Saturday, 23 October 2010

Incredible Hulk #193. Doc Samson's back.

Incredible Hulk #193, Doc Samson, Herb Trimpe(Cover from November 1975.)

"The Doctor's Name Is Samson!"

Written by Len Wein.
Drawn by Herb Trimpe and Joe Staton.
Lettering by John Costanza.
Colours by Glynis Wein.

It was hard not to feel disappointed when Doc Samson was first written out of The Incredible Hulk. If ever there was a character whose potential'd been left untapped, it had to be the muscle-bound psychiatrist, a hero almost as strong as the Hulk but with a fully-functioning brain. Therefore I suppose it's ironic that the departure of my favourite Hulk artist coincides with the return of one of my favourite supporting characters.

Thunderbolt Ross has brought the psychiatrist in to try and retrieve Glenn Talbot's erased mind. To do it Samson needs two things; Gamma radiation and Bruce Banner. Why he needs either isn't exactly clear but of course no sooner have we been introduced to his mighty Gammatron than it goes wrong. It springs a leak and, hey presto, its creator's got his muscles back, his green hair back and is itching for another scrap with the Hulk. Unfortunately, having sent Samson flying with one punch, the Hulk departs before Samson can get back to the battle site, leaving him to crawl from a hole in the ground, vowing vengeance.

Maybe it's me but Samson seems more macho and gung ho than before. OK, he wasn't exactly short of confidence on his first appearance but this time he seems to have taken the self-belief up a notch. Maybe his mind is affected by the radiation after all. He also seems to have got more action-packed, his fight with the Hulk being much more mobile than it was on their first meeting, as the pair leap around, fling things about and end up slugging it out atop the World Trade Centre.

Joe Staton's inks are strong in more ways than one, giving the tale a drastically different look to that which we were used to for years. In some ways he's a great inker for Trimpe, lending Trimpe's work a visual depth and dynamism it might otherwise lack. In other ways he almost obliterates Trimpe's own style, leaving just hints of it showing through - however much Staton's modified the penciller's work, the Hulk's teeth for instance are still pure Trimpe. Regardless, there's no denying the result looks pleasing, even if Staton's inks were arguably better suited to Sal Buscema who succeeded Trimpe on the strip.

I suppose it would've been nice if Trimpe had gone out with a multi-part epic, featuring all the things he did best; tanks, planes, spaceships, monsters and giant robots. Instead he goes out with a tale whose main function is to set up future events. In that sense it's a little disappointing but, even if it's a mixture of prepping future events and rerunning past ones, it's entertaining enough and moves the strip towards the more action-packed style to come.

And that's it, the end of Herb Trimpe's run, and the end of the blog. Budd's pointed out to me there's one more Herb Trimpe issue, from around a year later, that I wasn't aware of. Sadly I don't yet have a copy of that. So, until I get my hands on it, the blog's done and dusted. I'd like to thank the people who've stuck with it to the end, no matter how gruelling it might have been for you. And, for anyone new, I might as well give a plug to my other blogs Spider-Man Reviewed and Maria McKee's Life Is Sweet, the latter of which has pretty pictures even if you don't want to read the text. Will I be back with another blog? Who can know? Right now, after reviewing over 90 issues of the Hulk, I need a break and, when my feeble mind's recovered, I'll see if there's the fuel in the tank to to tackle something else.


cerebus660 said...

Sal Buscema's Hulk? Or maybe you've had enough Gamma Ray action by now?

Seriously, thanks for all the hard work you've done on this blog. It's been consistently entertaining and I can only apologise for not commenting as much as I should. I look forward to whatever you decide to do in the future. Keep bloggin' C.C. !!

John Lindwall said...

I'll echo the gratitude for this wondrous work you've done! I just discovered this blog this weekend and have been devouring your awesome content. I recently read a Marvel Essential Hulk that included a ton of these issues and LOVED reading your take on them.

My personal favorite, art-wise, is the Sub-Mariner underwater brawl. I just love the way Herb rendered the dynamic flow of the water and the underwater settings to make it really some alive.

I am holding off on reading your entertaining commentary on the remaining issues until I read them (in Essentials for most probably, though I do miss the color).

Thank you so much for all the fun!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for some more insight in one of my favorite comic book heroes. The Hulk may not be considered the most perfect comic hero,but there's got to be a great reason why ol'greenskin is still getting his share of fans.Especially since his big 50th birthday will be here soon.He'll be featured in a live action Avengers film and may be in a new live action television series as well.Good Luck as I hear the sad notes of the old Hulk theme in my head and walk that long lonesome road.Budd

Anonymous said...

I'm sort of glad that there's closure in your blog,it ends a long enough chapter to a great series anyway.Doc Samson was always one of my favorite Hulk characters,and he made his stay a lot more permanent this time.Buscema's work on the Hulk was a big chapter in itself,but it didn't always have the best stories,and suffered from a lot of one shot tales.Excelsior,Liam

Hoosier X said...

The very first issue of the Hulk that I bought off the stands (unless you count an issue or two of Marvel Super-Heroes) was #194. However, a week or two after that, I found a bookstore that had a spinner rack that usually had a few back issues behind the current issue. And that's where I got #193, and thus I was introduced to Herb Trimpe's art in his (almost) last issue of the Hulk.

I thought for sure you would review the series up to #200 because that issue resolved the Glenn Talbot storyline that had been floating around since #166 or so. And I thought you would sneak in Hulk Annual #5 because ... well, because I really like it and I still have the copy I bought off a spinner rack when it was brand new.

