Every Sunday morning we showcase a classic comic cover, complete with compelling commentary, for your cordial contemplation. It’s the Classic Comic Cover Corner!
Incredible Hulk #180 – October, 1974
Cover art by Herb Trimpe
Do you have few extra hundred-thousand dollars lying around? If yes, now is your opportunity to own one of the coolest pieces of original comic art ever created; the last page of Incredible Hulk #180 – which introduced none other than “Wolverine” to the world in its final panel, way back in 1974.
As a kid, I actually owned this comic, and it was one of my favorites. Not because of Wolverine mind you, but because the Hulk had an all-out awesome woodland brawl with the albino Bigfoot-like character, the Wendigo (who first appeared in Incredible Hulk #162, April, 1973.) The introduction of Weapon-X was just four-color gravy.
As the real origin story of Wolverine goes, the sales of Marvel Comics in Canada were on the rise in 1974, and to capitalize on the Northern fans’ interest, Marvel editor Roy Thomas requested that writer Len Wein introduce a Canadian superhero into the mix. Wein went on to co-create Wolverine, together with artists Herb Trimpe and John Romita, Sr.
Of course, Wolverine would go on to become one of Marvel Comics’ most popular characters; due to his involvement with the X-Men though, not necessarily because of his Incredible Hulk appearance (although the epic battle between Hulk and Wolvie in the succeeding issue is considered one of the greatest of all time.)
The original art for this page was long considered lost, but its anonymous owner (only known as “Ben”) recently came forward to put the piece up for auction, and his story is almost as amazing as the heroes in the artwork.
It seems young Ben visited Herb Trimpe’s studio back in the day, trying to get some comics signed by the legendary Hulk artist; and before the kid left, Herb ran back to his studio and grabbed the original page, giving it to the lucky fan as a bonus.
But wait, this tale gets even cooler. After hanging onto the art for most of his life, Ben is now selling the piece at Heritage Auctions and giving the majority of the proceeds to the Hero Initiative (the non-profit organization that helps out comic book creators in need.) Now that is heroic!
The auction for the Hulk #180 page is going on right now, and you can follow it at: ha.com.
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