When I was a kid I loved toys and I loved comic books. Sadly, back in those days it was very hard to find toys based on comic book characters. Crazy right? Nowadays toy stores shelves are filled with Spider-Man, the Avengers, Iron Man, Batman, Superman, and a multitude of other well-known and obscure comic book characters. The 70s had the Mego dolls and the early 80s had DC’s Super Powers collection and Marvel’s Secret Wars toy line. All were great but they came out when I was very young. By the time I was 8,9, and 10 super heroes were practically absent from the toy stores. I started collecting comics when I was 8 and that’s when my knowledge of Marvel’s characters expanded far beyond those featured in the Spider-Man cartoons. My brother Doug and I were completely enamored with the Marvel Universe in 1986 and were so frustrated that there were no toys of these characters for us to collect. We got creative and took to making paper dolls of practically every character featured in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. No joke, we made hundreds of the things.
By the mid 90s Spider-Man and the X-Men both had popular cartoon shows on television. The Fantastic Four, Iron Man, the Silver Surfer and others also received short-lived animated series around that time and every one of those shows had supporting action figure lines produced by Toy Biz. Sadly those Toy Biz figures came along to late for Doug to enjoy. Doug was in high school by then and had all but stopped buying toys. I wasn’t quite ready to move on and so I bought and collected them alongside my little brother Brian. He became my toy buying buddy for a time but he was 5 years younger than me. He was a kid but I was in junior high and the figures were more collectibles than playthings to me for the first time in my life (not to say that Brian and I didn’t have some epic Marvel battles).
However there was a small window of opportunity for Doug and I to enjoy toys of our favorite Marvel characters together and that came in 1990, right around the time we were walking away from collecting G.I. Joes and Transformers. Back then we used to walk down to our local comic shop, the Cardboard Jungle, every weekend to pick up our weekly comic book haul. And one day in 1990 Pat (the owner) had a box of PVC ( which stands for Polyvinyl chloride, the type of plastic used to make these small unarticulated figures) Marvel figurines at the front counter. It sucked that they didn’t move (they were move akin to Smurfs than G.I. Joes) and that the details were lacking and that the scale was all out of whack, but still, these were Marvel figures. And it wasn’t just the main Marvel characters either, there were some oddities included in the line which a couple of Marvel zombies like Doug and I loved to see. We bought a few that first time and we bought more of them every time Pat got in a new box. We collected almost every one that he got in. Doug got characters like Captain America, Rogue, Havok and Iron Man. I had Thing, Black Panther, Vision, Hobgoblin and quite a few others. One of the characters I got was this gray colored Hulk.
Casual fans who only know Hulk from his movie appearances might be wondering why Hulk is gray. The truth is that the Hulk was originally gray in the comics but they changed him to green by the second issue due to printing issues with his original color scheme. Hulk is green most of the time but he has reverted back to his old gray self a couple of times over the years. He was gray for quite some time in the late 80s which I guess is the reason Marvel opted to make Hulk gray for this set.
Seeing as this was my only Hulk figure back then I would’ve preferred to have a more traditional green one, just as I would have preferred to have a colored Vision as opposed to the solid white one you can see in the link above. However I do like when toys reflect what is currently happening in the comic books I’m reading and these figures were of-the-time which is cool. The figures were about 2.5 inches tall, Hulk is probably 3 with his arm raised the way it is. They weren’t ideal but I was just stoked to have some real Marvel figures at the time. Doug and I played with them quite a bit. I seem to recall that we let these plastic figures “kill” the paper doll versions of themselves during one play session. We set it up as if it was a bizarre Murder World scenario plotted by the X-Men villain Arcade. Good times.
So yeah, the figure is small, stiff, and lacking in detail. It’s nothing special. But at the time it was pretty great so I gotta give him points for that. Let’s say 6 out of 10.