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Christmas countdown 2017: Incredible Hulk #378

Incredible Hulk #378
Incredible Hulk #378

With Christmas nearing, the Nerdage blog will take a look back at a few holiday comic-book stories. I first reviewed “Incredible Hulk” #378 as part of my “2,011 in 2011″ comic-book challenge to read 2.011 comic books in the year 2011.  We also looked back at this issue during the 2014 Christmas season. With Hulk a popular character in this year's "Thor: Ragnarok," it seemed a good time to revisit again.

Writer Peter David and artist Bill Jaaska create a humorous Christmas tale in "Incredible Hulk" #378.

This is just as David's run on the Hulk was really hitting its stride, and though the last issue, #377, set a new status quo for the Hulk, this issue is in some ways a filler, as Rick Jones tells some hospitalized kids a story about how teasing can lead to trouble.

panel from Incredible Hulk #378
panel from Incredible Hulk #378

He then tells the story of the Rhino, forever trapped in his Rhino suit, is alone for the holidays, and not feeling optimistic about his super-villain prospects. He steals a Santa suit, puts it on on top of his Rhino costume, and is making a few dollars with a fake charity bucket when he's roped into appearing as a department store Santa. He's not a particularly convincing one, and a kid figures out he's actually the Rhino. Rhino, sick of listening to kids ask for presents, tosses one across the room.

Fortunately (sort of), it's nearing sunset, and that's when Bruce Banner would change into the grey version of the Hulk. The Hulk arrives in time to catch the kid, and Rhino-as-Santa and the Hulk get into a slugfest.

Peter David finishes up the story in a charming manner, however, that has a little bit of holiday spirit and co-operation. Overall, it's a funny issue with a holiday flair. "Rhino Plastered!" has a cover date of Feb. 1991, meaning it was on sale in the Christmas season of 1990.

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Matthew Price

Features Editor Matthew Price has worked for The Oklahoman since 2000. He’s a University of Oklahoma graduate who has also worked at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and was a Dow Jones Newspaper Fund intern for the Dallas Morning News. He’s... Read more ›