KROPOTKIN THE GREAT
Real Name: Unrevealed
Occupation: Stage magician, performer
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Hulk (Bruce
Banner), Spad McCracken, General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross, Clay
Quartermain, Leonard Samson, Fred Sloan, April Sommers, Jim Wilson
Enemies: None (though his landlord wasn't
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: "Half baked Houdini" (nickname used by
Base of Operations: Mobile;
formerly Gamma Base, New Mexico;
formerly mobile throughout the Mid-West;
formerly April Sommers' boarding house, New York City, New York
First Appearance: Incredible Hulk II#208
Powers/Abilities: Kropotkin possesses no known superhuman abilities. An experienced stage magician with a penchant for drama and verbosity, he was able to endear himself to most people around him, despite his innate pomposity. Thanks to his training and experience as a stage performer, he's great at slight-of-hand tricks and manipulating small objects like playing cards. This makes him an excellent, if not exactly fair, gambler. Kropotkin has a record of getting in trouble with the authorities for a variety of (minor) misdemeanors.
Kropotkin drove a customized Volkswagen van.
Height: 5'7" (by approximation)
Weight: 185 lbs. (by approximation)
(Incredible Hulk II#214 (fb) - BTS) - Kropotkin the Great believed himself to be "the world's foremost exponent of magic and the arts of prestidigitation", boasting that he had performed for "the crowned heads of Europe" as well as "the sheriffs of every small town from here to Encino". Despite his experience and dedication to his art, he was often broke.
(Incredible Hulk II#227 (fb) - BTS) - Kropotkin once visited a psycho-analyst who allegedly told the magician "unbelievable" things about himself.
(Incredible Hulk II#208 (fb) - BTS) - Kropotkin had a room in a New York City boarding house that he decked out to represent his profession as a stage magician. When he didn't pay the rent for six months, his landlord and April Sommers (a fellow tenant who helped supervise the place) decided to confiscate his belongings and rent out the room again. Unbeknownst to everyone, Kropotkin's room was given to Bruce Banner who actually liked the eclectic furniture and decided to keep it around.
(Incredible Hulk II#214 - BTS) - Kropotkin returned to the boarding house to find the door to his room locked. He managed to open it, unaware it had already been rented out.
(Incredible Hulk II#214) - When Bruce Banner returned home with his friend Jim Wilson, they were surprised to find the door ajar. Jim snuck up on Kropotkin and tackled the magician, who was furious at the "dolt" and "dunderhead" for attacking him. Still believing the place was his, Kropotkin was unbelieving when Banner told him what the landlord had done. When it became clear he still couldn't pay his rent, the magician got angry and threatened to fight Banner for the contents of what he called "a veritable museum of Kropotkin memorabilia." He lunged at Bruce with a magic wand, but was stopped dead in his tracks by April Sommers who read him the riot act. She then turned on Bruce for bringing unannounced guests like Jim. All the consternation agitated Banner so much, he felt he was changing into the Hulk. He asked Jim to get everyone out of the room, which Wilson proceeded to do before the transformation was complete. Hulk jumped out of the window and soon got into a fight with Jack of Hearts.
(Incredible Hulk II#215) - Bruce Banner and Jim Wilson returned home after the Hulk's confrontation with Jack of Hearts only to find Kropotkin and Sommers still arguing on the steps of the boarding house. April refused "that half baked Houdini" to get any of his things from the apartment until he'd paid the back rent, which Kropotkin fulminated against. Surprised to see Banner outside when they hadn't seen him leave his room, everyone was stunned when Bruce was suddenly caught by a ray and lifted up into the sky (a vortex beam designed by SHIELD to transport people to the Helicarrier). Kropotkin, Sommers and Wilson watched Banner disappear, unsure what to do.
(Incredible Hulk II#223 (fb) - BTS) - Kropotkin managed to get a gig, performing at an Elks' Club in Garden City. He then used his salary to do a little gambling, using his skills with playing cards to amass a few thousand dollars.
