Reaching deep into the archives in our continuing celebration of the 50th anniversary of the introduction of The Incredible Hulk, I came across issue No. 3 from September 1962. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were still getting a feel for the character, and this battered comic contains three Hulk stories that are kind of all over the map: One where the army gets rid of its Hulk problem by shooting him into outer space (Whoops! Better re-think that), one where they re-tell the Hulk’s origin, and one where he fights the Ringmaster, an actual circus ringmaster with a spinning hypno-wheel on his hat. I kid you not.
But! The issue is noteworthy for another reason, a true milestone in comic geek history. In the Let’s Talk About The Hulk letters section, Bob Barron from Schenectady, New York, wrote:
The Hulk is just as great or even greater than the Fantastic Four! (Both are my favorites!) The Hulk reminds me of the now-deceased Heap from an old series, as well as an old Frankenstein feature. He also reminds me of the Thing from your own FF mag. In the future, why not have a book-length issue titled The Hulk vs. The Thing?
Before the ink was even dry on the first issue, 10,000 young boys thought: “Wouldn’t it be cool if the Hulk fought the Thing?” But, so far as I can tell, it was Bob Barron, geek hero, who first got the idea into print. Bob, we humbly offer a Hulk 50th Anniversary salute!