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Monday, April 25, 2016

Classic Comic Battles Key Issues Part 1

This was just recently requested, and I figured why not? Not a typical key issues list you see out there, and comic fans seem to really like and gun for comic issues that have classic battles between characters or villains. 

So, these classic battle keys might be all over the place, meaning not overly ordered. Some of these classic battles usually do seem to happen when two characters first meet. Not always but most of the time.

However, we'll try to cover other classic battles as well. So, let's get ready to rumble!

1st meeting with Hulk
1st Hulk vs FF battle
1st Hulk cross-over

Hulk smash! It's clobberin' time!
If were talking about a comic that would ignite the classic feud between two of Marvel's strongest characters, this comic right here is it. In reality, it's the Hulk vs. the Fantastic Four in this key comic, and it's the first time the team meets and battles the Emerald Giant.

It's not a one-on-one battle between Thing and Hulk though, but it's still a classic comic book rumble between two highly popular superheroes. Yes, there are panels where the Hulk and Thing do battle each other one-on-one for a minute at the end of the fight, but as mentioned before, it's more of a Fantastic Four vs Hulk battle for the most part.

I don't really have to say that this is a  huge and important Silver Age comic to get on so many levels, but it truly is. Not only is this the first meeting between the Fantastic Four and the Incredible Hulk, it is the first Hulk cross-over in comics. 

It gets even better though. This comic ties the Amazing Spider-Man #1 as the first Marvel Comics cross-over also. That is under the name of Marvel to be exact. 

One of the best Fantastic Four key comics and issues to get from the Silver Age, and definitely a classic comic battle as well. Fantastic Four #12 has the cover date of March, 1963.

1st Hulk vs. Thing battle  
3rd Avengers cross-over 
1st Avengers cross-over with Cap 
2nd appearance Silver Age Cap

When it comes to battles between two power house heroes that fans love to see go at it, the early Hulk vs. Thing battles are definitely classic. This is the first time the Hulk and the Thing battle each other on a one-on-one situation, and would kick off the beginning of quite a few of their fan-favorite brawls. 

Fans have always been curious as to who is the mightier between these two, and getting to see them smash and clobber each other has always been a treat. In this issue, the Hulk defeats the Human Torch before going at it one-on-one with Ben Grimm.
The Hulk does defeat the Thing in their first one-on-one encounter in this issue, but the battle is carried onto the next issue also. In issue #26, the Hulk continually shakes off the Thing, and it's only until both the Avengers and Fantastic Four team up together when the Hulk is defeated or runs away.

As usual, there's more to this key issue than just that though.

This comic is actually the 3rd Avengers cross-over out of their titled series, but it's the 1st cross-over with Captain America. 

Yep, that's right and that's awesome because this key issue is also the 2nd appearance of Silver Age Captain America as well. Can we say, a good key issue comic to invest in? 

Definitely one of the more sought out Fantastic Four key comics to invest in within the FF series. 

4th Avengers cross-over
3rd Silver Age Captain America
1st FF & Avengers team up 

This issue continues the story from issue #25.  Fantastic Four #26 is the 4th Avengers cross-over ever and the 3rd Silver Age appearance of Captain America just to get those key notations out of the way. Onward to the battle.

Not the least bit deterred from his defeat in the previous issue, the Thing picks himself back up, finds the Hulk and the battle resumes. Johnny ends up rejoining the fight also, but when the Hulk swats the two away, the soldiers who were watching the fight end up shooting mortars at the Hulk.

The Hulk is off and reaches the Avengers mansion. It's here where the Avengers do battle with the Hulk as a team. The Fantastic Four would end up showing up as well and have their very first team up with the Avengers.
Of course, the two superhero teams are too much for the Incredible Hulk and defeat him. Avengers #26 was published May, 1964.

Incredible Hulk #122 image
Early Hulk vs. Thing
1st Hulk vs Thing in comic title

When it comes to another classic slug fest between the Hulk and the Thing, this comic offers just that. Bruce Banner reads a newspaper that states that Reed Richards has developed a cure that will keep him from turning into the green rage monster. 

So, Banner heads to the Baxter Building to meet with Reed. Unfortunately, an uninformed security guard does not allow Banner onto the elevator that goes up to the FF penthouse suite.

This infuriates Banner enough that he Hulks-out! Reed sends the Thing to go find out what's going on, and this classic battle between the two emerges starting in an elevator shaft.

The Hulk and Thing do battle one-on-one at first and early on, but by the end, the Hulk ends up taking on the rest of the Fantastic Four after defeating the Thing. Ben Grimm does quickly recover and rejoins his team to take on the Hulk.

This issue is the first Hulk vs. Thing within the Incredible Hulk comic series, however. So, not a bad key issue for the Hulk series. Pretty over-looked currently, Incredible Hulk #122 has the cover date of December, 1969.

Hulk vs. Thing

Another fan favorite bout between the Hulk and the Thing as they once again try to establish who is the strongest. Actually, this is an interesting story, and Bruce Banner actually turns into the Hulk to stop a rampaging Thing.

A little back story here: In Fantastic Four #107, mad genius Reed Richards makes a cure for Ben that allows him to change back into human form and the Thing. However, when he rocks out, he becomes a bit whacked out as well.

