One of my personal favorite single issues of The Incredible Hulk comics is Annual #11 from 1982! I remember when this came out, I was 8 years old and I carried this issue with me EVERYWHERE! It’s story is quite relevant still especially today as we see a gamma virus running rampant among the US population that makes people sick and turns them green! Yowza!!! This issue pits the Avengers along with Spider-man up against their old teammate The Hulk and it’s a glorious little superhero sci-fi tale that also features The Leader at the core of the mayhem. It also features a super sweet short solo adventure from Doc Samson too!! One thing of course I’ve always loved about this issue was it’s magnificently simple cover by Al Milgrom which deserves the spotlight here today:
I’m totally excited about the upcoming She-Hulk series on Disney+ and from what I hear they’re going to expand the lore of the “Hulk” from the comics. They’re bringing more of the gamma charged enemies and allies to the small screen supposedly, rumors are currently that ‘The Red Hulk’ might be the big baddie of the She-Hulk show. Count me in true believers and let’s go a little further though to bring in one of the true classic gamma-irradiated supporting characters, Doc Samson!
Being both a great friend of Bruce Banner and also a formidable enemy to the Hulk, Samson got his great strength and iconic green hair from self imposed gamma radiation exposure. Way back in 1971, in Incredible Hulk #141 he made his at the slightly villainous debut. Samson a college professor and psychiatrist, siphoned off gamma radiation from Bruce Banner after he was temporarily cured of being the Hulk. Samson, who had been working with Banner/Hulk in his job as a psychiatrist, purposely exposed himself, granting him a superhuman strength & muscular physique also causing his hair to turn green. Doc then in the comics, tried to win over Banner’s long time love Betty Ross and caused him & The Hulks first (but definitely not their last) epic brawl. Later however Samson proved himself as a valuable ally to Banner ad even the misunderstood jade giant.
The interesting thing about Dr. Leonard Samson is that many forget he was already introduced in the 2008 Edward Norton Hulk movie. Ty Burrell possibly portrayed him in, however he never went on to portray the superhero from the comic books. Is it possible he might return in the She-Hulk series to grow the green locks? Doubtful, although it’s also probable he’ll appear, but more likely a Leonard Samson jr as the Burrell character’s son takes on the actual role of the iconic superhero, much like how it went down in the comics.
Whatever the case he’d be a dynamic addition to the MCU and the Hulk lore. Samson has also spent plenty of time with She-Hulk in the comics and might even make for a decent love interest in the series? The character has always been a favorite of mine and I’m hoping that he just might pop up for some action in the MCU along with a cast of “Hulk” related villains and friends.
Who do you think should portray Doc Samson in the MCU?
Ahhh yes I can still remember how stoked I was as a kid waaaay back in 1985 when John Byrne took over writing and drawing The Incredible Hulk for a far too short of a run. I was only 11 years old, but I seriously adored John Byrne, he was hands down my favorite comic book artist and The Hulk was my favorite comic book character. Byrne had been writing and drawing Alpha Flight, which of course I was a die hard fan of too, when he switched to full on Hulk mode with issue #314. I was thrilled!
I must have read that issue a hundred times and the cover itself couldn’t have been more awesome as it featured the Jade Giant in all of his Byrne-esque glory along with a gang of his deadliest villains behind him ready to start some shit. The Leader, Modok, The Rhino, Abomination & The Juggernaut! Byrne’s highly detailed artwork pushed The Hulk to new levels of awesomeness, the character was more massive than he’d ever been too. Though the villains on the cover end up being just part of Hulk’s over active imagination, the Byrne run fully made up for that with making Hulk-centric character Doc Samson one of, if not the main character of his short run. From that point in in Hulk history Doc Samson quickly became one of my favorite Marvel characters, the series also improved upon Doc’s costume, giving him a new one, ditching his classic but sorta awful lightning bolt suit he’d worn previously.
In the past we’d seen Samson tangle with the Hulk but never quite like this. I absolutely love how Byrne’s Hulk completely dwarf’s Samson in size like never before, yet he proves just how much of a bad ass the character really is with not only his brawn but also his brains. This issue is essentially one big fight between the two and begins with a more mindless version of the Hulk who’d been missing in another dimension called The Crossroads, exiled by Doctor Strange for over a year (those were great issues too!). Samson cleverly defeats The Hulk and makes Hulk history using his genius scientific intellect to actually separate Bruce Banner from The Hulk as two living breathing entities.
