The First Wolverine Cameo: Incredible Hulk #180

by Norman Robinson III

Inc-Hulk-181-201x300 The First Wolverine Cameo: Incredible Hulk #180On October 10, 1974, a new type of superhero emerged from Marvel. He fit the times he was created in. He was rough, brutal, pragmatic, and unforgiving. In addition, he had a berserker rage, indestructible skeletal structure, and a healing factor that could withstand a nuclear bomb blast. The one, the only, WOLVERINE! He appeared and the course of X-Men and all other Marvel Comics was skewed to a more visceral, realistic feel forever. It was quite out of hand until the merc with a mouth showed up in the  ’90s.

Now according to the guide, Incredible Hulk #181 is the first full appearance of  Wolverine. Depending on which book you own you are on one side or another on the following debate. What is the actual first appearance, is it the cameo or full first appearance of Wolverine? Now there are many investors who are humming that Incredible Hulk #180 is a true legitimate heir to the first key of Wolverine. Accordingly, this book has one big panel with Wolverine in it. Does this make Incredible Hulk #180 the first true appearance of Wolverine? Before your blood pressure goes through the roof; let’s put that argument aside and instead grapple with which is more profitable, Incredible Hulk #180 or Incredible Hulk #181? 

Inc-Hulk-180-2-201x300 The First Wolverine Cameo: Incredible Hulk #180Incredible Hulk #180

The first appearance of Wolverine was in Incredible Hulk #180. It is considered his first cameo. But many see this book as his first “true” appearance as he states his name, and has a great soliloquy before he attacks in that panel.

Regardless, of where you fall on the cameo vs. first full appearance argument this book Incredible Hulk #180 is his first cameo appearance in Marvel Comics. He also appeared in ads in Marvel Premiere #19 and two other books during the same month as the release of  Incredible Hulk #181. 

Incredible Hulk #180 was created on October 10, 1974, by Len Wein (writer) and Herb Trimpe (pencils). The Overstreet Guide designates this book as Wolverine’s “first brief appearance on the last page.” Though taking a side in this debate is like debating what is better on your hotdog ketchup or mustard? It is all just personal preference. Well, this debate will probably continue to spin on forever. This book is continuing to draw converts and increase substantially in value.  Cameos are become highly sought after without the sticker shock of the first full appearance. 

Title Grade Last Sale CGC Census Return
Incredible Hulk #180 9.8 $14,250 49 +39%
  6.5 $660 387 +23%
Incredible Hulk #181 9.8 $47,500 137 +41%/+18%

IH-180-interior-200x300 The First Wolverine Cameo: Incredible Hulk #180Conclusion

Incredible Hulk #181 has better numbers and is worth in grade 9.8  (near mint to mint) three times more than IH #180 same grade. However, the price tag probably limits the number of people who can buy this collectible. Incredible Hulk #180 has seen a positive +39% increase over the last year. This compares to Incredible Hulk #181 which had a positive +41% over that same time period, both of these numbers are for a grade 9.8 near mint to mint book. The problem is the starting point of IH #181 would cost $47,500.  This is compared to IH #180 which only would run $14,250 (basically a down payment on a house).  Will we continue to see these two books rise in price? The answer to that is yes, as the “past is prologue” in the comic book market. 

The 1970s was a time of anti-heroes, and Wolverine is the perfect anti-hero. By God, the man uses claws to kill people! In my opinion, either book is fine, though I think Incredible Hulk #180 has more room to run. These are probably two of the top Bronze Age comic book picks and now is the time to bet on either. You won’t need a healing factor to survive the fallout from the explosion of hype for the next actor chosen to play Wolvie. After all, you will already be in your bunker reading your copy of Incredible Hulk #180.

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