Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Blog#4: Hulk Smash!

Blog#4: Hulk Smash!

I have a long drive to work, I spend on average 2 and a half hours out of my work day driving to and from work. I'm also trying to lose weight so on my days off I try and walk 5 miles at the local walking track. The point is I have a lot of time on my hands to listen to stuff, and thus I bought an iPod and now I've been listening to podcasts. My two favorite podcasts are 'The Atomic Geeks Podcast' and the 'Nerd Lunch Podcast'. Recently the head of 'Nerd Lunch', a great guy known as 'CT' recently sent me a postcard from the USA with the cover of issue 1 of the 'Incredible Hulk' comic book on the postcard. So thanks again CT, the Hulk on a postcard is absolutely awesome.
 
 
 
 
Growing up I was a huge fan of comic books and my absolute favorite comic book was the 'Incredible Hulk' written by Peter David. I never missed an issue from March 1993 till January 1999. Peter David is an New York Times best selling author who is probably best known for his 'Star Trek' novels. David wrote the Hulk for 12 years from 1986 to 1998. Much to my disappointment he left the book over creative differences and wrote the best Hulk comic ever in his final issue. The Hulk character was created in 1962 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby but it was writer Peter David that really defined the character and made him more than just a dumb green savage beast. Did you know that originally the Hulk was grey and not green. His skin color was changed to green because green was a cheaper color to print than grey. Peter David created a fascinating back story to the Hulk.

What every one should know about the Hulk- A Very Brief History:

Robert 'Bruce' Banner is a brilliant scientist. As a kid he was a victim of child abuse at the hands of his father, Brian Banner. After witnessing his father murder his mother in a fit of rage, young Bruce testified against his father at his trial sending him to prison. After growing up and getting a job with the military to develop a 'gamma bomb' Bruce's father Brian Banner received parole. Bruce allowed his father to live with him, hoping that he changed. Brian Banner was still very much upset with his son for having testified against him and sending him to prison, Brian attempted to kill Bruce but Bruce managed to kill Brian in self defense. This was just prior to Bruce becoming the 'Hulk'.

As a Military scientist, Bruce Banner was developing a 'gamma bomb' for the US military. On a dare teenager Rick Jones drove out to the gamma bomb to prove to his friends that he was not chicken. As the gamma bomb was ticking down to it's test detention Bruce Banner noticed the rebel teenager by his bomb facing (unknown to him) certain death. Doctor Banner raced out to the test field and grabbed the clueless Jones and they ran to the safety of a bomb trench. Banner managed to push Jones into the trench and to safety but he himself didn't fall into the trench in time and was blasted with gamma rays. After that when ever Banner became angry he was transformed into a savage giant monster known as the 'Hulk'.