This was a great era of Hulk history and let’s face it John Byrne was easily one of the best comic book writers and artists of the 70’s & 80’s if not of all time. During this run he pumped out 8 issues, one being an awesome Marvel Fanfare where’s Byrne’s stunning artwork proved he was easily one of the best of all time when it came to drawing the jade giant. Another was The Hulk annual #14 which he wrote but master Hulk artist Sal Buscema drew. I love the Byrne era Hulk and apparently he’d had big plans for the series but was thwarted, there’s actually a great story about what went down here with the Byrne Hulk run for all of you Hulk-a-maniancs. Also check out ‘Incredible Hulk: Visionaries #1‘ Trade Paperback which features the whole output of Byrne 80’s Hulk. Ahhh those were the good ol’ days….
Here’s a personal favorite cover of mine way back from 1983! This particular issue was one I must have read 100 times as a kid and I just loved the imagery of the Hulk being attacked by a cluster of The Leader’s pink rubbery silly putty style humanoids. It got me thinking of how much I miss those old classic Hulk story lines and how today we don’t even have Banner or the original classic Hulk anywhere to be found. I realize the old days of the Hulk are likely gone as comic books today are a bit more of a real life social statement. I’m missing those days of the jade giant and Banner fighting monsters, the military and all the cool sci-fi adventures they embarked on. Times have truly changed but they can never take away those classic comics of yesteryear….
John Byrne had an amazing yet short run on The Incredible Hulk in 1985 and back then I was more than thrilled that he’d taken over the title as write AND artist! Byrne’s my favorite comic artist of all time and The Hulk my favorite superhero so this was to me a match made in heaven. Issue #314 was a great start and had great simplistic cover of the Jade Giant front & center along with some of his most devious villains! Yeah Modok too by Byrne is also a treat! Covers like this one prove that keeping it simple can be incredibly effective sometimes. I totally miss these awesome old school style Hulk stories. Today we have the Hulk killed off and replaced with the Totally awesome Hulk who’s alter ego is Amadeus Cho. Not a fan. I’m hoping someday Marvel can get back to what really worked for the Hulk and worry less about pandering to the mainstream narratives by changing their superheroes into other people. Ahhh…well at least I’ve got the classics to revisit!
Who doesn’t love an old school video game like Mega Man or Castlevania?!! Well this new little video by Cinefix recreates the Guardians of the Galaxy into an awesome old school video game straight out of the 1980’s! If this game would have been available back then I would have played thew shit out of this!
I’m really not much of a new school video gamer, I just don’t have the time to commit to anymore screentime, as in sitting in front of a tv screen, internet, phone but something like this I could really get behind check this out this would have been a classic!
Oh and while I’m in the old school comic book video game mood let’s not forget the awesome Sega Incredible Hulk game from 1994! Hot Damn do I need to play this one ASAP!! Look how awesome it was! In the opening you can see some classic hulk villains here like the Absorbing Man, Tyrannus, The Leader and The Rhino!!
Hel while we’re at it let’s not forget the classic Spider-man video game from 1991!! This one you can actually play as Haweye, Submariner and The Black Cat!! Daaaamn!!! I need to play this ASAP!!!
I guess we could say this one was slightly better than this one from Atari 2600!
And this one from 1989! But this one is still pretty cool if just for the fact it’s got Cap also!
And we got a great odd guest appearance in the Revenge of Shinobi from 1989-Spidey was a boss!!
Let’s also not forget the 1989 X-men video game Madness in Murderworld!
And yes there was a Howard the Duck video game from 1985….but …well yeah it sucked!!!
Savage Hulk is a series I have been waiting for a long time and finally yesterday it graced the shelves of comic book shops everywhere. I have been seriously missing me some Hulk by way of new comic books lately. The last few Hulk titles have been pretty forgettable. I usually start off buying the first few issues and then well just don’t really end up giving a shit what happens next. That’s a problem I seem to be running into more and more with Marvel titles these days.
