Hulk (comic)

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Hulk [ hʌlk ] (Eng. Colossus, Klotz ) is the title character from the Marvel Comics of the same name . The first edition was published in May 1962 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby . The comic tells the story of the nuclear physicist Dr. Bruce Banner tells how he was exposed to large amounts of gamma radiation after an accident with the prototype of a gamma bomb and from then on turns into the maddening monster Hulk with every hint of anger. Because of his resounding strength, the gigantic muscle man often gets into confrontations with armed forces who want to stop the Hulk and use him as a "weapon" for themselves. Hulk's green skin color is explained by the innumerable chloroplasts in his skin, with which he can produce the metabolic products necessary for his energy needs.

The story has been adapted many times, including a number of animated series, a television series and various television films with Bill Bixby as Banner and Lou Ferrigno as Hulk, as well as two films by Ang Lee and Louis Leterrier .

Publication history

The pilot volume tells how Dr. Bruce Banner tries to save the young Rick Jones from the test site of a "gamma bomb" developed by him, falls victim to an assassination attempt and absorbs a huge dose of gamma radiation . In this first appearance, Hulk's skin is still gray, a decision by Stan Lee, who did not want to make him belong to any ethnic group. Colorist Stan Goldberg insisted on a change because the coloring technique could not consistently and clearly represent the color gray at the time, resulting in different shades of gray and even green in the output. For all subsequent volumes, Goldberg received the approval to dye Hulk's skin green. New editions and stories about its origins always feature a green Hulk for the next two decades, only issue # 324 of the Incredible Hulk series revealed in 1986 that the Hulk was gray at the time of its creation. Curiously, Iron Man , another Marvel character from the early 1960s, also had a gray tint in its first issue ( Tales of Suspense , issue # 39) and was given a new color just one issue later, in this case gold . The figure of Dr. Robert Bruce Banner after he was incorrectly referred to as "Bob Banner" by authors of the comic book series Die Fantastischen Vier (Issue # 25, April 1964). When the mistake was admitted three editions later, the name was quickly changed to Robert Bruce Banner. The appearance of Hulk was initially based heavily on the makeup of Boris Karloff in the film Frankenstein (1931) and his successors. However, under the impression of modern bodybuilding , the figure became more and more muscular. The remains of the clothes ripped by the rapid transformation into the Hulk also varied; Initially, Hulk wore a kind of huge jacket next to his broken pants. Initially banner used a gamma - machine at any time at the request in a cave to transform - the consequences were an aggravation of the Hulk and his aggressiveness . In the beginning, his identity was also a big secret - until one day Rick Jones revealed it when he thought the Hulk was dead.

Marvel only released six issues of the first Hulk series before the series was discontinued.
Shortly after the series' official end was announced, creator Jack Kirby received a letter from a college dorm informing him that Hulk had been selected as its official mascot. Kirby and Lee realized that their character had found a college-age audience, a demographic that comic book publishers had largely ignored until then. They gave Hulk numerous guest appearances in other comic series and made him one of the founding members of the newly launched superhero group and comic book series The Avengers . Hulk now got a regular appearance on Tales To Astonish , one of Marvel's anthology series at the time. After a few years, Tales to Astonish was renamed the Incredible Hulk because of Hulk's popularity , this renewed own series of the title hero ran until March 1999, when Marvel restarted the series with a new issue # 1. This restart has now been reversed and the original numbering has been resumed.

Peter David became the author of the series in 1986 and would hold the post for twelve years and 140 issues. David's work changed Banner's characterization of what it was like before the accident and the nature of the relationship between Banner and the Hulk. Not only did he add an unhappy childhood to the Banners character, he also made up the various personalities of the Hulk, such as Mr. Fixit (a temporary return to the originally imagined Gray Hulk) or the aged and evil Maestro from an alternate future. Banner was originally portrayed as a normal, shy man whose negative emotions - stress, fear, anger - found an outlet through the Hulk. However, David made Banner a victim of multiple personalities, someone who had serious mental problems long before Hulk became part of his life. David expanded on an earlier storyline that showed Banner being mistreated as a child. He illustrated how this triggers a lot of suppressed pain in the figure and thus provokes a dissociative identity disorder . Banner's psyche is derived from three Hulks, the Savage Hulk, Joe Fixit and the Professor, a mixture of Savage Hulk and Banner. In the earliest stories, stress wasn't the trigger for the transformations, but the gray Hulk always appeared when it got dark. In the special comic Superman vs. Hulk was directly alluded to the fact that the Hulk first appeared during the day.

