Tales to Astonish Issue 60: It Just Had to Happen!! The Incredible Hulk Has Finally Been Awarded His Own Series!!
Incredibly Produced by:
Writer- Stan Lee
Illustrator- Steve Ditko
Inker- George Bell
Letterer- Stan Rosen
Now that the Hulk shares the 24 pages of this comic with Giant Man, maybe I can finally take a breather and tone down my word count on these things…. Nah. We’ll just see how it goes.
While Stan Lee still continues to fill in the speech bubbles and narration boxes of just about every comic printed at the time, Dick Ayers handles duties drawing Giant Man’s stories and Steve Ditko begins his run on the Incredible Hulk.
The title of this story is: “Can a Man with Green Skin and a Petulant Personality Find True Happiness in Today’s Status Seeking Society?” And will Hulk ever find a shirt that fits? When will Reed Richards give him that secret to keeping your clothes untorn even in hostile situations?!
In his underground bunker, the Hulk has his tantrums only to turn back to normal eventually. Banner has the age-old dilemma of finding a solution to his transformations. Before he can continue, it’s almost time for him to punch in the clock.
Later at the Air Force Missile Base, General Ross and his daughter Betty are checking Bruce’s new robot, a bulky machine that doesn’t seem to shoot rocket punches. They argue about Betty’s obsession with Bruce when Thaddeus can pick just about any one of the eligible bachelors on the the base. While Bruce checks in, a shadowy figure is miffed that he can’t sabotage the robot. For a deadly Soviet spy, he sure is incompetent for not doing his homework beforehand. General Ross berates Banner for being late to work, and Betty wishes him good bye.
While Bruce works on his robot, he realizes how he can prevent himself from transforming into the Hulk at the most inopportune times. He realizes that he must control his heart rate and stress levels, though he may as well do that with a certain green weed… But before he can realize what he can do outside of doing something illegal in 1960s America, the General tells him to hurry up with the robot, as the testing time has been moved up to 0800 the next morning. So Dr. Banner pulls an all nighter, and as he leaves the lab to clean up, he sees somebody running away from the scene. Bruce transforms and chases after the suspicious figure, but the Hulk forgets to look for him and goes on his daily walks. Meanwhile, the spy finds his way back and enters the robot.
At the testing site, the robot arrives and nobody considers to check the inside of the robot for Banner. A staff member is brought to the General, and he tells him that he was knocked out by somebody who may certainly be Banner, never mind that it’s the Cold War, and just the other month they had a problem regarding alien pests and Soviet spies. A tank is dispatched to destroy the robot but is quickly turned to scrap. However, the spy is still stuck inside the machine, as the tank’s shell damaged the exit mechanism. Banner must’ve forgot the ejection button?
The Hulk returns to the base to find the robot, and the image of the robot appears in his head due to Banner’s memories. He comes to the conclusion that puny Banner built the thing to destroy him, even though he knows that they are the same person, a fact that is constantly repeated. So the Hulk charges toward the robot and at first, he has a rather hard time due to the reinforced armor. The robot retaliates but its slow movements barely graze our hero. The Hulk decides to knock over the robot and then smash it with a boulder. That doesn’t work, as it rises up to fight. The spy decides to sit back and let the Hulk tire out.
Unable to crack the shell, the Hulk gets more and more agitated. His heartbeat rises, and it is almost time for him to turn back into the Hulk. Apparently frustration is enough to turn him back into the weakling Banner, though I always though the Hulk being calm turned him back, that’s apparently not the case. Rolling into a ditch to hide from his Soviet foe, Banner returns to normal, waiting for the Army to rescue him. General Ross confronts the the milksop, demanding what he did with the robot. A soldier reports that the robot has continued his trek across the desert. That spy is going to trek the desert in a suit like that? Banner must have installed one hell of an air conditioner in the thing if it plans to go rendezvous with his comrades.
The story ends with everybody worrying about Banner’s new invention wandering the desert. But in the next issue the story continues…