On January 27, Hulk smashes to stores with the release of "Hulk Vs," a DVD and Blu-ray containing not one, but two different features! You could pick up either the single-disc edition, a two-disc special edition or the Blu-ray edition!
[Welcome to Make Mine Marvel, a bi-weekly series of articles devoted to all the things we've loved about Marvel over the past 60 years. From toys to video games, movies to trading cards, Underoos to stamps and more, we embrace it—warts and all. Kick back and enjoy Marvel's merry past with us.
By Kiel Phegley
Were you aware that at one point, the Hulk got Up'n?
In 1996, Marvel's Green Goliath took to the small screen as the centerpiece of the fledging UPN network's Saturday morning lineup. As a 15-year-old fanboy delinquent, I accomplished the rare feat of setting my alarm clock on that most hallowed of high school sleep in days to check in with Hulk, the Leader, Doc Samson and the rest for their two season animated run. Aside from bizarre commercials featuring children in neon tribal war paint dancing around and chanting "The Hulk is totally Up'n!!!!" the series fit really well into the run of strong 90's Marvel cartoons that kicked off with the legendary "Spider-Man" and "X-Men" series.
And while UPN's "The Incredible Hulk" never quite reached the heights or lengths of those august animated runs, the series dished up plenty of action-filled smashes, a bevy of rarely seen Marvel guest stars and one killer voice cast. Before the heyday of film actors moonlighting as animation voices over took Hollywood, "Hulk" assembled a lineup of stars even the slightest of nerds could pick out by vocal work alone including John "the evil dean from 'Animal House'" Vernon as General Thunderbolt Ross, Luke "he's sooooooo
dreamy" Perry as Rick Jones, Matt "also played the villain in the 'Generation X' TV movie" Frewer as the Leader and, of course, the incomparable Lou Ferrigno voicing the Hulk himself. Ferrigno's affected portrayal of the tortured hero he played on TV finally allowed him to speak in the role. However, despite solid casting and animation throughout, the real draw to the series for any comics fan came in the form of the many guest stars that popped up along the way. From Sasquatch to Dr. Strange, the series delivered a bevy of stalwarts who received little to no play across the rest of the animated Marvel U, which made the show worth all those sleepy mornings and the perfect warm up for the upcoming "Hulk Vs" DVD. To prepare you, I picked out some of my favorite series installments.
HELPING HAND, IRON FIST
(Season 1, Episode 4)
Bruce Banner and alter ego crash into Los Angeles for a stay with Tony "Iron Man" Stark and his companions and the search for a cure to the Hulk, but S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Gabe Jones is hot on his heels.
WHY I DUG IT:
Akin to my Saturday morning forays with the Hulk, I dug into both seasons of the 90's "Marvel Action Hour" featuring the Fantastic Four and Iron Man, so to see Tony, War Machine and the snarky computer system HOMER reunited with original voice cast intact on a new show proved a welcome throwback. Add in a rad-looking cave-in battle sequence, some Hulkbuster armor and a twisty turny amnesia plot, and I was more than entertained for 22 minutes plus commercials.
(Season 1, Episode 5)
When Hulk's angry rampages cause massive amounts of fire and devastation in the Chicago area, Ghost Rider tags the monster for a date with the penance stare! Meanwhile, General Ross' lackey attacks with a potentially lethal laser ray.
WHY I DUG IT:
The appearance of ol' flame head would be enough to pique my interest, but the clincher for making this one of my favorite episodes came with the fact that Johnny Blaze was voiced by Richard freaking Greico
!!! Ugh...so awesome. To top it all off, this installment was scripted by comics legend and former Marvel Editor-in-Chief Len Wein, who contributed telling little turns such as Rick Jones' killer dialogue upon first smelling the Ghost Rider's bike fumes: "Sulfur. Or as the orphanage's Good Book called it...brimstone. Bad juju!"
(Season 1, Episode 7)
Bruce Banner takes up with his legal eagle cousin Jennifer Walters in Washington, D.C., but the repast gets broken up toot sweet when Dr. Doom lands on the scene and sets off a string of events ending with the birth of the Savage She-Hulk!
WHY I DUG IT:
Common consensus amongst fans stands that She-Hulk's heavy role in the second season of this show killed off the majority of its awesomeness, but I always like seeing the cast expand. Still, even I have to admit that Shulkie's origin episode may be her best moment because it smartly takes Jen's original transformation out of the courtroom arena and into the land of Dr. Doom. Doom gets a great little run in this show, and his mind-controlling of the Hulk in his checkerboard laboratory ranks amongst the series most dramatic face offs.
DARKNESS AND LIGHT
(Season 1, Episodes 11-13)
Hulk, Rick, Betty, Doc Savage, the Leader, General Ross and the rest converge in one epic story line to cap the first season which sees Bruce and Hulk split...but Rick and Hulk merge!!!
WHY I DUG IT:
I always held that the comedic back and forth between Frewer's Leader and Mark Hamill's Gargoyle stripped the series' main villains of some of their threatening nature, but in the season kicker all the show's darker elements came to a head with every player filling their role to a T. Throughout the three-parter, Bruce and Hulk get separated, the Leader gains Hulk's strength and goes batty, General Ross finally loses it and finally, Rick hulks out. As much as this series relied on one-off episodes and guest stars, "Darkness and Light" showed that when it came to building its own mythology, the show really held its own.
THEY CALL ME MR. FIX IT
(Season 2, Episode 4)
When life in Chicago's underworld gets bent by the Absorbing Man known as Crusher Creel and his skanky
boss Allure, She-Hulk and Bruce go undercover as mob enforcers themselves.
WHY I DUG IT:
A really fun example of how off the wall things got in season two, this episode eschewed Absorbing Man's "escaped convict" vibe from the comics in favor of dressing him up in a red derby like a supporting player from a Looney Tune and teaming him up with a half-baked Mafiosa named Allure. To combat the ridiculous pair, the cousins Hulk one up them by putting on their own gangster act, including the smart-talking tough guy Mr. Fix It! Seeing the blue pinstripe on screen remains a series highlight, although unfortunately it's not quite the weirdest moment in show history. That honor goes to She-Hulk and Betty Ross' ill-fated mall fashion show...a write up for another day!!!
Want to catch up on your Hulk reading? Check out this list of essential comic collections, or read some digital comics, and be sure to visit the Marvel Shop for everything Hulk!
And for more info, downloads and much more, check out the official Hulk Vs hub page!