Deck Log Entry # 180 It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time (Part Two)

“Why does Hulk’s head hurt when Hulk tries to think?”

 

“Hulk smash!”

 

That was the Hulk I encountered every time I looked at an issue of Tales to Astonish in the mid-1960's.  Whenever physicist Bruce Banner felt intense stress, he transformed into the over-sized, emerald-hued monster called the Hulk.  The Green Goliath possessed incalculable strength and was virtually indestructible, to boot.  “Hulk is the strongest one there is!” he bellowed in almost every story.

 

He was also a green-skinned imbecile.  The trade-off for all that might was he retained none of Doctor Banner’s intellect.  Or hardly any intellect at all, for that matter.  That meant the Hulk was easily frustrated, and with his hair-trigger temper, he would go off on a destructive rampage once or twice an issue.  Even when he wasn’t pissed off at one thing or another, he was still something of a lout.  (The idea that an unannoyed Hulk had a childlike innocence wouldn’t emerge until the next decade.) 

 

And the Hulk’s speech reflected his limited brainpower.  He referred to himself in the third person, as “Hulk”, being unable to grasp the concept of definite and indefinite articles.  Most others he addressed only by physical characteristic---with the exceptions of Rick Jones and the hated General “Thunderbolt” Ross.  (“Ross!”)  A McGuffey Reader wouldn’t have helped, since the big green goof was also illiterate.

 

In going back and filling in the blanks on the early Marvel universe---thanks to the reprints in Marvel Tales and Marvel Collectors’ Item Classics, and the infrequent back issue---I had come across a few original-concept surprises:  Thor speaking in conventional English; Iron Man’s clunky, all-golden armour; Daredevil’s first costume of yellow-and-black.  Yet, nothing was as startling as discovering the departures between the early Hulk and the version familiar to me.  And not just because they were so different; but also because there were so many of them that the character himself seemed to change from issue to issue.

 

Obviously, with the Hulk, Stan Lee was going for a riff on the classic Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde.  It was equally obvious that Lee couldn’t settle on how he wanted to do that.  Each succeeding story brought a change in the concept.  Stan liked the Hulk as a character, believed in its marketability.  He wasn’t going to let it go.  So he kept tinkering with it.

 

Rather than present them in the piecemeal fashion that I discovered them, it’s better to go in chronological order, to show how the Hulk was a character in search of a format.

 

 

The Incredible Hulk # 1 (May, 1962)

 

Whoa!  If all you knew about the Hulk was from the mid-1960’s onward, then you wouldn’t have recognised much about ol’ Greenskin at all from his début.  For one thing, he wasn’t green---he was grey!  That fact is well-known now, to the point that, in the late 1980’s, Marvel attempted to make hay out of a grey Hulk.  But by 1965 with the Hulk firmly established as being green, his original grey-ness had been swept under the rug and wasn’t considered part of his canon.

 

That was only the most visual difference.  The original Hulk had some smarts.  No Einstein, but he was crafty.  Personality-wise, he was arrogant and brutish, and above all that, I had to wrap myself around the fact that this Hulk could use personal pronouns.

And the last unexpected thing:  Dr. Banner’s transformation into the Hulk was triggered by the setting of the sun.  And at dawn, he reverted to his human self.  Day and night, good and evil---one of Stan’s less subtle metaphors.

 

 

The Incredible Hulk # 2 (Jul., 1962)

 

Ah, that’s better.

 

As it developed, there were printing problems with a grey-skinned Hulk.  The four-colour process used at the time didn’t accommodate grey all that well, and it was impossible to keep the shade consistent.  After seeing the first issue’s uneven colouration of the Hulk, Stan Lee changed the hue of his star’s skin to green.  There was no in-story explanation; the Hulk was simply green, as if he had always been so.

 

He was still transforming according to the rise and fall of the sun, though.  And the Hulk was still functionally intelligent, in a thuggish sort of way.  But a new wrinkle was added---the now-emerald behemoth was prone to bestial rages, when provoked or frustrated.

