Thursday, 17 May 2012

1989: THE INCREDIBLE HULK PRESENTS

It SHOULD have been a contender: a mix of media-friendly strips headlined by the Green Goliath.  But THE INCREDIBLE HULK PRESENTS (TIHP) proved to be a blink-and-you-miss-it weekly, vanishing without trace (or warning) after only twelve issues.


-  The final weeks of THE MARVEL BUMPER COMIC, featuring an Incredible Hulk strip, may have been a test to see if a superhero-fronted weekly was viable.
- The line-up was: The Incredible Hulk, Action Force, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Doctor Who.
-  Only Doctor Who was an original strip, the other three were all US reprints.
-  The Incredible Hulk strips dated back to 1970, beginning with a serialised reprint of INCREDIBLE HULK 133 (November 1970).
-  The Hulk was enjoying an increased mainstream media profile thanks to the three TV movies (1988-90) reuniting the cast of the Universal live-action series (1977-82).  The movies were produced by New World International, who purchased Marvel Comics Group in 1986.
- TIHP was preceded by a summer special in 1989.
-  A full biography of the Hulk at Marvel UK can be found here.
-  The Doctor Who strips in TIHP are the only time an original DW strip has appeared regularly in a Marvel title outside the traditional DW family of titles (the strips in MARVEL BUMPER COMIC were all reprints).
-  Season 26 of Doctor Who was airing on BBC ONE at the time.  It would be the last until 2005.
-  Despite being aimed at a younger audience than the regular DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE, Marvel's management originally planned to rerun the TIHP strips in DWM at a later date.
- Doctor Who was the only strip in the weekly to appear in black and white.
-  ACTION FORCE had already enjoyed a relatively long (and certainly convoluted) run in British comics since their debut in 1983, appearing in BATTLE ACTION FORCE from IPC before transferring to Marvel UK and their own self-titled weekly and monthly (and associated spin-off annuals and specials) and an extended run in THE TRANSFORMERS.
-  The ACTION FORCE strips were serialised reprints from the US G.I. JOE: SPECIAL MISSIONS title.
-  Issue 8 featured a free 4-page ACTION FORCE insert which explained the imminent name-change to G.I. JOE.  The change was to bring the British toy line in-line with the US brand.  The strip can be found here.
-  The regular ACTION FORCE strip formally became G.I. JOE: THE ACTION FORCE from issue 10.
-  Indiana Jones had also enjoyed a lengthy run across a number of Marvel UK titles.  Full details here.
-  The INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE movie adaptation is serialised here in colour.  Marvel UK also published a one-shot special collecting the full story, but published in black and white.
-  The film adaptation was spread over the first ten issues, switching to reprints of THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF INDIANA JONES from issue 11.
- The cover art from issues 2, 4 and 5 originally appeared as covers to Marvel US' late-seventies black and white Hulk magazine.  They have no connection with the strips within.
- The cover to the twelve, and final, issue (also the centre-spread poster) was intended to point to things to come.  Plans were already announced to add The X-Men to the weekly's line-up.  Which strip they were due to replace, and which US material was to be reprinted, is unclear.
- The thirteenth issue, which would have been the Christmas 1989 edition, was previewed as usual but never published.  There was no merger and none of continuing story lines concluded.

ISSUE 1
7 October 1989

ISSUE 2
14 October 1989

ISSUE 3
21 October 1989

ISSUE 4
28 October 1989

ISSUE 5
4 November 1989

This cover, originally from US THE RAMPAGING HULK magazine 3 (June 1977), was also used for M-UK's THE INCREDIBLE HULK WINTER SPECIAL 1982.

ISSUE 6
11 November 1989

ISSUE 7
18 November 1989

ISSUE 8
25 November 1989

ISSUE 9
2 December 1989

ISSUE 10
9 December 1989

ISSUE 11
16 December 1989

ISSUE 12
23 December 1989

ISSUE 13 PREVIEW

HOUSE AD - NOVEMBER 1989

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