So here we have Savage Hulk #1 which is a pretty decent first issue and pretty cool as it ties in directly with an old X-men / Hulk storyline from 1970. So what we have here is a full on old school Hulk story, which is a breath of fresh air. We’ve got some great artwork as well by veteran artist Alan Davis, a favorite of mine in the 1980’s, which make this book even more legit. We’ve also got the X-Men in their old school 70’s costumes and The Leader in his old purple suit and my favorite look for him, his big long ass head! We also have a great alternate cover by Alex Ross which is downright amazing…
I think this series is headed for some fun, I’m not sure if they’re going to follow the old school story types but I’m kinda hoping they do. There’s a ton of fun in an old school Hulk story that’s been missing from a lot of the current stuff. So I’ll be back for issue #2 as it looks like we’re going to get some Abomination action as well. Savage Hulk is a solid start, but it by no means is gonna blow your mind as the story is very simple as we basically have the Hulk on the run from the Hulkbusters, Professor X determined to help free Banner of The Hulk and The Leader determined to screw up everyone’s plan. It’s also nice because we haven’t over the years really seen the X-men and the Hulk cross paths as much as they should. It also made me realize that The Leader and Professor X are perfect arch rivals, I hope we get to see them square off in a battle of the minds! So Hulk fans go check this one out!
It seems that Mark Ruffalo has revealed that a new stand alone Hulk movie may in fact be coming sooner than we’ve all expected. It’s been a fact that Marvel hasn’t been confident that The Hulk has what it takes to be a smash hit on the same levels as Iron Man, Cap or Thor. They’ve already given the green guy two attempts and they’ve left viewers underwhelmed at the results. Personally I can’t say I’m a fan of the first one and the second one was passable, but as the full on Hulk fanatic that I am it didn’t quench my gamma thirst. His third appearance in The Avengers was by far the best, Ruffalo did an excellent job as Banner and finally Hulk looked real enough for me to not talk a bunch of shit here about him.
So what the hell is the problem here? It seems to me The Incredible Hulk should be an easy sell! I’ve been reading the hulk comic books since I was a little kid and it doesn’t seem like rocket science is involved to craft an awesome Hulk storyline! Seriously folks the Hulk and his stories should be simple and fun. There’s really no need to over think things. Perhaps that’s what the problem has been on each outing thus far? I think a great Hulk film should be jam packed with action, some cool villains and a somewhat simplistic plot. There should be equal Banner time/ Hulk time, you can’t really have too much of either or you’ll bore people with too much mindless action or too much screen time for the actor portraying Banner who thinks he deserves more face time.
Another thing that they should stop is trying to string the old 70’s series into the plot. That worked well back in the day because it was an ongoing television series and having Banner on the run was always quite intriguing. Plus Bill Bixby was a pitch perfect Banner and they need to stop trying to recreate his magic. Now if they were going to continue on with the rumored Guillermo Del Toro Hulk tv series that may be a different story altogether. However in a stand alone movie lets bring on a solid adventure for the green guy that’s fresh and not trying to rehash his Ferrigno days.
Another problem I believe with the movies, and I know many will disagree, is that it’s a hard thing for a live action movie to be driven by an entirely computer generated character who merely roars and grunts. Lou Ferrigno’s Hulk worked so well because he was REALLY there on screen acting and interacting with other people in all of his green paint and glory. He was real and you could feel real emotion there. So today trying to get the same results is very difficult with a CG lead character. Even in the Iron Man movies, much of the actual imagery of Iron Man was fully CG, however we always got those close ups of Tony Stark’s face in the armor, reminding us that yes, Iron Man is a real person. No matter how much you love modern CG it’s still poses problems for generating real characters with real emotion.
One solution to some of the Hulk’s big screen problems could be solved with giving the Hulk more intelligence, like he has often times in the comic books. Rather than just having him growl and roar, let Banner gain some control and let The Hulk speak. He can still in the heat of battle lose his cool and go into full on “Hulk Smash” angry toddler tantrum mode. But once a fully raging computer generated Hulk who can’t speak dominates the majority of screen time things the viewer is bound to disconnect a bit . So hopefully the next Hulk will have more going on in the noggin.
Finally pick some good supporting characters from the Hulk’s rich comic history. Let’s see Doc Samson with his green locks, let’s explore She-Hulk and add some Rick Jones into the mix! Most important let’s get some good villains into the mix. The Leader would be amazing and he’d also be a big enough baddie to cross over into an Avengers movie. Or how about The Absorbing Man, The Wrecking Crew, The Gremlin, The U-Foes or better yet Modok!? I’ve been itchin’ to see a big screen Modok for years and this would be the perfect platform to do so! I’m thinking the “Ms. Modok” storyline from the 80’s Incredible Hulk #286-290 would be terrifying on the big screen!
