The first issue of “The Incredible Hulk,” created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby for Marvel Comics in May of 1962, featured a Frankenstein-like creature on its cover with gray skin. It told the story of a nuclear physicist named Robert Bruce Banner, who, upon being exposed to gamma rays from a bomb detonation in the New Mexico desert, is transformed, temporarily and unpredictably, into the Hulk.
The character was given his trademark green hue in issue two, but that initial series of Incredible Hulk comics ran for only six issues, until March 1963. But Marvel was not through with the character. The Hulk appeared again in “The Amazing Spider-Man,” issue 14, in July 1964, and then found a new home in “Tales to Astonish” beginning with issue 59 in September 1964. In that issue, the Incredible Hulk battled Giant-Man, with whom he shared the cover of a special double issue the following month.
In fact, Hulk battled just about everyone in “Tales to Astonish.” He dueled with Sub-Mariner in issue 70, Hercules in issue 76, and the Silver Surfer in issue 93. Finally, in issue 102, in April of 1968, the comic was renamed “The Incredible Hulk” and the origin story was told all over again for a new generation of fans.
Despite the renaming, issue 102 of “The Incredible Hulk” is actually less collectible than another that came several years later in November 1974. That’s when Wolverine made his full-story debut in issue 181 of “The Incredible Hulk” (he had a cameo on the last page of issue 180, but 181 is the comic most collectors seek).
Wolverine would not join the X-Men until May of 1975, which may be why he’s billed on the cover of “The Incredible Hulk” number 181 as “The World’s First and Greatest Canadian Superhero.”