Tuesday, August 1, 2017




If you're a regular reader of this blog (or read into my pen name) you know that I'm a big fan of the Hulk. In a past blog, I posted "My Top 30 Greatest Super Heroes of All Time" where I rank my best of the best superheroes, you can probably guess where the Hulk comes in (go read it anyway, it's a hoot). I've even posted many other informative articles on the Green-Skinned Goliath during the years. But in this write up, I'm going to go all out because I always have a need to carry "the classic Hulk-banner of hope" to the rubes. And yes, the key word here is "classic" because I'm not really a big fan of the character (or comics) today. If you want to know more about this it can be read in full here: "My Top 20 Greatest Hulk Stories Ever."

While I was already familiar and loving super heroes because of the Super Friends and 1967 Spider-man cartoons as a child, nothing, but nothing could prepare me for the impact that The Incredible Hulk would make in my life. My first exposure to the Green Goliath was when my mother made me go to bed early because she thought I would get nightmares if I saw the live-action made-for-TV-movie; The Incredible Hulk starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno back in 1977 (it was the first "pilot" episode). I peeked in, secretly watched the whole thing and became a Hulk-addict before I went to sleep. It was that simple. Not Superman, not Spider-man, not Batman, not anything impacted me the way the Hulk did. It was a mind-altering experience for my impressionable 4 year old brain. 

Then The Incredible Hulk live-action series began rolling in 1978 that kept me glued to the tube every Friday night until its end in 1982. If that wasn't enough, during that time the Hulk became a national phenomenon and Hulk-merchandise was everywhere you looked. This would lead me to want to get the greatest toy ever in 1979; The Mego Elastic Hulk (read about that debacle here: "In Search of the Holy Grail of Hulk"). And as the fates would have it, the first comic book I was ever given was The Incredible Hulk #247 (1980) on my 7th birthday. There was no turning back now. I constantly ran around my neighborhood with no shirt, bare feet and ripped up Toughskin jeans or an occasional Ben Cooper Hulk costume that managed to survive Halloween night. All I wanted in life was the Hulk and that's the way it was going to stay.

So that's my love for the character. But the Hulk already existed for more than 15 years before I ever knew about him. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the Hulk first appeared in The Incredible Hulk #1 (1962). He is cast as the emotional and impulsive alter ego of the withdrawn and reserved physicist Dr. Bruce Banner. The Hulk appears shortly after Banner is accidentally exposed to mega doses of gamma rays from the blast of a test detonation of a Gamma Bomb (or G-Bomb) he invented. Subsequently, Banner will involuntarily transform into the Hulk, during times of anger, fear or stress thus leading to extreme complications in his life.

Today, the Hulk's popularity is bigger than ever as he has been appearing in blockbuster movie after movie as well as having merchandise all over the world. He also appears in so many Marvel titles that it's almost impossible to keep track of them all. But, like I said at the beginning, although the Hulk is more widely known than ever before, he isn't the same character he once was in the comics as different incarnations and interpretations of him appear in stories (it's a damn travesty if you ask me). So in keeping with my "classic" Hulk theme in this article; I'm posting my 25 favorite Hulk comic book covers that captured my imagination and defined the character in my mind. So you might look at this list and think that other legendary or contemporary Hulk covers should've been included, but they probably didn't do much for me. Who knows, maybe you'll agree with some and maybe you won't, either way the Hulk will always remain one of Marvel's most enduring characters. Enjoy the gamma-irradiated power. 

25.) MARVEL FEATURE #1 (1971)

24.) THE INCREDIBLE HULK #223 (1978)

23.) THE INCREDIBLE HULK #200 (1976)

22.) CAPTAIN AMERICA #110 (1969)


20.) THE INCREDIBLE HULK #179 (1974)

19.) FOOM #2 (1973)

18.) THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #119 (1973)

17.) THE INCREDIBLE HULK #199 (1976)

16.) THE INCREDIBLE HULK #171 (1974)

15.) MARVEL FEATURE #11 (1973)

14.) TALES TO ASTONISH #77 (1965)


12.) MARVEL TALES #1 (1964)


10.) JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #112 (1965)

9.) THE INCREDIBLE HULK #159 (1973)

8.) THE INCREDIBLE HULK #193 (1975)

7.) FANTASTIC FOUR #26 (1964)


(with Jim Steranko face)

5.) THE INCREDIBLE HULK #206 (1976)

4.) MARVEL SUPER-HEROES #47 (1974)

3.) FANTASTIC FOUR #112 (1971)

2.) THE DEFENDERS #10 (1973)

1.) FANTASTIC FOUR #25 (1964)

John Cimino
John Cimino is a Silver and Bronze Age comic, cartoon and memorabilia expert that runs a business called "Saturday Morning Collectibles." He buys, sells, appraises and gives seminars on everything pop culture, so if you got something special, let him know about it. He contributes articles to ALTER EGO, RETRO FAN, BACK ISSUE and THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR from TwoMorrows Publishing, runs the Roy Thomas Appreciation Board on Facebook and has appeared on the AMC reality show Comic Book Men. He also represents some of comicdoms biggest stars and brings them to a Comic Con near you. John likes to think he's the real Captain Marvel, people just don't have the heart to tell him he's just an obsessed fanboy that loves to play superheroes with his daughter Bryn. Contact him at johnstretch@live.com or follow him on Instagram at megostretchhulk.



