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10 Cool Facts About The Hulk

Aaron Short

We have previously run lists on Wolverine and Superman. So, it’s about time we talked about the Hulk. The Hulk is one of the more interesting superheroes. He’s not a clear-cut moralist, like Captain America or Superman. He’s not even a borderline vigilante with an axe to grind, like Batman. He’s more of an anti-hero than an idealist. More of a Freudian concept than a caped crusader. From his origins in the nuclear age to his appearances in the Avengers, here are some of the most interesting Hulk facts and story lines.

Featured image credit: Superb Wallpapers

10The Hulk Was Originally Canceled After Six Issues

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The Hulk has been around for 51 years. In that time, he’s become internationally famous, with “Hulk” becoming a standard word for strength and anger and a giant green guy who smashes things. But, surprisingly, the Hulk was actually originally canceled. After his debut in 1963, Marvel only managed to publish six issues before they were forced to cancel The Incredible Hulk due to a lack of enthusiasm from its readers. One possible reason that the Hulk was canceled is that he was quite an inconsistent character in those early days. In some issues, he was an intelligent, good-natured hero; in others, he was a fast-talking criminal.

Meanwhile, Banner’s transformation into the Hulk was originally caused by him purposefully blasting himself with gamma rays in his lab each time he wanted to transform, rather than Banner simply getting mad and turning into the Hulk against his will. Even more bizarre was the fact that Banner would sometimes turn into the Hulk while retaining his human head, causing him to wear a Hulk mask. Also, in the first two issues, he could only become the Hulk at night, like a vampire or werewolf. After being canceled, the Hulk started turning up in other comics as a villain, got a guest spot on the Avengers, and gradually became the Hulk we know today, getting his own comic once again.

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9Lou Ferrigno’s Been In Every Live Hulk Adaptation

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Photo credit: Toglenn

In the original Incredible Hulk TV show, David Banner was played by Bill Bixby. However, when he transformed, the actor who played the Hulk in all his Hulky glory was Lou Ferrigno. Lou Ferrigno started out as a deaf bodybuilder who once starred alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in Pumping Iron. This got Lou noticed, and at 196 centimeters (6’5″) and 129 kilograms (285 lb) he was perfect for the role of The Incredible Hulk.

Lou Ferrigno played the Hulk from 1978 to 1982, then went on to be the voice actor for the Hulk in both the ’90s animated series and the 2008 movie starring Edward Norton. In 2004, Lou also had a cameo in Ang Lee’s Hulk as a security guard before finally donating his voice for Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk in The Avengers (it’s Ferrigno that says “puny God” after the Hulk slams Tom Hiddleston into the floor a few dozen times). Ferrigno’s been involved with the Hulk for so long that it’s now practically impossible to imagine the Hulk saying “Hulk Smash!” without Ferrigno’s voice.

8Bruce Banner Was Once Renamed David Banner Because His Name ‘Sounded Gay’

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When The Incredible Hulk was adapted into a live-action television show in 1978, a few changes were made. First, the Hulk never talked. This was done because it was considered foolish to see what was quite obviously a man in green paint scream “Hulk smash!” But another change that wasn’t quite so obvious was Dr. Banner’s name. According to the show’s executive producer Kenneth Johnson, it was done to attain more realism under the argument that people don’t generally have alliterative names like Bruce Banner. That’s partly true, we suppose (although the fact that the man playing Banner was called Bill Bixby undercuts it, somewhat).

However, according to Stan Lee, the real reason the name was changed from Bruce Banner to David Banner was because Johnson and other Hollywood executives believed “Bruce” seemed too gay. This is something that Lou Ferrigno has confirmed. He was told that the name “Bruce” sounded “gayish.” Like Stan Lee, Ferrigno felt that this was ridiculous. This is a fact that’s been denied by Johnson on multiple occasions. But it’s hard to say what reason both Lou Ferrigno and Stan Lee would have to blatantly lie about something like that.

(As an aside, MadTV had their own vision of a gay Hulk.)

7Gray Hulk

Whenever you think “Hulk,” you think green. The two are intrinsically linked. Yet, when the Hulk first appeared in 1963, he was actually meant to be gray. However, due to the fact the printer couldn’t provide a consistent gray color, the Hulk would change from gray to black to other shades of gray from page to page and panel to panel. In order to address the issue, Stan Lee choose to go with a color that would come off the printing press with fewer issues: the now-iconic green.

The gray Hulk would later make a comeback in 1986, when writer Peter David introduced Joe Fixit. Unlike the green Hulk, Joe Fixit was able to talk, employ Banner’s intelligence, and use guns. During this time, Banner would change into Joe Fixit at night, as Fixit represented all of Banner’s dark, violent thoughts. Fixit himself worked as a bouncer for a violent Vegas gangster and spent most of his time beating up bad guys and supervillains for fun.

6A Short Film Explains Tony Stark’s Appearance In The Incredible Hulk

Every Marvel film includes a post-credits scene that teases the next movie. In the days before The Avengers and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the post-credits usually featured either Samuel L. Jackson or Agent Coulson turning up and talking about the Avengers initiative to whichever hero was the star. However, in The Incredible Hulk (2008), the person who turned up was Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. Well, it turns out that there’s a story behind that.