Realizing the threat and potential that Banner/Hulk represented, military General 'Thunderbolt' Ross lead a team of military officers to capture the Hulk. The Hulk spent most of his time on the run from the military and from time to time fighting super villains or super heroes, his sidekick during many of his adventures was Rick Jones. Jones felt he owed Banner is companionship because it was he who helped to create the Hulk in a way. His greatest super powered nemesis is the gamma being who calls himself 'The Leader'. The Leader was a janitor who became exposed to gamma radiation and became green skinned, his head grew in size to accommodate his giant brain. The Leader was pure evil and used his super powered intelligence for his evil deeds. The Hulk often battled The Leader and despite his greater brain power the Leader was always beaten. Eventually Banner was separated from the Green savage Hulk. Free from the Hulk Banner married his girlfriend Betty Ross, who is the daughter of the military General who hunted him. But then Banner when it turned night time, he would transform into the Grey Hulk. The Grey Hulk was not as strong as the Green one, but he was a lot smarter. Banner and the Grey Hulk eventually relocated to Las Vegas where the Grey Hulk became an enforcer for the Vegas mob and became known as 'Joe Fixit'. Eventually the green Savage Hulk and the grey wise cracking Hulk merged with Bruce Banner creating a third Hulk, a larger green skinned version known as the Banner Hulk. The Banner Hulk had the savage Hulks strength, the Grey Hulk's wise cracking attitude and the brains of Banner. The Banner Hulk joined a secret super hero group known as 'The Pantheon' and eventually became their leader. Shortly after the Banner Hulk was visited by Janis Jones, the grand daughter of his sidekick Rick Jones from over 100 years in the future. She was sent to the past by way of Dr. Doom's time machine and her mission was to bring the Hulk with her to the future to help her and her friends defeat a super powered tyrant. The Hulk agreed but unknown to him the super powered tyrant was his future self. Apparently after nuclear devastation destroyed most of the world, the future Hulk became evil and more powerful and eventually made himself ruler of the kingdom of 'Dystopia', which was built over the ruins of old New York City. The future evil Hulk called himself 'Maestro' and the Hulk was almost killed by his future evil self, but the young good Hulk managed to send the Maestro back in time with Doom's time machine. He sent him directly beside the gamma bomb that created the Hulk at it's moment of detonation. The very gamma bomb that created the Hulk, also destroyed the future Hulk too. The Banner Hulk returned to the present but was forever changed by the events of the future, and he vowed never to become the Maestro. Banner Hulk and his wife relocated to the Pantheons secret headquarters, but eventually the Pantheon was torn apart by civil war and Banner and Betty fled. The Leader had been killed, but his spirit lived on through his apprentice who also had a large head with higher intelligence, he was known as 'Omnibus'. Omnibus through the Leader spirits direction tried to create a world war and turn the world's nations against one another. Seemingly the very war that destroyed the human race and created the 'Maestro' was unfolding. The Banner Hulk realized this and was able to stop Omnibus's plans and prevented the war that created his dark future. Thus he would not become the evil Maestro after all. Eventually Banner was once again separated from being the Hulk when he was pulled into a pocket universe created by Franklin Richards, son of the Fantastic Fours Reed & Sue Richards. Separated from Banner the Hulk was a new hulk yet again. He was green and had the savage Hulk's strength, but he was on the same intelligence level of the grey Hulk, but didn't say much. I'll call him Quiet Hulk. Eventually Quiet Hulk and Banner were merged back together. Banner was normal Banner, but the Quiet Hulk would emerge when Quiet Hulk wanted to. Betty Banner died from gamma radiation poisoning and Bruce Banner/hulk blamed himself. Betty's father, General Ross too blamed Banner and Banner/Hulk was once again a wanted man and General Ross once again started the hunt for the Hulk.

(It was at this point when Peter David stopped writing the book and I stopped reading it soon after. Peter David did return for a one shot Hulk special story called 'The End' which takes place almost 200 years in the future)

Despite stopping the war that would have changed him into the 'Maestro' the human race still went to war with themselves. Nuclear devastation occurred, killing almost all humans and all other super heroes. The Hulk fled in disgust and hid from the world by sealing himself (and Banner) in a cave. Decades and decades went by, Banner was able to survive because there was a small creek that ran into the cave. He didn't need food because the Hulk's regenerative powers prevented him from withering away to nothing. Banner was a prisoner of the Hulks disgust of the world. Banner when in his normal form was not strong enough to escape the sealed cave, and the Quiet Hulk wasn't going to let him out either. After decades of being sealed a alien android freed Banner from the cave and informed Banner that he was the last human alive. The android bid him farewell and left. Banner travelled all over North and South America for the next hundred years or so looking for survivors, but the android was correct. Despite his extreme old age Banner was unable to die due to the Hulks regenerative power. Banner tried to commit suicide several times but the Hulk always took over to stop him. Eventually Banner did die from natural causes, seemingly reunited in heaven with his Wife and all his friends and family. Banner's death was the final separation from the Hulk. The Hulk continues to live, the last survivor of Earth...all alone.

* Most of this history was established during Peter Davids 12 year run as Hulk writer. A loved every issue that was written during that time.

* I just recently started following the Hulk currently. I have been reading the 'Hulk' title featuring  the 'Red Hulk', who in human form is General Ross, and as the title suggests the Red Hulk's skin color is red. So far I am enjoying this series and they have just re-launched the Green Hulk in a new 'Incredible Hulk' title, where Hulk and Banner appear to be separated again. I'm going to give that series a shot, still have to read the first issue.

