The Incredible Hulk is an animated television series based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. The series ran for 13 episodes on NBC in 1982, part of a combined hour with Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (as The Incredible Hulk and the Amazing Spider-Man).
|The Incredible Hulk|
|Created by||Stan Lee|
|Voices of||Michael Bell|
|Narrated by||Stan Lee|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Executive producers||David H. DePatie|
|Production company||Marvel Productions|
|Distributor||New World Television|
|Original release||September 18, 1982 –|
October 8, 1983
Compared to the live-action The Incredible Hulk television series from Universal, this series followed the Hulk comic books much more closely, particularly with regard to the Hulk's origin, the supporting cast (though Rio and his only daughter Rita do not appear in the comics), the army base setting, the heavy use of fantastical elements, and the Hulk being capable of speech (albeit limited). The series also retained from the comic book "Bruce Banner" as the name of the Hulk's human identity (rather than "David Banner" as in the live-action series).
This was the second Hulk animated series: in 1966, the Hulk appeared in 13 seven-minute segments as part of TV's The Marvel Super Heroes. The "Spidey Goes Hollywood" episode of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, first broadcast in late 1981, served as something of a backdoor pilot for The Incredible Hulk as it guest-starred the version of Bruce Banner/the Hulk that would later feature in the 1982 series.
The series focuses on Dr. Bruce Banner attempting to cure himself of his transformations into the Hulk, and the Hulk defeating various monsters and villains whilst fending off the army's attempts to subdue and capture him.
The 1982 Incredible Hulk series featured accompanying narration by Hulk co-creator Stan Lee. Some of the same background music tracks were used for Dungeons & Dragons. Boyd Kirkland, who became a writer/director for Batman: The Animated Series and X-Men: Evolution, was one of the layout artists for The Incredible Hulk.
The character design for both Bruce Banner and the Hulk were based on the artwork of Sal Buscema, who penciled the Incredible Hulk comic during the 1970s and 1980s. There is also the more frequently remembered quirk that whenever the Hulk transformed back to Bruce Banner, his clothes would miraculously return to normal (instead of being with only what is left of his pants, as happens in the comics and subsequent media). Also, the series would frequently reuse the same stock sequences when Banner transformed into the Hulk.
- Bruce Banner: As in the original comic book, Dr Bruce Banner is an extremely intelligent physicist working in Gamma Base; during periods of stress or anger he transforms into the Hulk, a large, green-skinned, and muscular humanoid possessing a vast degree of physical strength but limited intelligence. Banner incurred this condition after being caught in the test explosion of a gamma bomb. Banner is depicted as seeking a cure for his condition.
- Rick Jones: Here, Rick is blond, wears a cowboy hat, and has a girlfriend named Rita. As in the early years of the comic books, Rick is the sole confidant of Banner's secret that he is actually the Hulk. The series retains from the comic book the plot-point that Rick feels partially responsible for Bruce Banner's condition, as Bruce was caught in an explosion whilst saving Rick, who was trespassing on the gamma bomb test site.
- Betty Ross: In this incarnation, Betty is a research scientist working alongside Bruce Banner at Gamma Base. Like the 1966 series, Betty is unaware that Banner transforms into the Hulk. As a brunette scientist, this version of Betty Ross anticipates the portrayal of the character in the 2003 and 2008 live-action Hulk films.
- General Ross: This incarnation of General Ross is broadly similar to the character from the comic book, although his antagonism towards the Hulk is less virulent than that of his comic book counterpart. In fact, Ross concedes grudging admiration for his foe at the end of the episode "The Incredible Shrinking Hulk," when he admits the Hulk saved Gamma Base from destruction.
- Major Ned Talbot: In this version, Major Talbot's first name was changed from Glenn to Ned. He is nicknamed by the troops secretly as "Noodle-head Ned" because he is very clumsy, somewhat cowardly, sucks up to General Ross, and is often deceived by the enemy. This incarnation of Talbot acts as comic relief for the series; in this respect he is quite different from the Talbot of the comic book, who was portrayed as a dedicated and competent officer (albeit bearing a hatred of the Hulk and serving as Bruce Banner's rival for Betty Ross' affections).
- Rio: Rita's father, a character exclusive to this series; he owns and operates the diner "Rio's Ranchero," situated close to Gamma Base. Although not officially confirmed, in the second episode, it is clear that Rick reveals the secret of Bruce to him, whom too tries to help him as he can.
