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Also see Marvel Comics *Hulk Publication History *Hulk Powers *Hulk in other media *Hulk Store Hulk Gallery

Hulk fan art by fanboy1171
Hulk fan art by fanboy1171

Contents

Hulk Facts and Stats

Hulk

  • Height: 7' (213 cm)
  • Weight: 1040 lbs
  • Eye Color: green
  • Hair Color: green

Bruce Banner

  • Height: 5' 9½" (176 cm)
  • Weight: 128 lbs
  • Eye Color: Brown
  • Hair Color: Brown

Team Affiliations: Avengers, Defenders

list of supporting characters

List of Hulk supporting characters

Hulk Summary

The Hulk (Dr. Robert Bruce Banner) is a comic book anti-hero appearing in publications from Marvel Comics. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, The Hulk first appeared in The Incredible Hulk vol. 1, #1 (May 1962). He has since become one of Marvel Comics' most recognized characters.

After physicist Dr. Robert Bruce Banner was caught in the blast of a gamma bomb he created, he was transformed into The Hulk, a raging monster. The character, both as Banner and the Hulk, is frequently pursued by the police or the armed forces, often as a result of the destruction he causes. While the coloration of the character's skin varies during the course of its publication history, the Hulk is most often depicted as green. In forty years, he has battled virtually every hero and villain in the Marvel Universe. He has been featured in a number of animated series, a feature film directed by Ang Lee, and a television series with spin-off television movies starring Bill Bixby as Banner and Lou Ferrigno as The Hulk.

Alternate Versions of Hulk

Alternate versions of Hulk


Characterization

Bruce Banner

Confrontation between Banner and his father as shown in issue #312 of the Incredible Hulk
Confrontation between Banner and his father as shown in issue #312 of the Incredible Hulk
Father and son fight at the grave of Banner's mother
Father and son fight at the grave of Banner's mother
Banner's  confrontation with his father from The Incredible Hulk #-1
Banner's confrontation with his father from The Incredible Hulk #-1

Robert Bruce Banner was born in Dayton, Ohio, the son of Dr. Brian Banner and Rebecca Banner. He was loved by his mother, but hated by his alcoholic father, who was extremely jealous of his relationship with his mother.

A former atomic physicist Brian concluded that Bruce's intelligence was a mutation derived from Brian's exposure to radiation.

Brian Banner finally murdered his wife when she attempted to leave with Bruce. Bruce was raised by Rebecca's sister and later attended Science High School. He diverted his anger into his study of science.

Bruce Banner attended Desert State University in Navapo, New Mexico, where he studied with such contemporaries as Walter Langkowski (a.k.a. Sasquatch) Peter Corbeau and Raoul Stoddard.

Banner was a highly withdrawn intellectual unable to cope with emotions. Obtaining his doctorate in nuclear physics from The California Institute of Technology, Banner went to work at a nuclear research facility at Desert Base, New Mexico.

Before The Gamma Bomb accident that would create The Hulk, Banner's father was released from a mental hospital. This release would lead up to the last confrontation between Bruce Banner and his father at his mother's grave.

As revealed in issue Incredible Hulk Minus 1 this confrontation did not end up as Bruce Banner had remembered it.

Brian Banner accused Bruce of being evil and a monster that was a threat to mankind. Years of frustration had built up. Years where Brian Banner had accused Bruce of being a monster even as a child. Here at his mother's gravesite his father was coming at him again physically striking him again as well as verbally.

Bruce knocked to the ground lashes out causing Brian Banner to fall backwards into his mother's headstone. Thus the end of perhaps the man who is truly responsible for the coming monster men will know as The Hulk.

Bruce Banner would then continue work for General Thunderbolt Ross to create The Gamma Bomb.

Ross looked at Banner as a weakling scientist, and was not pleased with his relationship with daughter Betty Ross, the woman who would one day marry Bruce years later.

Bruce Banner's nightmare would now begin thanks to a reckless teenager named Rick Jones who went on a dare onto the gamma bomb testing site Banner was working at. Banner was caught in the blast of The Gamma Bomb while getting Rick Jones to safety. Rick Jones would feel forever indebted to Bruce Banner and feel guilt for Banner's transformations into The Hulk.

The core of The Hulk, Bruce Banner has been portrayed differently by different writers, but the common themes have survived. Banner is a genius but emotionally withdrawn. Banner designed The Gamma Bomb which causes his affliction, and the ironic twist of his self-inflicted fate has been one of the most persistent common themes. Arie Kaplan describes the character thus: “Bruce Banner lives in a constant state of panic, always wary that the monster inside him will erupt, and therefore he can’t form meaningful bonds with anyone.” .

