FW Presents – Find Your Joy – The Incredible Hulk Paperback #2


Rob finds his joy by digging into the tiny but-oh-so-big world of Pocket Books' second Incredible Hulk paperback, collecting stories from TALES TO ASTONISH #s 85-99!

Check out images from this comic by clicking here!

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15 responses to “FW Presents – Find Your Joy – The Incredible Hulk Paperback #2

  1. Great show! Normally, I listen to podcasts at work, but I went ahead and listened to this one today because I loved this book so much as a kid.

    I first discovered the Hulk in a Marvel three-pack that contained Hulk 210, Amazing Spider-Man 167 and Thor 258. I immediately became a huge Hulk fan and was already stoked for the TV show before the pilot movie aired. Spider-Man also won me over pretty quickly, too.All three books were written by Len Wein and he is still one of my favorite writers. In addition to Batman and Superman, now I wanted all the Hulk and Spidey I could get my hands on.

    Like Rob, I collected both Hulk and Marvel Super Heroes. This Pocket book was fun because all the stories were new to me and the plots moved at such a rapid pace. I won’t go into individual stories, since Rob covered them so well. I don’t share Rob’s love for Gil Kane’s version of the Hulk, but I adored the Buscema and Severin art. Kane is one of my favorite Spider-Man artists. I think one of the stories that fascinated me was the High Evolutionary/New Men story, because I had a Giant Hulk coloring book (you remember those that were about the size of a small coffee table) that that adapted the New Men story.

    Since Rob asked, the Marvel Pocket books I had were Spider-Man 1 & 3 (I could never find 2….Grrrr), Fantastic Four, Captain America, and Hulk volumes 1 & 2. The Hulk volume 1 reprinted Incredible Hulk 1-6, which meant that Tales to Astonish 59-84 were skipped in the series. I think I got all my Pocket books at local grocery or drug stores that sold paperback books. These pocket books were probably my introduction to 60s Marvel and I will always love them for that, even though I now have the stories reprinted in larger size in other books.

    As for school, I remember buying the black & white Tor New Teen Titans paperback at a school book fair. It reprinted the preview from DC Comics Presents and NTT 1-3, meaning the book ended on a cliffhanger. Fortunately for me, I had started collecting the series with 4, so I didn’t miss out on anything and finally got to see what happened in the issues I missed. We also were given scholastic order forms to order books every so often. I don’t remember getting any super hero books from them, but occasionally we received free posters with our order, and I got a neat Superman poster drawn by Jose Luis Garcia Lopez. It is framed and still hanging in my house.

    Thanks again for covering one of the favorite books of my childhood.

  2. It was the Pocket Books collection of Spider-Man stories that made me appreciate Steve Ditko. Someone who knew I was into comics, gave me the second book in the Spider-Man series. At that point, no later than 9th grade, my exposure to Ditko’s work was mostly his Shade and recent Creeper stories. It was very different from the prevailing Neal Adams-influenced art of the time, and I didn’t particularly care for it. But, when I saw those early stories, with the solid inking, and those great facial expressions, I was enlightened! I found book #3 not long after, and so I was able to read a good chunk of Spidey’s first couple of years. However, I did not buy Marvel Tales! I think I was philosophically opposed to spending money on reprint titles then, when I could be buying other new comics.
    I don’t recall seeing any other Marvel Pocket Books back then.
    Oh, Scholastic Book Service! Instrumental in my collecting hobby! I think for me it started in fourth grade (’73-74). We would get a mini-catalog of books for sale, printed on four or eight pages of newsprint with reproductions of the covers and brief descriptions of the books. You’d check the boxes on the order form and put it in an envelope with the money. Some weeks later the books would arrive at school! I bought many Encyclopedia Brown books that way! However, and here’s my point, they also featured Dynamite magazine! Dynamite magazine was a magazine specifically for kids. It had little puff pieces about TV shows and movies. It had activities and crafts. It had puzzle pages and cartoons. But most importantly, for me, it had a feature called SuperHero Confidential! This would reprint two pages from an old comic, with a third page with more info in a Q & A format. It was through this magazine that I was introduced to, or learned about, the origins of: The Fantastic Four (a poster was included!), Iron Man, Daredevil, Captain Cold, Lex Luthor, The Owl, and maybe more. Within two years, I was buying comics regularly.

