In July of 1961, Marvel Comics Group’s Tales to Astonish #21 hit newsstands around the country. Toward the end of the book, there was a small story about people going to see a horror movie. The audience walks past a bold marquis the screams out “The Hulk” in big, block letters as a loathsome, orange blob of a monster menaces them from a movie poster. The audience watches the movie with wide eyes, shocked at the tableau playing out in front of them.
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby went to the Hulk well a third time in 1962’s Journey Into Mystery v1 #62 with the eye catching title, “I Was A Slave Of The Living Hulk.” Lee and Kirby, along with inker extraordinaire Dick Ayers, told a beautiful and entertaining sci-fi horror tale of Joe Harper, small town electrician, and hen-pecked husband. Late one night, Harper gets called to help a neighbor fix a malfunctioning machine, and despite protest from his wife, heads out to assist.
One of the most powerful comic book characters ever, the Hulk has seen a multitude of changes since he was first conceived by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and some of those changes have been in coloring. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who knows every color the Hulk has been; there are a few that only the most devoted comic book historians would know. Prepare to join those hallowed ranks and learn every color the Hulk has been over the course of comics history.
Greenskin. The Green Goliath. The Jade Giant. The Incredible Hulk has had a variety of nicknames over the years, but one thing has always come through in his various monikers: the Hulk is green. Most people, in fact, think he’s always been green. Ask the average person on the street what they know about the Hulk and “he’s green” will probably come up, along with “get out of my face, nerd, I’m just trying to go to work.”
Poole angrily fires the assistant and, after sending him packing, locks himself into the Mighty Hulk and prepares to conquer humanity. The problem is, he left the key to metal monster on his workbench, and had no way to control or exit the Hulk. The story ends with Poole trapped in the Hulk for over three days, praying that Blake comes back to work. Marvel later changed the robot’s name to Grutan to avoid any confusion.
As he passes Blacktree swamp, Joe discovers the unconscious body of an orange, furry, metal android and the wreckage of the ship the thing crash-landed on planet Earth. Believing that reviving the creature will somehow advance the cause of humanity, Joe Harper takes the thing back to workshop, forgetting all about his unfortunate neighbor and his wife. Once he revives the creature, he finds the he’s actually rescued an extraterrestrial criminal known as Xemnu the Living Hulk, who means to use his telepathic powers to enslave mankind.
After the movie ends, the crowd files out of the theater, and no one sees the orange Hulk as it steps off of the screen, and into the empty theater. It’s revealed, however, that it’s really just another movie. until the monster steps off of that screen, too. Just as viewers are sure the monster really just on the screen, it reaches out, breaking the panel border, and forcing readers to ask themselves, exactly where is the line between reality and fantasy?
While his intelligence is massive, his puny size and lack of strength leaves Poole angry and determined to get even with the world. Poole uses his genius, and his assistant Blake, to create the Mighty Hulk, a bluish, metal, 15-foot-tall monstrosity Poole was going to use to take over the world. He might’ve made it work, too, had he not blown up at his assistant. Blake accidentally drops and damages the audio impulse regulator, a vital piece of the Hulk’s components.
The color has been synonymous with the character pretty much since Hulk’s inception in 1962, and it’s really one of Ol’ Jade Jaws’s most defining characteristics. But as any comic fan worth their poly-bagged, unopened copy of Superman v2 #75 knows, it hasn’t always been that way.
One of the most powerful comic book characters ever, the Hulk has seen a multitude of changes since he was first conceived by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and some of those changes have been in coloring.