I’m also open to some classic Hulk stories, “Planet Hulk/World War Hulk” has been talked about quite a bit but might require too much set up, “Dogs of War” from 2001 would be a good one, but a good classic storyline could be from The Incredible Hulk mid 1980’s where Banner seemingly controls the Hulk. He even dresses like him for the first time (which was pretty funny) but later loses control and is cast off to a different dimension by Doctor Strange, these issues served as the actual inspiration for the Planet Hulk story many years later.
So my final thoughts are, though it might be difficult to pull of a simple, awesome Hulk adventure on the big screen I’m more than excited for them to give it another go. I felt Ruffalo did such a great job in the Avengers that I think the next Hulk movie is bound to be a hit. People clearly want it and if they don’t over think it, it’ll be the Hulk flick we’ve always dreamed of..
I’ve just read via Ain’t it Cool News that supposedly there are NO plans to bring the Planet Hulk story to the big screen. As much as I enjoyed Planet Hulk, the idea of this being a big Hollywood blockbuster movie really didn’t excite me all that much. First I had wondered how they would pull this off with Ruffalo, as Marvel has recently stated they were concerned that Planet Hulk was missing one key ingredient for big screen success….Bruce Banner!
Yeah as cool as it may have been for this Hulk story to be told if, I remember correctly Banner only appeared in Planet Hulk for a brief moment in a small side story which perhaps showed up in an annual of some sorts during that time. I do wonder why Marvel would have to have a Banner-less Planet Hulk? They’ve changed a lot in the movies from their comic origins so why couldn’t Banner co-exist with The Hulk in the big screen version? Perhaps they just don’t want to waste the time of having to make Hulk a menace to the world on screen? He seems to be working out nicely right now in the books as an Avenger and an agent of SHIELD.
So for a second though let’s imagine Marvel did indeed want to make Planet Hulk a reality, following the comic book storyline strictly. What we would have on our hands would be an entirely CG, animated movie. We all know that the big Hollywood studios rarely use live sets anymore especially for an alien world, we all know that they refuse to use any practical effects or make up to bring The Hulk to life, we all know in big Hollywood movies that aliens are 99.9% of the time entirely CG creations and since we have him teaming up with aliens in the movie there would be no use for any real on screen actors. We would have some big name actors voicing. This really leaves nothing for Ruffalo in that storyline. So to me it would be like a PIXAR flick. That could be cool, but it’s not what Avengers and Hulk fans want at the end of the day. So where does this leave the poor Hulk?
Perhaps he’s better as a team player? Perhaps the Hulk doesn’t work the way he did back in the 70’s when Bixby and Ferrigno brought him to life on TV weekly. If they do bring another Hulk movie it’s going to need a lot of Ruffalo/Banner and smaller doses of the Hulk. I personally would love a simpler classic Hulk approach to a movie. Give me The Leader as the Mastermind, throw in some henchmen like the U-foes, Half-life or the Bi-Beast and give us She-Hulk plus Doc Samson and let’s get down to business of some good smashing the old school way! What do you think should happen with the Hulk on the big screen? Should he just stay a team player? Should he have another shot at a solo film? What story would you like to see brought to life?
I just heard the news that Paul Giamatti is in talks to play The Rhino in the next Spider-man film! As odd as this sounds, as Giamatti doesn’t strike me as a particularly brawny dude I can oddly see this working. Partially working because of his sheer enthusiasm for the character which he has gone on record several times stating how much he loves the villain. Not to mention he’s a downright awesome actor.
This news thrills me as The Rhino is easily one of my fave Spider-man / Hulk villains of all time. As a kid also I was a HUGE Rhino fan. What’s not to love about a giant hulking guy in Rhino suit grafted to his body who smashes anything in his path? I can already imagine Giamatti’s face peeping out of the cut out face hole of the suit. Can you picture it?
So though I wasn’t totally floored by Spider-man this news makes me pretty excited for this flick to start filming in Feb. They had better keep with the original design of the character though and not simply make him a man who transforms into a humanoid rhino hybrid. This way too maybe they could bring Giamatti on board to take on The Hulk when they decide to give the green guy another movie of his own! This is exciting news and the kid in me just pee’d my pants!
Put The Leader & The Rhino up against The Incredible Hulk in the next film!