Thursday, 9 September 2010

Incredible Hulk #162. The Wendigo

Incredible Hulk #162, the Wendigo's first ever appearance(Cover from April 1973.)

"Spawn Of The Flesh-Eater!"

Written by Steve Englehart.
Drawn by Herb Trimpe.
Inked by Sal Trapani.
Lettering by Artie Simek.
Colours by David Hunt.

If a prophet's without honour in his own land, it seems the Hulk's without profile in any other. This issue we discover that a being who should be one of the most famous people in history can move around Canada without recognition. Not only that but he can suffer the indignity of being mistaken for another monster altogether.

Still looking for Glenn and Betty Talbot, the Hulk stumbles across a group of people who think he's the infamous wood-beast the Wendigo and that he's snatched their friend Paul Cartier. Wearing his helpful hat for once, the Hulk sets out to rescue Cartier but it turns out the man's eaten human flesh and hasn't been taken by the Wendigo but has instead become the Wendigo. Now the Hulk sets out to capture the creature, in the hope that Cartier can somehow be cured.

After a number of issues whose events left few ripples on the pond of history, we get one that ultimately has a major impact on the whole future of Marvel Comics, even if we have to wait another year or so to find out why. It has to be said that for such a classic monster the Wendigo actually looks pretty silly on its first appearance and I've never worked out just why it was decided it has to shout, "Wen-di-go!" at every opportunity. It's a bit like like Supergirl blundering around shouting, "Supergirl!" all the time. Admittedly, if I were Supergirl I'd probably run around shouting, "Supergirl!" all the time but that says more about me than it does about the dignity of such a tactic. Still, at least it's better than the lame dialogue the thing's lumbered with on the front cover. "This is MY territory, intruder! MINE!" Would it have been possible to make a worse stab at capturing the persona of the Wendigo than that?

Still, however the Wendigo looks and whatever it says, there's undeniably something appealing about the monster - presumably because of its roots in myth and its direct connection with cannibalism. Plus, it's that good old Hulk standby, two monsters hitting each other. And, while hardly haunting, the final sublimation of Paul Cartier into the Wendigo at the tale's death enables the tale to linger long in the memory.


Anonymous said...

Wendigo has been featured in future Marvel comics like the black & white magazine;Monsters Unleased,where I first came across him the first time.His second notable appearance came in a later Hulk comic,which I'm sure you will feature not too long from now.It was probably more famous for introducing another one of Marvel's greatest iconic superheroes.Marvel made Wendigo more of an abominable snowman or yeti.But the true wendigo looks more like a half deer,half man creature.There was a good movie called "Wendigo",starring Patricia Clarkson,that was more based on the real wendigo myth.Countless profiles like on the SyFy channel.One of the Masters of Horrors episodes was about a deer-like monster.All else I can say is,"WENNNDDIIGGOOO!"Budd

cerebus660 said...

I remember being disturbed by this story as a kid - probably the first time I'd come across the concept of cannibalism. And in a Hulk comic of all places! Quite daring for the time.

The Cryptic Critic said...

Come to think of it, in the last few issues, they've had cannibalism and people exploding. Englehart certainly wasn't reluctant to incorporate the gruesome.

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