The Hulk was also a regular fixture in UK annuals but we'll look at his hardback exploits another time...
Before Marvel UK opened its High Holborn doors in 1972, Marvel licensed its output to other publishers... most notably Odhams.
The first Odhams Marvel reprint was - wait for it - THE INCREDIBLE HULK (issue 16, 21 May 1966), beginning with (bizarrely) a reprint of US issue 2 (A reprint of issue 1 appeared a year later in FANTASTIC... and will appear several more times in this article). Things got really interesting in issue 38 (22 October 1966) when, for no obvious reason, Smash! ran their own, UK originated, Hulk adventure. The (uncredited) five-page story, The Monster and the Matador, saw Bruce Banner (and his alter ego) arrive in Seville, tackling a corrupt bull fighter (doping his bulls!).
1972: THE MIGHTY WORLD OF MARVEL (Volume 1)
Becomes MARVEL COMIC (330-352)
THE MIGHTY WORLD OF MARVEL issue 1 (7 October 1972) was Marvel's first British title, albeit packaged in the United States with only a small UK outfit to handle some editorial and administrative duties.
The opening line-up were reprints of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (beginning with US Amazing Fantasy 15), THE FANTASTIC FOUR (US Fantastic Four 1) and THE INCREDIBLE HULK (US Hulk 1).
The Hulk's co-stars drifted away to their own weeklies (and, in one case, drifted back again) but he retained top-billing throughout MWOM's first run and, briefly, into its successor.
1977: RAMPAGE (Volume 1)
The combination of The Defenders and Nova (and, bizarrely, a model Concorde) may not have been the most A-list line-up but, thanks to his Defenders membership, it did give the Hulk a second weekly outlet.
1978: RAMPAGE MONTHLY (Volume 2)
Merges with MARVEL SUPERHEROES.
The biggest surprise about Rampage weekly (volume 1) is probably that it survived 77 weeks despite its less-than-awsome line-up. But, in 1978, it was relaunched as a monthly. The two strips from the weekly were retained but the main draw was now a full-length Hulk strip, culled from the US black and white magazine RAMPAGING HULK.
The second starring role (the more mainstream Hulk strips were still appearing in THE MIGHTY WORLD OF MARVEL) was because the live-action Hulk TV show, running on ITV in the UK, had significantly boosted his media profile... and sales potential.
The line-up quickly evolved in 1979: the hold-overs from the weekly were unceremoniously ousted in favour of The New X-Men and Doctor Strange.
RAMPAGE ISSUE ONE EDITORIAL
House ad from HULK COMIC. Note the new Dez Skinn era cover design.
Later Rampage house-ad promoting another revised line-up. Note the complete absence of the Hulk and the Thing/ Luke Cage combination, foreshadowing THE THING IS BIG BEN weekly.
1979: MARVEL COMIC
22 issues (330-352)
Previously THE MIGHTY WORLD OF MARVEL (1-329).
Becomes MARVEL SUPERHEROES.
Dez Skinn's 1978 arrival at the Annex Of Ideas (initially officially as a consultant while he planned his total take-over of the operation) led to a January 1979 overhaul of the two super-hero weeklies. The ailing and unloved The Mighty World of Marvel was given the most drastic going over, revamped as MARVEL COMIC from issue 330.
The Hulk survived the reboot (alongside a new line-up of strips intended to more closely resemble a UK boys anthology weekly, see above) but only for a few weeks. He soon stepped aside (replaced, appropriately, by Godzilla) to headline his own weekly...
1979: HULK COMIC
Merges with SPIDER-MAN COMIC from issue 376, forming SPIDER-MAN AND HULK WEEKLY.
Hulk Comic was a first for Marvel UK. Skinn reasoned that US-created strips were never going to be massive in the UK... they were too American. So Skinn, blessed with a hitherto non-existent budget and power to originate strips in the UK, assigned UK creative teams to a series of UK-created strips for his latest project.
Skinn was able to do this because the ongoing success of the Hulk TV show ensured sufficient sales to justify the extra investment. Skinn also believed that the Hulk strip should better reflect the look-and-feel of the TV show in order to avoid alienating new and casual readers who only knew the character's screen incarnation.
The cover to issue one, above, caused a split between Skinn and artist Brian Bolland. The editor felt that Bolland hadn't quite captured the Hulk's familiar facial features and slapped a Sal Buscema face on top. Much to Bolland's displeasure. However, it wouldn't be the last time the artwork appeared...
Issue one's editorial. Of the five strips, only Ant Man was a US reprint (albeit with the pages reworked to cram more panels per page, a controversial redesign Skinn applied to all the reprints in SPIDER-MAN and MARVEL COMIC). The Hulk's greatest legacy has definitely been Night-Raven.
Presented free with the first issue was a Marvel-published collector card album. The Hulk's (TV) origin story was retold in stills from the TV pilot. The remaining (TV style) stories used artwork. A starter set of five cards were given away the following week with more packs available to buy in newsagents.
