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istock (printer) marvel (cover)
istock (printer) marvel (cover)

How a Faulty Printer Changed the Incredible Hulk

istock (printer) marvel (cover)
istock (printer) marvel (cover)

This month saw the return of Mark Ruffalo’s temperamental Hulk in Avengers: Age of Ultron. His character has been a fan favorite for over 50 years—but did you know that, originally, the big guy was given a very different look?

The muscle-bound antihero made his grand debut in Marvel Comics’ The Incredible Hulk #1 (1962). “Is he man or monster or both?” asked the cover, perfectly capturing the inner turmoil of this future superstar. Appropriately, creator Stan Lee says that two classic creature features inspired his moodiest brainchild.

“I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the Frankenstein monster. No one could ever convince me he was the bad guy,” the writer said in his book, The Origins of Marvel Comics. “He never wanted to hurt anyone; he merely groped his tortuous way through a second life trying to defend himself, trying to come to terms with those who sought to destroy him.” Lee imagined a cross between that sympathetic beast and Robert Louis Stevenson’s shape-shifting Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The result was a comic book icon like nothing anybody had ever seen before.

But one key ingredient remained missing. Previously, Lee hadn’t bothered dressing up his Fantastic Four characters in anything more elaborate than normal street clothes for their first appearance. Big mistake. “The fans said, ‘We love the book. It’s great. Oh, it’s the best new thing we’ve seen. But if you don’t give them costumes, we’ll never buy another issue,’” Lee said. An angry, marauding giant like the Hulk would have little use for tights and capes. So, Lee chose to appease readers by instead giving his Hulk a strange skin color. Gray—being “spooky”—was his top choice.

But when the time came to release the first Hulk issue, the shade of gray Lee wanted wouldn’t print correctly. On certain pages, the Hulk rocked a light, silvery complexion. On others, he was charcoal black. Clearly, this wouldn’t do. After reviewing Marvel’s extant superhero lineup, Lee realized that green wasn’t being used by any major characters. Boom—problem solved!

Lee asked colorist Stan Goldberg to make the Hulk green for issue #2. “It turned out to be a great choice,” Lee said. “By making him green, I was able to give him nicknames like ‘The Jolly Green Giant’ [or] ‘The Green Goliath.’ So, I’m very glad we made him green.”

Still, fans hadn’t seen the last of gray. In 1986, alter ego Bruce Banner unexpectedly turned into a clever, granite-colored hulk who called himself “Joe Fixit” and started working as a Las Vegas bouncer. Hopefully, this won’t come up in Avengers III

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Disney/Marvel Studios
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Afternoon Map
Marvel vs. DC: This Map Shows Each State’s Favorite Comic Universe
Disney/Marvel Studios
Disney/Marvel Studios

Which comic book company is the best: Marvel or DC? This is a perennial argument on middle-school playgrounds and Reddit threads, but this map, courtesy of USDish.com, might just give us a definitive answer. The information here is broken down by state, using information provided by Google Trends to give us a clear winner of not only the most popular comic book company but also the most popular individual hero in each state (let’s show a little respect to Indiana for championing the Martian Manhunter).

According to the map, Marvel is the most popular publisher in 37 states, with DC trailing behind at eight, and five additional states coming to a 50/50 stalemate. The totals weren’t a blowout, though. In certain states like Mississippi, Iowa, and Pennsylvania, the favored company only won by a point. And just because a state searches Google for a specific publisher the most doesn’t mean an individual character from the opposing team isn’t its favorite—Hawaii is listed as favoring Marvel overall, yet they love Aquaman on his own. Same with DC-loving Maryland showing Black Panther some love (helps to have a big movie coming out). Take a look at some of the most notable state preferences below:

So how did Marvel amass so many states when there are just as many DC TV shows and movies out there? Well, according to Andrew Selepak, Ph.D., a professor in the department of telecommunication at the University of Florida, and director of the graduate program in social media, the answer lies in the depth at the House of Ideas.

“While Superman and Batman may be dominant characters,” Selepak said in a statement, “the DC Universe offers few other well-known heroes and villains and when these other characters are presented to the audience in film and on TV, they often are less than well-received.” This is opposed to Marvel, which launches new heroes on the big and small screen seemingly every year.

Does this map tell the whole story? That’s up for debate. When it comes to comics sold, DC and Marvel are always in a close battle: In January 2018, DC had six of the 10 best-selling comics of the month, placing four of the top five. Marvel, meanwhile, had three, while Image Comics had one with The Walking Dead. In terms of overall retail market share, though, Marvel eked out DC 34.3 percent to 33.8 percent.

This is a battle that's been raging since the 1960s, and for an industry that thrives on a never-ending fight between good and evil, we shouldn't expect the Marvel vs. DC debate to be settled anytime soon.

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DC Comics, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
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entertainment
The Dark Knight Is Returning to Theaters, Just Ahead of 10th Anniversary
DC Comics, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
DC Comics, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Believe it or not, July 18 will mark the 10th anniversary of the release of The Dark Knight, the second entry in Christopher Nolan’s game-changing superhero movie trilogy. To mark the occasion, Showcase Cinemas—the movie theater chain behind the Cinema de Lux experience—is bringing the movie back to select theaters on the east coast for limited screenings on February 8 and February 11, /Film reports.

Many people consider The Dark Knight the best film in the Batman franchise (Tim Burton and LEGO-fied movies included). The film currently holds a 94 percent “fresh” rating with both critics and audiences on Rotten Tomatoes, making it the highest-rated movie in the Batman universe.

Much of the film’s acclaim came from Heath Ledger’s brilliant turn as The Joker—a role that won him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar (making him the only actor to win that award posthumously). Even Michael Caine, who plays Bruce Wayne’s ever-dutiful butler and BFF Alfred, admitted that he wasn’t sold on the idea of bringing The Joker back into Batman’s cinematic universe, after the character was so ably played by Jack Nicholson in Burton’s 1989 film, until he found out Ledger would be taking the role.

“You don’t try and top Jack,” was Caine’s original thought. But when Nolan informed the actor that he was casting Ledger, that changed things. “I thought: ‘Now that’s the one guy that could do it!’ My confidence came back,” Caine told Empire Magazine.

To find out if The Dark Knight is playing at a theater near you, visit Showcase Cinemas’s website. If it’s not, don’t despair: With the official anniversary still six months away, other theaters are bound to have the same idea.

[h/t: /Film]

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