The Marvel Cinematic Universe: Making A Case For The Hulk

We All Know The Hulk, Right?

Or, do we? Sure, devoted fans of the Hulk comic books are very familiar with the finer points of his character, but to most people, he’s just a giant, green rage monster – the manifestation of one man’s anger. In reality, though, there’s a great deal more to The Incredible Hulk than simple fury.

The Hulk was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and first appeared in The Incredible Hulk #1 in 1962. Physicist Dr. Bruce Banner – a renowned scientific genius – was seen to save the life of teenager Rick Jones, when the boy strayed onto land on which an experimental gamma bomb was about to be tested. Banner pushed Jones into a trench to protect him from the blast and took the full force of the explosion himself. Though he seemed to recover, he transformed into a giant grey being that night.

Initially, the comic books had Hulk transforming at sunrise and sunset (a little like Princess Fiona in Shrek, for example), and later, by use of a gamma ray machine. By 1964, however, it’d been established that emotional stress was the trigger for Banner changing into the angry creature – and it also saw Hulk change from having some residual intelligence, to being more savage and seemingly immature. It was further established that, in his Hulk state, the creature could resist psychic control, absorb radiation and dark magic, and also punch his way between dimensions of both space and time.

As the comic books progressed, 1984 saw the story begin to explore Banner’s childhood to a greater extent and revealed the fact that he had experienced abuse at the hands of his father, Brian Banner. It eventually transpired that, as a child, Bruce witnessed his father murder his mother, Rebecca. This gave rise to a further evolution in the story – that of Bruce Banner’s psychological make-up. The Incredible Hulk turned into a story about the fractured psyche of the troubled scientist and a variety of different Hulk personas began to emerge.

The original Hulk was Grey Hulk (also known as Joe Fixit), and he more closely resembled Frankenstein than Banner. Savage Hulk is the green Hulk, which became the more commonly recognized rage monster. Savage Hulk occurs when Banner is so angry that he loses touch with reality and essentially becomes pure instinct. Merged Hulk is the combination of Banner, Grey Hulk and Savage Hulk, and represented Banner’s ideal self. Later, in the source material, merged Hulk became known as The Professor.