The Original Inspiration for the Hulk Was a Mother Lifting a Car off Her Baby

(Image: Marvel Studios)

Hulk smash? Yes. But beyond that, