TreasuryCast #40 – Batman vs. The Incredible Hulk


Rob welcomes back fellow Fire and Water Podcast Network All-Star Ryan Daly to discuss one of Ryan's all-time favorite comics, DC SPECIAL SERIES #27: BATMAN VS. THE INCREDIBLE HULK by Len Wein, Jose Luis Garcia Lopez (PBHN), and Dick Giordano!

Check out images from this comic by clicking here!

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14 responses to “TreasuryCast #40 – Batman vs. The Incredible Hulk

  1. Oh, yeah! Love this one, and I was wondering when you would get to it. I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation, gentlemen, although at times I experienced a bit of deju vu. That’s because about 3 years ago I participated in a round-table review of this one with two other guys at the Bronze Age Babies blog. We seem to have hit all of the same notes: gushing over the art by JLGL (PBHN), the unusual outfit worn by the movie-watching girl in the opening pages, the infamous kick to Hulk’s gut, the last scene echoing the TV show, etc.

    Your closing question about who the respective heroes should meet in hypothetical sequels to this story really got me thinking. For the Hulk, I keep coming back to the Flash and the Atom, just because both of their alter-egos are scientists, and that would make for some interesting interactions with Banner – especially Ray Palmer, since they’re both physicists. Also, I keep thinking that an Atom team-up could incorporate a visit to Jarella’s sub-atomic world. The only problem there is that the Atom in particular is not necessarily a marquee character.
    For Batman, I think back in 1981 or thereabouts, it would have been perfectly natural to have a crossover with Daredevil, since that character was right in the midst of Frank Miller’s fan-favorite run – and fans would have been overjoyed at the prospect of Miller drawing that team-up story. Otherwise, the Batman and Captain America team-up by Byrne is my favorite crossover ever, so I really can’t think of anything that could top it.

  2. Does anyone else notice the similarities between this story and the DC Heroes module The Dream Machine, profiled in the latest (tenth) Hero Points podcast?

    1. Didn’t even know there was a pocketbook edition. Even though I’m a big fan of pocketbook and digest reprints, I’d agree that that format wouldn’t do this story any favors. I also have it in a smaller format: the 1995 special edition reprint, which is the same size as a standard comic book. The reproduction is pretty nice, though, except for those b&w extras on the inside covers (the cover sketches and the encapsulated origins) – the images are way too small in that format.

  3. Great show guys! I somehow totally missed the treasury, but I did get that Warner Books paperback-sized edition shortly thereafter! I still have my childhood copy, even though I read it to death. I can’t really add much that you guys didn’t cover, other than I think DeCarlo pinch-hit for Giordano on the inks on a few pages. He was Dick G’s assistant at the time, and you can see his chisled-like inks on the pages where Banner is changing in the containment suit, for instance.

    Loved the Rage Cage stinger at the end! I always wanted that!


  4. The last DC tabloid. I would have guessed the Fortress of Solitude book came later, but a quick visit to Amazing Mike’s Amazing World proved me wrong. I was never a regular reader of Hulk stories, but I sure bought this one regardless! It’s a strange story, but it looks so good!
    While you were discussing it, I was reminded of a two Hembeck gags. I think they were both in “Abbott and Costello Meet the Bride of Hembeck,” not in his Daily Planet strips or Dateline:@#$@! First was a reference the (then) proposed team-up of Batman and Hulk, and someone (Deadman?) saying how it makes little sense, except that the Hulk has been on TV, so maybe that’s the criteria. The other gag was Hulk meeting Captain Marvel, and being confused because he didn’t resemble the Captain Marvel he had met previously. Cap, not displaying the wisdom of Solomon, was rude to the Hulk, and Hulk beat him up. He seemed incredulous, but I guess as far as Hembeck is concerned, Hulk is strongest one there is!
    Although I haven’t read many Hulk stories, I have read many synopses of Hulk stories, and it seems to me that the Hulk, c.1981, was almost always a re-active character rather than a protagonist. So, almost any story with the Hulk is someone else’s story. He gets attacked by the Army, or Sub-Mariner, or Loki, or the Leader, and reacts with violence. Bruce Banner sets things in motion sometimes, but something goes wrong and the Hulk appears and hits stuff. So, naturally this is a Batman story with the Hulk in it. They don’t team up. The Hulk is just another obstacle in Batman’s path to his goal. For those who lament the absence of Hulk’s supporting cast, such as it was, please note that Robin doesn’t even get a cameo!

  5. Awesome episode! It is always great treat to hear Rob & Ryan podcast together.I too have never read this one simply because of it’s high going price, I’ve never been able to track it down. I need to try to find the reprint from the mid 90’s done with the gold colored trade dress (this reprint series is how I have the first Superman/Amazing Spider-Man crossover, as well as the X-MEN vs. Teen Titans crossover).

    A very odd (and sad) personal anecdote about t meeting Jose Luis Garcia Lopez and some original art from this comic. It was either MCBA Spring or Fall Con held in the Minnesota State Fair Grandstands in 2012, and JLGL was a guest, so me and my ground of comic collecting buddies from around the state Iowa that drove up together were naturally pretty excited. I’m by far the youngest of the group, but we all waited in line at Jose’s table patiently for a good 30-40 minutes for him to show-up (he got there late to the Con). My buddy Sean was first in line with a fistful of cash ready to drop on whatever original art treasures JLGL brought with him to the Con. I was probably 5th or 6th in line. When Jose arrived at the table with his handler, the line was probably 30 people long or so, and so while I’m waiting for it to be my turn to gaze at the amazing art he had for sale in portfolios, which was currently in Sean’s hands and he looked for a page or 2 to buy, I pulled out the 5 or 6 issues I was going to have Jose sign, including Action Comics 484, Superman 301, and DC Comics Presents #1 & 2. At that time, these 2 very strange individuals approached the table from the back (behind Jose), one, I kid you not, looked like the little Cosmic Key troll guy, Gwildor from the Dolph Lundgren Masters of the Universe Movie. I’m not joking, these demented little late 40’s to early 50’s man looked just like that dude, and the other guy, someone in his early 20’s looked like the nerdy stereotype character from Robot Chicken (the one with the lisp).