- Rita: Rio's daughter and Rick Jones's girlfriend, a character exclusive to this series. Although not officially confirmed, in the second episode, it is clear that Rick reveals the secret of Bruce to her, whom too tries to help him as she can.
|1||"Tomb of the Unknown Hulk"|
|When high cosmic ray activity triggers Bruce's transformations without him getting angry, he tries to lock himself in a cave to protect his friends, but the cosmic rays also block communications and gives Doctor Octopus an opening to stage an attack on Gamma Base.|
|2||"Prisoner of the Monster"|
|Rick stumbles upon a map for a potion held by a lost tribe that can cure Bruce of the Hulk, but the cure becomes bittersweet when the Spymaster (who's named as such, but did not wear a costume of any type.) kidnaps Betty and her father, stealing a deadly weapon from Gamma Base that only the Hulk can defeat.|
|3||"Origin of the Hulk"|
|The retelling of the origin of the Hulk, with the original Russian Cold War spies replaced with aliens seeking the secrets of Bruce's Gamma Bomb.|
|4||"When Monsters Meet"|
|Arriving in Paris for a scientific conference, Bruce is given a possible cure for his condition, but his chances of using it are threatened by the appearance of a descendant of Quasimodo who wreaks havoc in the city. (This episode was adapted in comic book format by Marvel, in the one-shot "The Incredible Hulk versus Quasimodo". A back-up, one-page comic featuring editor Al Milgrom disguised as the Hulk explained how this book fit into the animated cartoon continuity, and not current Marvel Comics continuity)|
|5||"The Cyclops Project"|
|Due to the inadvertent actions of the Hulk, Cyclops, the world's most powerful military defense computer, malfunctions and seeks to take over the world. The Cyclops computer tries to obtain the aid of Bruce Banner and the Hulk to do so.|
|6||"Bruce Banner Unmasked"|
|When the Puppet Master attempts to gain control of the Hulk as a part of his plan to take over Mesa City and its surroundings, the army is finally able to defeat the creature and learn of Bruce Banner's secret identity.|
|7||"The Creature and The Cavegirl"|
|Bruce learns of a colleague whose developed a working time projector, seeing it as a chance to go back and stop the creation of the Hulk, only for the device to malfunction and transport the entire lab and its occupants back to 1,000,000 B.C.|
|8||"It Lives! It Grows! It Destroys!"|
|A rival scientist at Gamma Base develops a part plant, part animal lifeform which can eat almost anything in its path. But the creature escapes and threatens the planet as it grows uncontrollably.|
|9||"The Incredible Shrinking Hulk"|
|After his latest gamma experiment malfunctions, Bruce is shrunk down until he is one inch tall, as two spies attempt to steal a new tank.|
|10||"Punks on Wheels"|
|When a motorcycle gang kidnaps Rita, Bruce and his friend discover the gang is secretly working for the Leader, who seeks their aid in stealing a shipment of Vibranium.|
|Bruce and Rick travel to Los Angeles to visit Bruce's cousin Jennifer Walters to try to learn how she is able to maintain her intelligence when she changes into the She-Hulk, but their attempt is endangered thanks to the efforts of terrorist group HYDRA trying to take over the city.|
|12||"The Boy Who Saw Tomorrow"|
|Betty's nephew Jonah arrives at Gamma Base to demonstrate his amazing psychic ability, able to predict the future with uncanny accuracy he has a vision of Betty's space shuttle crashing into a mountain, with the Hulk and a mysterious madman involved.|
|13||"The Hulk Destroys Bruce Banner"|
|While testing his new Transmat teleporter on himself, Bruce transforms into the Hulk mid-teleportation, convincing Betty that the Hulk interfered. She then leads the charge to capture the Hulk and save Bruce.|
Bruce Banner was played by voice actor Michael Bell, while the Hulk himself was voiced by Bob Holt, whose stock library of roars created for this series would be used in various other Marvel Productions series and movies.
Scenes from Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends and The Incredible Hulk were re-cut, edited, and re-dubbed into comical shorts as part of Disney XD's Marvel Mash-Up shorts for their "Marvel Universe on Disney XD" block of programming that includes Ultimate Spider-Man and The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
The series was planned for release on Region 2 DVD in the UK in August 2008 by Liberation Entertainment as part of a release schedule of Marvel animated series. However, due to unforeseen circumstances the release day was pushed back to October, and then again to November 3. Liberation Entertainment then closed its UK division, making 12 staff redundant. This brought many delays to the releases.
Lace International bought the rights to distribute the series on DVD. Amazon.co.uk was the first store to receive stocks of the resulting two disc DVD set, which includes a short restoration featurette.
Clear Vision re-released the series on DVD in the UK on the June 7, 2010.
- Hyatt, Wesley (1997). The Encyclopedia of Daytime Television. Watson-Guptill Publications. pp. 227–228. ISBN 978-0823083152.
- Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 426–428. ISBN 978-1476665993.
- Review of the cartoon-based "Hulk vs. Quasimodo" comic at THE ISB
-  Archived September 17, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
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