Active Topics | Member List | Search | Help | Register | Login
The John Byrne Forum MOBILE
Byrne Robotics | The John Byrne Forum Page of 2 Next >>
Topic: And who shall describe... the Hulk! Post Reply | Post New Topic
Author
Message
Eric Sofer
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 31 January 2014
Location: United States
Posts: 1905
Posted: 12 February 2018 at 10:16am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

A while back, I had asked about characters who are viable or not, and I considered the Hulk.

Obviously, he's viable. His original series only lasted six issues, granted, but Marvel had limitations on publishing books anyhow... it wasn't a surprise to have the Hulk go into a two story book.

For a considerable time, most Hulk stories seemed to follow one of two formulaic stories. Either Bruce Banner was wandering, ran into trouble of some nature, and was turned into the Hulk, reluctantly, and the Hulk handled it. Or the government was out to get the Hulk, something went awry, and the Hulk dealt with it.

What kept these stories interesting, in your opinions? For the pre-Joe Fixit and pre-Incredible Banner Hulk, what aspects continued to make him favorable enough to have his series go on?

In the Defenders, he always worked for me as a counterpoint to Dr. Strange - magic vs muscle, intellectual vs idiot - and was the big gun in the Defenders' arsenal. 

In his own book... he was always a hero, but so many times, it was coincidentally or accidentally. He needed other characters to interact with to make him interesting; if the Hulk had been on his own, it wouldn't work (usually, although I recall "Heaven Is A Very Small Place!" - which obviously could only work once.) 

Why did you like that Hulk and read his stories? Or didn't you like 'em?
Back to Top profile | search
 
John Byrne

Beam Me Up, Scotty!

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 109533
Posted: 12 February 2018 at 10:42am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

The Hulk spoke directly to pre-teen and early teen boys, the principle audience at that time. It's a time when, for most of us at least, life is one long frustration. The Hulk was an unleashing of that. Banner was a frustrated nerd, but the Hulk KICKED ASS!! (So many dazed donkeys!)

The cover of AMAZING FANTASY 15 spoke to the same audience.

Back to Top profile | search
 
Don Zomberg
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 23 November 2005
Posts: 2279
Posted: 12 February 2018 at 2:15pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Thank dog comics now focus on out of shape middle age guys and their problems.
Back to Top profile | search
 
John Byrne

Beam Me Up, Scotty!

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 109533
Posted: 12 February 2018 at 2:21pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Nobody wants to write in layers any more, it seems. The idea of "All Ages" comics is scorned by fat fanboys who want the books to be about THEM.
Back to Top profile | search
 
John Byrne

Beam Me Up, Scotty!

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 109533
Posted: 12 February 2018 at 2:23pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

BTW, Len Wein used to say the Hulk was Marvel's Goofy, while Roger Stern said the Hulk was Marvel's Donald Duck.
Back to Top profile | search
 
Eric Sofer
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 31 January 2014
Location: United States
Posts: 1905
Posted: 12 February 2018 at 2:57pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Sounds as if Len and Roger both had someone slip 'em a mickey.
Back to Top profile | search
 
Andrew Bitner
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 01 June 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 5211
Posted: 12 February 2018 at 3:06pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

I think Roger was more on target.
Back to Top profile | search
 
Adam Schulman
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 22 July 2017
Posts: 412
Posted: 12 February 2018 at 3:40pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Banner hates being the Hulk. The Hulk hates being Banner (to the extent he understands that they're sharing the same body). You end up feeling sorry for both of them. 
Back to Top profile | search
 
Rick Whiting
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 22 April 2004
Posts: 1633
Posted: 12 February 2018 at 4:03pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Nobody wants to write in layers any more, it seems. The idea of "All Ages" comics is scorned by fat fanboys who want the books to be about THEM.

_____________________________


Many of them also don't know how to write layered "All Ages" stories. Also, many of them don't even know what "All Ages" means. They think that "All Ages" means "dumb downed" and "watered downed" comics for very young kids.
Back to Top profile | search
 
John Popa
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 20 March 2008
Posts: 2882
Posted: 12 February 2018 at 4:03pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

My fondness for The Hulk was far more simplistic: I like his comics because his fight scenes were usually more over the top. He was a big monster who usually fought bigger monsters. That's all I needed as a kid!
Back to Top profile | search
 
Brian O'Neill
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 13 November 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 1946
Posted: 12 February 2018 at 4:13pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

The Hulk's dialogue in the '70s and early '80s (pre 'Banner-Hulk') was a bit laughable...and those Len Wein/Roger Stern 'Disney' perspectives suddenly seem very telling!
Back to Top profile | search
 
Eric Jansen
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 27 October 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 1124
Posted: 12 February 2018 at 4:29pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

As to the Hulk's viability--

When Jim Shooter cancelled GHOST RIDER, and I was a kid, I listened to the explanation (and bought it) that it was time to close up some stories.  It made sense--we needed to see an end to Johnny Blaze's curse and wanderings.  Looking back, I see that was wrong.  GHOST RIDER could have gone on for ages--we just needed new writers with fresh eyes.