It's lost in the mists of time whether the album was ever sold separately.
Skinn appeared on a primetime BBC ONE documentary, THE PERSUADERS, talking about the success of marketing the Hulk comic and products. The next day he had a meeting with BBC Enterprises (today: BBC Worldwide), the BBC's commercial arm, to discuss his proposal for a regular DOCTOR WHO comic. The BBC managers were apparently impressed by his TV appearance... and granted the license.
ALBUM FRONT COVER
ALBUM BACK COVER
ALBUM EXAMPLE INTERIOR PAGE
Declining sales saw the budgets for originated material eroded and, after issue 20, US reprints began to reappear.
Dez Skinn's tenure at M-UK proved remarkably short-lived and, by the summer of 1980, he had departed the company by mutual consent. With its creator no longer in charge, and with sales dropping, the Hulk's weekly was cancelled after only 63 issues. The merger with SPIDER-MAN was hyped for several weeks in both titles. The cover of the last issue is above.
House advert for the merger.
1980: THE INCREDIBLE HULK POCKET BOOK
The success of the TV show made the Hulk a logical choice to join the inaugural line-up of Marvel's A5 black and white Pocket Books. The digest-sized range was created as a low-cost rival for the long-established pocket libraries published by Marvel's rivals IPC and DC Thompson.
The reprints started from US Hulk issue 1, last seen in the launch issue of THE MIGHTY WORLD OF MARVEL in 1972.
1982: THE INCREDIBLE HULK (Volume 2)
Marvel management must have decided cancelling his weekly had been a hasty mistake (or, just as likely, the TV show was enjoying another run on ITV) as another Hulk weekly appeared, albeit briefly, in 1982. This time there would be no origination except covers and posters (taking advantage of Marvel's new format for weeklies: black and white interiors with glossy covers and centre spreads).
And, talking of posters....
Issue one featured this familiar piece of art on its centre pages: Bolland's original art for Hulk Comic's first issue.
1982: THE INCREDIBLE HULK SUMMER SPECIAL
We can't find the actual 1982 Summer Special, published concurrently with the weekly, at the moment so here is a house ad.
1982: THE INCREDIBLE HULK WINTER SPECIAL
1982's Winter Special featured an offer for a Hulk lunch box (ideal for the office and business trips) as well as several UK-created (albeit uncredited) pieces of pin-up art.
The cover, recycled from The Rampaging Hulk, would be used again on an issue of THE INCREDIBLE HULK PRESENTS in 1989.
1984: SPIDER-MAN Weekly
Coinciding with the broadcast of the INCREDIBLE HULK animated series on ITV, SPIDER-MAN added a regular Hulk back-up strip from issue 579.
1985: MARVEL SUPER HEROES SECRET WARS
(MARVEL SUPERHERO SECRET WARS/ SECRET WARS: 1-31/ SECRET WARS II: 32-80)
The Hulk's own strip wasn't appearing anywhere in the M-UK line by 1985 but he was, of course, an unwilling participant in the Beyonder's cosmic slam-jam: The Secret War.
1989: THE MARVEL BUMPER COMIC
THE MARVEL BUMPER COMIC launched as a sampler for Marvel's other output but evolved into a more attractive anthology, belatedly adding Marvel superheroes alongside its existing line-up of licensed characters (The Real Ghostbusters, Defenders of the Earth, Droids, William Tell et al). It would, however, prove a short-lived home as the weekly was pulled with issue 31.
1989: THE INCREDIBLE HULK SUMMER SPECIAL
Coinciding with another TV appearance (was it another rerun of the Universal weekly series or the UK premiere of the New World Television produced reunion tele-flicks?), Marvel published this 1989 summer special.
The photo-cover is a publicity shot from one of the TVM's.
The one-shot must have sold well as - later in the year - The Hulk returned to weekly comics...
1989: THE INCREDIBLE HULK PRESENTS
This short-lived anthology is best remembered for featuring original black and white DOCTOR WHO strips, the majority of which have never been reprinted (THE MARVEL BUMPER COMIC had also featured Doctor Who but these were reprints of existing strips culled from DOCTOR WHO MAGAZINE).
Also appearing alongside the Hulk were (all reprints): the movie adaptation of INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE (also published as a black and white one-shot but serialised here in colour) and ACTION FORCE (actually G.I. Joe reprints). The latter appeared on the cusp of the toy line being rebranded G.I. JOE: THE ACTION FORCE and appeared under its new title in the final weeks. The Last Crusade movie adaptation was replaced by THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF INDIANA JONES just before The Incredible Hulk Presents was cancelled without warning.
Although the Hulk would continue to appear in various Marvel UK/ Panini titles, he would have to wait until 2012 to regain his own regular title....
2012: THE INCREDIBLE HULKS