Marvel made a short film starring Agent Coulson of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., called The Consultant. The film takes place between the events of Iron Man 2 and the first Thor movie. In The Consultant, Coulson and another agent need to prevent General Ross from trying to suggest that the Abomination be used in the Avengers program instead of the Hulk. The only way to solve the problem is to make Ross think they need the Abomination and then give him a reason to withhold him. They wrack their brains, and then it comes to them: Who is unspeakably arrogant, world famous, and unbearably irritating? The answer can only be Tony Stark. The one-shot was eventually released on the Thor Blu-ray. The above video is a part of that one-shot. The rest can be found here.

Watch the Hulk smash his through way through New York City in Marvel’s The Incredible Hulk at Amazon.com!

5Hulk: The End

In possibly one of the most depressing comic book stories of all time, everyone on Earth is killed in a nuclear war, and those who survive the initial bombardment slowly die from radiation poisoning. The only person left? Dr. Bruce Banner, aka the Hulk. Banner slowly realizes, as weeks turn into years, that his mutation has not only allowed him to survive the death of humanity but that he is possibly immortal now, because the Hulk will not let him die. Doomed to wander a dead Earth forever, you’d think it couldn’t possibly become more of a downer.

It does.

After 200 years of lonely wandering, irradiated mutant cockroaches attack Banner. When this happens, he changes into the Hulk who tries to fight them but is overwhelmed and eaten alive. The Hulk’s healing factor brings him back to life, leading Banner to realize that the Hulk can regenerate from pretty much any injury—even from complete death. Eventually, Banner, who by this point has had more than enough, begs the Hulk to let him die. The comic ends with Banner, at the point of his death, turning into the Hulk one last time.

4Unusual And Lesser-Known Powers

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Photo credit: Zoom-Comics

In terms of superpowers, the Hulk is fairly unique among superheroes. Most superpowers simply fall into one of several categories: increased strength, intelligence, speed, or control of elements such as fire, lightning, and so on. The Hulk actually possesses a whole range of powers—along with his obvious enhanced strength—that aren’t often talked about.

First, his strength is entirely rage based. This means that, if the Hulk encounters an enemy he can’t beat, he simply gets angrier, which in turn makes him stronger. He can leap large distances and has managed to literally jump into orbit at least once. Among his more bizarre powers is a gland that allows him to breathe underwater by creating pressure in his lungs. It gets weirder: He can see ghosts. Because of this, he’s one of the few Marvel characters that can see Doctor Strange when the latter takes astral form. The Hulk also has the ability to always find his way back to the site of the gamma ray accident that created him.

3The Red Hulk’s Identity

One of the Hulk’s greatest recent story lines involved the introduction of the mysterious Red Hulk. Over 23 issues, Hulk readers were introduced to the character of the Red Hulk and the deepening mystery of who he was and how he’d come to be. During the course of the series, the Red Hulk fought and murdered the Hulk’s oldest enemy, the Abomination. This was something that even the Hulk had never been able to do. This got the Hulk fans buzzing, as they began to ask questions about the Red Hulk’s secret identity.

The Red Hulk possesses the same powers as the green Hulk (including strength). However, he is actually able to defeat the green Hulk by absorbing the gamma radiation that gives him his powers and turning the Hulk back into Bruce Banner. Eventually, the identity of the Red Hulk turns out to be none other than Bruce Banner’s greatest enemy, the man who ruined his life by hunting him for decades: General “Thunderbolt” Ross.

2He Once Tore Wolverine In Half

In Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk, a six-part series written by Lost writer Damon Lindelof, S.H.I.E.L.D. finally has enough of the Hulk after he goes on an orgy of destructive violence across New York. So, Nick Fury hires the only person he knows who could, and would, kill the Hulk: Wolverine.

Wolverine finally tracks Banner down to a monastery, where he is being worshiped as a god by a harem of beautiful, half-naked ladies. Understandably, the Hulk is not pleased with Wolverine’s interruption. The two face off. So, how does Wolverine fare against the Hulk? In the very first issue, the Hulk tears Wolverine in half like a sheet of paper, tosses his bottom half four miles away onto the top of a mountain, and leaves him to crawl home. Nasty. Check out the above video for a pretty decent motion comic, if you can stomach it.

1Planet Hulk

During the Civil War crisis, the Hulk becomes a huge problem to the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. When the government insists that all superheroes register and reveal their secret identities, the Hulk goes on a rampage through Las Vegas that kills a bunch of people. Tony Stark, other members of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the Avengers come up with a plan. They trick Banner into thinking that they need his scientific expertise on a deep space mission, to which Banner agrees. However, once in space, they aim the ship at a wormhole.

This is supposed to transport the Hulk to an uninhabited planet, where he can cause no harm. Instead, however, he ends up being sent to Sakaar, a planet teeming with intelligent life. The Hulk is then enslaved by its natives. He fights his way to freedom, becomes the leader of a resistance army, conquers the whole world, and leads his new army back to Earth for revenge.

Aaron is a film student, freelance writer and Hulk fan. He can be found on Twitter.