 

It’s also worth pointing out that, at this stage, the Hulk, though phenomenally strong, wasn’t as staggeringly powerful as he would become a mere three years later.  In order to keep the Hulk contained, Bruce Banner confined himself to a vault in his secret desert laboratory just before sunset.  The stone walls of the vault were sufficient to keep his monstrous self imprisoned, despite his constant pounding.  The idea that the Hulk could not punch through a stone wall would be unthinkable by the time I started reading the stories.

 

 

The Incredible Hulk # 3 (Sep., 1962)

 

Practical considerations had forced turning the Hulk green, but this issue marked the first time Stan Lee made a change in the character for dramatic reasons.  I’m guessing Stan found the night-and-day aspect too limiting.  But he didn’t stop there.

 

The opening chapter of “Banished to Outer Space” sees the Hulk tricked into boarding a rocketship, which General Ross then seals and launches from a remote location.  Angry at the deception, Rick Jones fiddles with the dials and knobs of the rocket’s control panel, in an attempt to bring the Hulk back to Earth.  This causes the ship to pass through a radiation storm, which bathes the craft and its emerald-hued occupant in a bizarre energy.  This strange force also surges back through the control panel and briefly envelops Rick.

 

The Hulk’s rocket is disabled and it crashes to Earth near its launching point.  But, by then, it is daytime, and as Rick rushes to the crash site, he realises that the Hulk would have changed back to Bruce Banner before the ship hit.  The boy fears Banner was killed by the impact.

 

To his astonishment, Rick sees the Hulk emerge from the wreckage, even though it is broad daylight.  Something in the strange radiation removed the nighttime constraint on the Green Goliath’s existence.  But that’s not all of it.  When the monster angrily lashes out at Rick, the boy discovers that he can command the Hulk’s actions.

The downside is, when Rick falls asleep, his mental control of the Hulk lapses, leaving the Emerald Behemoth in a mindless rage.  Rick awakens just in time to save a near-by town from a Hulk rampage, but he is left with the problem of how to stay awake constantly.

 

 

The Incredible Hulk # 4 (Nov., 1962)

 

Lee must have decided that he hated the notion of a mind-controlled Hulk as soon as it saw print because, in the first of the two stories in this issue, he not only jettisoned the idea, but came up with yet another format for his green-skinned star.

 

When General Ross sends troops to capture the Hulk, in “The Monster and the Machine”, Rick Jones mentally commands the enthralled goliath to flee.  Instead, Ross settles for taking Jones into custody, in order to determine the connexion between him and the Hulk.  Rick telepathically summons the Hulk, who attacks the base and swoops off with the boy.

 

Rick has the Hulk take them to Dr. Banner’s secret desert lab.  Realising he cannot go on without sleep, the youngster takes a desperate chance.  He finds a prototype of a gamma-ray projector, along with Banner’s notes for operating it.  Ordering the Hulk to submit to the device, Rick then follows Banner’s written directions.  The machine fires to life and blasts the Emerald Behemoth with gamma radiation.  He immediately reverts to Bruce Banner.

 

Dr. Banner studies the data recorded by the projector-ray and theorises that, with controlled dosages of gamma radiation, he can control his transformations to the Hulk and back.  After making some adjustments to the ray, he straps himself in and tells Rick to pull the switch.  One gamma-ray-zap later, Banner discovers that he has succeeded beyond his wildest hopes.  Not only has he transformed back to the Hulk, but he has retained Banner’s intellect!

 

Rick Jones quickly sees that the monster may have Banner’s brains, but still displays the brutish nature of the Hulk.  The Banner part of him holds some influence though, as the Green Goliath declares his intention to use his might to accomplish good deeds.

 

In the second story of the issue, “Gladiator from Outer Space”, the Hulk establishes his super-hero credentials by defeating an attack by Communist forces disguised as an invasion of aliens from outer space.

 

This story marks the introduction of the Hulkster’s purple trunks, replacing his familiar torn trousers.

 

The next issue, # 5 (Jan., 1963), was the only one in the series’ run that instituted no changes to the previous ish’s status quo.  So we can skip it and go right to . . . .