Same thing with the HULK.  (One wonders why Shooter didn't think INCREDIBLE HULK had run its course too!)  I liked the wandering Hulk/Bruce Banner and, you know what, curses can go on for a lifetime.  Odysseus traveled for ten years, having all sorts of adventures on the way.  (And ten years is forever in comics!)  Roy Thomas found ways to write CONAN and his wanderings for hundreds of stories--many of which were one-offs!
Back to Top profile | search
 
Robbie Parry
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 17 June 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 9446
Posted: 12 February 2018 at 5:04pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

 Eric Sofer wrote:
Why did you like that Hulk and read his stories? Or didn't you like 'em?

Having seen some of the black and white FRANKENSTEIN movies, my sympathies lay with the Monster. Same with King Kong. Or Phantom of the Opera. Their opponents were always nasty, shallow, immoral people. I mean, who would you sympathise with? Frankenstein's Monster or a bunch of nutty people with pitchforks?

I like that the Hulk provided similar stories, but with a superhero perspective. It also taught me an important lesson: don't judge a book by its cover. The menacing-looking monster was often the kindest and most sensitive character in the story (I liked the issues where the Hulk was in Florida, interacting with people like that young boy. I think they may have went to Disneyworld in one story). 
Back to Top profile | search
 
Brian Hague
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 14 November 2006
Posts: 7172
Posted: 12 February 2018 at 5:48pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

I was definitely a fan of the more simplistic, childlike Hulk. His rage against a world that was far more cruel and hostile than it needed to be was one that I could relate to. I genuinely enjoyed many of his adventures with the Defenders. I followed the title on and off well into the Peter David years when his tenure as the Professor finally shook me of my long-standing affection for the character. Strictly a back-issue only purchase for me these days.

Back to Top profile | search e-mail
 
Greg Kirkman
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 12 May 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 14599
Posted: 12 February 2018 at 9:32pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

The Hulk is one of my moistest favoritest characters ever! I think the formula that Lee and company eventually hit on (and which the TV show later made great use of) is probably the...er... strongest one there is.

The Hulk is Banner's anger and dark side made flesh, magnified by 1000%. His dark opposite, which is still connected to him, like the other side of the coin. You have the calm, rational, and intellectual Banner, and the raging, irrational, and unintelligent Hulk. Two sides of the same coin. I also love the symmetry of the transformation mechanism: If Banner's emotions get too heated, he becomes the Hulk. If the Hulk calms down and finds the peace he seeks, he turns back into Banner and ceases to exist.

That being said, I prefer the constantly-angry, kinda-scary Hulk to the flat-out dumb and dopey version. Donald Duck instead of Goofy is a good summation.

I enjoy the early iterations of the character, too, but a Hulk who's too smart, too sinister, or too much under Banner's control is less interesting and less primal than the child-like, rage-monster version. That version seems to really hit a nerve with people, y'know? The classic Hulk is a wonderful fusion of Jekyll/Hyde with sympathetic monsters like Frankenstein's.

I jumped ship after Peter David introduced the "merged" Hulk, because that version removed the essential conflict at the core of the character: Banner struggling with his inner demon. And, unfortunately, the Hulk has been trapped in a consistent state of inconsistency, ever since David's run. If you asked me, I wouldn't even be able to guess what the Hulk's current personality, intelligence level, or skin color are. Or if he's even Banner, anymore. There are like, 17 Hulks, now, right?

Anyway, the nonsense from the movie people about the Hulk not being able to carry a movie series of his own is just that: nonsense. The TV lasted five seasons by putting the character into interesting situations, and by providing its lead duo with pathos and psychological/emotional complexity. The Hulk is a character you can do a huge range of stories with: superhero action, science fiction, horror, psychodrama, etc. So much to tap into, there.
Back to Top profile | search e-mail
 
Eric Jansen
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 27 October 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 1124
Posted: 12 February 2018 at 11:29pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

"The Hulk's dialogue in the '70s and early '80s (pre 'Banner-Hulk') was a bit laughable...and those Len Wein/Roger Stern 'Disney' perspectives suddenly seem very telling!"

