Comic Legends: Did A Hulk Classic Pay Hidden Tribute to a Sci-Fi Great?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and seventieth week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

Click here for Part 1 of this weeks' legends.


Roy Thomas hid over a dozen references to Harlan Ellison stories in the script of the classic Incredible Hulk #140.



Harlan Ellison is one of the most famous and successful authors of the 20th Century, particularly in the fields of science fiction and fantasy writing (but he is also an accomplished horror and mystery writer). He has won multiple awards from pretty much every organization designed to give out awards for fiction. Eight Hugos, four Nebula awards, a couple of Stoker Awards, a couple of Edgars, the guy is all over the place.

In the late 1960s, he was probably right in his peak period and so he was even more famous than usual and to the second generation of comic book writers just breaking into comic books in the late 1960s (guys like Roy Thomas, Archie Goodwin, Denny O'Neil and Mike Freidrich), Ellison was pretty much like a rock star to them.

So when Roy Thomas got Ellison to agree to come up with a plot for an Avengers/Incredible Hulk two-parter in 1970, it was as if, say, Bob Dylan agreed to show up at your house to write some songs with you.

The two-parter was hyped to the umpteenth degree, with Ellison's name splattered all over the covers...

The storyline became a classic, with Hulk being shrunken down by a villain to the point where he ends up on a microscopic world filled with green people who worship him as their rightful king. He meets Jarella, who became the love of his life for a long time there. Future writers CONSTANTLY went back to Jarella's world for future stories.

Herb Trimpe freakin' CRUSHED it on the art for this issue!

Anyhow, amusingly enough, Thomas was so pumped about having Ellison work on these issues that he actually decided to go a step further and, since the issue came out on April 1st, he would do an April Fool's prank of sorts by working the name of over 20 Ellison stories into the story!

I won't list all of them here, but I'll do a few (the great poster, ruckus24, has all of them here).

Most notably is the title of the story, which is an adaptation of one of Ellison's most famous story collections...

On this page, both "The Place With No Name" and " Deeper Than The Darkness" get name-checked....

The next page gives us "Are You Listening?," "Phoenix," "Paingod" and "A Boy and His Dog"...

Finally, the next page gives us "The Waves in Rio" and "Bright Eyes"...

But it keeps going on, with roughly 26 Ellison stories name-checked in the comic book!

Some are more awkwardly placed than others, but overall, it's still a blast!

Check out my latest Movie Legends Revealed - Were Nicolas Cage's Abs CGI in Ghost Rider?

Sorry for the delay! There are two legends about this issue of Hulk and I waited to pair them together but then fell behind, so they were BOTH late! Que sera, sera! Feel free to write in with suggestions for future legends to either cronb01@aol.com or brianc@cbr.com!

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