 

 

The Incredible Hulk # 6 (Mar., 1963)

 

After two issues of being able to change between the Hulk and his normal self at will, Dr. Banner begins to experience some side-effects from the gamma-ray projector.  The transformations are becoming more painful and less complete.  When the Hulk turns the ray on himself at the beginning of the story, he discovers that he has not changed into his usual frail human form.   "Puny" Banner has become huskier and more muscular.

 

Before he has time to adjust to his new physique, Banner is alerted to an event at the military base commanded by General Ross.  A being called the Metal Master (a real alien from outer space this time) has arrived in the near-by town and claims dominance over the Earth.  He backs it up, too, when he uses his power over metal to rout Ross’s army, by melting tanks and deflecting missiles.

 

Banner steps under the gamma-projector and becomes the Hulk, again.  But there’s been another glitch.  While the rest of him is the Hulk, his head is still that of Bruce Banner.  He’s really into this super-hero stuff now and refuses to expose his secret identity.  Instead, he dons a latex mask of the Hulk, which he had conveniently made “for study”, and bounds off to tackle the Metal Master.

 

The troops hold back while man-monster and metal-master square off.  Round One goes to the villain, though, when he turns a hunk of iron into an aerial torpedo and---again, it was a weaker Hulk in those days---kayos ol’ Greenskin with it.  The Metal Master flies off, and curious soldiers surround the semi-conscious Hulk.  One of them discovers the Green Goliath is wearing a mask and removes it.  Fortunately, the transformation process had completed during the battle, and Banner-head was replaced by the Hulk’s unsightly noggin.

 

After an interlude in which the Hulk once again escapes from General Ross’s custody, feverish preparations are made for the next confrontation with the Metal Master.  Bruce Banner has an idea for a weapon which will defeat the marauding alien, but he needs Rick Jones’s help to gather the components.

 

Incidentally, this story features Rick’s formation of the Teen Brigade (which is a subject for its own Deck Log Entry---if I ever get desperate for ideas).

 

By now, the Metal Master is in Washington, D.C., making his demands to the White House.  The Hulk arrives just as the villain is demonstrating his power, but instead of the knock-down, drag-out battle that a reader would expect to see in a 1965 tale of the Hulk, instead, ol’ Jadejaws wins out over the Metal Master with trickery and guile.  The alien puts everything back the way it was and leaves Earth.

 

Back at his secret lab, the Hulk learns that, for saving the nation’s capital, the President has awarded him a pardon for any crimes of which he’s been accused.

 

 * * * * *

 

The entire run of the Hulk’s first series and at the end, he was even more different from the version that I knew than when it started.  Here, he possessed Bruce Banner’s mind and scientific acumen; he controlled when he changed to the Hulk and back; and he willingly acted as a super-hero.  That was a far cry from “Hulk smash!”

 

However, something I had read in The Avengers # 16 (May, 1965) now made more sense.  Iron Man reminded the new line-up that, when the Avengers were founded, the Hulk was a member.  That was my first inkling of such a thing, and I had struggled to fathom how even Stan Lee could make the brainless, temperamental monster fit in as part of the team.  But the Green Goliath of The Incredible Hulk # 6 would be more workable in a group, as I saw for myself when I was finally able to read the Avengers’ origin.

 

 

The Avengers # 1 (Sep., 1963)

 

The Hulk is still eating his super-hero Cheerios in this tale, as we see when he tries to prevent a nest of dynamite from exploding on a line of railroad tracks.  Unfortunately, the dynamite is only an illusion, cast by Thor’s arch-enemy, Loki, and it causes the Hulk to inadvertently damage the tracks himself.  Nevertheless, he is able to hold the tracks secure while a train passes over them.

 

Unfortunately, the engineer spies the Hulk and jumps to the conclusion that he was trying to wreck the train.  That’s the word that gets out and, Presidential pardon or no Presidential pardon, ol’ Greenskin decides to make himself scarce.  This sets in motion the events which lead to the formation of the Avengers, and the Hulk decides it might be a pretty good thing to be on a team of heroes.

