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Flashback Issue

518: Smash #38

" Monster and the Matador! "
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Smash #38
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Cover Artists:
Cover Date: October 1966
Release Date: October 1966
Story Arc: -
Pages: 6
Cover Price: -
Times Read: 367                 Times Rated: 247
Plot Flags:  
Universes:   Earth-616  

Thor #132b (v1)
Thor #133b (v1)
Smash #38
Tales of Suspense #81a (v1)
Tales of Suspense #82a (v1)
516: Thor
#132b (v1)
517: Thor
#133b (v1)
519: Tales of Sus...
#81a (v1)
520: Tales of Sus...
#82a (v1)
Expanded Order
Modeling with Millie #49
Universe Tag
Millie the Model #141
Universe Tag
Smash #38
Universe Tag
Tales of Suspense #81a (v1)
Universe Tag
Tales of Suspense #82a (v1)
Universe Tag
Modeling with Millie #49
Millie the Model #141
Tales of Suspense #81a (v1)
Tales of Suspense #82a (v1)
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Issue Blurb
The Matador becomes an international sensation with his mastery in the arena. As he prepares to make plays towards using his fame to net himself power, the Hulk appears and creates havok.
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Character Appearances
Main Characters
Hulk last appeared in Tales to Astonish #85a (v1). Hulk next appears in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #3.
Supporting Characters
  Betty Ross
Betty Ross last appeared in Tales to Astonish #83b (v1). Betty Ross next appears in Tales to Astonish #85b (v1).
  Thunderbolt Ross
Thunderbolt Ross last appeared in Tales to Astonish #84b (v1). Thunderbolt Ross next appears in Tales to Astonish #85b (v1).
  El Supremo
El Supremo last appeared in Daredevil #5 (v1). El Supremo next appears in Daredevil Annual #1.
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Issue Notes
  There are no notes for this issue.

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Issue Review
There is no review of this issue.
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Issue Synopsis
The Incredible Hulk in the Monster and the Matador.

During the events of Avengers #3, the Hulk transformed back into Bruce Banner and quickly fled the battle on Gibraltar between Prince Namor and the Avengers in order to keep his identity secret. Feeling weak, Banner climbs into a slow-moving truck to hide while he tries to remember what he's doing in Gibraltar.

The truck crosses the border into Spain, and the border guards are on friendly enough terms with the driver that they don't search the back of the truck. Ironically, the driver jokes that he has a savage ape from the Rock of Gibraltar in the back, not realizing that he's actually carrying a much more potentially fearsome and untamed passenger.

Banner gets off the truck at night in Seville, where he decides the local bullring is the best place to hide during the quiet hours of the night. He hides in one of the bull-pens used to house bulls before they fight.

Several hours earlier, during the afternoon, a bullfight concludes in Granada as El Supremo, a famous and popular bullfighter, dispatches a bull. It turns out that his success is due in part due to manipulations of the fight masterminded by his advisor, Carlos Manos, who has arranged for the bulls to be drugged during the fight, kept in darkness so the light of the ring will blind them, and to have their horns filed down. This is all part of a global domination plot, since the pair believe that through superstardom as a matador, El Supremo will become so popular that his fans in Spain and Latin America will do anything he asks, even overthrowing governments to rule the Spanish-speaking world. El Supremo's next fight, in Seville, will be his last in Spain before a South American tour, and he intends it to be a grand spectacle to bring more fans under his sway.

The next day, El Supremo and Carlos Manos arrive in Seville. Awakening to the noise of preparations for the next bullfight, Banner bars the door of his pen, which as a result goes unused as the other pens are filled with bulls. Banner overhears Manos discussing details of the drugged banderilleros which the bull will be stabbed with in the opening rounds of the bullfight, but resolves not to interfere.

As he watches the massacre of the first bull from inside the seventh pen, Banner grows enraged by the lack of fairness in the slaughter, and transforms into the Hulk. He smashes his way out of the pen and decides to release another bull that hasn't been drugged yet.