* In an effort to attract female comic readers during the late 70's ad early 80's Marvel Comics created a number of female characters such as 'Spider-Woman' and 'Dazzler'. They also created the 'She-Hulk'. She Hulk was a woman, green skinned and smart. Bruce Banner's cousin Jennifer Walters was a lawyer and was shot I think by the mob. Bruce being a scientist and not wanting his cousin to die decided to give her a blood transfusion. Bruce knew the healing power that the Hulk had would be in his blood and he hoped that that would be transferred to Jennifer. It worked, she was healed and transformed into a green skinned, green haired super powered version of herself. She was known as 'She-Hulk'. She Hulk went on to have her own comic and her own adventures. For a time she was even a member of the 'Fantastic Four', 'Avengers' and 'Heroes For Hire'. Jennifer Walters continues to work as a lawyer and most of her clients are super people. She-Hulk was featured many times in the 'Hulk' comic, she got a new series a few years back. Peter David even wrote for the newer She-Hulk comic but it was eventually cancelled.

* I really didn't like the 2003 'Hulk' movie. The script was terrible and the movie sucked, but I did like Eric Bana and Jennifer Connelly as 'Bruce' and 'Betty Ross'. The 2008 version of the 'Incredible Hulk' was a little better script wise and the special effects were better too. But I didn't like Edward Norton or Liv Tyler as 'Bruce & Betty'. Wish they had gone with Bana and Connelly again. Not sure if they are making another Hulk movie, but the Hulk will be a part of 'The Avengers' movie with Mark Ruffalo taking over as Bruce Banner. The Avengers will be out May 2012.

* Did you ever see the original 'Hulk' TV show? It was very poor quality but a TV classic all the same. Gotta love that green make-up!
 
Well that is all I have to say about my favorite character and favorite comic book.
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*** This & That ***
 
- My Son Bailey and I meeting Levar Burton last March at the Edmonton Comic & Toy Show.  March 20th, 2011 was my first time attending the show and we had a great time, lots of stuff and not enough money. Got an autograph from Levar Burton, aka 'Geordi LaForge' from Star Trek: TNG. I also got my pic taken with him. He was truly a cool guy and extremely nice, considering he spent the whole day signing autographs. WWE's 'The Dudley Boys' were also there and my son who is a wrestling fan was very happy to see them, they too were nice. This was a great afternoon. My only hope is that next year they may extend the event to 2 days and have a Q&A panel for their star attraction. Would have loved to ask Levar Burton some questions. But still it was a Great day!! __________________________________________________________

Well that's all for now folks. Have a great day!

- Chris

6 comments:

CT said...

Hey Chris,

Glad you liked the card so much.

So many thoughts about the Hulk to respond to. It was one of my favorite Marvel titles. I got the DVD Rom a while back that has all the comics from beginning through 2006. There are some great ones in there for sure.

I will also say that I've been rewatching the Hulk TV series lately and there's a long stretch in season 3 that is really solid. Lots of great drama and storytelling in there. Jack Colvin as Jack McGee is amazing. Well, and so are Bixby and Ferrigno. Season 2 is a bit rougher and season 4 has so far been a noticeable dip. I don't have too much farther to go and I will be done with the series and will have to track down the movies which were okay from what I remember.

Chrisloc1701 said...

Thanks CT. I actually bought the TV movies a few years ago and they were good for the time. As a kid I especially enjoyed them because the first 2 featured other heroes, specifically Thor and Daredevil. That series actually holds a special place in my heart and I intend to go back one day and watch it. I never actually watched it when it was on TV, I watched the re-runs on the Sci-Fi Channel. I did watch the TV movies up here when they were released.

Chrisloc1701 said...

Wish they had had Linda Carter as a 'She-Hulk'!

Riche613 said...

Hey Chris,

Just wanted to drop a line, loving the blog so far really cool stuff. I remember when i used to blog, its a great feeling getting your thought opinions and being able to communicate with like minded people from across a nation or the world is amazing. Best of luck with the blog. Ill be reading

Riche613 from the TAG Nation

Riche613 said...

Hey Chris,

Just wanted to drop a line, loving the blog so far really cool stuff. I remember when i used to blog, its a great feeling getting your thought opinions and being able to communicate with like minded people from across a nation or the world is amazing. Best of luck with the blog. Ill be reading

Riche613 from the TAG Nation

Chrisloc1701 said...

Thanks Riche613, I appreciate the support! Thanks for reading.