 

In the next issue, it’s clear that, while he may be the group’s powerhouse, the Hulk gets a low mark in the “Plays Well with Others” block.  He’s abrasive, arrogant, and intemperate, and Iron Man would dearly love to chop the Emerald Behemoth off at the knees, except that he has to get in line behind Thor and Giant-Man to do it. During their battle with the Space Phantom, his teammates’ insults quickly push the Hulk past his boiling point.  After growling a few choice words, he quits the Avengers and leaps away.

 

Stan Lee wasn’t giving up on the Hulk.  If he didn’t work as a hero, then maybe he’d find his niche as a villain.

 

 

The Avengers # 3 (Jan., 1964)

 

This issue begins closely after the conclusion of the previous one.  While the Avengers launch a search for the Hulk, their quarry returns to the American southwest, where Rick Jones persuades him to rest in the desert lab.  Using the gamma-ray projector to become his human self, an exhausted Bruce Banner locks himself in the stone vault and tries to sleep.  Instead, he tosses and turns fitfully, only to feel himself involuntarily transforming back into the Hulk.  Banner is helpless to prevent the change, blaming it on an insufficient dosage from the gamma-ray projector.

 

Instants later, Rick is startled to see his green-skinned pal smash through the stone wall of the vault, something he had not been able to do before, and it scares the bejeesus out of him.  It’s more than just the monster’s increased strength.  The Hulk is filled with rage and a contempt for humanity.

 

It’s a sea change for the character of the Hulk.  He had always been brutish and arrogant, even with Bruce Banner’s intellect, but here, he moves over to the dark side.  He considers humans to be less than ants, and if he happens to step on them so be it.  Later, when he teams up with the Sub-Mariner, the Hulk is willing, even eager, to destroy the Avengers.  And after that’s done, he plans on killing Namor for good measure.

 

He has bloomed into an outright villain, an attitude which will guide his next few appearances.

 

The Hulk battles the Avengers twice in this tale.  The first time, he outwits and outfights his former teammates with embarrassing ease.  The second time, with the Sub-Mariner at his side, he almost pulls off the unthinkable.  That’s when Stan Lee tosses the readers another curve.

 

In the heat of battle, the Hulk suddenly reverts to Bruce Banner.  Banner chalks it up to the excitement of the pitched combat with the Avengers.  Within the short, unstable history of the Hulk, this is the first time the transformation has ever occurred without any outside stimulus.  A corner is about to be turned.

 

Oh, and on a fashion note, this story marks the return of the Hulk’s torn purple pants.  The purple trunks are gone for good, or at least, for the rest of the Silver Age.

 

 

Fantastic Four # 25 (Apr., 1964)

 

This story continues the premise that the transformations from Banner to the Hulk and back again are now occurring spontaneously.  In an early chapter, Banner makes it back to his secret laboratory; however, the Hulk gains ascendency and, in a fit of pique, destroys all of the scientific equipment. The gamma-ray projector is reduced to junk.

 

This is a significant shift for the character, since the ability to control the changes has been taken out of Bruce Banner’s (and the Hulk’s) hands.  Now the transformations occur seemingly at random, which is a far more useful literary device.

 

And the Hulk is still a thug, callous and potentially deadly.  He spends this issue and the next with blood in his eye, ready to visit a terrible vengeance on Rick Jones.  Fortunately, the Fantastic Four and the Avengers are on hand to prevent it.

 

 

Tales to Astonish # 59 and # 60 (Sep. and Oct., 1964)

 

When the Hulk unexpectedly reverted to Bruce Banner in The Avengers # 3, it was probably just a plot device Stan tossed in because he was down to the next-to-last page and he needed a quick end to the story.  But it must have gotten the Smiling One to thinking.  If over-stress changed the Hulk to Banner, it made even more sense that the same thing would cause Banner to change to the Hulk.  Even better, he could toss in some medical mumbo-jumbo about racing pulse rates and elevated blood pressure and stuff like that, to make it sound legit.

 

So that’s just what Stan did.  The problem is, I wasn’t exactly sure when he first did it.  In Tales to Astonish # 59, the Hulk appears in the Giant-Man story, as a prelude to getting his own feature in the title.  That tale---“Enter the Hulk”---includes a sequence in which a highly peeved Bruce Banner lets his anger get the best of him, and he turns into his green-skinned alter ego.  From Banner’s thoughts, it’s clear he knows that the sudden increase in his blood pressure instigates the transformation . . . .

