An artist’s vision isn’t always honored…

Time for my monthly look at another bit of comic book cover awesomeness.

Originally, I had planned to have a look at one of Jim Steranko‘s Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. covers, but when I was looking through Steranko’s work on the Google a different cover caught my eye. (Don’t worry, other Steranko covers are sure to show up in this series.) And then, as I looked into it a little deeper, I found out about an interesting bit of editing of the artist’s vision.

Editing shouldn’t come as a surprise. In commercial art compromises are made all the time. Film directors may not make their film as they had seen it in their minds because of budget constraints, insufficient technology, or studio interference. In comic books, editors might change what an artist had drawn because of story needs, character consistency, or maybe they just didn’t like a particular pose.

As great as Jim Steranko’s work was, it wasn’t immune to the whims of the editor.

Here’s the cover that caught my eye…


It’s the cover of the Incredible Hulk King-Size Special #1 from October 1968 and it’s excellent! It’s simple in its design and all the more powerful owing to that simplicity. I love the pose, the straining of every muscle, the veins bulging on his arms, the flames in the background, the crumbling letters, and the coloring. Awesome awesomeness!

However, editor Stan Lee had a problem with how the Hulk’s face was drawn.  I’m not sure why he didn’t have Steranko redraw the face, but I was told once by a local artist that editors will often make changes without informing the artist. Lee had Marie Severin, the artist of the book’s story, redraw the face and hers was cut and pasted in place.

I found out about the change from an article by Allan Harvey on the Gorilla Daze blog. Somehow Harvey found the original Steranko version (below). The original face, I think, was far more effective in showing the strain the Hulk was under. Severin’s face may have looked more like the Hulk we all know, but Steranko’s was much more expressive. More dramatic. Severin’s face looks more like just another day at the office for our green, muscle-bound hero, but in Steranko’s version, we can see he’s being pushed to his limit.


It is still one fantastic cover!

Packing Peanuts!

Feel free to comment and share.

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2 thoughts on “An artist’s vision isn’t always honored…

  1. Believe it or not I remember that book! My brother was a fan of the Hulk and would spend his allowance on Hulk books, I spent mine on army comics and Batman. Wow I’m old LOL

  2. Rick says:

    The posted date is October, 1968. Marvel is in it’s heyday with the creation of the FF, Spidey, Doc Strange, Thor, Avengers, Iron Man, Ant Man and more propelling Marvel from near bankruptcy to top tier comic publisher. If I ask myself why corrections were made at that time it is simply because Stan felt they had something to lose. He was involved in maintaining all the plots in all the books and if it were up to him, Kirby would have drawn everything, which he kinda did. If you look closely at the Steranko version, you will see why The Hulk is straining so hard… he is still changing from banner. Note how the big toes is still fleshy and not green yet. To me it would be a scarier piece if The Hulk were not 100% there yet and still had to hold up his rock logo. All kidding aside, Steranko IS one of the finest, most intellectual artists that Marvel was lucky to pay to draw. This cover shows that. RICK

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