The lost Hulk annual and the Abel Brigade

The pages below are from a Hulk annual in the early 80’s that never made it to production. As the story goes, the issue was penciled by Larry Lieber and the inking duties fell to Jack Abel but before Jack could add the inks he had a stroke and was hospitalized, making him unable to complete the issue. At this point a group of Marvel artists stepped up to finish the job, calling themselves the Abel Brigade.  That’s where the story apparently ends as the issue was never quite completed and never made it to publication.

There are quite a few pages floating around and I have gathered as many images as I can find to try and stitch the issue back together as much as possible. As a Hulk and Marvel fan, I found this story very interesting to learn how the artists pulled together to get the issue done for Jack. The story caught my attention when researching a page I bought a few years ago that was unidentified at the time. A big thank you to the art collecting community who offered up scans of pages and the names of inkers believed to work on the various pages.

As for the story, the main elements seem to revolve around Banner on an island (apparently via kidnapping), a Hulkout and confrontation with a mechanized robot, an evil genius, and Hulk vs Banner … a typical recipe for a Hulk story from the era.

The pages and their inkers I are listed below. If you have information about this issue and/or scans of pages not included here (or better versions of any below), please feel free to contact me and I will update the sequence. I would love to eventually complete the story. Click on images for larger pictures.

UPDATE 7/13/2016: I really appreciate all the feedback (great stuff in the comments below) and have updated info as provided. I don’t make any claims to 100% accuracy but I am adding info as it comes in. If you have more info or a perspective that may add value, please chime in here on the thread or contact me directly via the site. A couple of people have indicated that Larry Lieber may have also wrote the story which would make sense. Thanks for the feedback – keep ’em rolling in!

Page 04 – Larry Lieber / Joe Rubinstein
unpub Hulk annual p 4








Page 12 – Larry Lieber / Steve Leialoha
unpub Hulk annual p 12








Page 14 – Larry Lieber / Brent Anderson
unpub Hulk annual p 14








Page 16 – Larry Lieber / Terry Austin
unpub Hulk annual p 16








Page 18 – Larry Lieber / Walt Simonson
unpub Hulk annual p 18








Page 20 – Larry Lieber / Carl Potts
20 (Potts)








Page 22 – Larry Lieber / Brent Anderson
page 22








Page 23 – Larry Lieber / Jim Shooter
page 23








Page 24 – Larry Lieber / Bob Budiansky
page 24








Page 25 – Larry Lieber / Bob Wiacek
page 25








Page 30 – Larry Lieber / John Romita
unpub Hulk annual p 30








Page 31 – Larry Lieber / Roy Richardson
page 31








Page 32 – Larry Lieber / Roy Richardson
page 32








Page 36 – Larry Lieber / ?
page 36








Page 37 – Larry Lieber / ?
page 37

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13 Responses to The lost Hulk annual and the Abel Brigade

  1. Pingback: Romita Sr. Hulk!? Test your Hulk knowledge and identify this page! | an INCREDIBLE HULK fan web site

  2. Wow! What a discovery! I never knew about this unfinished annual. Thanks for sharing these scans here. Good luck in your search for additional pages.

  3. I think I did as well Ben – thanks for the help. Glad to know someone else found this as interesting as I did. LOL

  4. Hi, Roy Richardson here. Ben Herman brought this page to my attention. While I have no memory at all of inking this page, it does look like my style at the time. I’d guess that I also inked page 32, as it has “Roy R.” written at the top. In addition, page 20 looks to have “Potts” written on it, which probably refers to then-editor Carl Potts, who also did inking work for Marvel.

    • Hi Roy! Thanks for dropping by. I will update the page to reflect you as inker for page 32 and add Carl Potts for page 20. Do you have any additional back story? Anecdotes? Recollections? I’d love to make this a living thread to bring as much back to this story as possible. Thanks!

  5. Mark says:

    Nice. Keep ’em coming. You’ll have the story completed in no time! I’m guessing this is a 38-40 page story.

    Also, based on that page 4, it’s pretty clear that this was intended for Annual 10. It ties into the plot of the Hulk comic at the time – Betty and Rick are hiding out with Banner in his cave.

    I wonder, did Larry Lieber write this or just draw it? Either the writer wrote full script and Lieber filled in the dialogue (that’s his handwriting on the rough lettering) or he filled in his own dialogue as he drew the story.

    • Thanks Mark. Your suggestion that Lieber may have written this issue is not the first of that nature. I added an update to suggest that in the article as well. As for completing the pages, still a very long task as many are still unaccounted for and/or missing. I am hopeful that more pages will trickle in. The initial response was great – hopefully it continues.

  6. Nick Caputo says:

    Great find! Page 25 inks may be the work of Bob Wiacek.

  7. Nick Caputo says:

    Based on the dialogue I suspect this is a Lieber script.

    • Several had surmised the same – I added an update to the article to suggest this as well. Thanks for the info. Feel free to share this article with your audience as well.

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