As the undrugged bull charges into the ring, El Supremo is caught unawares and tries to flee. The fully alert bull charges El Supremo and rips his pants, humiliating him in front of the laughing crowd and forever putting an end to his dreams of political power.

Carlos Manos points out that the Hulk is behind the upset, and El Supremo throws the drugged banderilleros at the green-skinned goliath. The Hulk easily catches them and throws them right back... into Manos' rear end. He then demands that the bullring staff release all four of the remaining bulls, since the audience has come to see a bullfight. The spectators believe that the Hulk, without any weapon or cape, will be gored to death.

Instead, the Hulk stops the first bull by putting a hand up to its charging head; the second bull gores the Hulk from behind, but fails to penetrate his ultra-tough emerald skin. The last two bulls charge Hulk simultaneously, but he simply stares them down, and they flee. The Hulk declares that it's more fun to take on General Ross, especially when the General is armed with nuclear weapons, and jumps away from the bullring, then towards the Atlantic Ocean in a series of hops.

El Supremo is ruined and despondent, while Carlos Manos complains about being both fatigued from his own drugs and unable to sit down due to his injured rear. Back in the United States, Betty Ross worries over the lack of news regarding the whereabouts of Bruce Banner, but her father (General Ross) doesn't care about "that milksop" -- he's just glad that the Hulk has been sighted in Spain and is out of his hair. Unfortunately for General Ross, the Hulk is swimming back across the Atlantic, resolved that he has nothing to lose even he sinks halfway, because the whole human race does nothing but hate and hound him.
Issue Detail Divider
  Kez Says:    
  2013-06-25 17:42:49  
  Not sure what was going on in hulk stories when this came out... but hulk seems a little too loquacious in this!  

  Redsvetz Says:    
  2013-07-01 19:08:05  
  -@Kez: Loquacious...you owe me 50 cents...er...pence. Seriously, Hulk doth talk too much.
-El Burrito Supremo!

  Gecko Says:    
  2013-08-08 09:37:59  
  This was just non-Hulk  

  dpaone Says:    
  2014-01-17 10:48:01  
  Whilst I was reading this, I came to regret wasting precious moments of my life tracking down a copy to read.  

  Alex Daily Says:    
  2014-02-25 07:25:41  
  This Hulk comic from the coincidentally-named British comic mag Smash! is definitely a Hulk comic from British comic mag Smash!.  

  scottyjrules Says:    
  2014-05-18 01:48:28  
  So the villain's big plan is to conquer South America and Spain by becoming a famous matador? Bullet proof logic. What was the point of this story? And what an odd place for it to go in the order...  

  metasynthie Says:    
  2014-06-22 12:27:05  
  Bruce becomes enraged over a political cause -- the animal cruelty involved in bullfighting -- but only because there's extra fight-fixing involved by handicapping the bulls with drugs. Since, you know, the traditional spectacle of riding around on horses and having a team of people stabbing the bull to weaken it through blood loss is TOTALLY FAIR in the first place.

The Hulk pulls off some Chuck Norris quality moves and just makes some bulls flee in terror through sheer awesomeness and might. Having foiled El Supremo's plot to dominate the entire Spanish-speaking world (because apparently everyone in Latin-America-616 is so crazy for bullfighting that they'll overthrow governments if the bullfighters simply ask) Hulk then jumps into the Atlantic and begins to swim, so emo and annoyed with humanity that he doesn't care if he drowns.

  Anonymous Says:    
  2014-07-20 19:03:04  
  @butters911: you can easily find it online... If you look for "smash 38 historic hulk" on the web, one of the first sites should contain the strips...
@scottyjrules: I also wonder why this particuliar story is here in the order... Shouldn't it be right after Avengers #3?

