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The Incredible Hulk, 1962 Series

Comic Book Values

Publisher: Marvel

Introduction to Incredible Hulk #1

The Incredible Hulk #1 hit the newsstands in the spring of 1962. It was the second title launched during the Marvel Age, just a few months after The Fantastic Four #1 debuted in late 1961. Like FF and most other Marvel “key” issues of the day, the first issue of The Incredible Hulk was produced by the legendary team of writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby. Like the Thing before him in Fantastic Four, it was another tentative step into the super-hero market without alienating the monster comic market they had cultivated. Although the initial series lasted only six issues, the Hulk would eventually become one of Marvel’s most popular superheroes - powerful, significantly flawed, and immensely likeable, qualities typical of Marvel characters.

Brief History of Incredible Hulk

The first issue introduces the character of Bruce Banner and his alter-ego, the Hulk. After being caught in a gamma bomb blast, mild-mannered Bruce Banner transforms into an unstoppable monster filled with rage. In Incredible Hulk #1, the mechanics of Bruce Banner’s transformation are still being developed; the Hulk appears whenever it is nightfall, instead of appearing at most anytime when Bruce Banner is stressed. The strip resembled more of a Dr. Jeckle / Mr. Hyde feel than the later misunderstood Frankenstein monster he became.

It is also notable for being the only issue in which the Hulk has gray skin. By the time the second issue was created, the Hulk was given his signature green skin. The series literally came “out of nowhere”, Marvel essentially rolling the dice in the days when rival DC ruled the superhero comics publishing world. Unlike other Marvel superheroes that were introduced over the next few years - Thor, Iron Man, Ant-Man, and Dr. Strange to name a few - there was no “try-out” for the Hulk. After launching the title, however, it ran only six issues, with Marvel relegating the Hulk to appearing in other Marvel titles before landing a regular feature spot in the anthology title Tales to Astonish in 1964. Eventually, the ultimate strongman earned his own title again in 1968.

During his classic years, stories were mostly composed by Stan Lee, Roy Thomas and Len Wein with the art chores falling primarily to Herb Trimpe and siblings John and Marie Severin.

How much is Incredible Hulk #1 worth?

Because the first series is relatively rare compared to other Marvel Age “key” issues and ran for such a limited time, all six issues of the original series are highly collectible, with the demand resulting in high values, especially for the first issue, which currently commands the #2 spot on the 2019 Overstreet’s Top 50 Silver Age Books list, second only to Amazing Fantasy #15. According to the 2019 Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide a 9.2 copy is valued at $285,000.

What is the most expensive Incredible Hulk #1 sold at auction?

In 2016, the Northland Pedigree CGC 9.2 copy of Incredible Hulk #1 sold for the smashing price of $375,000.

What Incredible Hulk comics are expensive?

The initial six-issue run are all pricey, all six having sold high-grade copies over $10,000. The White Mountain Pedigree CGC 9.6 copy of Incredible Hulk #2 sold in 2013 for $47,000.

Once the Hulk re-establishes his own title in 1968 with Incredible Hulk #102, this first issue’s best effort topped out when the Rocky Mountain Pedigree issue in CGC 9.8 sold for $10,250 in 2009. Doc Samson’s debut smashed its way to $3,050 in 2016 for the Suscha News Copy in CGC 9.8. Wolverine makes his first, albeit, brief appearance in Incredible Hulk #180. A CGC 9.8 comic sold in 2010 for $10,000.

One of the more in-demand and valuable comic books from the Bronze Age is Incredible Hulk #181, published in 1974, revered by collectors for the first full appearance of Wolverine. The issue currently ranks #2 on the 2019 Overstreet’s Top 25 Bronze Age Comics list and looks to keep climbing. In 2018, a CGC 9.8 copy sold for $39,000. This is not a misprint and Incredible Hulk #181 in 9.8 routinely sells above $30,000.

Incredible Hulk #1 Cover Art

The cover art for Incredible Hulk #1 was created by co-creator Jack Kirby.

Characters from Incredible Hulk #1

Besides the Hulk (Bruce Banner), it contains the first appearances of key characters from throughout the series, including Betty Ross, General Thaddeus Ross, and Rick Jones. Unique to the story are Igor and the Gargoyle.

Plot Summary of Incredible Hulk #1

Incredible Hulk #1 features a story in five chapters. We open as scientist Dr. Bruce Banner is making final preparations to test his G-Bomb to test the effects of Gamma Rays. Rival scientist Igor questions Banners reasons for not sharing details about the bomb. In burst General “Thunderbolt” Ross demanding to know why the test hasn’t started yet as his daughter Betty tries to calm him down. As the test goes into its final countdown, Bruce spies a teen-ager foolishly driving on to the test range. Bruce rushes out to save the lad, telling Igor to hold the count until he is safe. Banner reaches Rick Jones, there on a bet, and drags him to safety. Before he can join Jones in the safety trench, the G-Bomb explodes as Igor had deliberately failed to stop the countdown. Back at the base everyone, including Banner, can’t believe he’s still alive. Banner and Jones are sequestered in a room to wait for further test and symptoms when the sun sets. In this early version, it is the setting sun that figures into the transformation, turning Dr. Bruce Banner into the Hulk!

Confused, Hulk brushes Rick aside as he crashed to freedom. Feeling a sense of duty to Banner since he had saved his life, Jones follows after the Hulk into the desert. Leaving the base, a jeep crashed into Hulk who continues to wander to his unknown destination. Upon seeing the destruction, troops follow the trail. “Fan out men! We’ve got to find that - - that Hulk!!” shouts a soldier, thus giving the creature the name he will forever bear. What follows is pretty good too, the uncovering of the red spy, early encounters with a military that wants to hunt the Hulk down and the Gargoyle’s selfless sacrifice as his captives Dr. Bruce Banner and Rick Jones flip the script and show him kindness.

How rare is Incredible Hulk #1?

It is difficult to determine exactly how many original Incredible Hulk #1 are still around today due to many of these comics being part of private collections. The CGC census indicates they have certified over 1,700, which is about half as many certified copies of Amazing Fantasy #15 which came out just six months later. You will also find it extremely difficult to find a copy in 9.2 or higher as CGC has only certified seven copies to date.

Original art to Incredible Hulk #1

The original art for Incredible Hulk #1 has never surfaced. Are you holding it for the right time to sell?

Other valuable Incredible Hulk art

Without a doubt, Wolverine’s first appearance will hold the record for a long time to come. In 2014, the last page of Incredible Hulk #180, featuring an oversized image of Wolverine sold for $657,250. Herb Trimpe and Jack Abel were the art team on story written by Len Wein. Ironically, in second place in the Heritage Auctions archive, is the rest of the story. In 2019, they sold the other 15 pages of Incredible Hulk #180 for $84,000. Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers provide the next highest auction sale at $59,750 for the splash page to “Beauty and Beast” from Incredible Hulk #5.

Why sell your vintage comics and original comic art with Heritage Auctions?

  • Our marketing reach and a huge base of members mean more bidders and higher realized prices for your collectible comics.
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  • 2019 was a record year with $79 million-plus sold, topping $58 million in Comics and Comic Art sold in 2018; triple all other comic auctioneers combined!
  • World’s Most Valuable Auction of Comic Books, Comic Art, and Related Memorabilia: $15.121 million (May 2019)
  • World record for comic artist Robert Crumb - Fritz the Cat Cover, $717,000.
  • The world record for comic artist Frank Frazetta - Egyptian Queen, $5.4M
  • World record for comic artist Neal Adams - Batman #251 Cover, $600,000

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