“Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”
So, not ALL of the iterations of the Hulk, though that was on my agenda until I ran out of time. Instead, this is MY Hulk – the one I remember seeing as a kid. The one that made The Incredible Hulk one of TWO comics I had a subscription too back then (Iron Man being the other). It’s hard to fathom now, but the original Hulk television series was serious business – and the best superhero on TV (sorry Spider-Man and Wonder Woman and… that weird Doctor Strange show).
Part of what worked was Bill Bixby, of course. With a 70’s TV show budget and special effects they couldn’t afford to show us the Hulk throwing tanks or fighting giant monsters. So what they had instead was pathos and suspense. What problem would poor David Bruce Banner find himself dealing with this time – and what would finally make the monster break loose?
Without Lou Ferrigno’s Hulk, though, you wouldn’t have bothered waiting around. The former Mr. Universe body builder made the Hulk believable – as believable as he could be in a 70’s TV show, anyway. As a kid he seemed like the perfect embodiment of the comic monster, though as an adult the hair sometimes makes me laugh.
The Incredible Hulk lasted for five seasons and three TV movies – including The Trial of the Incredible Hulk featuring Daredevil and the Kingpin (played by John Rhys-Davies)! I loved them all, and still have an incredible fondness for this version. I think that may be why I’ve always liked the CGI Hulk from Ang Lee’s 2003 film – he’s cartoony, yeah, but he reminds me of the TV version more than the ripped iterations we’ve seen since.
And if that closing song – “The Lonely Man” by Joe Harnell – doesn’t make you misty eyed every time we see Banner hitchhiking his way into the distance… well, you’ve got a harder heart than I do.
I’ve actually found things to like in most of the Hulk movies, but this remains MY Hulk. What about you? Which is your favorite and which Banner?