How Much Money Hulk Hogan Had To Pay Marvel For His Name

In these turbulent times, there are still a few things you can count on. There will be death, there will be taxes, and at some point down the line, possibly when you least expect it, Hulkamania will, with the inevitability of a sunset, come for you. And when it does, it will come courtesy of a multi-decade agreement with the house that Stan built.

As sharp-eyed readers may have noticed, the name "Hulk Hogan" shares four ninths of its being with the professional alias of one of Marvel's most enduring comic book heroes. This isn't a coincidence: it all goes back to the 1970s, a point in history when professional wrestling was less about national pay-per-view and more about regional matches in gyms that smelled like feet. Terry Bolea was an up-and-comer, and during a promotion for a regional match, he was photographed standing next to Incredible Hulk actor Lou Ferrigno. Standing a few inches taller and a sprinkling of "curls get girls" attitude more muscular than Lou, Terry was dubbed by a ring announcer "the real Incredible Hulk." The name stuck to Terry, and he was billed as such for years, with Marvel seemingly not paying much attention, probably since this was just wrestling and, come on, who ever heard of someone making money off of that?

That's Hollywood, baby

According to Cinema Blend, that all changed when Terry's star began to rise, starting with his Oscar-snubbed 1982 performance at the beginning of Rocky III. Now billed as "The Incredible Hulk Hogan," Terry was picking up steam and becoming a national sensation by 1984. Marvel, quite suddenly, saw dollar signs.

And that's how it came to pass that in July of 1984, Hulk Hogan came to an arrangement with the comic book giant: in exchange for their permission to use the name they'd licensed decades prior, Hogan would pay $100 to Marvel for every time he appeared in the ring. Additionally, .009% of all Hulk Hogan merchandise earnings would go to Marvel, and all Hogan-related toys and clothing would feature a label reading "Hulk Hogan is a trademark of the Marvel Comics Group, licensed exclusively to TitanSports, Inc." Whether or not this carried over to Bollea's chain of Pastamania restaurants is, unfortunately, unclear.

The grand total paid by Hogan for his ring appearances is estimated to be around $600,000. The merchandising money shelled out is incalculable. The contract expired twenty years later, but it couldn't save Hulk Hogan from the most painful jab of all: being beaten senseless by the actual Hulk in the pages of Marvel Comics Presents #45.