    My friend Sean had just selected the page he was going to buy, a JLGL original from this Batman vs. the Hulk treasury, the page featured both Batman & Hulk in action, for only $200 or so, what a deal, he pulled the page out of the portfolio, set it on the table, and was pulling the money out of his wallet to pay Jose, when all of a sudden, the nerdy Robot Chicken guy comes up to my comics that I’m laying out, and exclaims “Oooh what are these?!?! COMICS?!?!” and then he grabs my comics and starts sliding them across the table, everyone stops where they’re doing and looks like this psycho touching my comics, including my friend Sean, at which point, the despicable little troll guy comes, yanks the JLGL Batman vs. Hulk page out of my friends grasp, and throws the $200 at JLGL and then they both scurry off into the crowd and disappear. No joke! My comic covers were bent, and my friend had just gotten his page, that he waited in line for, snatched from his grasp by this line cutter & he’s left there, completely devastated. We hunted the crowd for those 2 a-holes for the next 3 hours, but they were gone. I think they paid the $10 entry fee to get into the Con, with the intent of getting the best possible page from JLGL at any means necessary, and then took off ASAP, no doubt with the intention of flipping it, which I’m sure they did for quite the profit. To this day, Sean is still devastated by the whole occurrence, and I have signed, yet bent cover copies of some of my favorite JLGL Superman covers. I did get a sweet JLGL Superman punching a robot sketch, but damn was that experience forever tainted.

      1. Jose was awesome! He was such a nice guy! Got a great sketch from him, but what an odd occurrence forever tied to meeting him.

  6. Thanks for another tremendous edition. I’ve never read this one but I suspect I have it in a regular-sized Crossover Classics collection. Apologies if I missed it, but was there any in-comics reference to Batman and the Hulk sharing an ‘unmanly’ name?

    How about Batman and original Ms Marvel – overprotective alpha male meets waspish ‘women’s libber’. And Hulk vs Green Arrow – let’s see how your boxing glove arrow does, Ollie!

    I think you lads just came up with another potential show for the network…. Fire and Water Presents Happy Birthday Comics (cue Stevie Wonder Woman). The guest names a comic published the day they were born and the host joins in! It could run when Mountain Comics is off season. You’re welcome!

  7. Add me to the list of people who read this story, but not in Treasury format. I don’t have my copy anymore (dad-gum flood and movings), but I loved it so much. The smaller size I had was better than nothing, but Treasury size is obviously THE format for this story, especially the artwork!

    Oh, how I wish there had been a “we Bruces have to stick together” line in this book. Alas, no.

    While the Shaper of Worlds didn’t make sense to me for the Hulk half of the villains, in hindsight it made for a compelling “world at stake” threat, and provided the opportunity for the villain line-up that Rob mentioned, which was glorious.

    I really would like to have seen Batman and Iron Man back then, because they’re the same as civilians, but completely different as heroes. Or in a couple of years, Batman and Rhodey instead of Tony.

    Put me down for Hulk and the Flash. Barry does have a habit of teaming up with green characters.

    Great episode, guys!

    1. Awesome show, guys. You did a great job of hitting the high points on one of my favorite treasuries and one of my favorite comics, period.

      I mentioned in my iTunes review for TreasuryCast about finding this in the wild at my local Super Value grocery store. I had no idea it was coming out and finding it was one of the greatest thrills of my comics collecting career. As I stated then, when I saw this treasury, I knew what comic I was taking home that day.

      You guys did a great job of praising JLGL and he deserves every bit of it. I read an interview where he said he felt like his art should service the story and not show-off and overwhelm it. I feel like JLGL always services the story first, but I don’t think there is another artist with such beautiful graphics, who is a great story teller and manages to have a great design and sense of action. My favorite sequence in the treasury was the scene where Hulk throws the car at Batman and Batman jumps through the windows. The image of Batman first attacking the Joker’s hoods is one of my choices for “coolest Batman images” in my entire history of reading comics.

      For all the deserved praise for JLGL, let’s not forget writer Len Wein. This story should be too fantasy oriented for Batman and shouldn’t work…but it does. Batman was Wein’s favorite character. In a book that featured interviews with Spider-Man creators, Wein stated he left Marvel for DC in the late 70s not because of money, but because DC told him he could write Batman. Wein also stated that the Hulk was his favorite Marvel character and I think his love for both shines through in the treasury. I recommend his runs on both characters if you’re a fan of either…just great stuff. Wein was ideal for team-ups because he seemed to “get” every character that he wrote. Plus, he was a fan and didn’t want to “break the toys.”

      A couple of more things about Wein. He stated, due to his love for both Batman and the Hulk, this was his favorite story he ever wrote. Also, when he was a teen, he had health problems and mentioned that once when he was in the hospital, doctors told Wein’s father that Len wouldn’t make it through the night. Wein said he knew the Batman TV show was debuting in a few weeks and he wasn’t going to miss that and pulled through.

  8. A friend turned me onto this episode. Love this issue, for many of the reasons that you mentioned on air. I will clarify that, while the “cover process” page with prelims is fun, Jose has confirmed that it never happened he wasn’t given corrections on the cover. Given his process, it is more likely that these images were prelims that he provided, for the editor to choose from. The one most closely resembling the final cover was the option that they went with.

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