The Hulk Crashes the Party in Fantastic Four #12, Up for Auction

As a longtime Fantastic Four collector, the Hulk vs Thing (and the rest of the FF) battle in Fantastic Four #12 might just be my favorite among the early issues.  The debut of Doctor Doom in Fantastic Four #5 is way up there… but I think I have to give the edge to Fantastic Four #12.  This one has a little of all of the things that made early Silver Age Marvel comics great — Cold War era mayhem, heroes with personalities as strong as their powers, and of course — it's one of Marvel's definitive crossover sagas. A fan favorite early Silver Age Marvel for decades, there's a Fantastic Four #12 (Marvel, 1963) CGC VG+ 4.5 Off-white pages up for auction in this week's 2021 October 24-25 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122143.

Fantastic Four #12 (Marvel, 1963)
Fantastic Four #12 (Marvel, 1963)

Fantastic Four #12 hit the newsstands around December 10, 1962 — the same week as the release of Amazing Spider-Man #1. These two issues are the first Marvel crossovers, and may have been done for similar reasons.  While the presence of the already-established FF in the debut of Amazing Spider-Man may have given that new title a boost, the Hulk's appearance in Fantastic Four comes just a month before the Hulk's own title was canceled with issue #6, and might have been a last-ditch effort to give the character more exposure.

The story itself is filled to the brim with Cold War-era inspirations.  A Russian saboteur was causing havoc against America's missile defense plans.  Thinking that the Hulk was the culprit, General Ross enlists the Fantastic Four's help in stopping him.  The Russian spy angle may have been inspired by the exploits of Rudolf Abel, one of the most famous Soviet spies of this particular era, who had been arrested in 1957 for conspiracy to obtain defense information.  Abel was in the news again in 1962 because he was being exchanged for captured American U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers.  The defense project at the center of this issue, "Project 34", is pretty obviously located in the Nevada Test and Training Range, based on various hints in this issue.

All this aside, this story packs enough intrigue and action for an entire mini-series into just one issue and has been a favorite of collectors for a very long time. A perenially popular Marvel key, there's a Fantastic Four #12 (Marvel, 1963) CGC VG+ 4.5 Off-white pages up for auction in this week's 2021 October 24-25 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122143.

Fantastic Four #12 (Marvel, 1963)
Fantastic Four #12 (Marvel, 1963)

Fantastic Four #12 (Marvel, 1963) CGC VG+ 4.5 Off-white pages. Fantastic Four vs. the Hulk (their first encounter). Jack Kirby cover and art. The Hulk's first crossover, tied with Amazing Spider-Man #1 as the first Marvel crossover. Rick Jones and Thunderbolt Ross appearances. Currently tied for #29 on Overstreet's list of Top 50 Silver Age Comics. Overstreet 2021 VG 4.0 value = $750. CGC census 10/21: 134 in 4.5, 674 higher.

View the certification for CGC Certification ID 3706177007 and purchase grader's notes if available.

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About Mark Seifert

Co-founder and Creative director of Bleeding Cool parent company Avatar Press. Bleeding Cool Managing Editor, tech and data wrangler. Machine Learning hobbyist. Vintage paper addict.
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