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I think you've put a finger on why I never found the Hulk interesting as a kid (or as an adult for that matter). He's big, he's green, he's angry, and he's stupid as a rock. That's about it.

_Banner_ is interesting - but then he turns into the Hulk and spoils it all.

I found the Thing of the Fantastic Four to be a far more engaging and poignant variation of that monster story.


How does the Hulk keep his pants on and nothing else?

The Hulk (comic book) was most interesting when you saw Banner's humanity and struggle for control come out in the Hulk. Like when he'd stop his rampage to not kill a little girl or some stuff like that, or he'd somehow discern who his enemy was and who his friend was amongst a group of random people in his way.

By the way, that "street fight" thing?

Come on, Lance, look at where both DC and Marvel are headquartered...they need New York (or Chicago) in order to make the comic come to life. Besides, it's hard to have random people in danger on a road in New Berlin or Sarasota.

Matter-Eater Lad

I always thought that someone could do a really weird Hulk dream sequence story where Hulk/Betty/General Ross/Rick Jones swap places with Superman/Lois/Perry White/Jimmy Olsen only nobody realizes the difference. So you've got Bruce Banner running around trying to keep Betty from learning he's the Hulk and Rick Jones has a Hulk Signal Watch and General Ross is shouting "Great Ceasar's Ghost!" every five minutes.


Agree on the misuse of CGI in superhero movies. Superman Returns had some truly egregious scenes of a CGI mannequin of Brandon Routh flying over Metropolis: It looked perfect and plastic and unliving.


The Hulk has had a spotty publishing history – his first run lasted only eight or ten issues before they closed shop and rebooted. Much later, they made him smart, they made him grey and mean, they split him apart from Banner, Not to mention the whole psychodrama at the Crossroads – anyone remember Goblin, Guardian and Glow?

I think the Hulk works best as part of a group. The original Defenders, say, or the new Marvel Adventures Super-Heroes title, where Spider-Man, Hulk and Iron Man (the cinematic Avengers) stay in costume and hang out, very much like the Justice Friends.

Gary Farber

Excellent review!

Please forgive for this, but it's "Spider-Man."

Not "Spider-man."

(Nor the oft-seen "Spider Man" or "Spiderman.")

Thank you for indulging my Aspie self in mentioning this.

"The only way to keep his stories interesting is to find reasons to keep him Bruce Banner as long as possible or surround him with characters who have interesting stories of their own."

Or turn him grey and canny and move to Las Vegas, or have him go off to another star system, and have him come back much smarter and out for revenge (World War Hulk).

I know, it's more modern; the kids can fill you in. But there really have been a lot of ways the Hulk has been written over the decades, again, with a considerable array of ways of making him interesting.

The Leader, btw, first appeared in Tales to Astonish Vol 1 #62
December, 1964.

This is not a terribly recent character. He was practically present at the creation. And he plays the anti-Hulk: the man whose brain is mutated by the gamma radiation.

(Of course, the lesson here might be that super-brawn is better than super-brains, save that The Leader is Evil, so that leads to hubris and doom and all that jazz.)

Doc Samson has been a much more deeply embedded character in Hulk and the Marvel Universe overall, really, despite only first appearing Incredible Hulk #141 (July, 1971), which is also not immensely recent, but a bit younger than the Leader, to be sure. And a much more interesting character than the Leader ever was in any arc I ever read.

Did I mention excellent review? I quibble becuz I loves ya, y'know. And, hokay, I'm a bit of a comics nerd, even though most of what I know these days comes from teh internet.

And a subscription to Marvel Digital comics. (I wish DC had a similar arrangement, but I can't afford comics at even $.99 each: there are way too many. And there isn't enough reading time in the week, anyway.)

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