  1. YES! YES!!!! YES!!!!! YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Marvel Tales #1? Really???

    1. Something about the multi-colored logo and the Kirby drawn characters that just get me in the soul.

  3. Well that's what's so great about comics and comic art appreciation. It's personal and nostalgic to the individual. Personally, I would have included Hulk 1 and FF 12 at least among others. I wouldn't have Aurora model, Foom, Avengers Annual 2 or Marvel Tales 1 (which is just a stat image). I'd also include a few more post-1978. But there are a lot of great choices on here.

  4. My favorite is Hulk 107.

  5. The Hulk Hulk looks like he suffers from Anorexia on the FOOM cover. This list sucks since it doesn't have the ICONIC Hulk 181 cover....sheesh!

    1. Honestly, #181 is SIGNIFICANT because it's the first appearance of a character who went on to become VERY popular - but as a cover, it's pretty pedestrian and unremarkable, IMO. Also - Wolverine went on to look much, much cooler than he does here

    2. I do like Hulk #1 and #181. They are both ICONIC without a doubt, but I think they are overrated once you get past all the fanboy worship. If I did a top 30 or 40 they would've made the list.

  6. Hulk number one should be at the top of the list. Its too iconic to not be there.

  7. Hi John--

    Thanks. I don't have a particular favorite, although that Steranko HULK ANNUAL was great. Can't argue with your choice of that FF issue... but what about the earlier one where he and the FF are approaching each other on different sides of a rock wall...?

    Best wishes,
    Roy Thomas

  8. As these list go I think you did well in your selections. Although I disagree with the order and would not have included Marvel Tales #1. But really these list always fail because it's base on individual tastes and nostalgia. Every time I see Amazing Spiderman 119 it brings me back to the day I first saw it as a kid.

  9. Your #23 is my #1...............it's a fine list, many memorable ones for sure!

  10. Excellent list. Obviously, I would re-order it but can't argue much with entries.

  11. Agree with the list, but definitely not the order! I was reading comics during that entire time period and some of them had a MUCH larger impact than the order gives them credit for. I'm especially talking about #25, #22, #14, and #13!

  12. Nailed it! 193,199 & 200 are my favorites, as well as the treasury edition. Those covers made for a happy childhood.

  13. That Marvel Tales #1 cover does nothing for me.

    But glad to see that #181 didn't make the list just because its such a huge key issue.

    WHAT IF 45 would've made my Top 25 list:

  14. Most I'd agree with (though I'd probably rearrange the ranking some), but no covers from the Gray and Professor Hulk eras?

  15. I realise I'll be in a huge minority here but, as much as I love Steranko's Cap and S.H.I.E.L.D. stuff, his Hulk doesn't cut it for me. He doesn't get the ratio of head size to body right (his head should be proportionately smaller) and the cover of FOOM just looks like a normal, albeit well- toned, man.

  16. Why don't see much from Marie Severin. She had a nice run on Tales To Astonish. Her cover for Tales to Astonish #101 was great. She was a very underrated artist..

  17. Not that I don't always find something to take exception with when somebody posts one of these 'Greatest of all time' lists, but this one is pretty lame. No Hulk 1 or 3 or 105, no FF 12. And all of the Steranko's should be higher, imo, with Annual #1 and Cap 110 vying for top honors. And while I'm not very familiar with many artists past the Bronze Age, even I've taken notice of Dale Keown's version...I mean, how could you not?

  18. Your covers I agree with...
    Kirby-TTA 77
    John Buscema-FF 112

    Mine added...
    Wrightson-Hulk/Thing Big Change
    Golden's back cover to Marvel's 20th Anniversary (1981).
    TIH covers
    McFarlane-340 345
    Keown-376 377
    Frank-Hulk 6
    Kubert-Hulk megazine 1
    Andrews-34 37 38 41 49
    Deodato-64 67
    Ladronn-92 94 95 103

    Between just Trimpe, Sal Buscema and Ernie Chan could come up with another 25 of theirs that are also worthy.

  19. Great job missing the last 40 years of the Hulk's history??????