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The “Hulk vs. Venom” team-up comic book was definitely a product of the ’90s

A scene from an old comic book came into one of my social media feeds, and now I’m feeling nostalgic for comicdom’s most over-the-top decade.

Cover of “Incredible Hulk vs. Venom,” issue 1. An incredibly 1990s-looking cover depicting Hulk and Venom fighting each other while tangled in a web.
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Just look at how incredibly “nineties” the cover of The Incredible Hulk vs. Venom #1 from April 1994 is! Illustrator Jim Craig did a very good impression of Todd McFarlane, who’d left Marvel a couple of years prior to found the even-more-1990s publisher, Image Comics.

The only way it could be more a product of its decade is if it featured someone with a comically large sword (or a comically large number of regular swords) and pouches, pouches, pouches.

The comic starts with the classic team-up plotline of “first we fight because of some misunderstanding, but then we team up to take on a big bad villain.”

This being a comic from that era, writer Peter David managed to fit in an STD joke into the battle:

Excerpt from “Incredible Hulk vs. Venom,” issue 1. Hulk claps his hands together, creating a noise loud enough to take advantage of Venom’s weakness to sound. Hulk says “Which means all it should take to put an end to this gratuitous nonsense is a serious case of the clap.”
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In case you’re wondering why the Hulk is so quippy, it’s because Bruce Banner managed to merge his personality with Hulk’s, resulting in his becoming a big green scientist with a bad attitude. As for Venom, he’d already made the transition from villain to anti-hero.

Venom and Hulk are both in San Francisco to lend a hand after an earthquake. A local TV station gets a letter from someone going by the name of “Dr. Bad Vibes” — he claims responsibility for the earthquake, and unless his ransom demands are met, he’ll make an even bigger one!

Hulk and Venom barge into the TV station during a live  on-air reading of Dr. Bad Vibes’ ransom note and trash-talk him ’80s/’90s wrestler style. This scene also provides us with a view of Hulk’s totally ’90s “rad” haircut:

Page 28 from “Incredible Hulk vs. Venom,” issue 1. Features a scene where Venom and Hulk barge into a live TV news report and trash-talk “Dr. Bad Vibes.” They end their taunting with “We’re going to beat (clap) you up!”
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In case you’re too young to remember, Hulk and Venom’s simultaneous “beat (clap) you up!” line comes from the “Hans and Franz” skits from Saturday Night Live at the time:

In the end, Hulk and Venom find Dr. Bad Vibes, who actually can’t control earthquakes. He’s a delusional guy with a cardboard box labeled “Earthquake Machine.” He sent his threatening letter prior to the quake and by comic-book-coincidence, the earthquake followed, with “hilarity” soon ensuing:

Dr. Bad Vibes, a meek, broken man, holding a cardboard box labeled “Earthquake Machine.”

What a decade!

One reply on “The “Hulk vs. Venom” team-up comic book was definitely a product of the ’90s”

Hard to believe now, but towards the end of the 1990’s, Marvel was teetering on bankruptcy. And with the product they were putting out (your nostalgic example works well), I thought their disappearance would be a mercy for all.

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