Until now, Hollywood has insisted on portraying the Hulk as a mindless, raging animal of destruction, incapable of speech, reflection or quieter emotions. In everything from the old Bill Bixby TV series to the latest big-budget flops and a handful of animated productions, the Hulk has been a green werewolf. We've been asked to sympathize with Bruce Banner as a Larry Talbot for the atomic age, but it just doesn't work.
That's because those of us who know Hulk from the comic books understand it's the story of a two-dimensional scientist who, through the miracle of gamma radiation, becomes a character infinitely more interesting and likable than himself. Hulk of the comics experiences love, hate, humor and anger more vividly than Bruce Banner ever can, and though they both profess their love for Betty Ross, it 's Hulk who means it. Plus, he has super strength and hates Bruce Banner as much as all the ten-year-old Nick Browns do.
When Hulk got knocked unconscious and shrunk back into Banner, the ten-year-old Nick Brown felt like hurling his comic onto the bed; I knew it would be untold pages of blah, blah, blah before some stressful circumstance brought my green buddy back. Sure, he was feeble-minded and petulant by design, but childishly so, and never stupid, naive, cruel or boring. He loved beans. He loved Betty Ross, baby animals and his friend Rick. He hated giant monsters, being shot at and the notion of Bruce taking over my comic book.
I remember one issue (#169) where Hulk and Betty are stranded on an island of giant monsters and Hulk has to find Betty food. He's about to take down a deer, but hesitates... and drops his rock. He brings Betty some fruit to eat, and smears some berries on her cheeks so she'll look pretty.
All my comics burned up in the Cerro Grande Fire, but I can still remember many of them vividly. Sal Buscema always drew the best Hulk.
Planet Hulk, the new full-length animated feature from Lionsgate, finally has Hulk right and then some.
Iron Man and his asshole friends decide the Hulk is too dangerous to keep around, so they blast him into space. He crashes on a distant planet and is enslaved by its tyrant king. He can talk! He can reason!
In an early scene, Hulk is far more interested in smashing out of the Red King's arena than fighting in it. Fuck them and their arena, he thinks. Now, that's the Hulk I know. If only it were that easy; there's plenty of blood, gore and smashing ahead. And romance? Perhaps. Happy Valentine's Day, Hulk.
I got a somewhat buggy disk of Planet Hulk from Netflix yesterday, then bought my own copy today. If you're a Hulk fan, it's better than you could hope for. Hi, buddy. Long time no see.