Could Superman in his first appearance (Action Comics #1) have defeated the Hulk in his first appearance (Incredible Hulk #1)

Over the years, we've had a number of conversations about whether the Hulk can beat Superman, and that conversation usually ends "Superman from outer space with heat vision." Which is fine as far as I'm concerned. 

However, what if the two fought as they were in their original forms? For those of you not aware, Superman couldn't fly, didn't display vision powers and wasn't as invulnerable as he would later become. Meanwhile, the Hulk probably wasn't as strong as he would get later, but he did retain a level of intelligence when he transformed.

Would this be a fight that's easy to call? If so, why? Who's got the advantage? Kal-L would later become a powerhouse as would Bruce, but would either have had a major advantage as they debuted? 

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Now that I am thinking of it, the two characters were far more similar in concept and behavior at first than I would expect or even want.  Even their modes of movement are unusual yet rather similar at this point, all things told.  Likewise, early Superman is not quite an exemplar of good will, nor is early Hulk particularly ethical or predictable.

The main differences are perhaps that Hulk was a bit more resistant to aggression and a bit (a small bit, mind you) more ruthless, while Superman was slightly more tactical.

I will give the edge to Superman, mainly because he can expect a freedom of movement and a level of support from the surrounding people that the Hulk can not.  But it would be an interesting fight.

If the story was a co-published by Marvel and DC, the fight would be mandated a tie. All things being equal (in a universe in which both characters were published by the same company, for example), it would depend on whose title in which the story was told. More to the spirit of the question, Star Trek has taught us ("The Enemy Within," "Mirror, Mirror") that the rational triumphs over the irrational, so I would give the edge to Superman, who would be able to outthink the Hulk. But is the Superman from Action Comics #1 were to be matched against the Hulk from Hulk #6 (when Hulk ostensibly had Bruce Banner's brain), I'd go with Hulk. 

I think that one advantage that 1938 Superman might have is that he was a lot faster than I remember the 1962 Hulk being.

As the 1938 Superman doesn't have the invulnerability later versions would have, I'd say that's the weakness the 1962 Hulk could exploit.

If 1938 Superman could devise a way to subdue 1962 Hulk without engaging him in hand to hand combat I believe Superman could win. However if the Hulk is able to get Superman in his grip, ol' Greenskin with his brute strength would defeat the Man of Tomorrow. 

What an interesting question!

As Stan Lee said, the question of "who would win" always has the same answer. ("Whoever the writer wants to win.") But objectively, they're pretty closely matched. As others have said, I'd give the edge to Superman, just because he's smarter and probably faster. I don't think the Hulk got stronger as he got angrier yet, so the Man of Tomorrow might wear him down.

I'd like to see a good writer tackle this, with the chocks off.

I guess I should give my own opinion. 

Honestly, I think it's a draw, although where the fight takes place is important. If it's in the middle of a large Metropolitan area, there's a good chance Superman retreats or is at a disadvantage because he's concerned about property damage and civilian casualties, whereas Hulk in his rage may be less concerned about such things, or at least not thinking about them because he's angry(I know the "angrier he gets the stronger he gets" thing hadn't been established as yet, but Hulk definitely still got pretty angry). Also, I think the Hulk enjoys fighting more than Superman, so he'd be much less likely to back down for much of any reason (unless Betty was injured and needed immediate attention). 

If, however, they're in a deserted area where Superman doesn't have to hold back, then it's probably a much more even fight, and I don't think either has an advantage. Their power sets are nearly identical (I'll give Superman a slight edge in speed at this point, but Hulk has always been faster than anyone thinks, and I don't think that edge in speed would be enough for a real advantage), and they're both pretty darned resilient. I don't think either could render the other unconscious (or kill the other if you're feeling bloodthirsty).

So ultimately, while I give the Hulk a slight edge in certain conditions, I'm not sure it's enough to declare him a specific winner of the battle. Same with Superman's speed advantage. So a draw of is. 

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