  3. Wonderful show, Rob, and what a great book to highlight.
    As I think I mentioned in the comments to one of your digest casts a long time ago, I had this book, as well as the first Hulk volume, which, as Gothosmansion noted, reprints issues 1-6 from the early 1960s. I’ve never figured out, nor read anywhere, why this specific set of stories was chosen for the second volume, instead of, say, the initial run of features from Tales to Astonish that were chronologically closer to original 6-issue run, or the first few issues of the post-TtA Hulk series.
    Regardless, though, I’m glad this book has these stories, because I just love them. In fact, I’ve always preferred this second volume to the first one, mainly because there’s so much more packed into it. Your summary of the contents demonstrates the compressed story-telling in those half-issue stories from the 1960s, and I love the variety of art by Buscema, Kane and Severin.
    You can also count me as a big fan of Kane’s rendering of the Hulk – like you, those are the stories in this book that I like the most. When I purchased the book again last year and started flipping through it, I was struck at how many of the pages and individual panels from the Kane stories had been etched into my memory – they really made an impression on me when I was a kid (of course, I read this and all of the other pocket books many times over back then, to the point that the pages came loose in several of them).
    Just one minor criticism: I’d hardly call the Stranger a B-level villain. He may not have figured very prominently in Hulk’s rogue gallery, but just in general he’s one of the more formidable adversaries in the Marvel universe, with almost god-like powers…

    As for other Marvel pocketbooks I had back in the day, besides the two Hulk books, they included all three of the Spider-man books, both Dr. Stranges, Fantastic Four, Spiderwoman and two of the Conan books that had a slightly different reprint format inside (the panels were larger so one comic book page was spread over two pages in the book – that means that each book only reprinted about 3 issues instead of the 7-8 you’d get in the other pocketbooks). The only one I never had is the Capt. America book. Currently I’ve reacquired them all of the ones I had except for the FF and Conan books.

    1. Thanks Edo! Glad to find another fan of Gil Kane’s Hulk!

      That’s cool you’ve gone back and gotten some of the other pocket books. I need to do this. Maybe for a sequel episode…

  4. I was a big fan of Scholastic Book Fairs as a kid, but I never saw any of these Pocket Books at my school’s fairs. I count that as a loss, because they sound like great little books.

    I will add that Scholastic Book Fairs are still going strong. I’m also happy to report that graphic novels and trade paperbacks covering many different genres are well represented at the fair that rolls into my daughter’s school every year. She’s so lucky.

    Thank you for introducing me to yet another alternative comic book format.

  5. A great episode, Rob! As much as I enjoyed the recap of all the issues (and the amount of story that’s packed in those issues), I think my favourite part of this series is your connection to the material. Hearing how you got this book from Scholastic and how it holds a special place for you is very enjoyable to hear. I feel like all of us have books that have special place in our hearts, not due to the contents, but due to how it was acquired. I’m pretty sure I only had one of these pocket books. I think it was a Spider-man one, but in black and white ( was that a Canadian thing?) and it made me feel like an adult because it was in novel format just like my mom’s Robert Ludlum books.
    Now that I’ve grown up (debatable), it’s neat to see my kids pore over the Scholastic order form seeing what books they want. It’s mostly books that come with toys, like Spy Kits, Lego books, etc. but I help point out the super-hero and Star Wars books.
    As a random side note, due to an older episode and your enthusiasm, I went out and bought a copy of Justice League of America #200. It’s just as good as you guys made it out to be and am finding my joy in every minute of it! Thanks!

    1. Thanks Mike! I did worry that by doing like 15 story recaps the show would get a bit dull, but I figured the real “value” to doing it was talking about why this particular book means so much to me. Thanks for listening!

      And yes, JLA 200! it’s everything a superhero comic should be, IMO.

  6. Great episode Rob! I could feel the joy seeping in through my ear buds. This sounds like a fantastic book. If I had to make a guess, I’d say that cover is by Kirby with a modified face, probably by Romita, which was common place at the time. Everyone liked to redraw Kirby’s faces in the 70s.

    I got that same Tor New Teen Titans reprint paperback that Gothosmansion mentioned above from a Scholastic book fair as well. I picked up a few other items of note at those: a Superman “Choose Your Own Adventure” type of book, a book on Universal Monsters, and oddly enough…a Transformers carrying case (?!?). Scholastic still has book fairs today, and both of my kids have bought comic TPBs of various formats from them, I’m very happy to say!


    1. I would have killed for a book on the Universal Monsters at a book fair, wow, how cool. I don’t know what to think about a Transformers carrying case, how random. Thanks for listening Chris!

  7. Nice episode. We don’t give the Bixby/Ferigno show enough credit for lighting our fires. It may be part of why I love the Hulk more than most Marvel creations, I don’t know. For sure for sure my mom disliked how it made us jump on the couch growling loudly.

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