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Banes at 12:00AM, June 16, 2016

In the early 60's, shortly after the beginning of Marvel Comics with the Fantastic Four, a second series was released: The Incredible Hulk.

As the Marvel Universe took shape with Spider Man, The Avengers, The X-Men and Daredevil titles, The Hulk stood apart from all the other Super Heroes in that his was not just a hero story; it was a monster story. A horror story.

Funnily, the character first appeared in an early Fantastic Four story as a comic book character.

Dr. Bruce Banner was exposed to Gamma radiation, which caused him to transform into a super-strong, thuggish brute dubbed “the Incredible Hulk”. It was a Jekyll and Hyde story, or a werewolf story. Dr. Banner attempted to cure himself of his curse, because while the Hulk did do some good here and there, he was also an unpredictable force of destruction.

This would become emphasized more in later years, as the Hulk became more and more powerful and less and less intelligent.

The character spent years (in real time, maybe less in comic book time), wandering the world and looking for a cure. It's this version that was explored in the popular 1970's/80's TV show.

Banner himself eventually gained a disturbing backstory, with an abusive father who killed Bruce's mother. It gave weight to Banner's repressed rage and pain, which would be the psychological reason for the Hulk's birth.

Over the decades, the character went through many changes as Banner's condition mutated. He was briefly able to maintain his own personality and intelligence as the Hulk, but it fell apart eventually.

When he was savage, the Hulk would battle many of the superheroes in the Marvel Universe, and they would comment that “the madder he gets, the stronger he gets!”

The savage Hulk would say things like “Hulk SMASH!” and “Hulk is strongest one there is!”, and “Puny Banner!” to refer to his hated alter ego.

At one time, under the writing of Peter David, the many personalities of Banner and the various versions of the Hulk were combined into one personality, a confident, cocky, powerful dude with the genius of Banner and the bad attitude of the original Hulk. These were some of the greatest superhero comics in the 90's, by Peter David and Gary Frank.

Gary Frank is a phenomenal artist, and Peter David's humor allowed the Hulk title to stand apart from the grim, serious comics of the time.

As the years went on, the Hulk went crazy again, was banished from Earth and became a gladiator on an alien planet (PLANET HULK), and returned to wage war on the Earth (WORLD WAR HULK).

I haven't read these, but they sound cool, and I believe the next THOR movie will feature the Hulk, and will play with the Planet Hulk story. Neat!

He was always my favorite hero, with his extreme power, horror movie vibe, and psychological complexity. I was sad that his two movies were so unappealing to me, and thrilled that the character was done such justice in the first Avengers movie. Hooray!

Anyway, that's a brief discussion of the Hulk, one of the more unusual and interesting characters in the superhero pantheon.

See you next time!

Banes Smash!



Abt_Nihil at 4:47AM, June 20, 2016

"Banner himself eventually gained a disturbing backstory, with an abusive father who killed Bruce's mother. It gave weight to Banner's repressed rage and pain, which would be the psychological reason for the Hulk's birth." - I thought they had made that up for the first movie (which I loved, personally). Good to know!

bravo1102 at 6:11PM, June 17, 2016

"Doc Bruce Banner, belted by Gamma rays, turns into the Hulk. Ain't it so glamorous." Part of the jingle from the 1960s cartoon series.

Ironscarf at 1:06PM, June 17, 2016

The Hulk was pretty left field at the time of his creation. The only reason he's mainstream now is because of the enduring appeal of what Lee and Kirby put together back then. I for one would like to know how they did that!

Ozoneocean at 1:11AM, June 17, 2016

@Shane- I tend to agree with you about mainstream characters VS DD webcomic characters, but then you have the issue of favouritism in singling out characters for special promotion- I do this using my own characters as examples and feel a bit guilty about it. But the two main reasons for picking a character like the Hulk is that everyone knows him so they can easily get the point Banes is trying to make: he's become a general archetype. Secondly a lot ore people would probably be interested to read about him than our characters... It's a tricky balancing act. I suppose the best way to handle it would be if Banes related the Hulk to comics here and show how he applies.

Banes at 8:22PM, June 16, 2016

Haha...I remember that comic and cameo, methinks!

bravo1102 at 7:36PM, June 16, 2016

Well I know one Drunk duck webcomic that had the Hulk appear as a bar bouncer from his earth exile days. So you could plug that comic.

Banes at 11:55AM, June 16, 2016

One story that stayed with me for many years is "Future Imperfect". The Hulk is brought forward in time by his friend Rick, now a hundred years old, to stop a tyrannical madman called the Maestro. This madman is the Hulk himself, bitter and evil after all the losses he's suffered. Powerful stuff, and even the victory at the end is tainted by Banner's awareness that THAT could be his own future eventually.

Banes at 11:45AM, June 16, 2016

@bruno - the superhero world has been really nice in its flexibility, yeah! It'll be interesting to see the magic/horror elements in Dr Strange when it comes out!

Banes at 9:12AM, June 16, 2016

@KimLuster - wow, that's a good point about your Godstrain heroine's similarity to the Hulk. The struggle to harness massive power is one of the things I love about Hulk and about the Godstrain

Bruno Harm at 8:48AM, June 16, 2016

My Favorite was the grey hulk. He was that happy medium, and probably represented that balance in life that can be so elusive. I think it's interesting that other genres can be incorporated so well into the superhero world. Also seeing where inspiration comes from is helpful. Kirby didn't spin the Hulk out of a vacuum, it was a progression of ideas that evolved over time. People can look at big name comics and wonder, how did they think of that? It's nice to know they drew on other works and experiences along the way.

KimLuster at 8:16AM, June 16, 2016

I think covering established characters has its place, as they can inspire us to look more into them, which in turn could further inspire us to create our own work by drawing elements from them. I love the idea of a character having a Great Power that is 'uncontrollable' to varying degrees (my comic, the Godstrain, certainly plays with that). The Hulk (being the first popular comic character like this) is very likely one of the seeds (however many degrees removed) to mine and the multitude of other stories. "With Great (Uncontrollable) Power comes Great Frustration (and great stories)!"

Banes at 7:15AM, June 16, 2016

@shane - I was about halfway through this when I realized all this and more could be read in probably a thousand other places. But now it's a thousand and one!

Banes at 7:14AM, June 16, 2016

@Ironscarf - ah! I didn't know that; my knowledge if pre-Marvel is limited. Cool stuff, thanks!

Ironscarf at 4:45AM, June 16, 2016

Lee and Kirby were making monster comics before switching to superheroes (The Living Colossus, Goom, Fin Fang Foom!) and both The Hulk and The Thing were a hangover from that, quite unlike anything DC were doing at the time. Kirby also said their design, with just the shorts or ripped trousers, was based on the wrestlers he watched as a kid. Both characters were a huge hit with readers. Very nice article!

anonymous at 3:55AM, June 16, 2016

I appreciate the time and research that's went in to this article, but I'd prefer it if we focused on original characters from the Webcomics in these profiles rather than the mainstream lot. I don't see the point of writing about a well established character when there are new webcomic characters we could be introduced to. Please promote your talent.

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