I’ve been trying to give my True Believers posts a personal touch, so let me tell you about MY favorite Hulk. I was talking to my All New Marvel Roundup & Superconnectivity cohost Charlie a few weeks ago and we discovered we shared a mutual fondness for the character of the gray Hulk. Gray Hulk? You thought the Hulk was green? The gray Hulk actually predates the green as he was gray in his first appearance in Incredible Hulk #1 (May 1962).
Stan Lee has said that he chose gray because he did not want a color that would suggest any particular ethnic group. But when colorist Stan Goldberg had trouble with the gray color the Hulk began to appear as a green skinned goliath starting in issue #2 and any future retellings of his origin. The gray Hulk did not appear again until the end of Incredible Hulk #324 (October 1986). Bruce Banner and the green Hulk had been physically separated and both were dying. To save them both, Doc Samson repeated his nutrient bath treatment that had separated the two in the first place. Upon emerging, the Hulk had returned to his gray state, in which his intelligence increased.
Some of the Hulk’s greatest stories, many including this gray Hulk, would be told by writer Peter David during his historic 12 year run on the series that began in Incredible Hulk #331 (May 1987). It’s was eventually revealed in David’s run that Bruce Banner suffered from dissociative identity disorder, or multiple personalities from years of childhood abuse at the hands of his father. This was the explanation for how there could be multiple Hulks inside Bruce Banner. But probably one of the greatest (if not the greatest) story in the gray Hulk saga took place in issues #352-359. After the Hulk survived a gamma bomb blast triggered by his enemy the Leader (#345), he is transported to the subatomic realm formerly ruled by his deceased lover Jarella (LOOOONG story). The Hulk convinces the wizards of this realm to cast a spell so he will never revert to Bruce Banner ever again (#351-#352). The spell only lasts a few months, but in this time the Hulk sets himself up as a bodyguard/leg breaker in Las Vegas working for a mob boss. For months, until the inevitable return of Bruce Banner, the hulk operated under the identity of Joe Fixit or Mr. Fixit as most people called him.
The Hulk even had a girlfriend during this time (scary, huh?). Marlo Chandler eventually discovered the truth about “Joe Fixit” and eventually dated and married the Hulk’s first sidekick, Rick Jones.
I loved the whole Peter David Incredible Hulk run, but this storyline holds a special place in my heart and collection. I’m hoping future issues will give us a return of the crafty, gray Hulk. Anyone else love the gray Hulk? Or did you just learn about him now. Please share your thoughts with me:
@Nightwingpdp on Twitter
You can hear me every week on the All New Marvel Roundup and Superconnectivity podcasts with Charlie Esser (@CharlieEsser).
That’s for this time, Until we meet again…Nuff Said True Believers!