Beginners Guide: Hulk

Bruce Banner was a shy, quiet scientist with a brilliant mind. He was reluctantly working with the US Army on high powered weapons when his life and destiny changed forever.
In episode 9 of the podcast, we talked about Hulk.

Somewhere deep in the New Mexico desert, Bruce was waiting for the test of his newly designed weapon; a bomb that uses high-intensity gamma radiation. Just as Bruce was about to start the countdown, a young boy named Rick Jones stumbled onto the test site. Seeing the danger, Bruce rushed out and pushed the boy into the safety trench.
What he didn’t know was another scientist was waiting for their chance to be rid of him. Before Bruce could get into the trenches himself, the bomb detonates.
As the blinding light of the blast settles, young Rick finds Bruce unconscious, but miraculously alive.

Hulk, Smash?

After many hours, Banner wakes up in the hospital, having been recovered by Rick. Locked in and unable to leave, Bruce becomes more and more agitated. As the sun sets, listening to the clicking of a Geiger counter Rick has found, he feels a change within. Before Rick’s very eyes Bruce changes to a large grey being that breaks through the walls to escape, casting aside any soldiers in his path.
And so we meet Hulk for the first time, not the green creature born of anger, but a grey monster of the night.
This adaptation didn’t last long, it was issue 2 in fact that saw the end of Grey Hulk (for now).
The idea we know today that Bruce turns into Hulk from anger took a lot longer to appear. Hulk’s first run only lasted 6 issues, having various ups and downs in that time. In one issue, Bruce is ‘cured’, then purposefully exposes himself to radiation again to regain his Hulk persona. And not forgetting the period Rick could control Hulk through the power of his mind. It wasn’t until two years after his creation that Bruce would first turn in to Hulk because of his emotions.

A Hulk For All Occasions

Change is something people have come to expect with Hulk, as he is not just one personality. Over the years they’ve explained the changes by making more. In Hulk #324 we see Grey Hulk again, better known then as Joe Fixit.
Joe Fixit worked as a Las Vegas enforcer and tough guy, exposing some of Bruce’s darker emotions. He was a manipulative, no-nonsense character who really didn’t care about other people.
Another popular version is of course The Professor. If like most people your exposure to Hulk is through the recent Avengers film franchise, then you’ve already met.
First appearing in #377, The Professor carries the strength of Hulk, but the intelligence of Bruce. He is the merging of the best parts of each, a way for each personality to co-exist with the other.

As ever, this is just scratching the surface.
What about Devil Hulk, the evil persona trying to escape. Red Hulk, where a well-known foe gives himself his own Hulk abilities. Or the time Hulk was banished to Planet Hulk, fighting as an enslaved gladiator.
There is so much more to Hulk than big green smashing things. If you wish to learn more, be sure to head here and give the episode a listen.

Steve‘s suggested reading list:
Incredible Hulk Collection 1-6
Marvel Platinum: Definitive Hulk
Incredible Hulk: Regression
Incredible Hulk: Pardoned
Hulk: Grey Hulk
Visionaries: Peter David 1-8
Hulk: Red Hulk
The Totally Awesome Hulk
Planet Hulk
Immortal Hulk – six volumes

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