The Hulk first appeared in The Incredible Hulk #1 (cover dated May 1962), written by writer-editor Stan Lee, penciled and co-plotted by Jack Kirby, and inked by Paul Reinman. Lee cites influence from Frankensteinand Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in the Hulk’s creation. The Hulk’s original series was canceled with issue #6 (March 1963).
In the debut, Lee chose gray for the Hulk because he wanted a color that did not suggest any particular ethnic group.Colorist Stan Goldberg, however, had problems with the gray coloring, resulting in different shades of grey, and even green, in the issue. After seeing the first published issue, Lee chose to change the skin color to green. Green was used in retellings of the origin, with even reprints of the original story being recolored for the next two decades, until The Incredible Hulk vol. 2, #302 (December 1984) reintroduced the gray Hulk in flashbacks set close to the origin story. Since then, reprints of the first issue have displayed the original gray coloring, with the fictional canon specifying that the Hulk’s skin had initially been grey. An exception is the early trade paperback, Origins of Marvel Comics, from 1974, which explains the difficulties in keeping the gray color consistent in a Stan Lee written prologue, and reprints the origin story keeping the gray coloration.
Lee gave the Hulk’s alter ego the alliterative name Bruce Banner because he found he had less difficulty remembering alliterative names. Despite this, in later stories he misremembered the character’s name and referred to him as “Bob Banner”, an error which readers quickly picked up on. The discrepancy was resolved by giving the character the official full name of Robert Bruce Banner.
The 1970s saw Banner and Betty nearly marry in The Incredible Hulk #124 (Feb. 1970).Betty ultimately married Talbot in issue #158 (Dec. 1972).The Hulk also traveled to other dimensions, one of which had him meet empress Jarella, who used magic to bring Banner’s intelligence to the Hulk, and came to love him. It was during this period that the Hulk helped to form the Defenders.
The first incarnation of Red Hulk (also known as Rulk) first appeared in the Hulk series that debuted in 2008. The 2010 “World War Hulks” storyline reveals that this being is United States Army General Thunderbolt Ross, the father-in-law and longtime nemesis of the original Hulk, Bruce Banner. The storyline reveals that Ross was given the ability to transform into Red Hulk by the organizations A.I.M. and the Intelligencia, and that he did this in order to be able to better fight the original Hulk.
The Incredible Hulk travels to an apocalyptic future to face his ultimate challenge…himself. Meet the Maestro, the Hulk’s future imperfect self. Approximately a hundred years into the future, a nuclear war has killed almost all of Earth‘s superhumans and has taken the world to the brink of extinction. A future version of the Hulk called Maestro has seized control after being driven insane by the nuclear radiation he has absorbed and the bitterness he feels towards the world at his continued treatment. He has the intelligence of Bruce Banner and the absorbed radiation has significantly enhanced his strength. Can even the Green Goliath defeat a foe whose strength rivals his own? A foe who knows his every move before he even makes it?