- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 12, 2012

May 10 marked the 50th anniversary of “The Incredible Hulk” comic, written by editor Stan Lee and penciller and co-plotter Jack Kirby. The comic is about the alter ego of physicist Bruce Banner who involuntarily transforms into a raging monster called the Hulk. The List this week takes a second look at the green monster who is a key character in the blockbuster movie “The Avengers.”

  • Born:Mr. Lee and Mr. Kirby created the Hulk in 1962 in the comic book Incredible Hulk #1. It tells the story of physicist Robert Bruce Banner seeking to find a cure for the radiation that has poisoned him and lets loose an anger that transforms him into the Hulk. “I combined Jekyll and Hyde with Frankenstein,” said Mr. Lee.
  • Actors who have played Bruce Banner (aka the Hulk):Bill Bixby, Lou Ferrigno, Eric Bana, Ed Norton and Mark Ruffalo.
  • Lou Ferrigno: The body-builder and actor is best-known for “The Incredible Hulk” in the TV series that first aired in 1978 and ran until 1982, totaling 82 episodes. He came in third in the 1977 Mr. Olympia competition. (Arnold Schwarzenegger finished first). He won the title of Mr. Universe twice. In Ang Lee’s 2003 “Hulk“, Mr. Ferrigno had a cameo role as a security guard. His voice is also used in the 2008 film.
  • Bad hearing:Mr. Ferrigno, who is now 60, suffered a series of ear infections and lost 75 percent to 80 percent of his hearing when he was a child. The teasing from his peers led him to take up bodybuilding.
  • Bill Bixby:Bixby, the first actor to play Bruce Banner, died Nov. 21, 1993, from prostate cancer at the age of 59.
  • Size: The Hulk stands at 7 feet tall and weighs 1,040 pounds, while Bruce Banner was said to be 5-foot-9 and weighs 129 pounds.
  • Famous quote: Bixby as Bruce Banner: “Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”
  • Gray not green: When the very first issue of the Incredible Hulk was printed in 1962, the Hulk was not green, but actually gray.
  • TV: The Hulk was the second Marvel Comics character to appear on TV in live action after “The Amazing Spider-Man” in 1977 and the “Spidey Super Stories” skits on PBS’ children’s series “The Electric Company.”
  • TV series: The CBS series aired from 1978 to 1982 after a two-hour TV pilot in November 1977. In the series, Banner (Bixby) sees his wife die in a burning car because he does not have the strength to open the door and save her. Banner becomes obsessed with finding out what makes some people strong in a crisis. He is then radiated with gamma rays in a lab experiment that makes him very strong — but diminishes his shirt collection.
  • TV movies: There were three made-for-TV films following the TV series. All starred Bixby and Mr. Ferrigno. The first was “The Incredible Hulk Returns” in 1988. It was followed in 1989 by the “The Trial of the Incredible Hulk” and in 1990 by “The Death of the Incredible Hulk,” both of which were directed by Bixby. In the last movie, Hulk dies after falling from a plane.
  • 2003 movie: Ang Lee’s introspective and moody take on the green beast, starring Eric Bana, disappointed many. It was said to be too long, convoluted, and worst of all, the computer-generated Hulk wasn’t believable.
  • 2008 movie: The “Incredible Hulk” starred Edward Norton as Banner, who has been living in Brazil, working anonymously at a bottling factory. He’s trying to stay far away from the stresses that lead to his anger-management woes. But the U.S. military, personified by Gen. “Thunderbolt” Ross (William Hurt), won’t leave Banner alone. The movie-review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 66 percent of 214 critics gave the film positive reviews.
  • Hulk’s cousin:Mr. Lee created She-Hulk in 1980. Jennifer Walters is the cousin of Banner. Walters, a skilled lawyer, is seriously wounded and receives a blood transfusion from Banner. Henceforth, she turns into the green-skinned She-Hulk when she gets angry.
  • “The Avengers”: The Hulk returned to the big screen in “The Avengers,” which opened on May 4th. “The Avengers” is the first time that the Marvel heroes have been brought together, with the Hulk joining forces with Thor, Iron Man, Captain American, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Nick Fury.
  • Scares daughter: Actor Mark Ruffalo had to leave the premiere of “The Avengers” movie in which he plays the Hulk because his four-year-old daughter Odette was terrified by her father’s big-screen transformation Bruce Banner to the Hulk.
  • Looks like dad:Mr. Ruffalo said the Hulk, in a fit of rage, bears a striking resemblance to his dad.
  • Pricey: According to ComicsPriceGuide.com the first Hulk comic, Incredible Hulk (Vol. 1) #1, is worth $19,000.
  • The other Hulks: Well, there’s the wrestler Hulk Hogan, and there’s Brazilian soccer star Hulk (Givanildo Vieira de Souza), a goal-scoring machine who plays for Porto in Portugal. He got his nickname owing to his resemblance to Mr. Ferrigno.
  • The future:Mr. Ruffalo, who stars as Banner/the Hulk in “The Avengers,” says there’s a possibility of a stand-alone “Hulk” film in the future.

Compiled by John Haydon

Sources: indieWIRE, Business Wire, the Houston Chronicle, the Toronto Star, the New York Post and Digital Journal, the Washington Times, Wikipedia, the Daily Mail, hulkcomicpage.com, superherouniverse.com and WENN Entertainment News Wire Service.