  Anonymous Says:    
  2014-07-20 19:03:31  
  @butters911: you can easily find it online... If you look for "smash 38 historic hulk" on the web, one of the first sites should contain the strips...
@scottyjrules: I also wonder why this particuliar story is here in the order... Shouldn't it be right after Avengers #3?

  specialque Says:    
  2014-07-30 21:20:02  
  Good ol' Hulk. Always looking out for the innocent.  

  marvelcomicslover Says:    
  2014-08-10 23:59:59  
  Shouldn't this be in the order after Avengers #3..?
This was real wordy and the Hulk seemed kind of intelligent in this. At the end of this, they ask what would happen in Hulk turned into Banner in the middle of the Atlantic, then it says next week more Hulk action. Shouldn't we read Smash #39.?

  TheAmazingGatorMan Says:    
  2014-08-23 13:19:04  
  Pointless story, 1 star. This should also be after the avengers #3 as MCL has said above.  

  opusaug Says:    
  2014-08-28 23:32:48  
  Wasn't quite as bad as I imagined, but the lack of color sure hurt.  

  MattzLadd Says:    
  2014-09-28 15:57:10  
  Uuuhh, I don't know much about bullfighting, but I'm pretty sure the Matador doesn't KILL the bull with a sword at the end. The Hulk seems to have developed the personality of the Thing in this one.

However, the concept isn't terrible and the art could be interpreted as interesting. Not terrible.

  Drax @ MattzLadd (original post):    
  2014-09-28 16:01:14  
  They actually do kill the bull with a sword at the end of the fight.  

  Locust75 Says:    
  2014-10-01 22:00:00  
  1 star for the artwork. The Marvel Universe isn't big enough for two bullfighters! El Supremo is no Matador, or is he...???

'Nuff Said - "It's more fun back in the states playing games with General Ross!"-Hulk

  Bramwell Says:    
  2014-12-20 03:03:35  
  Just...wow...the horror  

  Imperator Says:    
  2015-01-05 12:09:22  
  More text than it is possible to read with pleasure.
Hulk angry with bulls treatment + one star.
Hulk start to fight bulls... - one star.
Worst comic ever read...

  heman0420 Says:    
  2015-01-25 14:02:33  
  I don't know why Hulk was able to speak in complete sentences and understand the things that were going on around him. Also, how does a Matador, no matter how famous, think he can rule the world. Silly little story.  

  mrcreek Says:    
  2015-05-09 12:56:55  
  this one, even Stan Lee could not have written...
seems out of place in the Order, or even in Hulk history, but it's a nice touch to have a Matador falshback also, this villain is one of the strangest ever created (and in the 60s, that sure means something!)

  GroovyGolem Says:    
  2015-06-26 20:41:46  
  As "anonymous" said, a Google search of "smash 38 historic hulk" brings this one right up. I actually thought the artwork was pretty good, and the story was different enough from anything we've read so far in the Order. A nice change of pace from "across the pond."

Still... a strange one. World domination through bullfighting. I'd understand if he had some hypnotic power whirling the cape around, but that didn't seem to be the angle.

Interestingly, this had Banner changing into Hulk due to excitement and anger, which is what Marvel settled on eventually by 1966 when this was written. If this were to occur after Avengers #3, at that stage I think he was still changing at night? Or was it at random? Either way, it wasn't due to rage.

  telcus Says:    
  2015-12-18 23:39:03  
  I quite enjoyed this oddball. The script was more sedate than its contemporaries, I actually noticed the use of full stops over exclamation points. Definitely not a Stan Lee job. The lack of colour I think helped bring out the details in the artwork. Pity the plot didn't actually do anything and Hulks persona was in stark contrast with his usual brutish manner. All in all a refreshing change of pace at this point in the order  

  Russ Says:    
  2016-09-18 10:29:54  
  Pretty entertaining, if inconsequential, Hulk story. This doesn't appear to be canon, and the Hulk seems to have a fair amount of intelligence here, but no matter. I think it was worth tracking down, thanks to @anonymous.

A couple of notes on the story:
- This doesn't appear to be Manuel Eloganto, the Matador from Daredevil #5.
- I do like the apparent allegory this story tried to present as a moral: the seeming worship of sports figures and celebrities by the general public and the agenda that particular figure tries to push using his given power and influence over the masses. Case in point: how many people are still fans of former luminaries such as OJ Simpson and Aaron Hernandez? Or how about the death threats sent to referees and officials when a call doesn't go their way?

