Marvel Masterworks: The Incredible Hulk, Volume 1 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

(8.0/10)

Marvel Masterworks have brought readers deluxe hardcover collections of Marvel's classics from the Golden Age, Atlas Era, and the mighty Marvel Age, and now you can join in the Masterworks excitement with Marvel's new Marvel Masterworks trade paperbacks. In this volume, witness the birth of the green goliath himself in The Incredible Hulk Volume 1! Caught in the heart of a nuclear explosion, victim of gamma radiation gone wild, Dr. Robert Bruce Banner now finds himself transformed during times of stress into the dark personification of his repressed rage and fury: The Incredible Hulk!

As part of the Marvel Masterworks series, the inseparable duo of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby bring us The Hulk, Volume 1: The Coming of the Hulk.

In this debut Doctor Bruce Banner is busy working on the G-Bomb, or Gamma bomb and a series of tests proves how dangerous it is, as his right-hand man keeps telling him. General Ross is the pushy type who wants instant results for the military, while Betty Ross, his daughter acts as the worried girlfriend. His right-hand man, Igor is not too happy that Bruce has all the documents for the bomb hidden away from prying eyes, and seeks to cause his death where the test is being undertaken. As a couple drive to the test zone, Bruce runs to get them out of the danger zone and ends up being fired at by Igor, using the very Gamma rays he created as he wants to take over his project, and in doing so take all the credit. What Igor doesn't know is the Gamma rays he fires into his body cause him to change into a huge monster. Once transformed, Bruce is on the rampage around the streets, a new name is given him, The Hulk, and a new identity, a monster everyone will fear if they ever have the misfortune to meet him.

Everyone knows and remembers the comic, the movies, even the old TV series with Banner played by the late Bill Bixby, but few know of his origins. Stan Lee originally envisaged it as based on their need for a new super hero and his idea of The Hulk resembling Boris Karloff's Frankenstein monster, one who was always getting into fights and all kinds of trouble, but who was also misunderstood by others, ones who feared him. He still had only a brief idea of what kind of character he would create, and remembers Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and from that had the perfect character in mind - a man who was a brilliant scientist by day, mild mannered, and kind, but would become The Hulk, a dangerous monster.

The original print run of the comic had his skin drawn as a grey colour, not in keeping with the look of the character. Stan decided to have Jack Kirby change his skin to a rich looking green - and instantly the perfect character was born. For ardent fans of the Jolly Green Giant this will be a book to read and marvel at the history behind the story, the early work, comic book covers, and a few pages from the author about the character and its origins. For those growing up The Hulk was a good way of dealing with bullying at school back in the 80's as one could imagine themselves as the character, and that attachment to the character, his drives, and reason for being.

For others it was a comic about a - some could say anti-hero - who secretly hates the research he does, changes into a character that shows what he really thinks about those he works with.

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