The Rampaging Hulk
|The Rampaging Hulk|
The cover to Rampaging Hulk #1 (Jan. 1977), art by Ken Barr.
|Publisher||Curtis Magazines (Marvel Comics)|
|Publication date||January 1977 – June 1981|
|Number of issues||27|
|Main character(s)||The Hulk|
|Essential Rampaging Hulk Vol. 1||ISBN 0-7851-2699-6|
|Essential Rampaging Hulk Vol. 2||ISBN 0-7851-4255-X|
The Rampaging Hulk is a black-and-white magazine published by Curtis Magazines (an imprint of Marvel Comics) from 1977–1978. With issue #10, it changed its format to color, and title to The Hulk!, and ran another 17 issues before it folded in 1981. It was a rare attempt by Marvel to mix their superhero characters with the "mature readers" black-and-white magazine format.
With the change to color and the title to The Hulk!, the magazine became Marvel's attempt to cash in on the popularity of The Incredible Hulk TV series, starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno, both of whom were prominently featured and interviewed over the course of the magazine's run, as was executive producer Kenneth Johnson.
The Rampaging Hulk ran for 9 issues from January 1977 to June 1978. With issue #10, the bi-monthly magazine changed its title to The Hulk! and became a full-color book utilizing "Marvelcolor".
The magazine featured fully painted covers by such artists as Ken Barr, Earl Norem, and Joe Jusko. One cover in particular, painted by Norem, is one of the most iconic promotional/poster images of the Hulk: a darkly-lit close-up of his face, gritting his teeth with his knuckles raised, done for The Hulk! #17.
Artists such as Walter Simonson, John Buscema, Howard Chaykin, John Romita, Sr., John Romita, Jr. (doing some of his first professional work), Keith Pollard, Jim Starlin, Joe Jusko, Bill Sienkiewicz, Val Mayerik, Herb Trimpe, Roger Stern, Brent Anderson, and Gene Colan provided interior artwork; while writers such as Starlin, Doug Moench, Dennis O'Neil, and Archie Goodwin took on the scripting chores.
Through its run the magazine published backup features starring Ulysses Bloodstone (issues #1–6, #8) Man-Thing (issue #7) and Shanna the She-Devil (issue #9). Moon Knight was featured in issues #11–15, #17–18, and #20, featuring some of Bill Sienkiewicz' early work, when his style was similar to that of Neal Adams.
With issue #24, the title returned to black-and-white, though it published the last Dominic Fortune backup story in full color. The magazine was retired with issue #27.
Editorially, the stories in The Rampaging Hulk were stated to be set between the end of his original, short-lived solo title and the beginning of his feature in Tales to Astonish. However, a problem was pointed out by fans in the letter columns. Despite back-dating the events, the stories depicted the Hulk per se contemporaneously, speaking in his "Hulk smash!" pidgin English, changing to and from Bruce Banner based on his emotions, and wearing tattered purple trousers; whereas in the claimed time frame he spoke fluent if gangsterish English, transformed via a gamma ray machine, and wore neat purple trunks.
Although Rampaging Hulk / The Hulk! was intended to feature stand-alone stories, some characters (such as the extraterrestrial Bereet) crossed over into The Incredible Hulk title. Bereet appeared in issue #269 (March 1982) of the regular series to explain away the Rampaging series as fictions she created for the entertainment of her homeworld's residents. This rendered the Rampaging Hulk stories into metafiction. The title has a few memorable stories such Rampaging Hulk #4, in which a wizard named Chen K'an transports the Hulk across space to his dying world, which has been overrun by demon hordes. He needs the Hulk attain a mystical object of power called the Star of Catalax, but he finds the "Hulk smash" persona quite irritating. Chen K'an attempts to merge this personality along with Banner's, and winds up with a wise guy "Mr. Big" Grey Hulk persona.
An Essential Marvel volume of Rampaging Hulk collects Rampaging Hulk #1–9, The Hulk! #10–15, and The Incredible Hulk #269—only Hulk stories reprinted (ISBN 0-7851-2699-6). The second volume collected Hulk! #16–27 (ISBN 0-7851-4255-X).
- Anonymous. "Bill Bixby Tells What It's Like to Play TV's Bruce Banner," The Hulk #10, August 1978, Marvel Comics, pp.45–49.
- Anonymous. "Green Muscles," The Hulk #12, December 1978, Marvel Comics, pp.29–32.
- Swires, Steven. "This Man Tell Hulk What to Do!", The Hulk #20, 1980, Marvel Comics, pp.38–42.
- Warner, John. "The Rampaging Editorial", The Rampaging Hulk #1, January 1977, pp. 40–41.
- Mantlo, Bill and Sal Buscema. "Enter: The Hulk-Hunters!", The Incredible Hulk #269, Marvel Comics, March 1982.