When Did the Hulk First Kill Someone in the Comics?

In "When We First Met," we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic lore, like the first time someone said, "Avengers Assemble!" or the first appearance of Batman's giant penny or the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth or the first time Spider-Man's face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter. Stuff like that.

Today, we look at when the Hulk first actively killed someone in the comics.

Right in the first issue of the Incredible Hulk by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Paul Reinman, we see the sort of issues we're dealing with when it comes to the Hulk and possible killing. He smashes a jeep with people in it and they go flying. In real life, there is a decent chance that one of those two soldiers COULD have died. Clearly, they don't die here, but it's that sort of thing that happens all the time in the Hulk comics.

It only became more evident when the Hulk later got an ongoing feature in Tales to Astonish. Check out these sequences in Tales to Astonish #65-67 (by Stan Lee, Steve Ditko and Frank Giacoia). The Hulk smashes through a whole building...

The Hulk smashes two airplanes and while you would assume that the pilots parachuted out, we don't actually see that happen...

The Hulk lands directly on a tank, smashing it to pieces...

Again, the Hulk is doing some pretty rampant damage, but at the same time, for the most part the creators go way out of their way to explain how the Hulk did not actually kill anyone. There was this one bit where the Hulk fights against a Communist Chinese Army (yes, it is as racist as you would imagine) and he throws some major devastation their way, but every time he does it, he goes out of his way to make sure that one of the soldiers are actually hurt.

There is a bit in Tales to Astonish #61 (by Stan Lee, Steve Ditko and George Roussos), that sees Hulk knock a guy in a robot suit down a "bottomless pit," but, well, seems hard to believe it was actually a "bottomless" pit...

It is fair to note that his INTENT sure seemed to be to kill that guy.

By the time that Tales to Astonish became Incredible Hulk's solo book, the pattern had mostly been set. The Hulk fights soldiers but he only smashes their weapons and does not actually kill anyone. The Hulk also fights super-strong monsters and super-villains that can handle his strength, so he doesn't kill them, either.

What could have possibly made him change his tune?

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