Topic: Comic Book History
TODAY'S FEATURE - Blog #3546:
Last weekend, Tina and I attended both days of the first ever ComiKaze Expo. I've already posted my thoughts on this convention in Blog #3541.
One of the hi-lites of the show for me was meeting Patrick (Pat) A. Jankiewicz, at the Nuke The Fridge Con booth. Pat happened to be there at the time I was walking by again, (corner booth!), and Louis Love, the promoter, called me to stop and meet Pat. I'm glad he did!
Pat is the author of the newly published, (July of 2011), Hulk Companion Book titled 'You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry!'. Weighing in at over 500 pages, this companion book is HULK-Sized for sure!
Before I go further, let me print what the promo blurb says the book covers:
"Doctor David Banner, physician, scientist, searching for a way to tap into the hidden strength that all humans have. Then an accidental overdose of Gamma Radiation alters his body chemistry. And now, when David Banner grows angry or outraged, a startling metamorphosis occurs..." You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry: A Hulk Companion is the incredible true story behind The Incredible Hulk TV series in one Hulk sized book! For 5 seasons, Banner traveled the backroads of America (which resemble the Universal Studios backlot) on his quest to cure himself. You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry: A Hulk Companion tells the tragic story of star Bill Bixby, whose real-life misfortunes left him resembling his tormented alter ego, David Banner. With Marvel heroes now Hollywood's biggest stars, The Incredible Hulk was their first live action success! The book introduces you to: -Hulk creators Stan Lee & Jack Kirby and how the comic-book character was cancelled after only six issues! . -Lou Ferrigno, The Hulk himself and how the upbeat, deaf bodybuilder became TV's unlikeliest star. -Meet the men who played Thor, Demi-Hulk & Evil Hulk on the show. -Guests like Xander Berkeley, Loni Anderson, Rick Springfield & Edie McClurg! With over 500 pages of Gamma-powered goodness, the book includes: exclusive interviews, rare photos & a moving foreword by Lou Ferrigno. -A complete episode guide, including all 5 TV movies & 2 feature films. ---The unfinished SHE-HULK pilot Bill Bixby appeared in and reveals what sports star played her. -What color were Hulk & She-Hulk going to be on TV? (Hint: NOT Green!) -Which Bond villain was cast as Hulk before Ferrigno? -What California governor almost landed the role...but wasn't tall enough? Journalist PATRICK A. JANKIEWICZ, writer for Wizard & Fangoria, takes an incredible look at the incredible cult TV series!"
Whew! No wonder it is over 500 pages in size! And no, it isn't the size in length & width shown at the top left of this blog post being held by the author, (photoshopped!), but man, it is huge!
So other than the size in amount of pages... What was 'My Take' on this book?!
First of all, believe it or not... I wasn't a true fan of 'The Incredible Hulk' TV Show!
There... I said it! And in print!
This TV Show was first presented as a made for TV film on November 4, 1977 as a pilot movie. The pilot sequel which showed what the property could do as an hour TV program was shown on November 28, 1977.
It wasn't until March 10, 1978 that the first tv show episode was shown after the two films showed the TV executives and the TV watching audience what it could be as a TV show. The series ran for five seasons, with the last episode being shown June 2, 1982!
So I said I wasn't a 'true fan' of the TV Show... Why?
Well, it was because of a few factors... 1) I was newly married to my first wife, (June of 1975), and was busy helping get her career going and aiming on setting up a new business, so our TV viewing time was limited. 2) The TV films and the first episodes proved to me that the creator of the TV show was NOT interested in portraying 'The Incredible Hulk' like he was in the Marvel comic books.
Indeed, Kenneth Johnson went out of his way to make sure it wasn't like the comic books at all! Dr. Banner's first name was different, 'David Banner', but kept the middle name as 'Bruce', which was hardly referred to. The 'Hulk Green' (lime green in color), was almost not used also. The Incredible Hulk was usually seen in only two scenes in the hour long TV Show. The show reminded me of another TV show I used to watch, 'The Fugitive', and wasn't like the comic book series, (I had been a fan of The Incredible Hulk as a feature in 'Tales To Astonish' comic book title).
Indeed... One of the TV show's writers, (Karen Harris), is quoted in the book as saying "Kenneth Johnson was a great teacher and mentor. We learned a lot aobut writing from him. One thing we learned from him that I have since passed on to many other writers is "Don't write down to your audience. Don't write a comic book, write a good story". (Words underlined are underlined by me, from page 157 of the book.)
