Hulk Annual #1

Above is the cover to Hulk Special #1 (1968), drawn by Jim Steranko. Or is it?

Well, it is the cover as published, but here’s a Marvel house ad for the same book:

Steranko's version of Hulk Annual #1

Notice the difference? On the published version the Hulk’s face has been replaced by a Marie Severin paste-up. Presumably, Stan Lee felt that Steranko’s original was a little too savage, and asked then-current Hulk artist Severin—who drew the interior of the book—to provide an alternative, more in keeping with the recognised character. In this case the finished result isn’t too bad. A few years later, however, Severin was asked to redraw some Neal Adams X-Men pages—with truly disastrous results! (The results of that can be seen in X-Men #65, where a monster is crawling around on its knees for no apparent reason, other than that was the only way Severin could cover up the “objectionable” figure that Adams had drawn)

Interestingly, when Marvel UK published The Mighty World of Marvel #129 in March 1975, it used Steranko’s original version of the Hulk cover.

Steranko Hulk cover

You’ll notice that here the Jade Giant is facing the Inheritor rather than the Inhumans, mainly because the Inhumans story was reprinted elsewhere, including the 1979 Incredible Hulk Annual—which is where I first read it.

Around the same time that Steranko’s Hulk Special cover was appearing on the stands, the great man was guest-starring the gamma-spawned behemoth in the first of his classic Captain America run, Captain America #110 (Feb 1969). Steranko wasn’t afraid to show the Hulk as absolutely huge. He looks about 15 feet tall on this cover, thereby presaging the first Hulk movie by some three decades. Steranko was always ahead of his time.

Captain America and Hulk by Steranko

Images ©2011 Marvel Characters, Inc