Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced the Incredible Hulk to unsuspecting audiences in May 1962. After a six-issue run, the Hulk periodically popped up in Fantastic Four storylines for a bit, when Lee realized that the green behemoth had become something of an icon among the collegiate set. Indeed, in his book Comic Book Nation, Bradford Wright refers to a 1965 poll conducted by Esquire magazine in which “student radicals ranked Spider-Man and the Hulk alongside the likes of Bob Dylan and Che Guevara as their favorite revolutionary icons.” For much the ‘60s, Marvel featured him in a series called Tales to Astonish before giving him his own title in April 1968.
Ever since that era, the Hulk has been one of the core superheroes in the mind of the public, eclipsed only by Superman, Spider-Man, Batman, Wonder Woman, but that’s about it. He had his own TV show in the 1970s, he had two movies during the G.W. Bush years, and he’s now a prominent part of the successful Avengers franchise.
And before all of that, the Hulk was the subject of a garage rock novelty tune from 1969 called “Nobody Loves the Hulk.” The only advertising it ever benefited from was in the comic books themselves, and the only pressing was for 2,000—and it didn’t sell out.
The song was recorded by the Traits, a youthful combo out of New Rochelle, New York, which is not far from where I grew up. The song was written by a young woman named Rosalind Rogoff who was living in New Rochelle. According to her, she got in touch with a high school band teacher in New Rochelle, and she described the Traits as a “high school garage band.”
Of the song’s composition, Rogoff recently said:
I was a nerd then and still am. I’m not as nerdy as the Big Bang Theory guys are, but I was very much into comics when I was in my twenties. My mother kept telling me to get rid of all the old comics I saved, so I sold them to some guys for $25. I knew they would be worth a lot more in a few years, but it made my mother happy.
Rogoff “advertised it in Marvel Comics and had about 2,000 copies made. I sold a few hundred and donated a bunch to the Fire Department as Christmas Gifts and sold the remainder to a collectibles store.”
The songwriter says she’d rather not be associated with the song, but personally I don’t think she has anything to be ashamed of. The song is quite good, and the lyrics particularly pull off the neat trick of encapsulating everything you need to know about the Hulk without seeming forced. In 1992 Hulk Annual #18 featured a storyline in which a song called “Nobody Loves the Hulk” is sung, but the lyrics weren’t nearly as good, you can see them here.
Here’s the back cover of the single, with full lyrics:
Thank you Joe Yachanin!
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘Um, well, we already have a Hulk’: Truly bizarre Hulk costume
The Hulk joins The Ramones