Throughout the Hulk's published history, writers have continued to frame Bruce Banner in these themes. Under different writers, his fractured personality led to transformations into different versions of The Hulk. These transformations are usually involuntary, and often writers have tied the transformation to emotional triggers, such as rage and fear. As the series has progressed, different writers have adapted The Hulk, changing Hulk's personality to reflect changes in Banner's physiology or psyche. Writers have also refined and changed some aspectsof Banner's personality, showing him as emotionally repressed, but capable of deep love for Betty Ross, and for solving problems posed to him. Under the writing of Paul Jenkins, Banner was shown to be a capable fugitive, applying deductive reasoning and observation to figure out the events transpiring around him. When Banner has controlled The Hulk's body, he has applied principles of physics to problems and challenges and used deductive reasoning.

The Hulk

Banner's first transformation was into the Grey Hulk, who was not as mindless as the green version. It is believed each version of the Hulk represented a part of Banner's subconscious personalities. At first Banner transformed at sunset and then under periods of stress. The first transformation occurs at an military infirmary where the Grey Hulk escapes. A soldier in the ensuing search party dubs the otherwise unidentified creature a "hulk".

The original version of the Hulk was often shown as simple and quick to anger. His first transformations were triggered by sundown, and his return to Banner by dawn; later, emotions triggered the change. Although grey in his debut, difficulties for the printer led to a change in his color to green. In the origin tale, the Hulk divorces his identity from Banner’s, decrying Banner as "that puny weakling in the picture". From his earliest stories, the Hulk has been concerned with finding sanctuary and quiet, and often is shown reacting emotionally to situations quickly. Grest and Weinberg call Hulk the "...dark, primordial side of Banner's psyche.". Even in the earliest appearances, Hulk spoke in the third person. The Hulk retains a modest intelligence, thinking and talking in full sentences, and Lee even gives the Hulk expository dialogue in issue six, allowing readers to learn just what capabilities the Hulk has, when the Hulk says, “But these muscles ain't just for show! All I gotta do is spring up and just keep goin'!" In Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World's Greatest Comics, Les Daniels addresses the Hulk as an embodiment of cultural fears of radiation and nuclear science. He quotes Jack Kirby thus: "As long as we're experimenting with radioactivity there's no telling what may happen, or how much our advancements may cost us." Daniels continues " The Hulk became Marvel's most disturbing embodiment of the perils inherent in the atomic age."

Fantastic Four #12 (March 1963), featured the Hulk's first battle with The Thing, as well as a new way for Banner to transform into Hulk, by using a gamma ray machine of his own design to trigger the change. Although many early Hulk stories involve General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross trying to capture or destroy the Hulk, the main villain is often, like Hulk, a radiation based character, like the Toad men, or General Fang. Ross' daughter, Betty, loves Banner and criticizes her father for pursuing the Hulk. General Ross' right-hand man, Major Glenn Talbot, also loves Betty and is torn between pursuing the Hulk and trying to gain Betty's love more honorably. Rick Jones serves as the Hulk's friend and sidekick in these early tales.

Stan Lee and others have compared The Hulk in these early tales to the misunderstood creature Frankenstein's Monster., a concept Lee had wanted to explore. Lee also compared Hulk to the Golem of Jewish myth. In The Science of Superheroes, Gresh and Weinberg see the Hulk as a reaction to the Cold War and the threat of nuclear attack, an interpretation shared by Weinstein in Up, Up, and Oy Vey. Kaplan calls Hulk ‘schizophrenic’.

In the 1970’s, Hulk was shown as more prone to anger and rage, and less talkative. Writers played with the nature of his transformations, briefly giving Banner control over the change, and the ability to maintain control of his Hulk form. The Hulk's favorite catch phrases at the time were, "Hulk Smash" "Hulk is the strongest one there is" etc. He referred to fellow superheroes by nick names like Spider-Man was "Bug Eyes", Doctor Strange was "Magician", in a DC Marvel crossover Superman was nick named "Cape Man".

Hulk stories began to involve other dimensions, and in one, Hulk met the empress Jarella. Jarella used magic to bring Banner’s intelligence to Hulk, and came to love him, asking him to become her mate. Though Hulk returned to Earth before he could become her king, he would return to Jarella’s kingdom of K’ai again.

