ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Incredible Hulk - Remembering the Old, Dumb Hulk and His Childhood Angst

Updated on December 22, 2020

There Was A Time When Hulk Smashed

Casting a new actor, Mark Ruffalo , in the role of a motion picture version of The Hulk in the Avengers movie is fine as long as the surly Green Goliath on the screen is portrayed similar to the classic version of the Incredible Hulk.

While it is understandable that the comic books had to modify the Hulk's character in recent years, the old Hulk is fondly missed.

Thankfully, the old school 1960's to 1980's version of The Incredible Hulk is (mostly) who we see in the Avengers movie.

The Modernization of The Incredible Hulk

Modern versions of the Hulk seem designed to appeal to an older audience. (The approach started with the short-lived magazine The Rampaging Hulk in the 1970s) A smarter, more cynical, more devious alter-ego for Dr. Robert Bruce Banner is something that those over the age of 18 now find compelling when purchasing comic books. The "dumb Hulk" you see in the Avengers movie trailer is not purely reflective of the pathos driven Hulk of the classic Marvel Comics, but he is somewhat close.

The original 1960s version of The Incredible Hulk portrayed him as a dumb brute, limiting what creators can do with the character. Narratives required simplicity to compensate for the main character's limitations. Despite his shortcomings, the Marvel Bullpen's creativity did manage to present The Hulk in many thrilling adventures. The old Hulk appealed to younger readers, allowing the character to remain one of Marvel's top tier heroes for decades. What was it about this brutish character that made him so popular? In a way, the original version of the Incredible Hulk was popular for the same reason that the Frankenstein Monster was so popular. When you stop and look at the dumb Hulk of old, he comes off a small child in a big world.

Often, that world can be a cruel one. For young children who may be struggling with serious problems children should not have to contend with, the wandering misunderstood outsider who was the lumbering Hulk garnered sympathy and empathy.

How Dumb Was The Old Dumb The Incredible Hulk?

Once again, the Hulk is a small child in an overgrown body who is misunderstood and, as he was apt to say, wants to be left alone. Of course, he never really is left alone since he suffers perpetual torment by a menagerie of creepy villains and obsessed military personnel. The symbolism in these characters is unmistakable. The super Hulk villains are symbolic of bullies that kids must deal with when they are different. The Hulkbuster army represents the authority figures who make life difficult for a (seemingly) strange kid trying to survive in a harsh environment. While Stan Lee may have envisioned The Incredible Hulk to be the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde character we see in the comics and the Avengers movie, the truth is he is closer to another misunderstood child, the Frankenstein monster.

On Being Disaffected

For decades, the depiction of The Hulk as a disaffected child contributed to the lumbering hulking creature's appeal. In many ways, there was a sad pathos associated with the creature. He was hunted and haunted due to the personal vendetta of General Ross. (This was an obvious tip of the hat to Moby Dick) Despite the fact the Hulk was betrayed continuously by the "puny humans" he trusted, the green behemoth was the "go to hero" do the right thing and save the day by fending back any all-powerful threat that reared its head. Of course, the Incredible Hulk received no thanks for frequently world-saving assistance. The brute commonly received the blame for everything, even when a super-villain caused the mayhem.

Maybe these torments affected him, as the character matured cynically.

Anger is no longer a form of childlike rage in later tales. Instead, it is adolescent angst at the core of the character's motivations. The angst in the modern versions of the comic character, although it has become darker, more violent, and, in some ways, downbeat. That is not a criticism of the new version of the Hulk as much as it is an observation.

For those who wish to see a Hulk version closer to the earlier incarnations, you have to wait until the Avengers movie opens in 2012.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)