"Within The Swamp, There Stirs... A Glob!"
Written by Roy Thomas.
Drawn by Herb Trimpe.
Inked by Herb Trimpe.
Lettered by Sam Rosen.
If we all know that the angrier the Hulk gets the more powerful he gets, I can't help feeling that the stranger he got the more compelling he became and he didn't get much stranger than The Incredible Hulk #121 where the green goliath comes up against the Glob for the first time.
Hanging around in the Florida swamps, our anti-hero loses his rag and kicks some radioactive barrels into the water. Within moments they've created a swamp monster possessed of the muddled consciousness of a long dead criminal who escaped the local prison in an attempt to be reunited with his dying lover. Being as muddled as he is muddy, the Glob abducts Betty Ross, in the belief she's the woman in question. That of course leads to a fight between Hulk and Glob which only ends when the Glob re-enters the swamp's waters, to be dissolved by a radiation-destroying liquid General Ross's men have flooded the swamp with, leaving the Hulk to ruminate on the fact he's just lost what could have been a friend.
Despite featuring plenty of action, it's a wonderfully eerie and slow-burning tale, capturing the alienness of the swamp. And the flashback to the dead prisoner's escape from jail's beautifully done, never giving us even a hint as to his identity, bestowing a dream-like feel to proceedings. You could just imagine this tale filmed in the style of one of the more esoteric 1930s horror movies and, indeed, its climax does have hints of Boris Karloff's Mummy. As a monster, the Glob's a genuinely strange and haunting presence, presumably based on Hillman Periodicals' Heap but providing a precursor to the Man-Thing and Swamp-Thing.
I love this story. For its off-beat nature and otherworldly pathos it has to be one of my favourite tales of the era, and a number of its themes clearly became the basis for various Hulk stories that followed. Rightly so because it's simply an example of the strip at its very best.