Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Radically Chic Hulk!!

The late 1960s/early 1970s were pretty crazy for the way politics and culture swirled around each other, and of course, comics books picked up on that, too.

At one point, Leonard Bernstein hosted a high-society soiree and fund-raiser for the Black Panthers. "New Journalism" writer Tom Wolfe was there, and wrote a fairly scathing piece on it for New York magazine titled "These Radical Chic Evenings," critiquing and satirizing the social elite for using support for radical causes as a means of gathering social cachet and notoriety.

And Roy Thomas read it.

This New York Times article notes a letter in the New York Public Library's Tom Wolf Archive:
A writer from Marvel Comics wrote to ask whether Mr. Wolfe would be interested in collaborating on a comic book about “a fictitious bunch of ‘Radical Chic’ social leaders who align themselves with a militant (nonblack) group which turns out to be bent on world domination.”
Man, I'd love to read that letter. Anyone have a NYPL card? I would have also have loved to have seen the original concept, with New York's social elite getting duped into supporting A.I.M. or Hydra or The Secret Empire or some such.

But whatever the original idea and subsequent discussion were, this comic was the result:

Yeah, it doesn't look particularly "radical chic."

But then there's this credit:

In the story, the Hulk has come to New York, and he's sleeping on the Statue of Liberty!! No one wants to drive him away, as they're afraid that the Hulk would damage the icon in any tussle.

Ah, but don't underestimate the abilities of New York's Cafe Society!

Well, it's not working, until their lovely daughter Samantha sweet-talks the Jade Giant:

And so...

The party is ON!!

That blonde guy center background? That's Tom Wolfe!!

And the party is everything you could hope for!

(We'll talk about Tom Wolfe's other Marvel cameo later today...)

I ran this page the other day, but here it is in context...

But the whole purpose of a fund-raiser is to raise funds, so...

Ungrateful cad!!

Any, at this point the Enchantress transforms Samantha into the Valkyrie, who attacks the Hulk for taking attention/money away from her cause (women's' liberation). You can read about that fight here.

And as the damage piles up in the swanky residence:

Tom Wolfe via Roy Thomas...sticking it to The Man!! Who said comics were just for kids?!?!

From Incredible Hulk #142 (1971)


Andy Graves said...

That's New York Magazine, not the New Yorker. They're different periodicals.

Love your site though!

snell said...

Yeah, I knew that. Thought I had corrected it in editing, but obviously not...

Warren JB said...

I haven't read this issue in full, but just the bits and pieces I've seen of it on the internet make me an instant Herb Trimpe fan.

Sina said...

I have to agree that the man is worthy of respect, not only for being a seasoned professional within the industry, but also for his artistic integrity & willingness to try something new 😊

I only started learning about the creators behind the comics after I'd grown up (& with great thanks to the internet for that 🙂), but I have to say that I developed great respect for the man Mr. Trimpe as an artist after finding out that his decision to mimic the contemporary super-popular art style of Rob Liefeld (as seen in Avengers Annual #21, which I actually remember picking up off the spinner racks at the time & which, even to my then-young eyes, could tell was a highly stylized, unique & acquired taste as an art style for readers of comics books, like "...what *is* this?" 😜) was one of his own doing & choosing in order to flex his creativity as an artist & to pay tribute to someone he felt was worth paying tribute to, even from a veteran of the field such as himself to a young up-&-comer like Mr. Liefeld (who I'm also a fan of, btw ☺) & that it wasn't a forced decision from higher-ups or editorial or from fan pressure due to lack of interest or sales in his own work which led to him making that decision 🙂 I liked that & admired that once I knew the backstory behind it, I have to say 😎

Thank you, Mr. Trimpe 🙂