Created in 1962 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the Hulk has had along and tumultuous journey to becoming the iconic character he is today. In his comic book appearances, the Hulk is typically a massive, green-skinned humanoid with vast strength and healing capabilities, while his alter-ego, Bruce Banner, is a physically week and socially withdrawn physicist. The storylines often play on the conflict between the two. In addition to comic books and graphic novels, the Hulk has appeared in television and film, both live-action and animated, as well as in his own videogames.
Here are a few other things you might not have known about the Green Goliath.
The Incredible Hulk Facts
27. It Ain’t Easy Being Green
Despite being one of the original Marvel characters, created around the same time as Spider-Man and Iron Man, the Hulk has always been on the verge of cancellation. In fact, his solo title was canned after just six issues in 1963.
26. Hulk Bored
In the Ultimate Universe, Bruce Banner triggers a Hulk transformation because The Ultimates had nobody else to fight.
25. Mad Jealous
In that same storyline, Bruce happened to be insanely jealous that his ex-girlfriend Betty Ross was out on a date with Freddie Prinze Jr. The deranged Hulk tries to track down Freddie to eat him and the team has to stop his rampage. It’s just as well. Freddie Prinze Jr. does not look tasty.
24. Involuntary Astronaut
Thinking that it was the best way to contain him, the Illuminati, pretending to be Hulk’s friends, sent him into outer space to take out a satellite. This was a huge betrayal that will likely not result in the warmest and fuzziest feelings between everyone.
23. A Dish Best Served Green
After he was sent to space, he landed on the planet Sakaar which Hulk immediately conquered. Hulk then raised an army and returned to Earth to get revenge on The Illuminati for sending him away in the first place.
22. Hulk See Dead People
Amongst his many powers are a couple of unique abilities that aren’t as well publicized including the ability to breathe underwater via a specialized gland and the ability to see ghosts, which made him one of the few characters able to see Doctor Strange in his astral form.
21. Seeing Red
In order to revive interest in the character, Marvel launched a new series with a violent and sadistic Red Hulk who did all sorts of terribly things including stealing the Silver Surfer’s surfboard (the cad!). The Red Hulk’s identity was revealed to be General Ross, in one of the most ridiculed comic book revelations of all time.
20. You get a Hulk! YOU get a Hulk! Hulks for everyone!
Longtime Hulk allies Betty Ross and Rick Jones were also turned into Hulks because Marvel who doesn't like a little extra smash?
Sign up to our newsletter.
History’s most fascinating stories and darkest secrets, delivered to your inbox daily. Making distraction rewarding since 2017.
When the Hulk got his own TV series in 1978, they changed Bruce Banner’s first name to David because, as the show producer claimed, it was unrealistic to have a character with an alliterative name, conveniently forgetting the fact that Bruce Banner was played by Bill Bixby.
18. Oh, how the times have changed.
However, according to Stan Lee and Lou Ferrigno, the real reason for the name change was because CBS bosses decided that “Bruce” sounded too effeminate and that “David” was somehow manlier.
17. Multiple Personalities
Because “Hulk smash” got old fast, the Hulk has had a few iterations over the years including Joe Fixit, a Vegas mob enforcer, a smart version of the Hulk called “The Professor”, and a crazy Hulk who had to stay angry to stop reverting to a deranged Banner.
16. Monster Mash
During a rare DC/Marvel Universe crossover, the Hulk was merged with Solomon Grundy to create a character named Skulk, who worked for Dr. Strangefate (a mixture of Doctor Strange and Dr. Fate). It was, by all accounts, boring. BatHulk would have been so much cooler.
15. Once a Hulk…
Lou Ferrigno, the bodybuilder who played the Hulk, has actually been involved with every live-action Hulk adaptation ever including a cameo appearance in Ang Lee’s Hulk, The Incredible Hulk, and as the voice of the Hulk in “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”
14. The Incredible Bulk
Although Lou Ferrigno has become synonymous with the Hulk, he almost lost the job to Richard Kiel, who played the intimidating Bond villain “Jaws”. Kiel lost the job because he wasn’t bulky enough for the role.
13. Coming Up Short
Arnold Schwarzenegger was also briefly considered for the role, but was rejected for being too short (6’2” versus Ferrigno’s 6’5”).
12. Fifty Shades of Grey
In the original comics, Hulk was grey. However, the printers were unable to keep the color a consistent shade so Stan Lee changed his color to a much easier-to-print green.
11. Safety Hulk
At one point in his history, the Hulk could only be triggered when Bruce Banner deliberately dosed himself with gamma rays. Which was probably way more convenient in terms of anger management.
At another point in his history, Hulk could only become Hulk at night. Like a vampire. Or a werewolf. Or a disco queen.
9. Never Skip Head Day
In one version of the Hulk, Bruce Banner would transform, but inexplicably kept his human head forcing him to have to wear a Hulk mask.
8. Say Hello to My Little Friend
Although the Hulk comics themselves were never as popular as some of his comic contemporaries, he was responsible for introducing very popular characters such as Wolverine, who made his first appearance in Hulk #181 as an anonymous agent of the Canadian government sent to take Hulk down.
7. Make a Wish
In a later battle, Hulk and Wolverine faced off resulting in Hulk tearing Wolverine in half and throwing his legs miles away. Wolverine was forced to crawl back to them. Due to the long delay between the release of each issue, Wolverine was left torn in half for over two and a half years. Presumably crawling the entire time.
6. It’s Complicated
In the continuing rivalry between Wolverine and Hulk, at some point, Hulk creates a brood of children by procreating with his cousin, She-Hulk. Those hillbilly children murder Wolverine’s wife and family. Hulk eats Wolverine. Wolverine regenerates inside Hulk’s stomach and claws his way out. Tale as old as time.
5. As Seen on TV
Both Thor and Daredevil made their first live-action appearances in made-for-TV Hulk movies.
4. Norton Smash!
Ed Norton rewrote much of The Incredible Hulk, trying to focus more on the character and the Bruce Banner suicide subplot. Marvel, on the other hand, didn’t want to make a big budget suicide movie. Shouting ensued. Norton refused to promote the movie. He was subsequently replaced by Mark Ruffalo in future films.
3. Hulk Stoned!
The Hulk is one of the few superheroes who have graced the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.
2. Fear Itself
Although he was one of the founding members of The Avengers, Hulk actually left the group shortly after their first battle (against Loki) because he realized that his teammates were afraid of him. He stayed away for fifty years before finally returning.
1. Hulk Sad
In the storyline of “Hulk: The End,” everyone on Earth is killed by nuclear war leaving Bruce Banner to wander the wasteland by himself as an immortal kept alive against his will by the Hulk. Eventually, the Banner part of his psyche dies, leaving the Hulk alone forever which is depressing AF.