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The Hulk: More Than A Monster

by  |  May 24th, 2012  |  Blog  |  6 Comments

Do you remember the best part about your childhood?

For me, there was nothing more thrilling and fun than pretending to be a superhero! My favorite live-action shows included: ‘The Bionic Woman’, ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’ (that amount wouldn’t go very far these days!), ‘Electra Woman and Dyna Girl’, ‘Isis’ and ‘Wonder Woman’. I loved that there were so many strong female role models on TV. These characters devoted themselves to the greater good. Damn the cynics; the world could be a better place if we wanted it to be!

Though I remember these superheroes fondly, none touched me as deeply as Dr. David Bruce Banner in ‘The Incredible Hulk’. Sure… we all became excited when the big, green monster made an appearance to inflict suffering on those that deserved it. But we also yearned for Dr. Banner, a brilliant and decent man, to find a resolution to his uncontrollable condition.

The reason why I enjoyed the series so much was because it had a great deal of heart. The catalyst for Dr. Banner’s experiment with gamma radiation was due to the traumatic loss of his wife from a car accident. Haunted by the reality that he hadn’t been strong enough to save her, he worked diligently to understand what could cause superhuman strength in times of dire need. It was then that he decided to test his theory on himself with the aid of a loyal colleague.

Unfortunately, due to the actions of a meddlesome reporter, a fire broke out in the lab, claiming the life of Dr. Banner’s friend/colleague. The Hulk is witnessed by the reporter, who reaches the erroneous conclusion that the green monster is responsible for the death of both scientists. (That’s another quality about the series that I truly adored: the perspective that it’s wrong to jump to conclusions based on the obvious; that things are not often what they appear.)

From that point forward, Dr. Banner is forced to go on the run in order to conceal his identity as the Hulk, with the reporter never far behind. As he wanders from place to place, despite his own hardship (or perhaps because of it), he finds the strength to help others in need.

This is why the Hulk is a timeless superhero. Despite his physical manifestation, he’ll always be relatable for the man that he is at his core. And thanks to Mark Ruffalo’s interpretation in ‘The Avengers’, the fans are thrilled that the Hulk is back with a vengeance!

The beautiful, haunting theme to ‘The Incredible Hulk’, played by Christian Vestergaard, Concert Pianist.


Zoey Francis

About

Hopeful Romantic; Self-Defense Practitioner; Photographer & Writer; Life-Long Gamer; Cook & Food Enthusiast; Movie & TV Fanatic; Ballroom Dance Teacher.

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Comments

  1. Matthew Killorin

    May 25th, 2012at 2:29 PM(#)

    Superb, insightful article. The Incredible Hulk was definitely one of the best comic book adaptations – TV or movies.

  2. Zoey Francis

    May 25th, 2012at 8:50 PM(#)

    Thank you so much, Matthew! I’m glad that you enjoyed reading it. I’m curious to see which direction Marvel (Disney) will take the character, now that he’s such a tremendous success in ‘The Avengers’. A third stand-alone film, perhaps? I’d definitely pay to see that!

  3. Mark Hobin

    June 3rd, 2012at 7:40 AM(#)

    Nothing against Mark Ruffalo, Edward Norton, or Eric Bana, but Bill Bixby will always be the definitive portrait of Bruce Banner. Nice article!

  4. Matthew Dowling

    June 3rd, 2012at 11:58 AM(#)

    I share Mark’s opinion, I think it worked more, because instead of Banner being just an average guy, Bill Bixby was a very gentle soul himself, and in contrast – the Hulks rage resonated so much more.

    Bixby’s Hulk was on that ‘Highway To Heaven’ mission to help others stand up to their bullies from week to week, even though he was a “monster”. I don’t think that theme came across as much in the later films.

    A couple of years ago, I was in a store and a little kid wanted The Incredible Hulk TV show DVD set, and the mom yelled at the kid and said, “No, it’s a show about a “manic depressive” with “anger management issues” if he doesn’t get his own way!”

    I was like, wow lady THAT is a dramatic reinterpretation of the text? Felt bad for the kid.

  5. Zoey Francis

    June 4th, 2012at 9:38 AM(#)

    Thanks, Mark! I agree; Bill Bixby will always be the standard that I hold all other actors to, in their portrayal of the Hulk. For those of us who didn’t necessarily have positive role models growing up, these wonderful characters meant so much more and in my case, even helped shape my personality.

  6. Zoey Francis

    June 4th, 2012at 9:50 AM(#)

    Exactly, Matt; excellent point! Bill Bixby’s personality definitely made it a more interesting contrast between David Banner and the Hulk.

    As for that mom, she obviously never watched the show. If she did, I’m guessing that she didn’t watch an entire episode or pay much attention to it. This has been my frustration with people who don’t understand that science fiction (or superhero stories) are morality tales. This is especially the case with Sci-Fi literature. Many of these authors are brilliant philosophers who were at times, also able to predict where society was headed. Sci-Fi has been a foundation for scientific reality.

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