 

Yet, when the Hulkster moves into his own slot, in the very next issue, we find Dr. Banner completely in the dark about what causes him to turn into the Hulk and back again.  It isn’t until the bottom of page three that he figures out that extreme stress triggers the change.

 

It seems unlikely that the two stories were printed out of order.  So my guess is Stan Lee, who was cranking out stories for almost the entire Marvel line, got ahead of himself here.

 

 

Tales to Astonish # 65 and # 66 (Mar. and Apr., 1965)

 

As I was reconstructing the Hulk’s early history from all those reprints and back issues, I saw that I was still dealing with the reasonably intelligent Hulk.  From the beginning, he had a solid, if low-brow, intellect and he was still that way when his series in Tales to Astonish commenced. That certainly wasn’t the Hulk I knew.  Of all of these early discrepancies, as Stan tried to find the right formula to make the Hulk work, that was the big one for me:  when did ol' Jadejaws become a dimwit?

 

I had assumed it was a gradual process, something the character eased into.  The more the Hulk moved in the direction of stupid, the more Stan liked it, I figured.  To my surprise, I found out that I'd figured wrong.

 

It happened in one issue.

 

For the first seven stories in his Tales to Astonish run, the Hulk still had a decently working brain and spoke in his tough-guy grammar.  In Tales to Astonish # 65, ol’ Greenskin doesn’t get much camera time, but he still has his wits and talks in proper syntax, with passive verbs and pronouns, even.

 

Then a month later, Tales to Astonish # 66 comes out, and suddenly, right in the middle of the on-going plotline, the Emerald One has turned into an idiot.  Everything is “Hulk angry!  Hulk smash!” now.  And the captions make reference to “the cloudy brain” of the Hulk and how he lacks cunning.

 

 

Tales to Astonish # 67 (May, 1965)

 

Now, he was almost the Hulk that I was familiar with.  Almost, but not quite.  There was one last detail.  Stan Lee had insisted that extreme stress also caused the Hulk to change back to Bruce Banner.  In fact, that was still the standard in Tales to Astonish # 66:

 

But, the more the Hulk rages, the faster his heart beats---the higher his blood pressure rises---until it reaches the crucial point which triggers the most amazing transformation in medical history . . . .

 

After that, it’s “Hello again, Bruce.”

 

I think Stan had finally gotten the Hulk to the level he wanted---an almost mindless creature of rage.  Perhaps he felt that this version of the Hulk would work better without a ceiling on his anger.  Or maybe it was just another case of Stan losing track of some of the details among all the scripts he was writing.  But for whatever reason, beginning with Tales to Astonish # 67, the Green Goliath had to calm down after a rampage in order for the transformation back to Banner to kick in.

 

And that’s the way it stayed.

 

 

When I first went back and read a few early stories and saw how different the Hulk was from the one I was reading by the end of ’65, I had no idea it had actually taken three years of adjustments by Stan Lee to get there.  Sure, most comic-book characters experience some minor revisions at first.  It’s part of the settling process.  But few have suffered as many basic changes in premise as has the Hulk.

 

In the final analysis, though, after all that honing and tweaking, Stan got it right.  The final product---the Big Green Goof---is the version everyone instinctively associates with the character.

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Ron M. said:

The only real signs the Hulk has this incredible power level in the early days is him lifting part of a mountain to attack Havok (who beats him by repeatedly blasting the Hulk in the head) and Crusher Creel lifts a mountain to dump on the Hulk by absorbing his strength, then gets crushed himself when Hulk turns back to Banner. In the late 70s he holds up a mountain so Valkyrie and Nighthawk can escape.

Thinking about it all these years later, I don't think anyone could hold up a mountain no matter how strong they were. A mountain isn't a solid unit like, say, an anvil. It would crumble into separate large and small pieces. If it was held up by some force it might stay together because it would be encapsulated. Just sayin'

And picking up a train and flying with it would probably end in landing with only one car, the others breaking loose and dropping all along your path, possibly on top of innocent bystanders.

