This volume collects The Incredible Hulk #1-6. The Hulk came quickly on the heels of Fantastic Four #1, and should have been a hit due to the popularity of the Atlas/Marvel monster stories. Unlike the FF, however, the Hulk failed miserably. Marvel gave it their best shot -- six bimonthly issues over a one year period, but it was no soap. This may be the reason why Spider-Man was first introduced in Amazing Fantasy #15. He stood a much better chance of being received in a magazine that already had a circulation, even if it wasn't that healthy. If it bombed, at least it would not be in his own title like The Hulk, sparing the publisher and creative team more embarrassment and possibly killing the FF along with it. After all, a comic book publisher cannot exist on the success of one magazine alone, and their older anthology books were starting to wane in popularity. Even the romance comics were doing better. Everyone knew that the revival of superhero stories was the way to go, due to DC's successful revamping of their Golden Age superheroes. Fortunately, the Amazing Spider-Man was an overwhelming success. Already 14 issues into the FF, the release of the Amazing Spider-Man #1 really helped propel Marvel into the Silver Age of superheroes, and by 1963, with the release of X-Men #1 and The Avengers #1 (not to mention Iron Man and Ant Man in Marvel's monster/sci-fi/fantasy anthology mags), the execs at DC were no longer laughing at the little mouse that roared. Of course, as most of you already know, Marvel eventually toppled that giant publisher a few years later, and this period in comic book history became known as "the Marvel Age of Comics."
The only complaint I have about this collection (and all of the Marvel Masterpieces) is that it was not printed on Baxter paper. Instead, Marvel used glossy stock, which is not the best medium for early four-color comics to be printed on. Great for the computer-generated stuff that has come out since the '90s, but not for these stories. Original comic book newsprint and Baxter paper, a thicker version of newsprint that ages nicely, was perfect for Silver Age comics and reprints like The Life of Captain Marvel, because they both have that ability to soak up, mix, tone-down, and soften the colors that look so garish on glossy stock. When DC reprinted their classics like Showcase #4 (1st appearance of the Silver Age Flash), they used the original comic book newsprint. Consequently, the reading experience was nearly identical to the original. That's very important to the Baby Boomers who were the target audience for these reprints. Because of Marvel's decision to use glossy stock, I can only give this product four stars.