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 Jim Beard
Believe it or not, True Believers, there once existed a time when kids were starved
for super heroes outside
comic books. Yep, before these current glory days of mighty Marvel movies, way before Tobey Maguire ever donned Spider-duds, children roamed the land desperately seeking "comics come to life" on their televisions and movie screens.
So, in 1966 when a friendly little animated TV show called "The Marvel Super Heroes" came along, it sated the appetite of kids everywhere for super hero action on the tube—and became a classic bit of pop culture that resounds to this day.
"The Marvel Super Heroes" came to life thanks to Grantray-Lawrence Animation, a Canadian firm that approached Marvel Comics with the idea of adapting the characters that took the comics industry by storm in the early 1960's. But that's not the important thing here, really. It was super heroes
days a week.
That's right, five days a week. See, each Marvel hero dominated a day of the week, and even into the 1970's savvy kids could pinpoint the day that'd give them the biggest return on their precious time. Originally, Monday brought Captain America, for example. Tuesday—ah, Tuesday
. The "Incredible Hulk" cartoon owned
This wasn't just any ol' Hulk cartoon, either. Once the TV began to glow with its own special light and the title card announced "Where Strides the Behemoth," you knew you should hold on for the ride. The actual Hulk comic book stories sprang out of your set, colorful and explosive, with all the bangs and klangs you imagined while reading the stories in print—and you
heard, really heard
the voice of Bruce Banner and the Hulk. Imagine what that might've meant to a kid who'd never heard of Ed Norton or Lou Ferrigno.
Sure, the animation left something to be desired, but with Grantray-Lawrence's minimalist budget there came a kind of magic. No interpretation here, no bold "re-imaginings;" the "Incredible Hulk" show threw Jack Kirby's actual art at you so hard you felt you should duck. Figures barely moved their limbs, but all the impact of the Hulk comic stories shown through somehow, and coupled with some choice sound effects and a few good voice actors, the Hulk leaped to life for the very first time.
One of the cool things about the show came in recognizing a favorite story. And there were lots of them to be found: "The Origin of the Hulk," "The Terror of the Toadmen," "The Lair of the Leader"—and who could forget the tear-jerking "Within This Monster Dwells a Man"? Hey, none other than Stan Lee worked on making sure the real
tales made their way to the TV screen and that the marvelous Marvel heroes had their day in the sun.
And yes, the show arrived with its own theme song. Legendary now—some may even say infamous—the "Incredible Hulk" theme burned its way into many a youthful cranium and today exists as both a classic and curiosity. Where else would one find the perfect rhyme for "gamma rays"—that'd be "unglamo-rays"—and that little else was as lovable as the ever-lovin' Hulk?
Raw, visceral, static, trend-setting—many words have been written to attempt to describe "The Marvel Super Heroes" and the place of "The Incredible Hulk" in its hierarchy. But suffice to say the show rests today as the earliest attempt to populate
more than just the corner drugstore with the Marvel characters. It holds a unique place in animation and in many a 60's and 70's kid's heart.
Just sing these few words to one of them and watch 'em melt:
"Doc Bruce Banner/Belted by gamma rays…"
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!