Marvel tells us the Hulk weighs 1000 pounds (1040 the Official Guide to the Marvel Universe tells us), Thor weighs over 600 pounds (was this established anywhere in the comics, or did the OGMU make that up?), yet the Thing, made out of stone, weighs only 500 pounds. And he's just 6 feet tall, compared to Thor's 6'6" and the Hulk's 7 feet in the Silver and Bronze Ages yet somehow a lot taller than that since Ron Perelman bought the company. Ben looked a lot bigger in his first appearance when he smashes through the door in a clothing store while complaining "Why must they make doorways so narrow?!" Ben shrinks while the Hulk gets bigger. The Thing goes from the most powerful being in the Marvel Universe to not even in the top strength tier. 
 
Fraser Sherman said:

Everything we've actually seen shows his strength isn't infinite, at least up through the Bronze Age--in the Avengers/Defenders crossover, Thor and the Hulk lock grappling with each for hours. Of course, it's usually Hulk saying "the madder he gets" and as the Commander has established, the Hulk wasn't that bright. So maybe he was wrong.

As for Thor being theoretically more powerful than the Hulk with the hammer on hand, Marvel was full of little caveats like that. The Thing is pound-for-pound as strong as Hulk, it's just that Hulk has more pounds. Namor is as strong as Hulk or Thor when in water, less out of it (and of course when they're in water, they're hampered and not able to move as easily).

 



 

While it's quite true lifting up mountains and trains doesn't make sense, those stunts are standard for the Silver Age. Like Superman looking into lead-lined basements by simply ripping up the building above it, then putting it back down.

I can't speak for Thor's weight specifically, but the Official Handbook did make up lots of stuff, rather than just drawing on what was established. A lot of it was clunky (Cyclops' ray blasts come from another dimension because his eyes are tiny dimensional gateways),and tons of it got retconned away. Strength levels are particularly unreliable,I think--Handbook top-dog Mark Gruenwald said that if characters were too strong, they'd destroy everything they touched so he set what he considered realistic upper limits.

And yeah,pretty much everyone was given a height way above average, both men and women.

IIRC the Stranger's motive was using the Hulk as a weapon to attack the world's nuclear powers, make them think each other was responsible, then trigger a war. From what we later see, he does just keep stuff around on his planet. Possibly Stan came up with the Collector because the latter was much less powerful (until established as an Elder of the Universe years later) and much quirkier.

Ron M. said:

Marvel tells us the Hulk weighs 1000 pounds (1040 the Official Guide to the Marvel Universe tells us), Thor weighs over 600 pounds (was this established anywhere in the comics, or did the OGMU make that up?), yet the Thing, made out of stone, weighs only 500 pounds. And he's just 6 feet tall, compared to Thor's 6'6" and the Hulk's 7 feet in the Silver and Bronze Ages yet somehow a lot taller than that since Ron Perelman bought the company. Ben looked a lot bigger in his first appearance when he smashes through the door in a clothing store while complaining "Why must they make doorways so narrow?!" Ben shrinks while the Hulk gets bigger. The Thing goes from the most powerful being in the Marvel Universe to not even in the top strength tier. 
 
Fraser Sherman said:

Everything we've actually seen shows his strength isn't infinite, at least up through the Bronze Age--in the Avengers/Defenders crossover, Thor and the Hulk lock grappling with each for hours. Of course, it's usually Hulk saying "the madder he gets" and as the Commander has established, the Hulk wasn't that bright. So maybe he was wrong.

As for Thor being theoretically more powerful than the Hulk with the hammer on hand, Marvel was full of little caveats like that. The Thing is pound-for-pound as strong as Hulk, it's just that Hulk has more pounds. Namor is as strong as Hulk or Thor when in water, less out of it (and of course when they're in water, they're hampered and not able to move as easily).

 



 

They said Thor was 600 pounds? I can see 250, but 600?

How much did they say Spider-Man weighs?

Neither of them have strength dependent upon their size/weight.

