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.
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:
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:
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:
What a decade!