In 1998 David followed Editor Bobbie Chase's suggestion to let the character Betty Banner, now Bruce Banners' wife, die. In an interview in Wizard: The Guide to Comics , David revealed that his wife had left him at the time, which turned out to be an inspiration for the storyline. Marvel's officials saw Betty's death as a way to bring the Savage Hulk back. David did not agree with this and had to leave the series. After David Hulk had turned his back, Joe Casey was temporarily hired as a writer. Casey was now taking the character in the direction Marvel had previously called for. So Hulk fell silent, but Casey's brief engagement was not well received and he ended the series.

Marvel later hired John Byrne for a second edition of the series with Ron Garney as an illustrator. Byrne planned until next year. However, creative differences led to his dismissal before his first year was over. Without further ado, Erik Larsen took over the writing duties in his place. There was also Paul Jenkins , who wrote a story arc in which Banner and the three Hulks (Savage, Gray Hulk and the Professor, now with their own personality) are able to interact mentally with one another. He also created the character General Ryker , who was responsible for the test run of the gamma bomb at the beginning of the series - and thus for Hulk's creation - and now plans to create even more creatures of this type.

The next author was Bruce Jones , who introduced that Banner tries to gain control of the Hulk by means of yoga exercises, and is also pursued by a secret conspiracy, but is supported by the mysterious Mr. Blue. Jones focused on a horror theme with the Hulk as a refugee, influenced by the original television series. During his 43-issue work, Jones also devised the limited edition Hard Knocks , which Marvel released as a filler for the current Hulk franchise.

Peter David, who initially signed a contract for six editions of a limited series of Tempest Fugit , returned as a writer for a year when it was decided to incorporate that story into the current Hulk series. Tempest Fugit revealed that an adversary named Nightmare had manipulated Hulk for years and tormented him in various ways - in revenge for past defeats Hulk had inflicted on him. After an epilogue on an issue, David left the series again on the grounds that he needed a different kind of work in his career.

In May 2007, Marvel launched a crossover called World War Hulk that had the Hulk in focus. The current editor-in-chief Joe Quesada claims that the event is in no way inferior to last year's Civil War in summer 2006, although it will be smaller due to the smaller number of titles. The limited series for the event is written by Grek Pak and illustrated by John Romita Jr.

Following World War Hulk , the series of the Hulk was restarted again with a No. 1, this time under the pen of comic author Jeph Loeb .

Personality and behavior


Hulk is the alter ego of Dr. Robert Bruce Banner, a brilliant nuclear physicist. Banner is hit by a high dose of gamma rays while trying to save a boy who ran onto the test site. However, this does not kill him, but from now on Banner transforms into a large, superhumanly strong, green creature after each trigger event .

Although Hulk acts almost exclusively in Marvel's superhero universe, he defies a clear classification as a superhero; The Hulk and Banner have a relationship that is much more reminiscent of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde remembered. In his most famous transformation, the Hulk is poor in intelligence and self-control and can cause enormous destruction. As a result, he is hunted by the military who want to use him as a weapon and other superheroes, which often leads Banner to view the Hulk as more of a curse than a blessing.

As a template for the figure of the Hulk, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde also saw Frankenstein's monster from the 1931 film adaptation. In addition, his superhumanly muscular body is reminiscent of that of a modern bodybuilder, which is supposed to represent his enormous strength. This also points to the figure of King Kong as a possible role model.

In the past few decades, comic authors have portrayed the figure as a symbol of inner rage and psychological distress according to Sigmund Freud . Hulk's existence has been retrospectively explained as a late sequel to child abuse and dissociative identity disorder and abuse. His relationship with Betty Ross is also related to Beauty and the Beast and King Kong and the White Woman .


