A Fortune for a Comic Book. First Edition of The Incredible Hulk #1 from 1962 Sold for Nearly $500K04.01.2022
The issue marks the first appearance of the green-skinned, supernaturally strong hero.
Today, Hulk is comic book royalty and part of the superhero canon—his adventures are the stuff of many a comics, TV series, and blockbuster films. The appeal of the superhumanly strong humanoid proved timeless, a feat evinced by not only the box office returns on the Marvel Cinematic Universe tentpoles, but also the keen fan interest still enjoyed by all sorts of Hulk memorabilia and collectibles. One such item, a rare first edition of The Incredible Hulk from 1962, has just been sold for a staggering $490,000.
In an interview with The Guardian, Vincent Zurzolo, an expert with auction house ComicConnect which handled the Hulk sale, suggested that the price was driven up by a couple of factors. Although first purchased sixty years ago, the comic book was preserved in near mint condition, despite the cheap paper that the publisher used for it. The copy is intact, with no pages missing, and the original coloring has not fades. Most importantly, it features a Hulk missing his trademark green skin. As you can see in the headline picture, in his earliest appearance, Hulk is gray: Marvel decided to go with the superhero’s signature green coloring only in the second issue, a choice motivated primarily by how the printing process at the time affected the appearance of grays.
In the first installment of The Incredible Hulk, readers get a glimpse of his backstory, later repeatedly retreat across multiple film adaptations. To recap: the superhero is the alter ego of scientist Dr. Bruce Banner, who morphs into the Hulk whenever he loses his temper. Reinman and Kirby, the creators of the Hulk, wanted his impulsive nature and lack of control to represent the flaws and shortcomings they saw in American society.
Zurzolo also revealed that while no other Hulk title in his auction house’s history has sold for so high a price, the final bid was still far below the record mark set by its contemporary, Amazing Fantasy #15. Auctioned last year, the comic—in which Spider-Man made his debut appearance—sold for a whopping $3.6M. When it was first published, the comic carried a price of just 12 cents.
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