I recall reading somewhere that when Ben first became the Thing, he could only lift (press) five tons and his strength increased over the years to reach eighty-five tons. And I'll assume that the same happened to the Hulk.

Thor was always supposed to be the "Strongest" hero of the early MU so the Hulk kept pace with the Thunder God. But then the Thing, the Sub-Mariner and Hercules had to match up with them proportionally.

Actually, I could believe that Namor wasn't that strong during WWII. Otherwise he would have won the war by himself!

Asgardian bone and flesh are three times denser than Midgardians, at least according to the OHOTMU. Going by that, Thor's old stepmother, Frigga, is TWICE as strong as Spider-Man!
 
Richard Willis said:

They said Thor was 600 pounds? I can see 250, but 600?

How much did they say Spider-Man weighs?

Neither of them have strength dependent upon their size/weight.

Philip Portelli said:

I recall reading somewhere that when Ben first became the Thing, he could only lift (press) five tons


That's from Fantastic Four #18, when the dialogue is establishing that the Super Skrull is stronger.

Then of course Olympian bone and flesh also had to be three times denser to match.

The closest to that idea I've heard of outside of the Guide was in The Adventures of Superman. When Superman hit a meteor, it gave him amnesia. He wandered home and collapsed while taking a shower. Jimmy Olsen complained about the trouble he had getting him out of the broken shower. "He must weigh a ton!"

Namor during WWII was just strong enough to beat up sharks and drag submarines down deep enough for the water pressure to make them burst their seams. Except for the times he had trouble fighting regular crooks. That can be explained by saying he was out of water too long, but then why was he still able to tear up telephone books and beat up all those guys in the flophouse in FF#4 when he'd supposedly been out of the water for years (decades now)?

 

 

Sorry, Philip Portelli explained it already.

Ron M. said:

Then of course Olympian bone and flesh also had to be three times denser to match.

I meant to question this earlier on the Thor thread, but Hercules IIRC was a demi-god* having a human mother. I would think that would mean he was not as powerful as a full-blooded Olympian god, or as Thor.

* unlike Tony Stark's erroneously calling Thor a demi-god in the Avengers movie.

The closest to that idea I've heard of outside of the Guide was in The Adventures of Superman. When Superman hit a meteor, it gave him amnesia. He wandered home and collapsed while taking a shower. Jimmy Olsen complained about the trouble he had getting him out of the broken shower. "He must weigh a ton!"

Without going off on too much of a tangent, are you saying Superman took a shower in Clark's apartment and Jimmy was there?

Namor during WWII was just strong enough to beat up sharks and drag submarines down deep enough for the water pressure to make them burst their seams. Except for the times he had trouble fighting regular crooks. That can be explained by saying he was out of water too long, but then why was he still able to tear up telephone books and beat up all those guys in the flophouse in FF#4 when he'd supposedly been out of the water for years (decades now)?

He probably didn't go swimming until after Johnny stumbled upon him, but he must have encountered small amounts of water before that. He would have died of thirst.

The Guide made a big mistake with SuperSkrull. It pointed out that the Thing was much weaker when he was given his powers so SuperSkrull was not made all at powerful, and placed SS's strength level not much more than Spider-Man's normally. It said when power was beamed to him he became much stronger, but he was still much weaker than the current day Thing. Obviously they hadn't actually read FF#18 when writing that, which showed SuperSkrull lift the main energy source of the Skrull homeworld, which was stated as weighing over 100 tons.

Superman somehow finds and puts on his Clark Kent outfit, wanders around, somehow finds his apartment, and lets himself in with the keys he found in his pocket. Jimmy, who's been waiting to see him, tells him he looks terrible and suggests taking a shower might make him feel better. I believe he then goes to get Clark something to eat but hears the crash as he collapses, breaking the glass door. "You wouldn't believe how lucky he is! All that glass all over the place and not a scratch on him!"
Luke Blanchard said:

Philip Portelli said:

I recall reading somewhere that when Ben first became the Thing, he could only lift (press) five tons


That's from Fantastic Four #18, when the dialogue is establishing that the Super Skrull is stronger.

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