The cover of Hulk #10 grabbed me from across the comic shop. I have to admit, I can count the number of issues of that title I have read on one hand. And that goes all the way back to when Uncle Edju started bringing comics around in boxes for my brothers and me… around 1982.
But I have to admit, I wasn’t buying a Hulk comic. I was buying in to a Defenders mini series. It looks as if a new super-villain team-up is being introduced in Hulk. The Offenders seem to be an evil-twin version of the Defenders: Red Hulk, Tiger Shark, Tarrax and Baron Mordo (parallels to Hulk, the Submariner, Silver Surfer and Dr. Strange).
As if that wasn’t intriguing enough, the cover to Hulk #10 features a bald, blue Dr. Strange. Which, incidentally, brings us right back to Uncle Edju.
See, Uncle Edju drove a delivery truck. One of his shipments was to local drug stores — and in those shipments were magazines, digests and, of course, comics. They’d rip the covers off the stuff that didn’t sell, and give them away. Uncle Edju filled boxes and boxes with comics and brought them over to give to my brothers and me. That was my initial exposure to comics.
In one of those coverless volumes, I saw a character I knew as Dr. Strange, but he was bald and blue all over. (OK, I only know for sure that he was blue all over.)
And this was ages before Dr. Manhattan made that sort of thing fashionable. Also, Dr. Strange had pants. But I had no idea who this character was; what they had done with the “real” Dr. Strange; or how this guy fit into continuity.
And it’s a question that I just never found the answer to.
So when I saw the Dr. Strangely Manhattan on the cover of Hulk #10, I knew I had to grab it.
It looks like the launch to a classic Marvel melee. Complete with machinations by Grandmaster and the Collector — characters with infinite power and bizarre proclivities. (In other words, characters writers love to use to do wild stuff without being worried about continuity or believability.) As such, we’re bound to be in for a romp.
One thing we were not in for, however, was an explanation for Dr. Strangely Manhattan. Luckily, Richard Guion, over at GiantSizeMarvel.com, had an explanation ready. And it’s a doozy.
Needless to say, the blue Dr. Strange brought back fond memories of my teenage exposure to comics. The wild stories… the phenomenal characters… the coverless, ahem, magazines he stashed at the bottom of the box.
Too bad my folks caught wind of the magazines, because soon the boxes stopped arriving. But it was too late, a lifelong obsession had already begun.
And yes, I’m talking about the comics.