The Hulk can initially be characterized as a separate entity from Bruce Banner, a distillation of his anger, who has gradually developed its own personality and memories of its own, detached from Banner.

Hulk has four core personalities, each representing an aspect of Banner's psyche. The emotional state at times of transformation decides which of them is currently dominant. The more pronounced his anger, the more strength he develops. His power is unlimited, increased by his anger. However, the personality is decisive for his basic strength, that is, the transformation into a certain character has taken place, for example the Gray Hulk has significantly less physical strength than Savage Hulk and the "Professor". As Bruce Banner, he has the physical strength of a normal person.

  • Dr. Bruce Banner - The core personality, he is the emotionally repressed genius so brilliant that no known intelligence test could measure it. Banner is a cautious, timid guy who avoids danger but is still able to take actual risks for his friends. Often Bruce tries to suppress the beast inside him. Banner can transform into different versions of the Hulk, while his alter ego can only transform into Banner. Banner is usually shown in a lab coat and glasses to emphasize its scientific background, but sometimes in simple street clothes to avoid being recognized.
  • Kluh / Hulk's Hulk - This form of the Hulk comes out when there is great sadness. Kluh has a black skin and a red line pattern on it. He also has red eyes and a white mohawk. The Kluh shape first appeared during the Avengers & X-Men Axis event.
  • Savage Hulk / Green Hulk - This form, known to most as the Hulk, possesses the emotional and intellectual intelligence and temperament of a young child and usually speaks of itself in the third person. Most of the time, Savage Hulk is extremely angry and ferocious, but also takes a long time on his own and is usually portrayed as green-skinned and heavily muscled. As a child, Bruce felt weak and helpless, so the Savage Hulk (his inner child ) is also his strongest incarnation. For a while, Banner's intellect and personality were in full control of the Hulk, but over the course of the first Secret Wars comic series , the uncontrollable side of the Hulk gradually took off again. He also gets bigger and stronger the angrier he gets.
  • Gray Hulk / Mr. Fixit - After the Hulk was believed to be dead in a gamma bomb explosion staged by his enemy, the Leader , he worked - this time in a gray version - as a thug in Las Vegas under the name Joe Fixit and has few moral concerns when it comes to manipulating others, for example. He is of average intelligence, although occasionally showing Bruce Banner's knowledge and intelligent skills. He is hedonistic , cunning, arrogant and also has a hidden conscience. In most of his appearances in Las Vegas, he only appears at night and transforms back at sunrise. In Incredible Hulk vol. II , issue # 333, Leader characterizes the Gray Hulk as a character who is calmest by new moon and wildest by full moon - his aversion to sun and moonlight disappeared when night as a metamorphosis trigger was later removed. Despite being the smallest of the Hulks, the Gray Hulk towers over a normal-sized person. He prefers to dress in tailored suits.
  • Merged Hulk / The Professor - The merger of Bruce Banner, the Savage, and the Gray Hulk, initiated in Issue # 337 (written by Peter David), is the friendliest of the Hulks. It was conceived in Doc Samson's therapy sessions as the “perfect” version of the Hulk - free from fear, anger or pain. The Merged Hulk was later renamed The Professor and is seen as a fourth, separate character representing Banner's ideals, heroism, and intelligence. The Merged Hulk is inclined to say “Hulk smash!” Which is actually the Savage Hulk's best-known catchphrase. He is a member and leader of a team of superheroes called the Pantheon. This version can mostly only be caused by gamma radiation. It's the only version that has no problem being addressed as "Bruce".
  • Devil Hulk - The Devil Hulk is Bruce Banner's malevolent personality who represents Banner's whole bitterness . He is one of Hulk's enemies and always tries to break out of Banner's subconscious . He tries to destroy the world that has so bothered Banner, and at the same time leaves nothing behind that Banner is dearly and dearly. He first appeared when Banner was seriously ill. Bruce then traveled into his own memory to make a deal with the three dominant Hulks that said he would give up control of his body if the burden of illness became too heavy for him. It was then that the Devil Hulk stepped in, but only briefly showed up once afterwards when General Ryker's intrigues shattered the barriers that held the Devil Hulk captive. Fortunately, he was restricted in his actions long enough for Banner to recover and eventually lock the Devil Hulk completely in his subconscious.
  • Other Personalities - In some comics, the Hulk is psychologically or physically influenced by his enemies. This awakens new personalities in him, like the Mindless Hulk or Savage Banner.
  • In addition, there has been a Red Hulk since January 2008 , which made its first appearance in the now fourth Hulk series Hulk vol.IV, # 1 . This Red Hulk or Rulk is not an incarnation of Bruce Banner, but a second, long-kept secret identity of Banner's long-time nemesis General Thaddäus E. "Thunderbolt" Ross. It was created by General Ross with the help of various prominent scientists - among them Doc Samson and Leader, among others - as part of a program to create “super soldiers”. His abilities are essentially the same as those of the Green / Savage Hulk, with the main difference that he does not get any stronger with further annoyance, but gives off enormous heat, and maintains an average intelligence paired with a military-trained thinking.



