What’s the deal with the Hulk?

The many faces of the green Goliath have challenged fans of the comic book hero and the movie-going public unfamiliar with the man-monster known as the Hulk. Each time he has appeared on screen, the Hulk’s face has been modeled after the actor playing Bruce Banner. The latest model seen in the 2012 Avengers trailer is based on Mark Ruffalo and appears brutish.

Each time the Hulk appears, the audience has to re-evaluate his look. Is he a brutish primitive, a gentle giant, a muscle-bound ogre or something entirely different? It sounds like I’m splitting hairs here, but look at the images in this post and you’ll how different the Hulk can look.

2012 Hulk in The Avengers

Mark Ruffalo

The previous Hulk from 2008’s film bore a resemblance to Edward Norton’s intense facial expressions.

2008 Incredible Hulk

Edward Norton

The most controversial Hulk could be the soft-faced model based on Eric Bana, star of the divisive 2003 Hulk movie.

2003 Hulk

Eric Bana

Perhaps most damning of the Ang Lee film is this footage of an abandoned animatronic Hulk… Ah, what could have been.

Of course the most familiar face of the Hulk for ages was seen in the TV series starring Lou Ferrigno. Green body paint, a wig and prosthetic brow made the actor into the popular creature.

1978-1982 Incredible Hulk

The common complaint in these live action Hulks is that it bares no resemblance to the ‘real Hulk’ seen in the printed page. With so many artists’ interptretations of the Hulk, that’s impossible to realize… but here are a few that may show just how different the Hulk can appear.

2009 Modern Hulk by Djurdjevic

2005 Modern Hulk by Lee Weeks

Hulk by Sal Buscema

Hulk by John Byrne

Hulk by Paul Pelletier

Hulk by Todd McFarlane

Hulk by Ed McGuinness

Hulk by Gabriel Hardman

Hulk by Dale Keown

1963 era Hulk by Jack Kirby

One more from the King

Official Poster art for Avengers 2012 feature film

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!

Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the Avengers is the super group to end all supergroups. There are other superhero teams that predate the Avengers such as the Justice Society of America, the JLA, Seven Soldiers of Victory and even the All Winners Squad, but the Avengers have classically maintained a kind of high standard in comicdom. Consisting of the heavy hitters that Marvel Comics debuted with; the Hulk, Giant Man, Thor, Iron Man and the Wasp, the group came into its own after the team discovered Captain America in an ice floe. Enlisting the aid of the sentinel of liberty, the Avengers became a force to be reckoned with.

Seldom have the teammates gotten along off the battlefield as the book embraced the ‘heroes with real world problems’ concept that Lee found so endearing. Thor wanted Hulk to wear pants, Iron Man drank himself into a stupor, Giant Man suffered from bouts of insanity and the Wasp flirted with everyone she met. Combined with blockbuster battles against time traveling despots, radioactive villains and threats from beneath the surface of the Earth or far outside our galaxy, the Avengers combined their forces and put aside their differences to fight a menace too great to fight on their own.

Over the years, the Avengers has risen to top tier status in comics, so it is only fitting that Marvel Entertainment would capitalize on that success and introduce the movie-going public to the Earth’s Mightiest Superhero Team in a big way.

Just recently, fans were given a glimpse of the Avengers film at the end of the Captain America movie (review still forthcoming), but below are several posters that combine to present the entire view of the team as they will appear on the big screen.

The poster series premiered at the 2011 San Diego International Comic Convention and is sure to show up online shortly. It looks amazing and not unlike the fold-out poster by Marko Djurdjevic released last year.

Of particular interest to yours truly is the jade giant the Hulk as this will be the third imagining of purple pants in under ten years, but who is the character in profile of that poster fragment? General Ross perhaps?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Written by Zak Penn, directed by Joss Whedon and starring Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Chris Evans as Captain America, Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, the Avengers movie will premiere May 2012.