that would be little more than the blink of an eye – but actually I’m referring to circa 1970 to 1985, which was a very long time indeed. As most readers of this blog will be aware, time used to pass a lot slower in the 20th century than it does nowadays.

The earliest of the three items is the paperback book, published by New English Library in 1967. It contains black & white reprints from the original (1962) Hulk comic and from Tales to Astonish. According to the copyright page, it was previously issued in the USA by Lancer Books. I think I acquired my copy in 1970, possibly in a “swap” with a schoolfriend. At one time I also had a similar Spider-Man paperback, but I couldn’t find it when I looked for it last week.

The medallion is inscribed “The Incredible Hulk – World’s Strongest Mortal” with a copyright date of 1974. I probably bought it that year – via mail order from The Mighty World of Marvel or another British Marvel comic. It came in the form of a bolo tie – a type of neckwear that was briefly popular around that time (Isaac Asimov was wearing one when I saw him in Birmingham in June 1974). You can see it in the photo at the bottom of this post, which also shows the “tails” side of the medallion. This depicts Bruce Banner transforming into the Hulk, together with the quote "Within each of us, ofttimes, there dwells a mighty raging fury”.

The third item in the top picture is a Hulk video game for the Commodore 64. This is dated 1984, but I didn’t get my C64 until the following year, which must have been when I bought the game. By that time I was working in Oxford as a postdoctoral research assistant, running computer simulations on a “grown-up” computer (a VAX 11/780 – which invokes a completely different type of nostalgia). According to the user guide, the game features Doctor Strange and Ant-Man (Henry Pym) as well as the Hulk. The background info mentions that “Among Pym’s more dubious accomplishments was the creation of the mad robot Ultron” … which is perfectly true, of course (despite any nonsense the youth of today might believe about Ultron being created by Tony Stark).


Kid said...

The cover of The Hulk book looks as if it's trying to align itself with the 'Wham! Bop! Zowee!' campness of the then-current Batman craze, Andrew. I like the medallion, and for the life of me, I don't know why I didn't send away for these things at the time. Oh, for a Tardis!

Andrew May said...

Yes, it's a terrible cover, isn't it? Not very Marvel-looking at all. You're probably right about the marketing logic.

The difference between the medallion and the other two items is that most people who bought it probably still have it lying around somewhere. On the other hand, not many people would bother to keep a downmarket paperback and an obsolete video game!

Incidentally, one of my Facebook friends replied by posting a picture of his copy of Avengers #1 from 1963. That puts all my items in the shade! Apparently he got it for 7/6 at the first British Comic Convention in Birmingham in 1968.

Kid said...

Avengers #1? I've got the first three issues. Whoever's got the first four wins!

Andrew May said...

But did you get your copy of #1 for 37.5p (which is what I think 7/6 equates to)?

The earliest Avengers issue I ever had is #14 (and I've still got it)

Kid said...

I got mine about 30 years ago, but I don't think I paid what should've been the going rate. It was about £30 or £35 I think. I may still have a note of it somewhere - if I ever find it I'll let you know the exact cost.

Kid said...

Oops, that's a bit ambiguous. I meant that I think it was worth MORE than I paid for it.

Andrew May said...

I've got a price guide from 1996 (which I still think of as "quite new") which gives $2000 for Avengers #1 in near-mint condition. So even if yours was bought ten years before that, and in less than perfect condition, £30 is still quite a bargain!

Kid said...

Oh, it was definitely a bargain, Andrew. I was fair-chuffed at the price.