Undervalued Spotlight #472

Incredible Hulk #3, Marvel Comics, September 1962.

I’m staying on course this week and zeroing in on rock-solid books that still have room to grow, books that deliver blue-chip quality and still have some upside. This week I want to shine the Undervalued Spotlight on Incredible Hulk #3.

Incredible Hulk #3 is ancient Marvel, its September 1962 dates make it the rarest of things, a 1962 Marvel hero book. It has that coveted round 12 cent price on the cover, I’ve talked about the allure of collecting the round 12 cent Marvel covers, they stopped in February 1963 and collecting them is a real and expensive pastime.

Spider-Man and Thor were introduced a month earlier, the Fantastic Four and Ant-Man rounded out the Marvel Universe at this time. Hulk #3 is like a snapshot of the Marvel Universe minutes after the big bang ( Fantastic Four #1).

Incredible Hulk #3 has a standout Jack Kirby cover, for my money, it is the best cover of the Hulk #1-6 run, a big plus in a cover driven market.

Maynard Tiboldt, the Ringmaster makes his first appearance in Hulk #3, so does the Circus of Crime. Yeah this crime outfit didn’t amount to much but from an investing in comics perspective, you can’t beat having a first appearance in an issue, a first appearance has the potential to heat up a book’s value at any time.

Cool fact, this is not the first time Jack Kirby drew the Ringmaster, it was the first time he drew Maynard Tiboldt as the Ringmaster but Kirby first drew Maynard’s dad Fritz as the Ringmaster in Captain America Comics #5 back in 1941.

The markets have given Hulk #3 the respect it deserves but prices have retreated a bit on this book and I see it as an opportunity to jump in and grab a copy. A CGC 7.0 recently sold for about Guide, a recent CGC 7.5 fetched just above Guide while a recent CGC 9.0 sold for about 25% below the prior sale for the grade. As I said above, the market is a bit soft on the book at the moment and for me, there can be no better time to grab one. I’d like me a crisp tight CGC 8.0 with high gloss, I think it would look dynamite. A CGC 8.0 would put me in the top 6.5% of the census and get me into the top 50 copies out there, all for a bit more than $3,000, bargain.

The 48th Overstreet price breaks for this book are $744/$2046/$4623/$7200 in the 6.0/8.0/9.0/9.2 grade splits.

Strengths that make this comic a good long-term investment are:

  • First appearance of Ringmaster and the Circus of Crime
  • The best cover in the Hulk #1-6 run
  • Round 12 cent Marvel from 1962, early days and very coveted
Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija

Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton Ontario.

Articles: 1702


  1. I concur on this Hulk cover being great…2 and 5 are awesome as well. While my copy won’t be in the top 50 I am still glad to own it. That is a great bit of trivia about the Ring Master as well Walt… as I listen to old radio broadcasts of Comic Culture, you have astounded me more then once on coming up with facts like that!

  2. I have a question! Does the DC square price box have the same allure as the Marvel price circle from the same period?

  3. Gerald !

    it does for me . I’ve collected the square box DC’s for a very long time ! it started in june of 1961 with the 10 cents and went to 12 cents with the dec61/jan62 issues and went for a year until dec62 . I covet mine very much !

  4. You might want to consider that the Marvel universe at that time included other continuing characters such as Millie the Model and several western stars. You should look into an undervalued spotlight on Marvel’s first silver age key-Rawhide Kid #17.

  5. There is something magic about those early Hulks, Stan was scrabbling around, trying to figure out the Hulk story. I love it when they’s lock him in a concrete bunker to keep him from rampaging around. That era of six issues, and the first few Avengers, with greenskin in and out and in again as a member. His first crossxovers the FF’s mag….Great stuff. Really brings on nostalgia for me.

    Some of these I bought off the stands, some I found at the nearby flea market for .05–going rate for used comics until the late sixties. And some I bought from Buddy Saunders, for less than a buck, in any condition I could get. VG was perfectly acceptable to a 13 or 14 year old fanboy.

  6. Great choice, Walt.

    And totally agree with Bud about the magic in the early six issue run of the HULK. I had one of those pocket books that contained a collection of the first 6 issues and read it a thousand times. Still remember the underground/underwater concrete bunker and poor Rick Jones sleeping outside the door as the HULK pounded away. And great villains like Tyrannus and the Metal Master that somehow faded away. Also agree that the HULK was an enigma for Stan, but Marvel seemed to find more footing for the character with the FF #12 crossover, and refined it with the mercurial and angry HULK departing the Avengers, and then the brief but more savage appearance in Spider-Man #14 – and then the grand stage of FF#25 and #26.

    I started to collect the first 6 issues a few years ago and made my way to #3 thru #6, but I am stuck trying to find a copy of the very scarce #2 that fits that elusive spot in the both budget and grade. Of course, #1 has moved into the stratosphere of “likely will never happen”, but I can dream.

  7. I am exactly in that place myself Derrick… I have lower grade copies of 3-6… been looking for a similar grade copy if 2 and will never have a 1. Seems the same for me with FF 1-5 as well… the ones that are either too elusive or unattainable.

  8. You all making stuff up. Really, a round price graphic makes a comic more “worthy”? ; ) Every little thing, I guess, but this kind of comic is way beyond my aspirations and bank anyway, unless one turns up at that mythical church sale… for a nickel! Neat though.

    I would’ve been 10 when this came out but have no memory of ever seeing it, or anything else. Not sure when I became aware of comics.

  9. a swipe Walt? Jack did both covers…and both involve the hero carrying a person….methinks not. Lovely cover though.
    I also appreciate the Ringmasters of crime….down to earth villainy vs the galactic doomsday Ultimate villain that’s so prominent/popular today

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