The Hulk

Comics as Literature Continues
Dr. Z
Zimm pointed out the similarities between the Hulk and Hyde.  Both deal with the doctor being overtaken by repressed emotions.  Both are products of scientific experimentation.  What I think is interesting is the repression.  According to Jung, a shadow becomes more powerful the more it is repressed (Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea Trilogy).

Hyde is a shadow of Victorian society.  He assaults women and is vulnerable to bullets.  But Hulk?  Does he represent the degree of repression of his culture?  If he is the shadow of the scientific Banner, then the repression is kind of intense.

Robert W
The resemblance between Banner/Hulk and Jekyll/Hyde is intentional. Stan Lee is on record saying that he was trying to create a modern Jekyll/Hyde.

An interesting contrast is that Hyde was actually smaller than Jekyll in the description and Hulk is much larger than Banner. Also, a history of child abuse was reconnected into Banner’s history at some point. I believe it was by Peter David, but would need to double check. (Originally the Hulk was grey and changed form at night and back to Banner in the morning.)

You should read the first two League of Extraordinary Gentlemen volumes.  The representation of Hyde is interesting in light of the Jungian theory you point out.

Hyde does represent the repression of the era. Hulk represents the fear Americans had of radiation.

The levels of vulnerability / invulnerability stem from Hyde.  For all of his qualities, he was still human.  The Hulk was something else.

Zimm
Hulk gets stronger the madder he gets.  The madder he gets the better he is suited to defeat his enemies.   Hulk smash!  Does that not say something about the American culture?

It is okay to get mad.  To rage and destroy is good, yet to think and create is evil.  Thinking created Hyde, the Hulk, and evenMarvel's Hulk the atom bomb.   In the case of the Hulk, his anger is what makes him the hero.

Tony Stark is brilliant, but he is a narcissist.   He didn’t originally start that way, but our culture has pushed him into the red and gold armor.  He has turned into as character that likes to brag about his armor.   I guess arrogance is a good trait, but isn’t that why Odin threw Thor down to earth in the first movie?

How can a narcissistic Iron Man be compared to a knight of the round table (which is done quite often I the comic books)?

Robert W
Sometimes, you have to get angry to accomplish anything.

Sometimes, you have to destroy in order to build.

The anger triggering the change and making Hulk stronger was not part of the original character. That came early on but wasn’t part of his origin.

Dr. Z
Parzival and perhaps Yvain are the only two knights that are not overtly narcissistic.   And even their innocence is a bit self-centered.  Their obtuseness reflects a disconnect from the needs of others.

The Suburban Prof
Sociologically, for males in the US, the only truly acceptable emotion is anger. Cry and you’re a wuss or “worse.” Same with other emotions. Frustration, joy, etc. Not really okay to express. Anger? Go for it.

The Hulk is a man. He becomes Hulk because he gets angry. But that’s okay. Once he’s angry, he takes care of the problem at hand.


Zimm is a marketing analyst with over twenty years of experience in online marketing and forty years in comic book geek.  He maintains a running commentary on all things geek at Comics and Geeks.
Robert W is a software consultant who has graciously set aside plans of world domination to focus on comic book multi-verses.  You can follow his thoughts at http://superherogarage.com.
The Suburban Prof is a sociology prof who in the tradition of Jane Goodall has undertaken a long term immersive study of geek culture.
Dr. Z is an English professor who is in search of new territories in need of interpretation, analysis, and exploitation.

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