By the time this issue rolls out, Thing has gone nuts and rampages through New York City. Reed calls on the help of Bruce Banner to find a cure for Ben's unstable mentality.

On the way there, Banner sees the Thing doing what the Hulk does best, and Banner turns into the Hulk to stop him. In this issue, Thing is actually giving the Hulk a good whompin' for most of the battle.
The only reason the Hulk isn't bested is because the Thing makes the worst mistake in fight you can ever make - He gets distracted and by Alicia Masters. Hulk takes this opportunity to deliver a cheap shot and lay ole Blue Eyes out. Who says there are rules in a street fight?   

However, the blow is so powerful that Johnny Storm and Alicia believes Ben Grimm to be dead at the end of this issue.

If you're a fan of the Hulk vs. Thing battles, you should be gunning for this one as early Hulk vs Thing battles are highly sought after. This Bronze Age key issue was published July, 1971.

1st battle between enhanced Thing & Grey Hulk

I grew up with this one right here, and what got me starting to read Fantastic Four comics was Fantastic Four #310. That's the issue where Ben Grimm is bombarded with even more cosmic rays and mutates even further with more enhanced strength and durability. Loved the cover to that issue as well, but back to the subject at hand.

Leave it up to good ole Dr. Doom to start trouble between the Hulk and Thing. Telling the Hulk that his rival has gotten in an enhancement of strength, the Hulk's ego gets the best of him, and he goes off to find his old rival and to challenge this new Thing.

The Hulk already mutated into the grey Hulk by this time, and because the grey Hulk retained Banner's intelligence, he got more powerful the more mad he gets quite a bit slower than the green savage version. 

Needless to say the Thing gets the best of Hulk for most of the fight in this issue. There's a lot of great action in this issue between the two titans. However, before the Thing can deliver the knock out blow, they are interrupted by the arrival of the green Hulk.

Hulk vs. Thing continued

Continuing from Fantastic Four #320, the green Hulk arrives and the Thing goes at it with him. Ben thinks this is the real Hulk, but while the real Hulk is recuperating from his smack down, Doctor Doom explains it's just a robot. Of course, it's just a robot.

The Thing figures this out soon and just rips apart the robot. The real Hulk (grey Hulk), engages the Thing again, but this time he uses hit and run strategies to wear Ben Grimm down.
In the end, the Hulk gets the upper hand on Ben by basically tiring him the hell out, and knocks him out pretty much as usual. I loved the cover of this issue by Jeff Purves as a young teen, though I was upset that Todd McFarlane had left the series by issue #346.

Still, a great read that brings back memories of an interesting fight between Hulk and the Thing. I think it's the first time Hulk uses brain to defeat the Thing instead of brawn. Oh, and the Hulk does fight dirty against the Thing in this comic, but whoever said there's such a thing as fightin' fair in a street brawl?

Actually and to be honest, the Thing wasn't all too bright in the 2nd round conclusion of this brawl. Incredible Hulk #350 has the cover date of December, 1988.

There are tons of Hulk vs. Thing battles in Marvel Comics, and each one is cool in their own right. I'm going with classic battles here, and no I won't be featuring every single one.

Everyone has their version of classic, but I'm going here with classic battles. For later battles, there should be something overly significant about that battle to make it a classic.

For instance, Fantastic Four #25 is the actual first Thing vs. Hulk one-on-one battle and has a slew of other key notations attached to that comic. Fantastic Four #26 continues a one-on-one battle between the two but the Avengers and Fantastic Four eventually unite in their first ever team up to defeat the Jade Giant.

Why Fantastic Four #320 and Incredible Hulk #350? It's the first battle between the two when both Thing and Hulk are  different. The Thing is more powerful and the Hulk is less powerful, but calling it a classic now can still be debated.

I think everyone can agree that the 1st battle between Hulk and the Fantastic Four in Fantastic Four #12 is a classic, but don't worry we'll be revisiting more classic Hulk vs Thing battles as this series progresses further

What's your favorite Hulk vs. Thing battle? Part 2 is ready so just click the link below to continue.


  1. I have FF 25,26 and 112. All are great classic battle issues to get. Looking forward to seeing the other books that will be included in this subject listing.

    1. Definitely great issues to have for sure! Awesome!

  2. Oh my gosh! You left out a classic! MARVEL FEATURE 11 HULK vs THE THING. I don' t think it' s a reprint, or is it?


    1. Ace, I said at the end of the post that I'll be revisiting the Hulk vs Thing classic battles throughout this series. No Marvel Feature #11 is not a reprint.

      I didn't want this whole thing to be about Hulk vs. Thing, and they have a lot of battles in comics. Jeez, man, this is only Part 1. Jump the gun much?

  3. Sorry Mayhem. Maybe I pulled the trigger to quick. That cover from Marvel Feature 11 is just so darn hot - it' s actually my favourite Thing/Hulk Battle Cover.


    1. No worries, Ace. We all get excited and Marvel Feature #11 is actually an important tussle between the two. Not because they fight again, but because it's the battle in which they reveal the Thing is stronger than the last time they met in Fantastic Four #112. That issue will definitely be in the series, but at a later Part.