Okay... I'm glad I didn't see that in print or hear that at the time. That would have made me HULK OUT! Stan Lee did NOT dumb down his comic book stories after the start of the Marvel Age of Comics... period! Maybe some other comics companies did, (which will remain nameless here), but not Marvel. Heck, college kids were reading them in the early 1960s! Sheesh!
So yeah, that is probably why I just didn't follow this TV show during the 5 years. At one time it was sandwiched between 'Dukes of Hazzard' and 'Dallas' on Friday nights. And we, (the ex-wife) and I loved 'Dallas'!
I think it was Stan (The Man) Lee, co-creator of The Incredible Hulk who said it best in his Marvel Comics column, Stan's Soapbox', about the changes made in the TV version of The Incredible Hulk... I don't have the exact quote(s), but he wasn't too sure about the changes that were made to his co-creation either. This Hulk Companion book includes some of that background history also.
Which is why I found myself truly enjoying reading this Hulk Companion book!
Although I wasn't a big fan of the TV show... Pat has put so much info, so many interviews, so much in-depth background on actors that played on the TV show, and bits and pieces from the comic books themselves... That I couldn't help but be drawn into this companion book!
Yes, I haven't seen all of the episodes that are critiqued in this companion book, although I recently purchased a DVD set titled: The Incredible Hulk - The Television Series Ultimate Collection, so that I could introduce the series to my youngest son, who had never seen the TV show. Plus I got a great deal on it, so thought I would watch 'The Ultimate Collection' which would present the 'best episodes'.
But Pat made the critiques of each show readable, even for those that haven't seen the episodes.
I liked the additional info obtained by Pat's interviewing the TV actors who played in the episodes. That was a nice touch also.
The organizational aspect of presenting all of this info, (and lots of photos!) would be hard for any writer to do. I'm really pleased that Pat added an index in the back of the book to assist readers. You wouldn't believe how many persons are quoted in this book, from the regular cast, to the guest stars, to those involved in the production of this TV Show!
My gut feeling is that if I enjoyed reading this Hulk Companion book, and I wasn't that much into the TV Show at the time... That a 'true fan' of the show would just LOVE this book!
Thus my comic book grade for this Hulk Companion book is a NEAR MINT (NM) 9.4 out of a possible 10.0 comic book grading scale! For those of YOU looking for an upcoming holiday gift giving season gift... This would be it for a fan of The Incredible Hulk TV Show for sure! Plus, Pat's book goes into the Hulk films that have been recently shown on the Big Screen, so I'm going to include those film fans as well as probable fans of this book. As for comic book fans of The Incredible Hulk... I believe those fans, (including myself), would be more than satisified with what is included in this more than 500 pages Hulk Companion book!
Now for the real reason that I moved this book up in review blogging here for the 'weekend edition' of my Blog...
If YOU are in the Los Angeles Metro Area THIS SUNDAY, tomorrow, November 13th of 2011... You won't want to miss the SPECIAL BOOK SIGNING EVENT in Burbank, California! Here is the link to the Facebook Event Page for it for further details. I won't be there, as I'm in the San Diego Metro Area... (and already have my signed copy!), But I am highly suggesting that if YOU can make it there, to check it out, and say hello to Pat, and a few additional people that worked on the actual TV Show! Including: Patrick Ric “Demi Hulk” Drasin – Actor & Stuntman, Laurie Prange – Actress (Appeared in 4 episodes), Olivia Barash - Actress (First Hulk rescue), Manny Perry - Actor & Stuntman, and Mickey Jones - Actor. Again, please see the event page link above for time, etc. !
For those of you that can't make it... Here's the book info, and the link to buy your copy online:
Paperback: 528 pages
To buy it online: You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry: A Hulk Companion
Again, my thanks to Patrick A Jankiewicz and Louis Love for bringing this newly published book to my attention!
And as a reminder, Lou (The Incredible Hulk) Ferrigno will be appearing at the upcoming Nuke The Fridge Con on December 10th as seen at this Facebook event page link!
(Personal Side-Note: I'll also be there selling signed copies of 'my' book, Gotham City 14 Miles at my own table, along with a couple thousand of comic books, INCLUDING 'The Incredible Hulk' comics! So stop by and see us all on December 10th!)
Whew! This is a HULK-Sized blog post today!!
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