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The Greatest Christmas Stories Ever Told! – #11

by  in Comic News Comment
The Greatest Christmas Stories Ever Told! – #11

The countdown continues with 1990’s “Rhino Plastered” from Incredible Hulk #378 by Peter David (with an assist by Kurt Busiek), Bill Jaaska and Jeff Albrecht…

This issue took a break from the regular Hulk storyline (the previous issue was the famous issue where the various Hulk personalities were merged into one with Bruce Banner’s mind in control of the Hulk’s body) to tell a flashback from when the Hulk was grey and on the run along with Clay Quartermain and Rick Jones. They are at a mall where the supervillain the Rhino has gotten a job as a mall Santa and things sort of devolve from there…

The Hulk and the Rhino have an excellent fight throughout the mall until a little girl gets involved in the melee…

What an adorable ending and what a hilarious issue! I especially dig the Rick Jones framing sequence (the kids end up being unenthused with his story).

Bill Jaaska and Jeff Albrecht did an impressive job on the art. Jaaska had a couple of really strong fill-ins on Hulk around this time (this issue and one a couple of months later). However, when he took over as the regular artist on New Titans in 1993, which was supposed to be his big break, his work did not seem as good. The odd sort of sketchy feel to his figures did not go over well with fans at all…

And instead of being his big break, his stint on New Titans pretty much finished his career in comics. His last comic book work was an issue of Turok in 1995. He passed away in 2009 living in a boarding house, surviving off of public assistance while dealing with severe vision problems. Jaaska’s story is one that is far more common than we would like to believe. It makes me proud to support the Hero Initiative, which helps out comic book creators in their time of need. If you’re interested in donating during this Holiday Season, check the Hero Initiative out. I literally just donated some money to them about 30 seconds ago. I seriously didn’t mean to bring you all down out of nowhere during a Christmas comic book countdown, but what can I say, whenever I see Jaaska’s work I think about his sad story. I’ll avoid pontificating during the top ten of the countdown!

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