There is something that is incredibly satisfying about a Folio Society Edition of a given work. Attention to detail is key for any of these books and everything from the hard slip cover to the binding and paper-weight is all carefully considered. It’s the sort of thing that looks lovely on the shelf and feels better in your hand. Their take on comic book characters has been especially interesting, finding that fine line between nostalgia and quality. Their Captain America and Spider-Man collections captured the unique qualities of each Marvel character whilst at the same time providing a time-less snap shot of what makes these characters so popular.
After all, Folio Society books are intended to last, so when they approach super-heroes, you want a single volume that most exemplifies that character. The Hulk is perhaps the most challenging hero to define; Bruce Banner’s alter-ego isn’t simple a suit he wears but a whole new entity and over the years, The Hulk has grown and evolved.
Yet again they’ve called upon the talents of Roy Thomas, a former Marvel editor-in-chief who has a keen eye for detail and mythology. Thomas gets it completely right throughout. His introduction demonstrates a near-perfect understanding of Hulk’s appeal and the selection of stories are pretty much a perfect wish-list of Hulk tales. In addition to Stan Lee & Jack Kirby’s work, we get tales written by Len Wein, Greg Pak, Peter David and Al Ewing. Though these writers are quite different from each other, they all understand how to write the monster as hero, and the stories their present are pure Marvel magic.
Art wise, it’s everything from Kirby, Herb Trimpe, Mike Mignola and Jim Cheung. The latter has produced the art for the book itself, from the fist on the cover to the endpapers. The Hulk’s heavy brow stares out from the spine when you shelve this thing and that’s something that will always bring a smile to the face of any Marvel fan.
We also get a replica of The Incredible Hulk #1 comic, which came out in May 1962. Yes that means the Hulk is almost 60 and still looking very spry. The replica comes in it’s own envelope and slides neatly into the slipcase. They’ve done their best to present the comic in a way that feels authentic whilst remaining durable. (The replica is of much higher quality than the source material, yet still glossy. It’s very well done.).
This is a perfect treat for a Marvel fan, and also a way to archive one of the more iconic heroes of the modern age. Hulk is more than the sum of his parts and his stories explore essential parts of the human condition (whilst pounding bad-guys). An essential addition for Hulk fans.