(Incredible Hulk II#223) - Kropotkin returned to the boarding house in time to bail out April Sommers who couldn't pay the carpenter for the new front door he'd just installed. He threatened to take the door with him if she didn't give him his 500 dollars. Grandstanding as always, Kropotkin happily paid the man and then went on to explain to a truly surprised April and Jim Wilson how he got the money. Impressed, April nevertheless took all of it to cover the back rent he still owed her. Unperturbed, Kropotkin then approached Wilson, wondering if the teenager had any immediate plans for the future because he had a proposition.
(Incredible Hulk II#228 (fb) - BTS) - Kropotkin asked Wilson to join him on a search for the Hulk, hoping he could convince Banner to star with him in a new magic show. Wilson agreed and together with a dog, they got into Kropotkin's VW van and headed towards the American Mid West where the Hulk was most often spotted.
(Incredible Hulk II#225) - Kropotkin and Wilson were continuing on their way to New Mexico. By the time they were outside of Amarillo, Texas it became obvious to Kropotkin that his traveling companion was strangely silent. Wondering if Jim was having second thoughts about their little venture, Wilson assured the magician that he hadn't changed his mind: he still believed the whole thing was crazy. When Wilson checked the map, he found they were approaching Lynnburg. Recalling a rather unfortunate run-in he had with the local constabulary, Kropotkin decided to take a little detour while assuring Jim they'd still make it to Albuquerque by sundown.
(Incredible Hulk II#226) - Kropotkin and Wilson were having lunch at a Clamburger drive-in near Tecumcari, New Mexico. Just as Kropotkin was enjoying a big Gutbuster hamburger, Wilson picked up some chatter from a nearby parked police car about a Hulk alert. Watching the squad car drive off, Wilson pursued. Excited to be the one following police for a change, Kropotkin turned his radio into the police band to hear what was going on. They overheard the officers saying the Hulk was headed for the university town of Navapo. Wilson knew where that was and took a little shortcut straight through the desert to get there faster while Kropotkin enjoyed his hamburger.
(Incredible Hulk II#226 - BTS) - After reaching Navapo, Wilson rushed out to find the Hulk while Kropotkin parked the van. By the time he'd found a parking space, Jim and Doc Samson had already caught up with the Hulk who'd changed into Bruce Banner, lamenting the fact he was suffering from an identity crisis.
(Incredible Hulk II#227 (fb) ) - Hoping to help Banner, Samson contacted Gamma Base in New Mexico. The military made arrangements to ship out Bruce, Samson, Wilson and Kropotkin, as well as the latter's VW van.
(Incredible Hulk II#227) - Kropotkin, Jim, the pilot Spad McCracken and SHIELD agent Clay Quartermain observed Doctor Samson's first session with the Hulk, down in a gamma study chamber in the bottom of Gamma Base. Wilson hoped some good would come of it, but Kropotkin recalled his own experiences with psychiatrists and had little faith in the enterprise.
(Incredible Hulk II#228) - Somewhat jumping the gun, Kropotkin arranged for an impromptu press conference at Gamma Base to announce his upcoming 12 city tour with the Hulk as a special guest star. The reporters and TV crews took his claims in stride, figuring it would at least make an entertaining story to close out the nightly news with. However, when a pissed off General Ross arrived to break up the gathering, Kropotkin found the media was much more interested in Ross and getting his take on Doc Samson's attempts at curing the Hulk through psychotherapy.
(Incredible Hulk II#238) - When both General Ross and Leonard Samson left Gamma Base for greener pastures, Kropotkin decided to move on as well when he sensed that a new administration coming in would mean a regulations crackdown in the making. He went to his van and drove off.
(Giant-Size Incredible Hulk#1 (fb) - BTS) - On his way out Kropotkin acquired a discarded Hulk test robot from the base and later made it part of his act.
