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The Hulk/Spider-Man Crossover That Was…Until It Wasn’t

by  in CBR Exclusives, Comics, Comic News Comment
The Hulk/Spider-Man Crossover That Was…Until It Wasn’t

In Abandoned an’ Forsaked, we examine comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically “overturned” by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent).

Today, inspired by this week’s TV Legends Revealed about a Hulk/Spider-Man TV crossover that nearly was (as well as an amusing Peter David sort of crossover between Spectacular Spider-Man and Incredible Hulk), we take a look at an ACTUAL Hulk/Spider-Man comic book crossover that WAS…until it wasn’t.

Amazing Spider-Man #381 (by David Michelinie, Mark Bagley, Randy Emberlin and Al Milgrom) opened with the Incredible Hulk going through customs at a New York City airport where he runs into Doc Samson, who is in town for a gamma radiation experiment…

To the great shock of all comic book fans everywhere, the gamma radiation experiment does not go well, and Samson is infected with a sort of gamma anger virus that increases his strength but drives him insane with rage. Spider-Man and the Hulk try to take Samson down, but things take a turn for the worse at the end of the issue when the virus moves from Samson to…the Hulk!

The next issue is just Spider-Man and Samson getting their collective ass kicked by the Hulk. In the end, Spider-Man uses one of those classic “look into yourself. Is this what you want to do?” type of deals and it breaks the Hulk free of the virus’ control.

Normal enough two-parter, right? At the time, I remembered thinking, “Oh, this is so that Mark Bagley could get to draw the Hulk.” The covers, in particular, seemed like pin-ups almost…

Anyhow, someone who was NOT a fan of this story was Peter David.

He later recalled on his website, “Because the entire story in ASM turned on the notion that the Hulk was flying around to various places on commercial airlines and using commerical airports. This at the time when he was running the Pantheon, had access to their worldwide organization including a variety of air vehicles, and was wanted by SHIELD for criminal actions. The notion that he’d whip out a passport and hop a TWA flight at all, much less unmolested by government agencies, was ridiculous. I hated it. It made no sense. So I made it go away.”

It took him VERY little time to do so, as the second part of the Amazing Spider-Man story came out in August and David had the whole thing revealed to be a dream that Doc Samson had in November’s Incredible Hulk #413 (by David, Gary Frank and Cam Smith)…

I imagine that Doc Samson didn’t dream the parts of the Amazing Spider-Man issues involving Aunt May becoming suspicious about the miraculous return of her brother and sister in law, Richard and Mary Parker, right? That’d be one really weird dream of Samson (likewise, I imagine he didn’t dream the parts where Peter and Mary Jane have sex on their kitchen floor).

Okay, that’s it for this installment of Abandoned an’ Forsaked! If anyone else has a suggestion for a notable comic book retcon that they’d like to see featured, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

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