The Hulk Hogan Manga: Hulkster, I Choose You, Brother!

May 25th, 2007 by | Tags: , , , , ,

Gavok note: We have a special guest appearance by SDShamshel, who reviews the bad wrestling comic I won’t read for the simple fact that I can’t read it. Enjoy.

Japanese comics have always had a strong relationship with the world of professional wrestling. In its heyday, Kinnikuman was read by every young boy, and both Tiger Mask and Juushin Liger started off as manga characters before their personas were adopted for real-world squared circles. However, as great and exciting as those wrestlers may be, this article is about something greater.

Yes, that’s right. It’s Hulk Hogan THE MANGA. Published by “Special Volume Ace Five Comics,” Pro Wrestler Superstar Biographies: Hulk Hogan tracks Hogan’s life from the beginning of his career to his time in Vince McMahon, Sr.’s World Wide Wrestling Federation. The comic utilizes an interesting version of kayfabe (the wrestling term for “the fourth wall”), with events in Hogan’s life both inside and outside of the ring depicted with the utmost seriousness one expects from biographical comics about pro wrestlers.

As the comic begins, we find Hulk Hogan as the lead guitarist for a band. He flashes back to a time where as he was watching a match, a man approached him and suggested that Hogan become a wrestler. A mustache-less Hogan decided against it, and even tried to instead become a professional boxer. However, after the concert, as he’s watching a televised match between Muhammad Ali and Antonio Inoki, Hogan’s life changes forever.

Hogan (who is never referred to as Terry, Bollea, or any combination of the two) begins training, wins his first wrestling match, and decides to give up the glamorous life of a rock musician to pursue the career that would make him an American (and Japanese) legend.

From that point on in the story, Hogan enjoys much success defeating opponent after opponent using his superior strength, size, and occasionally even technique, but eventually finds himself face to face with other legendary wrestlers, such as Stan Hansen (whose Western Lariat is apparently the basis for Hogan’s Axe Bomber) and even Antonio Inoki himself (who Hogan knocks out cold using said Axe Bomber).

It’s interesting to note that Antonio Inoki is occasionally directly quoted for his words on the Hulkster. In a sense, this manga acts as both a biography for Hogan and a partial autobiography for Inoki.

Here he is discovering the Japanese term for “Number 1” and thus gaining his most popular nickname in Japan. To quote Hogan right here on the page in actual Engrish, “I AM ICHIBAN!”

Hogan eventually finds himself in the WWWF facing some incredibly tough opponents, including the scheming Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and even Andre the Giant in an un-televised match where he manages to defeat the enormous Frenchman with a vicious, bloody Axe Bomber.

The rest of the comic is in this vein, depicting the violence in the ring to be as realistic and violent as any fight, no doubt due to the general view of wrestling among fans in Japan. I have to say that the artwork is a lot better than I expected out of a biography of Hulk Hogan, as it manages to keep him looking distinct, while showing that the world of wrestling a few decades back was exciting and unpredictable. At least, it does a very good job of convincing me that such is the case.

Unfortunately, as this manga is geared towards Japanese readers, Hogan mainly uses the Axe Bomber to finish off his opponents. Fortunately, the author was nice enough to give us just one Leg Drop.

Good night, Mr. Stallone.

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20 comments to “The Hulk Hogan Manga: Hulkster, I Choose You, Brother!”

  1. Man, that legdrop looks horrible, like Hogan would break his own left leg to do it.

    The art is awesome though.

  2. This kind of makes me wish I could track down the long-rumored (by some mixed martial arts magazine I read in high school) but never seen Ken Shamrock manga.

  3. Actually, the match where he bloodied Andre w/ the Axe Bomber WAS shown on WWF TV, and later in other territories when they took the match on tour.

  4. I actually had a copy of this briefly from when I lived in Osaka in 2003, but then gave it to my cousin as omiyage when I returned to the States. Best souvenir ever?

  5. […] 4th letter has up pages and an overview of what could possibly be the best reason ever for the existence of manga, the internet and maybe […]

  6. this…is…AWESOME! though I don’t think hulk ever really had that much hair

  7. Wrong, on so many levels… yet… can’t look away, what strange power he holds over me- even now. Damn you HULK! and Japan, where can I get some of your drugs?.

  8. well, you need to realize, The Hulkster always used to exagerate stories when interviewed, one noted interview talks that he benchpressed a 2 ton Andre the Giant infront of 3 trillion people at Wrestlemania 3.

  9. […] to dive into that. I found a guy selling a manga from what appears to be the same people behind the Hulk Hogan manga, making a big deal about a huge battle royal featuring a bunch of big 80’s […]

  10. I dont want to be that guy who butts in trying to correct people. But it isnt a legdrop he hits on Stallone, im fairly certain that its the flying kneedrop I seem to remember Hogan doing in Japan.

  11. That’s a great artwork. I never knew that Hogan is very popular in Japan though.

    Sityodtong Muay Thai

  12. The Japanese, Hulk’s yelling “Guillotine Drop” and it shows the crook of the knee smashing Stallone’s (?) face. A bigger question is, why was he facing Stallonn?

  13. Because in this fictional biography, Hogan and Stallone get in a legit fight during the filming of Rocky 3. It’s like that scene in Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story!

  14. Well, it makes more sense connecting Hogan to wrestling than the Jushin Liger manga did. How giant Go Nagai super robot = pro wrestler, I’ll never know.

  15. Hulk Hogan sucks big time!

  16. Hulk Hogan never grew up.
    Hulk can draw a crowd.

  17. hulk hogan always was my favourite wrestler, i didn’t know that he is so popular in japan

  18. […] http://www.4thletter.net/2007/05/the-hulk-hogan-manga-hulkster-i-choose-you-brother/ […]

  19. […] from now on. A few trips to the Japanese bookstores of NYC were also made, where I rediscovered the Hulk Hogan manga I gave away years ago. This time, it’s definitely getting […]

  20. I have 15 Japanese wrestling comic books that i’m looking to sell. 10 of them are like the Hulk Hogan comic and 5 of them are a little smaller and are only around 200 pages. Email me at Greatmuta1025@aol.com if you’re interested and I will give you more information.