At his most recent performance several men fainted when they saw Kropotkin's robotic associate.
(Giant-Size Incredible Hulk#1) - Fred Sloan interviewed Kropotkin for his book about the Hulk. He learned about Kropotkin's time with the Hulk and how, in hindsight, it benefitted Kropotkin greatly (mostly due to the robot he took from Gamma Base).
Comments: Created by Len
Wein (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils), Joe Staton (inks)
Kropotkin is one of those typical late 1970s characters that emanated from the writer/editor era. I'm sure Len Wein had something in mind for this underpowered, overweight Doctor Strange knockoff, but it never went anywhere. Roger Stern salvaged him when he took over the book, presumably to give Hulk at least something of a supporting cast, but he didn't have any clear ideas on how to use him either.
"Kropotkin" does sound a little like "crackpot" and ya gotta admit, the man was a little nutty.
Thanks to Markus Raymond for adding his appearance from Giant-Size Incredible Hulk#1 and thanks to Roger Stern for bringing Kropotkin back one more time.
Profile by Norvo.
Kropotkin should not be confused with:
Kropotkin's VW van
Kropotkin owned a customized, bright red Volkswagen van that seated two in front and had rudimentary living quarters in the back. Kropotkin and Jim Wilson drove the van cross country, searching for their friend the Hulk in an attempt to get him to join him on tour. The van was outfitted with a ham radio that could pick up frequencies used by the police. The vehicle was sturdy enough to drive considerable distances on rough, desert-like terrains. Kropotkin, Wilson and a pet dog drove from New York to New Mexico in search of the Hulk, finally catching up with the green goliath in the city of Navapo. Not too long afterwards, Kropotkin, Wilson and the van were airlifted by the US military to Gamma Base where Leonard Samson was attempting to cure Hulk through psychotherapy. Sensing a regime change after both Ross and Samson left Gamma Base, Kropotkin got into his van and drove off.
--Incredible Hulk II#225 (Incredible Hulk II#225-227
images: (without ads)
Incredible Hulk II#214, p5, pan3 (main image)
Incredible Hulk II#214, p7, pan3 (closeup)
Incredible Hulk II#223, p13, pan5 (with money)
Incredible Hulk II#225, p8, pan4 (is sure his plan will work)
Incredible Hulk II#225, p8, pans1,2&3) (Kropotkin's VW van)
Incredible Hulk II#208 (February, 1977) - Len Wein (writer, editor), Sal Buscema (pencils), Joe Staton (inks)
Incredible Hulk II#214 (August, 1977) - Len Wein (writer, editor), Sal Buscema (pencils), Ernie Chan (inks)
Incredible Hulk II#215 (September, 1977) - Len Wein (writer, editor), Sal Buscema (pencils), Ernie Chan (inks)
Incredible Hulk II#223 (April, 1978) - Roger Stern (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils), Josef Rubinstein (inks), Archie Goodwin (editor)
Incredible Hulk II#225 (June, 1978) - Roger Stern (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils), Josef Rubinstein (inks), Jim Shooter (editor)
Incredible Hulk II#226 (August, 1978) - Roger Stern (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils), Joe Sinnott (inks), Bob Hall (editor)
Incredible Hulk II#227 (September, 1978) - Roger Stern & Peter B. Gillis (writers), Sal Buscema (pencils), Klaus Janson (inks), Bob Hall (editor)
Incredible Hulk II#228 (October, 1978) - Roger Stern & Peter B. Gillis (writers), Sal Buscema (pencils), Bob McLeod (inks), Bob Hall (editor)
Incredible Hulk II#238 (August, 1979) - Roger Stern (writer), Sal Buscema (pencils), Jack Abel (inks), Allen Milgrom (editor)
Giant-Size Incredible Hulk#1 (July, 2008) - Roger Stern (writer), Zach Howard & Cory Hamscher (artists), Mark Paniccia (editor)
Last updated: 11/17/16
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