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Tuesday, December 26, 2006 

Another story worth printing in trades: the Hulk's love for Jarella

A short time ago, I thought of another story, one that may be overlooked, that I'm sure is well worth publishing in trade paperbacks: the Incredible Hulk's adventure during the Bronze Age when he was shrunken onto a subatomic planet where Bruce Banner, and also his Hulk side, fell in love with an alien queen named Jarella. The following is a rundown of what I know about this storyline, which was told within a period of over nine years.
It all started in a two-part crossover story told in The Avengers #88 and The Incredible Hulk #140 in 1971, co-authored by Harlan Ellison with Roy Thomas. The Earth's Mightiest Heroes were facing off against a villain called Psyklop, who abducted the Hulk for experimenting on. That is, the crook's idea was to shrink him down to subatomic size. Sounds scary, right? But if Psyklop's whole purpose was to shrink the Hulk out of existence, he should've thought again: the Hulk shrunk through space to a subatomic planet called K'ai, where he finds an army of beasts called warthos attacking a city, and saves the residents from the antagonists. The citizens are grateful, and their queen, Jarella, a blonde-haired woman with green skin, falls in love with him and wishes to marry him, which Bruce would be happy to do at the time (Betty Ross at the time was paired with Ross Talbot), until Psyklop ruins everything by snatching him back to Earth and regular size, much to Jarella's misery as well.
But it didn't end there. Jarella, with the help of her sorcerors (the planet of K'ai had both magic and technology available), learned how to travel to Earth and even to enlargen to standard Earth size, and Bruce in turn was able to use the kind of technology Psyklop used to travel again to K'ai, and so, over a few more issues over the years, they revisited this whole story again, until later on, Jarella ended up on earth with Bruce, and they were thinking of marrying there.
But alas, fate raised its heavy hand. In issue #205, while taking a tour of a city in New Mexico, so that Jarella could see what her new environment was like, a criminal controlling a cyborg named the Crypto-Man was plotting a major bank heist, and, spotting Jarella, assumed she was affected by gamma radiation just like the Hulk, and wanted to siphon off any power she had to help with his own plans. When he tried to chase after her, the Crypto-Man got into a confrontation with the Hulk, as Bruce transformed into his great alter ego to stop him, and, during the ensuing scuffle, Jarella was killed by a falling slab of concrete while saving a little boy from the same fate, in a part that sounds reminiscient of Captain George Stacy's death in 1970. The scientists and doctors at Gamma Base were unable to save her, and she died.
Some time later, the Hulk learned from Tyrannus that the scientists at Gamma Base were experimenting on Jarella's body, and broke into the room where they were keeping her in a stasis tube to break her out. Captain Mar-Vell offered to help him travel back to K'ai once more to bury her, which he did in issue #248, and helped to repair the planet's damaged fertility growth as well. When Jarella was finally buried, a flower grew up from her grave as a final way of saying goodbye. And with that done, the Hulk returned to Earth, and the story ended.

This sounds to me like something well worth reading, and publishing in trades for anyone who'd find it hard to obtain the original issues. It was written several years before DC published Sword of the Atom, which I spoke about here earlier, and while it may not be of the exact same "human interest" theme that SOTA was written as, it certainly does look like a winner. Is it just me, or does it not get the kind of attention and regard that the death of Gwen Stacy got in its time? I don't know, but I think it's well worth campaigning for so that it could be published in trade paperback. Since it'd be about 12 issues in total, they'd probably charge 25 dollars for it (hopefully not 30), but I'd say it'd be well worth it.

(By the way, are those pictures displaying vertically? Good heavens, that's what I get for thinking that the centering option was the best way to go. I'll see if I can adjust them later.)

Open trackbacks: The Bullwinkle Blog, Perri Nelson's Website, Pirate's Cove, Random Yak.

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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