With the recent launch of Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. on Disney XD, it’s only fitting that Toonbarn’s featured character of the week be jolly green giant, the Incredible Hulk. Oh, and since the new series managed to point out just how many gamma-powered behemoths we have right now, it’s worth pointing out that we’re talking about Bruce Banner’s alter ego, the original Green Hulk. What can we say, he’s the original and the most recognizable version – he’s huge, he’s strong, and he’s green, which is the color of a vegetable, the color of a tree, and the color of Jedi Outcast lightsaber number 3.
Hulk was originally created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in May 1962, appearing in the pages of The Incredible Hulk (the big dude got his own comic during the days when most superheroes were only introduced in anthologies). He is the alter ego of physicist Bruce Banner, who was exposed to a gamma bomb blast when he saved a young Rick Jones, who had wandered onto the testing range.
Being exposed to the gamma blast without any protective gear led to Bruce Banner transforming into a giant, hulking monster that has near limitless strength and durability (both of which are affected by how angry he gets). He’s been portrayed both as a naive giant and a cunning intelligent mastermind over the years, depending on the state of Bruce Banner’s psyche at the time – there were even points when Bruce Banner has taken full control and he’s changed colors a couple of times. What remains constant is his strength, durability and accelerated healing (even if he encounters something sharp enough to harm his dense musculature, like Wolverine’s adamantium claws, the wounds heal almost instantaneously). Hulk is arguably one of the two most powerful beings in Marvel’s 616 universe outside of the cosmic beings and the gods (the other being the Sentry).
Currently, the incarnations of the Hulk that will be most familiar to non-comic book fans will be the Superhero Squad version, the one on Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H (which is to Hulk what Teen Titans Go! is to the Teen Titans) and Mark Ruffalo’s portrayal in Marvel/Disney’s movie adaptations. Oddly enough, the two versions seem to occupy opposite ends of the spectrum. Which one do you prefer?