  • She-Hulk : Attorney Jennifer Walters is Bruce Banner's cousin, who he was forced to give a blood transfusion to after being badly wounded. This gave her powers similar to those of the Hulk.
  • Rick Jones : Bruce Banner saved this teenager's life, which was what caused his gamma-ray radiation, and thus his transformation into the Hulk, in the first place with a gamma-bomb explosion. Later Rick was kidnapped by the Leader and turned into A-Bomb through him.
  • Jim Wilson , a friend and confidante of Bruce Banner, was the first HIV-positive character in a mainstream comic and eventually died of his illness (in: Incredible Hulk # 420 ).
  • Dr. Leonard "Doc" Samson supports Banner as a psychologist. He made it his business to find Dr. Rid Banners from the Hulk.
  • Betty Ross : Bruce Banner developed a constant love for her over the course of the series. She also has strong feelings for him, which is why the two later marry. She always wants to dissuade her father, General Thunderbolt Ross, from fighting the Hulk. Betty was allegedly killed by Abomination's hands, but was kept alive by the Leader and his group, the Intelligencia, and transformed like her father. This is how the Red She-Hulk is made.
  • Jarella : Hulk's love from another dimension dies over the course of the series.
  • Warbound
  • Wolverine is a particularly significant member of the X-Men ; he made his first appearance on an issue of the Incredible Hulk series.
  • Sentry : The mighty Robert Reynolds acts as a superhero in the Marvel Universe and one of the few who can calm an angry Hulk and bring him to his senses.
  • The Thing : Ben Grimm, member of the Fantastischen Vier, best friend of Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic), is similarly misshapen and physically strong as Hulk. The two have a rivalry.
  • Marlo Chandler : Gray Hulk's (Mr. Fixits) former life partner later becomes Rick Jones' wife.
  • Caeira : Hulk's beloved wife from the planet Sakaar had a son with him, Skaar.


  • The Abomination represents the (physically) most dangerous opponent of the Hulk. He was also brought about by gamma radiation and is also misshapen and green. Robbed of his humanity by the transformation, he tries everything to hurt the Hulk, be it mentally or physically. He often works for the leader.
  • Absorbing Man : He is an opponent of Thor and is able to absorb the abilities and properties of things and people that he touches.
  • Bi-beast
  • Blastaar : He calls himself “the living bomb”, which also sums up his powers directly, and is actually an enemy of the Fantastic Four.
  • The Leader : This gamma-ray super genius is an arch enemy of the Hulk. In the real-life version "The Incredible Hulk" (2008), his human self is shown briefly.
  • Tyrannus : This would-be world conqueror, ruler of an underground empire and longtime Hulk opponent once owned the body of Abomination.
  • The Maestro is a vicious future version of the Hulk who proclaimed himself king after the world was in ruins from a nuclear war . Apparently the loss of all of his friends has completely robbed him of his humanity . The Maestro has a gray beard , wears barbarian clothing, has a cold personality, is superior to the Hulk in terms of strength and is only defeated by being sent back to the past - the bomb that created the Hulk destroyed the Maestro. Ironically , he is exactly the threat General Ross always believed the Hulk to be in his lifetime. It reflects what the Hulk could become if only he continued to experience suffering.
  • The Red King holds the position of Emperor on the planet Sakaar.
  • General John Ryker : As a ruthless military leader, he persistently pursues the Hulk.
  • General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross : Betty Ross' father also serves as a military leader and chases the Hulk.
  • Major Glenn Talbot : Betty Ross' ex-husband, an officer, tries to kill Banner and destroy the Hulk.
  • Wendigo : Wendigos are created when people become cannibals. One of these super powerful creatures is responsible for the first meeting of Wolverine and Hulk.
  • Zzzax transformed into a being made of living electricity and is now considered a super villain.

