In the run up to the release of The Incredible Hulk, I decided that it’s time to give something back to the community. As we all know, the film versions of comic heroes can often differ substantially from the “real” versions. Of course, because most of you don’t actually read the comics, you’re not really aware of what those differences are, not to mention the amount of stuff you can easily lose track of over 40-plus years of comicbook continuity.
Luckily, I’m here to help. And, as we all know, everyone loves a guy who can talk throughout a film and explain what’s actually happening on screen. Simply commit the following factoids to memory – or, if you like, print them off and secret them upon your person for easy revision during the movie (you can use your mobile phone as a flashlight, no-one will mind) and you can then dazzle and entertain your friends throughout any showing of The Incredible Hulk!
Remember – every one of these facts is true, and your friends will be just itching to hear more of them. As a helpful hint, I’ve included a little marker with each piece of trivia that will help you know the best time to lean into your friend’s ear and deliver the speech. Try to do so at a part of the film when there’s a lot of action happening on screen – after all, you wouldn’t want to risk talking over some important dialogue and if there’s just some boring fight happening, your friend will be much happier for you to distract them! Better yet, try to talk loud enough so that everyone sitting around you can hear!
Fact 1 – Dispense the first time the Hulk appears on-screen:
“Did you know that in the comics, the Hulk was actually supposed to be grey, and that problems with the printing process are what actually led to him being coloured green? Of course, this was later written into continuity when it emerged that Bruce Banner could also turn into a Grey Hulk as well as a Green one! He’s also turned Blue at least once, and although a Red Hulk exists, he’s not Bruce Banner!”
Fact 2 – Dispense the first time someone says Bruce’s name:
“Did you know that in the 70s TV series, they changed Bruce Banner’s first name to “David” – allegedly because a producer thought the name “Bruce” was “too homosexual.” Hilariously, Stan Lee frequently forgot the character’s name early issues of the Hulk and kept writing “Bob Banner” – when someone pointed out Stan’s error, he expertly side-stepped it by revealing (in the letters page of Fantastic Four #28, no less!) that Banner’s full name was actually ‘Robert Bruce Banner’!“
Fact 3 – Dispense the first time Bruce Banner gets angry:
“I know the saying goes that ‘we wouldn’t like him when he gets angry’ but did you know that in the original comics, Bruce only became the Hulk at night? Later, he needed to be shot with gamma radiation to change, and it took some time for the transformations to become automatic whenever he lost his temper! Furthermore, when Banner and the Hulk “merged” (Bruce Banner’s mind in the Hulk’s body) he actually turned into a puny human (Banner’s body with the Hulk’s mind!) when he got angry! Hilariously, Betty Ross once had sex with him in this state so that he would calm down and change back!”
Fact 4 – Dispense the first time they mention Bruce’s abuse as a child, or his father:
“Did you know that the reason the Green Hulk is considered “childlike” is because he’s a manifestation of Banner’s Multiple Personality Disorder caused by his abuse as a child? It was later revealed that when he grew up, Bruce eventually killed his father by smashing his head into his mother’s gravestone, though he later repressed the memory of doing so!”
Fact 5 – Dispense when your friend’s eyes start to glaze over:
“Did you know that there’s also a female Hulk called She-Hulk? Her name is Jennifer Walters and she got her powers from a blood transfusion off Bruce Banner. She gets both stronger and more confident when she Hulks out, and unlike Bruce, she can control the transformation! Because of this, she chooses to stay in Hulk form pretty much all the time. Also she’s Bruce Banner’s cousin, and in one story a confused Hulk tries to mate with her because there aren’t any other suitable females around. Luckily the Avengers stop him. And they’re almost certainly* going to use that story as the basis for the Avengers movie!”
There you have it. The experience of watching the Hulk movie is substantially transformed for you and your friends. Popularity and respect are a certainty once you deploy your prodigious knowledge of all thinks Hulk. No need to thank me – I’m just doing my bit to help cinema-goers everywhere learn all they can about the Incredible Hulk.
* almost certainly NOT, that is.
James will be back with another Alternate Cover next Monday; read his last column here.