Mantlo took the character into the arena of political commentary when Hulk traveled to Tel Aviv, Israel, encountering both the violence of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the Jewish Israeli heroine Sabra. Soon after, Hulk encountered the Arabian Knight (comics), a Bedouin superhero.[3]

Under Bill Mantlo’s writing, the Hulk was separated from a human mind inside to constrain his actions by the extra-dimensional villain, Nightmare. Unable to help him, Doctor Strange exiled the mindless Hulk to an extra-dimensional place called the Crossroads of Eternity, from which place he could journey to other worlds, in hopes of finding a place to reside. During the stories at the Crossroads, Banner’s childhood traumas were explored and Hulk/Banner forced to come to terms with them, and in so doing, reconnect to the human mind within. To tell this story, Mantlo employed three new characters, reflecting aspects of Banner’s fractured psyche: Glow, a gleaming floating gem, represented Banner’s intellect, Guardian, a children’s toy made live, was Bruce’s protector, and Goblin was Bruce’s repressed rage.

Having come to terms with his issues, at least for a time, Hulk and Banner physically separated under John Bryne’s writing. Separated from the Hulk, Banner was recruited by the U.S. government to create the Hulkbusters, a government team dedicated to catching Hulk. Banner and Ross married, but this change in the character was reversed by Al Milgrom, who reunited the two, and with issue #324, returned the Hulk to his grey coloration after a second visit to K’ai and his one time love, Jarella.

Shortly after returning to Earth, Hulk took on the identity of ‘Joe Fixit’, a shadowy behind the scenes figure, working in Las Vegas on behalf of a crooked casino owner, Michael Berengetti. For months, Banner was repressed in Hulk’s mind, but slowly began to reappear. Hulk and Banner began to change back and forth again at dusk and dawn, as the character initially had, but this time, they worked together to advance both their goals, using written notes as communication. In The Incredible Hulk #333, the Leader describes the Grey Hulk persona as strongest during the night of the new moon and weakest during the full moon.

In issue #377, David revamped the Hulk again. Doctor Leonard Samson engages the Ringmaster's services to hypnotize Bruce Banner and force him, the Savage Hulk (Green Hulk) and Mr. Fixit (Grey Hulk) to confront Banner's past abuse at the hands of his father, Brian Banner. During the session, the four identities confront a ‘Guilt Hulk’, which sadistically torments the four with the abuse of Banner’s father. Facing down this abuse, a new, larger and smarter Hulk emerges and completely replaces the "human" Bruce Banner and Hulk personae. This Hulk is a culmination of the three aspects of Banner. He has the vast power of the Savage Hulk, the cunning of the grey Hulk and the intelligence of Bruce Banner.

Peter David then introduces the Hulk to The Pantheon, a secretive organization built around an extended family of super-powered people. The family members, mostly distant cousins to each other, had codenames based in the mythos of the Trojan War, and were descendants of the founder of the group, Agamemnon. When Agamemnon leaves, he puts the Hulk in charge of the organization. The storyline ends when it is revealed Agamemnon has traded his offspring to an alien race to gain power. The Hulk leads the Pantheon against the aliens, and then moves on.

Shortly after, Hulk encounters a depraved version of himself from the future, called Maestro. Thrown into the future, Hulk finds himself allied with Rick Jones, now an old man, in an effort to destroy the tyrant Maestro. Unable to stop him in any other manner, Hulk uses the time machine that brought him to the future to send the Maestro back into the heart of the very Gamma Bomb test that spawned the Hulk.

In 1998, David followed Editor Bobbie Chase's suggestion, and wrote a storyline centering on the death of Betty Ross. Betty has radiation poisoning, and desperate to save her, General Thunderbolt Ross worked with Banner, hoping to save her, but they fail, and Betty dies. Following this, David left Marvel, following a conflict about the direction of the series.

Greg Pak introduced the Planet Hulk story arc, which opened with a cabal of Earth’s superpowers, called Illuminati, sending Hulk into deep space to protect the Earth from his destructive rampages after his involvement in the destruction of the Godseye Satellite orbiting Earth. Hulk’s rocket, intended for a desolate, empty planet, instead crashed onto Sakaar. On Sakaar, Hulk rises from slave to king leading a rebellion, and finds love with a wife, Caiera. Shortly after, the rocket that brought Hulk to Sakaar malfunctions and explodes, setting of the planet’s destruction. Following the death of his wife, unborn child, and hundreds of millions of innocents, Hulk gathers some survivors and heads to Earth to exact revenge. Though he managed to succeed in capturing them and causing a great deal of destruction, a series of events resulted in his capture by SHIELD after Tony Stark used a military satellite to bombard Hulk with unknown rays in an effort to stop him.

In World War Hulk, Hulk confronts the members of the Illuminati, meeting them in personal combat, but he is later defeated and captured. Bruce Banner is later seen in custody in a military facility where General Ross and Doc Samson seek out Bruce Banner's help with an emerging mystery.

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