Hulk in other media

watch TV

Hulk started on television as part of the television series Marvel Super Heroes in 1966. The 39 10-minute episodes Hulk shared with the superheroes Captain America , Iron Man , Thor and Namor . The episodes were based on early stories from the comics and the Tales To Astonish series .

The television series The Incredible Hulk and the resulting television films starring Bill Bixby as Dr. David Bruce Banner and the bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno as the Hulk, which originated between 1978 and 1982. After 1982, the series continued as The Incredible Hulk , with 13 episodes in comic format . It now featured more characters than in the live action series, including Rick Jones, Betty Ross and her father, General Ross. In 1996 another animated series called The Incredible Hulk was produced, which was the animated debut of the Gray Hulk and She-Hulk.

Actual films

So far there have been seven real-life adaptations of the comic, five television and two cinema films. They are from 1977 (two films), 1978, 1988 ( The Return of the Eerie Hulk ), 1989 ( The Eerie Hulk in Court ), 1990 ( The Death of the Eerie Hulk ), 2003 ( Hulk ) and 2008 ( The Incredible Hulk ). There are also several series - both as a live film and as an animation.

The first Hollywood movie is the 2003 version directed by Ang Lee . Eric Bana plays Bruce Banner - the Hulk was implemented with computer effects. In this film, Banner's father, played by Nick Nolte , is partly responsible for Banner's fate, as he experimented on himself before he was born and then passed on his genes. Banner grows up thinking that his parents are dead, which is only half the story, because only his mother was no longer alive. His father, however, was imprisoned for 30 years for his attempts and the murder of his wife. Since Bruce Banner grew up with foster parents, he also had a different surname for the first time.

A second feature film, The Incredible Hulk (which has nothing to do with Ang Lee's film - is a "new start"), starring Edward Norton , Liv Tyler and Tim Roth , was released on July 10, 2008 in German cinemas. The director took over Louis Leterrier .

Hulk also played a leading role in the 2012 Avengers film adaptation of Marvel's The Avengers . In the film, Bruce Banner is played by Mark Ruffalo and the Hulk is voiced by Lou Ferrigno , the "TV Hulk" . Ruffalo makes a brief appearance at the end of Iron Man 3 , where he is forcibly used as a substitute psychologist for Tony Stark . In Avengers: Age of Ultron , Thor: Decision Day , Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame , Bruce Banner is again played by Mark Ruffalo.

Ride with a hulk

Themed products

Hulk-themed products include action figures, clothing, jewelry, video games, cards, thumbtacks, posters, play cars, games, lunch boxes, toys, pinball machines, all kinds of collectibles, and a roller coaster at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida .


  1. Comics Buyer's Guide , Issue # 1617 (June 2006)
  2. Starlog , Issue # 213 (July 2003)
  3. Peter David: My leaving "Hulk". Hulk Message Board, July 18, 2005, archived from the original on June 11, 2008 ; accessed on March 1, 2014 (English).
  4. Joe Monday: A Special Q&A with Joe Quesada. Part 2., archived from the original on October 11, 2007 ; accessed on March 1, 2014 (English).

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