Superhero Origins: The Hulk

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Superhero Origins: The Hulk

VOICE OVER: Dan Paradis
Bruce Banner was a brilliant scientist working at an Army base in the desert on a top-secret project – the G-Bomb! Just as the bomb was about to be tested, however, Banner noticed a teenage boy had driven into the test area. Selflessly running to his aid, Banner was able to save the boy, but could not escape the blast zone himself. Instead of dying, Banner's body was bathed in gamma rays. After regaining consciousness back at the Army base, Banner suddenly transformed into a large figure. Join http://www.WatchMojo.com as we explore the comic book origin of Bruce Banner, also known as the Hulk. Special thanks to our user Dale Charge for submitting the idea on our WatchMojo.comsuggest page!
Transcript
*Script written by Clayton Martino.

Superhero Origins: The Hulk – Redux


You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry…or maybe you would, he’s actually really popular. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we will explore the comic book origin of Bruce Banner, also known as the Hulk.

As with most comic book characters, there are often re-imaginations and different versions to a character’s past. We have chosen primarily to follow the original storyline which unfolded in 1962’s “The Incredible Hulk” #1.

Bruce Banner was a brilliant scientist working at an Army base in the desert on a top-secret project – the G-Bomb! Just as the bomb was about to be tested, however, Banner noticed a teenage boy had driven into the test area. Selflessly running to his aid, Banner was able to save the boy, but could not escape the blast zone himself.

Instead of dying, Banner’s body was bathed in gamma rays. After regaining consciousness back at the Army base, Banner noticed a nearby Geiger counter, a device used to measure radiation. As the clicking of the device intensified, Banner suddenly transformed into a large grey figure. With his new found strength, he broke through a brick wall and destroyed a truck of soldiers that tried to attack him.

Dubbed the “Hulk” by one of the soldiers, Banner tried to reach the cabin where he lived in order to find a formula to reverse the transformation. Reaching the cabin, the Hulk happened upon a man named Igor who was rummaging furiously through the drawers. When Igor turned around and saw the Hulk, he drew a gun a fired on him. Shrugging off the bullets and crushing the gun in his had like a toy, the Hulk knocked Igor out cold.

Unbeknownst to the Hulk, the boy he had saved, Rick Jones, had followed him back to the cabin and had arrived has he tangled with Igor. As the Hulk noticed a photo of himself as Bruce Banner on the table, Jones reminded him that he was Bruce Banner before he transformed.

Although the Hulk recognized his previous form, he declared that he was happy the transformation happened, preferring to be the strong, imposing Hulk than the weak Banner. Just as the Hulk was about to turn on Jones, the sun’s rays struck the Hulk and transformed him back into human form.

It was at this moment that the army arrived, having also followed the Hulk back to the cabin. Believing it to be impossible that Banner could be the Hulk, however, the soldiers left to continue their search, but they took the unconscious Igor with them, as they believed him to be a spy. Finally alone, Banner confided in Jones that he feared he would switch back into the Hulk when the sun sets.

Meanwhile, Igor awoke in a prison cell. Using a transistor hidden on his fingernail, he was able to send a message over the Iron Curtain to the Gargoyle, the most feared man in all of Asia. The Gargoyle, fearing that the Hulk may be as powerful as him, decided to travel to America to kill or capture him. Just as the Gargoyle landed in America, Banner once again transformed into the Hulk.

The Gargoyle found the Hulk and confronted him with a weapon of his own invention, attempting to make the Hulk his slave. The Gargoyle’s weapon proved effective, as the drug-filled bullet turned the Hulk into a docile prisoner. After being loaded into a jet en route towards the USSR, however, daylight struck the Hulk and he was once again changed back into Bruce Banner.

Recognizing that Banner and the Hulk were the same person, the initially dumbfounded Gargoyle begged Banner to transform him into a regular man. Banner agreed to help the Gargoyle, and used radiation to transform him back into a regular man. No longer a slave to the USSR, the Gargoyle used rocket to send Banner back to America. The Gargoyle, now a man, refused to be captured by his former Soviet masters and blew himself up as Banner made his escape.

There were several key changes made to the Hulk to make him more like the beast we know today. In “The Incredible Hulk” #2, the Hulk’s colour was changed from grey to green. This was because the colourist, Stan Goldberg, had difficulty keeping the grey colour consistent in the first issue, and decided to switch to green for the second issue.

Another big change dealt with how Bruce Banner changed into the Hulk. Originally, he switched to the Hulk at dusk, and reverted to human form at sunrise. You know, werewolf rules. This transformation was eventually changed so that it would be caused by an emotional reaction, usually when Banner was angry or upset. This emotional trigger was first detailed when the Hulk battled Ant-Man in Tales to Astonish #59. It was also during these storylines that the Hulk became less articulate and more childlike in his Hulk form, rarely using full sentences or proper grammar.

The Hulk would also become a founding member of the Avengers. The Hulk was initially framed by Loki, who tricked the Hulk into destroying a railroad bridge. Fearing that the Hulk was on another rampage, Thor, Iron Man, Ant-Man and all The Wasp attempted to stop him. Eventually, Thor discovered that Loki had framed the Hulk, and, working with the other heroes defeated Loki, and agreed to form a team called the Avengers! Like almost all the founding members, the Hulk would have an on/off relationship with the Avengers over the years, and would frequently leave and re-join the team.

Like all comic book heroes, the Hulk has gone through numerous re-imaginings, perhaps none more prominent than in the Ultimates storyline, which intended to be a modernized version of the Avengers. In this series, Bruce Banner is hired by S.H.I.E.L.D. to recreate the super-soldier formula that created Captain America. In an attempt to test the formula, Banner injects himself with the serum, and transforms into the Hulk. The Hulk the rampages through new york until being eventually stopped by the Ultimates.

Aside from comics, the Hulk has appeared in various media. In the 1960s, he starred in his own segment in the animated series “The Marvel Super Heroes”. From 1978-1982, the Hulk received his own live action series, with Bill Bixby starring as David Banner and Loui Ferrigno playing the Hulk. Recently, the Hulk has been portrayed on the big screen by Eric Bana, Edward Norton, and finally Mark Ruffalo, who will reprise his role from “The Avengers” in the upcoming film “Avengers: Age of Ultron”.

Are you a fan of the Hulk? For more comic book origins, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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