I LOVED the Wein and Stern runs!  With the great Sal Buscema drawing most of it--as well as Bill Mantlo's interesting run.  I've been waiting a LONG time for reprint collections of these.  (AFFORDABLE reprint collections, that is!  Everything's available if you want to spend $60 for a hardcover.  And no thank you to the B&W phonebooks either.)
Back to Top profile | search
 
Brian O'Neill
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 13 November 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 1946
Posted: 13 February 2018 at 2:18am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

Sure the stories were well-written(whenever the Hulk wasn't talking!), and looked great..but ' Bah! Puny Hulk 'nicknames' were dumb!' And the one time in Hulk's own title where he ate beans became a running gag in THE DEFENDERS... Brian did not like overuse of 'Hulk LIKES beans!'
It really is too bad that 'Tall Man and Beard Man had puny arguments' ...oops, I mean, Shooter and JB had issues... when the latter worked on the book.
Back to Top profile | search
 
Robbie Parry
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 17 June 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 9446
Posted: 13 February 2018 at 4:09am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Eric, those B&W phonebooks are awesome! ;-)
Back to Top profile | search
 
Greg McPhee
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 25 August 2004
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 3681
Posted: 13 February 2018 at 5:38am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

I'd vote for the Len Wein and Roger Stern runs as being my joint favourites on the character. With the art of Herb Trimpe and Sal Buscema to boot.

I like Mantlo's run up until the last 12-15 issues or so. It seemed he just ran out of steam towards the end. Prior to that there was some good stuff for around 45 issues.
Back to Top profile | search
 
John Byrne

Beam Me Up, Scotty!

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 109533
Posted: 13 February 2018 at 6:05am | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Sounds as if Len and Roger both had someone slip 'em a mickey.

Sounds like you're taking their comments far too literally.

Back to Top profile | search
 
John Byrne

Beam Me Up, Scotty!

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 109533
Posted: 13 February 2018 at 6:08am | IP Logged | 21 post reply

When Jim Shooter cancelled GHOST RIDER, and I was a kid, I listened to the explanation (and bought it) that it was time to close up some stories. It made sense--we needed to see an end to Johnny Blaze's curse and wanderings. Looking back, I see that was wrong. GHOST RIDER could have gone on for ages--we just needed new writers with fresh eyes.

When DC decided to kill Barry Allen, Dick Giordano told me it was because "there were no more stories to tell with him."

Bah! I said. But for the fact that I only have about four running poses, I could have done another hundred issues with Barry.

But, alas, DC was then in their mindset that characters that were fuct-up were fuct-up forever. (Unless Alan Moore wanted to do something with them.)

Back to Top profile | search
 
Adam Schulman
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 22 July 2017
Posts: 412
Posted: 13 February 2018 at 8:19am | IP Logged | 22 post reply

JB, just curious -- had Barry not been killed, what would you have done with Wally West?
Back to Top profile | search
 
Andrew Bitner
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 01 June 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 5211
Posted: 13 February 2018 at 9:05am | IP Logged | 23 post reply

When I was a kid, I liked the Hulk stories a lot. I could sympathize with a guy who was hounded by bullies-- I had some experience with that here and there. And with being full of rage and powerless to do much with it.

It's interesting that, at Awesome Con last year, Stan Lee said that the Hulk was the character he liked that he thought might be the toughest sell. Sympathetic monsters were pretty unusual then, even with Ben Grimm blazing that trail.
Back to Top profile | search
 
Stephen Churay
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 25 March 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 8040
Posted: 13 February 2018 at 11:06am | IP Logged | 24 post reply

I liked the, running from the military,
Hulk stories. The military was the bully
that pushed banner around. When they
pushed too hard the mister came out and
kicked the bully's ass.

There is a pathos quality to the character
as well. Both want to escape the other but
can't. Neither gets to find happiness.
Back to Top profile | search e-mail
 
Vinny Valenti
Byrne Robotics Member


Joined: 17 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 6261
Posted: 13 February 2018 at 11:53am | IP Logged | 25 post reply

"Bah! Puny Hulk 'nicknames' were dumb!"

--

Though it was just perfect where Len Wein had the Hulk call Batman..."Bat-Man"!
Back to Top profile | search
 

Page of 2 Next >>
  Post Reply | Post New Topic |

Forum Jump

 Active Topics | Member List | Search | Help | Register | Login

You are currently viewing the MOBILE version of the site.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE FULL SITE