The Incredible Hulk #1, vol. 1
EIC: Stan Lee
Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, George Russos
Writers: Stan Lee
Pencilers: Jack Kirby
Inkers: Paul Reinman
Letterers: Artie Simek
Editors: Stan Lee
Cover Date: May 1962
Release Date: March 1962
Pages: 24 Cover Price: $0.12
First Appearance and Origin of:
- The Incredible Hulk/Dr. Bruce Banner
First Appearance of:
- Rick Jones
In the desert in the Mid-West stands the enormous untested Gamma Bomb, waiting its first test firing. Miles away, in a concrete bunker, Dr. Bruce Banner, designer of the awesome weapon prepares to see his If his hard work has paid off. His assistant, Igor, is adamantly against the test, calling it too dangerous.
General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross bursts in demanding to know what the delay is. Banner assures him he is just trying to make sure every safety precaution has been taken. The General’s daughter, Betty Ross, intervenes, telling Bruce not to worry about her father.
As Banner makes final preparations, Igor pleads with him for the secret to the Gamma Rays that only Banner possesses. Igor insists that knowledge of that kind of power is too dangerous for only one man to possess.
Just them, Banner spies a young boy driving out to the launch detonation area in a sports car. He tells Igor to hold the countdown as he races in a jeep to intercept the youth. Igor plans to let the countdown commence as it will mean the end of Bruce Banner.
Banner runs toward the boy who is sitting in the convertible, playing his harmonica, bragging about how he bet his friends he could sneak past the guards and get out here. Banner grabs him and drags him to a protective trench. He throws the boy in, but before he can jump in himself, the bomb explodes, bathing Banner in full force of the Gamma Rays.
Later, as night falls, Banner begins to feel strange. The boy, Rick Jones, notices that the Geiger counter on the table is beginning to crackle louder as if radiation levels are rising in the room. Banner’s clothes begin to rip as if stretched from the inside and he holds his head in pain.
And suddenly, Bruce Banner is gone. In his place is an enormous, muscular gray figure.
The beast that was Banner crashes through a wall, destroys an Army jeep that hurdles towards him, and wanders off with Rick Jones chasing after him.
As the soldiers search for him, the beast makes its way to a cabin, guided unconsciously by the submerged intelligence of Bruce Banner. There he finds Igor searching desperately for the Gamma Ray formula. He fires a pistol at Banner but the shot has no effect. The thing that was Banner crushes the pistol in its mighty fist. He lifts Igor effortlessly over his head and hurls him across the room to crash into a table of beakers and flasks. As everything settles, Rick Jones notices a report tapes to the bottom of one such beaker with the words “Secret Report on Gamma Rays” stenciled across it.
Banner sees a picture of his former self and though he does not understand why, he hates it, says it looks weak, soft. Rick tells Banner that it is himself.
Just then, the rising sun peeks through the window, and the beast begins to change, to grow smaller, to return to the human form of Dr. Bruce Banner. Almost immediately, the police bang on the door.
The MPs along with General Ross and Betty, burst in, Ross demanding to know where ‘The Hulk’ is. The policemen pick Igor up from the floor, Igor mumbling, “The Hulk…The Hulk…” over and over.
The various military personnel who saw the Hulk describe him variously as a gorilla and a bear. Betty apologizes to Bruce for the way her father treats him and says he looks ill. Rick assures her that all Bruce needs is some rest. Betty leaves and Bruce sits, fearing the coming of the sunset, dreading the possibility that he might transform once more into The Hulk.
Meanwhile, Igor, no revealed to be a Communist spy, is locked in a military jail cell. Unbeknownst to the officials however, he has a miniature transistor radio built into a false thumbnail. He transmits a message to his superiors, how in turn say they must give it The Gargoyle, a hideously misshapen person who claims that, having read the message, The Hulk is ‘almost as powerful’ as he is.
He says he must either slay The Hulk or bring him back to Eastern Europe as his prisoner. He boards a submarine, which when near America, fires a missile into the air. The nose cone separates and parachutes to Earth. Once it has landed, the Gargoyle emerges saying it is time for him to meet The Hulk.
At the same time, Bruce and Rick drive away from Bruce’s cabin in a jeep, Bruce musing that if he is to become The Hulk again, he wants it to be out in the open this time, away from others he might harm.
But even as he talks, the sun sets and he transforms once more, causing the jeep to crash. Rick is stunned but The Hulk is unharmed. Even through the haze of limited intellect, The Hulk recognizes that he is near Betty Ross’s house and begins to make his way in that direction, Rick trying to stop him.
Unseen behind them, lurks the Gargoyle.
At General Ross’s house, Betty steps outside for a breath of air when the Hulk approaches. Betty faints in his massive arm. Rick begs The Hulk to leave but before they can, The Gargoyle confronts them.
As The Hulk rushes at The Gargoyle, The Gargoyle shoots him with a gun of his own design that he says will sap The Hulk’s will, making the Hulk his slave. The Hulk stumbles on being shot and obeys the Gargoyle’s commands to rise and follow him. Rick has been shot and follows as well.
The Gargoyle stops a truck and enslaves the driver, forcing him to drive The Gargoyle, The Hulk and Rick to a waiting lifeboat which takes them to the sub. Onboard, the board a rocket ship which blasts off to carry them to the Gargoyle’s communist country. On the trip, The Hulk transforms into Banner once more.
When the Gargoyle sees Banner, he recognizes him, realizing that Banner and The Hulk are the same person. The Gargoyle begins crying, begging Banner to tell him why he would willingly be a monster, not knowing it is not Banner’s conscious choice to transform into The Hulk, telling them he’d give anything to no longer be a monster.
Banner tells The Gargoyle he can help him. He arrange an elaborate setup He tells the Gargoyle that once he transforms he will no longer possess his brilliant mind. The Gargoyle tells the he doesn’t care. All he wants is to die a man.
Banner engages his apparatus and minutes later, The Gargoyle is no more, replaced instead by a normal human man. He curses at a picture of the communist leader, blaming him for forcing him to work with radiation which was the cause for his disfigurement, and declaring that it took an American to cure him.
Elsewhere, as the base commander phones the communist Premier, telling him that they have captured America’s top atomic scientist, one of his men rush in telling him that the prisoners have escaped and The Gargoyle has vanished. The see the Gargoyle’s escape rocket lifting off and break into his office.
They don’t recognize the man sitting at the Gargoyle’s desk. He tells them that he was the one once known as The Gargoyle and presses a switch that blows up the entire base.
Onboard the rocket, Banner and Rick are flown back towards America.