3 stars. Not the best Hulk story around, but quite a message it sent for its time, even if that wasn't its purpose.

  kungfufan Says:    
  2016-11-04 01:30:45  
  What up me old blighter! Nice to see some British art (check out that motley bunch of spectators!) and I wasn't as concerned as reading your comments led me to believe I would be by Hulk's loquaciousness either. This issue gets my totally biased Great British thumbs up, as taken purely as a break from the old routine.  

  Urgat Says:    
  2017-02-07 03:55:38  
  So wordy, in some little panels there was more ink used for the text as for the actual picture...

Other than that, let's say "interesting story" with a little wink of criticism to a tradition.

I bought the Collection shown below, not just because of this one story, but because there will be other Hulk UK Comics and Annuals in the order that are all nicely collected in there :-)!

  JonahBlack Says:    
  2017-05-03 18:46:26  
  I enjoyed this much more than I expected, but I concur with others that this seems misplaced in the order, and, frankly it's not at all obvious to me that this is properly in 616 continuity  

  StrictSnow Says:    
  2017-07-26 00:07:18  
  Well. That was uh... Next issue!  

  mvaughn16 Says:    
  2017-11-29 18:59:45  
  This is a neat little Curio. I never would have guessed that a Hulk story would end up in a random British comic mag. It's by no means particularly ground-breaking, but it gets points for being unique.  

  Shawn313 Says:    
  2018-01-30 14:56:03  
  I wonder about the placement in the order because it says it happened right after his fight with Namor. I thought Hulk was a bit too talkative, but I thought the artwork was pretty good.  

Issue Detail Divider
Hulk: From the Marvel UK Vaults
This collection includes Smash #38, Hulk Comics UK #1a, Hulk Comics UK #2a, Hulk Comics UK #3a, Hulk Comics UK #4a, Hulk Comics UK #5a, Hulk Comics UK #6a, Hulk Comics UK #9a, Hulk Comics UK #10a, Hulk Comics UK #11a, Hulk Comics UK #12a, Hulk Comics UK #13a, Hulk Comics UK #14a, Hulk Comics UK #15a, Hulk Comics UK #16a, Hulk Comics UK #17a, Hulk Comics UK #18a, Hulk Comics UK #19a, Hulk Comics UK #20a, Hulk Comics UK #26a, Hulk Comics UK #27a, Hulk Comics UK #28a, Incredible Hulk Annual UK #1981a, Incredible Hulk Annual UK #1981b, Incredible Hulk Annual UK #1981c, Incredible Hulk Annual UK #1982a, Incredible Hulk Annual UK #1982b, Incredible Hulk Annual UK #1983a, Incredible Hulk Annual UK #1983b, Incredible Hulk Annual UK #1984a, Incredible Hulk Annual UK #1984b, Incredible Hulk Annual UK #1985a, Incredible Hulk Annual UK #1985b, Marvel Super-Heroes Annual #1991, Marvel Super-Heroes Annual UK #1992b, Marvel Story Book Annual 1967 #1o
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Issue Letters Page

There are no letter pages submitted for this issue. If you would like to transpose and send at letters page, you can send it to tstarnes@gmail.com. Check in the forums for information about formating the letters page.
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Issue Attachements
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Date User Name Update
   January 10, 2018 Urgat
   November 21, 2017 TStarnes
   October 6, 2014 Drax Added El Supremo to the issue.
   July 1, 2014 TStarnes Changed comic details.
   July 1, 2014 metasynthie Added synopsis for this issue.
   July 23, 2013 jfpj1991 Added blurb for this issue.
   June 20, 2013 fragsel Added Thunderbolt Ross to the issue.
   June 20, 2013 fragsel Added Betty Ross to the issue.
   June 20, 2013 fragsel Added Hulk to the issue.
   June 20, 2013 TStarnes Changed comic details.
   June 20, 2013 TStarnes Moved this issue.
   June 20, 2013 TStarnes Added comic into the database.
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