(I miss spinner racks.)

Anyway, thanks for the blog and for bringing back all these memories. In no time at all, you'll be eager to tackle The Claws of the Cat or Nova or The Secret Society of Super-Villains or some other deserving series.

To be Hulkinued!

The Cryptic Critic said...

Thanks everyone for your comments. It shows how hopeless I am that I was lying in bed this morning already planning my next blog, and had half the stories for it reviewed in my head before it dawned on me that I'm supposed to be taking a break from it all. Clearly I'm addicted.

Sean Strange said...

*applause* I just wanted to add to the chorus of praise for your great work here. You've created a monument that will stand for all time -- or at least until the Googolplex is taken over by the Leader in a fiendish plot to erase this tribute to ol' Greenskin!

The Cryptic Critic said...

Sean, it's certainly humbling to think that this blog will stand long after the pyramids have fallen and that, in the far and distant future, mankind will look upon its wonders and speculate that aliens must have created it, so far is it beyond what they could imagine mere men could ever hope to build. Yes, humbling.

Actually, I think I might need a lie down.

Hoosier X said...

Hey, Cryp! I just noticed yet another Trimpe Hulk comic! In addition to #205, Trimpe also came back for art chores on Hulk Annual #6, just a few months after #205.

I haven't read it for a long time, and I don't remember it being very good. But I thought you might like to know about it if you ever decide to gather up the last few Trimpe Hulks.

(You are aware Trimpe inked over Marie Severin's pencils in Tales to Astonish #94 to #98, aren't you?)

The Cryptic Critic said...

Hi, Hoosier. I'll bear this latest info in mind as I scour eBay over the next few months.

As for the Tales To Astonish inking. If that's the High Evolutionary storyline, then I'm aware of it but I didn't like Herb's inking on it at all, so I felt it best not to review it, as I didn't want to kick the blog off on an overly-negative tone.

J.A. Morris said...

If this is the end,it's been a great run.

You may want to consider reviewing 'Incredible Hulk Annual' #12(1983)too,Trimpe drew that one and it's good story.

The Cryptic Critic said...

Hi, J.A. I'll see what I can do. :)

Aaron said...

This has been a cool blog and has gotten me more interested in seventies Hulk, I'll probably at least track the stuff down in Essential form (I just bought vol. 6 but realize now it's just past the era).

The Cryptic Critic said...

Hi, Aaron. Thanks for the plug on "Continued on 2nd Page Following." I hope you enjoyed Essential Hulk vol6.

David said...

Well, too bad I discovered this blog two years after it went defunct. I'm now going back to read your Spider-Man Reviewed blog. This was a great read. You're a great writer, and this whole process was really fun. Here's hoping that, after nearly a two-year layoff, you start another Marvel Comics blog!

The Cryptic Critic said...

Thanks, David. I don't have any plans at the moment to launch another blog but, long term, maybe things'll change.

David said...

I realize that you probably don't even check this blog anymore, so there's a chance you'll never see this. Nonetheless, I saw this news today and immediately thought back to how much fun I had when I found this blog three years ago.

RIP, Herb Trimpe, and thanks for the memories!

The Cryptic Critic said...

Hi, David. Google sends me an email every time anyone comments on the blog, so any comment is sure to reach my eyes.

I too was saddened to read of Herb's death. One of the things that got me most excited doing this blog is that, at one point, Herb himself may have posted a comment on it, although, as he did it anonymously, it was never totally clear if it was him or not.

Either way, in his capacity as an artist, he gave me a great deal of pleasure and his Hulk tales are still amongst my favourite comic book stories.

cerebus660 said...

Hello C.C. I've just been revisiting your wonderful blog after hearing the sad news about Herb Trimpe. Hope you are well.

Ernesto Ribeiro said...


Rest In Rage, Herb Trimpe. You was a Master Monster of Arts. And this incredible website is the proof you will NEVER forgotten.

Hulk cries.

Ernesto Ribeiro said...


Cryptic Critic, this site of your is Brazilian, doesn't it?

So, if you are Brazilian, we can chat in Portuguese.

I read all your posts and Always recommend this magnificente blog for all Comics fans.

Once again, congratulations for your brillant work, pal.

The Cryptic Critic said...

Cerebus, I'm very well and thriving. I'm glad to see you are too.

Ernesto, it's nice to hear from you, and thanks for the praise. I'm afraid I'm not Brazilian and can't speak Portugese. I'm based in Britain and can barely even speak English, according to all who know me.

John Pitt said...

Hi Cryptic, you don't know me, as I didn't know how to comment when I first found your blog. But, just like Cerebus, after I heard the news on Tuesday, after the initial shock, the very next thing I did out of respect was to revisit this blog.
Never got the chance to congratulate you on compiling it back in 2010, so hope you'll accept them now.
The tributes for Herb on the blogs have been moving.

The Cryptic Critic said...

Hi, John. It's nice to hear from you and to get your praise. Even though this blog's work is done, I still look at other comic blogs, so I've seen you around and have seen the tributes elsewhere. It does seem like Herb's death has touched people to a remarkable extent.

Kid said...

Hi, CC. I don't know how I missed your retirement at the time, but obviously I did or otherwise I would've commented before now. After eight-odd years, any chance of a return? All the best anyway.

The Cryptic Critic said...

Hello, Kid. I'm afraid that other commitments now take up my time, so there's virtually zero chance of me making a comeback but it's nice to hear from you.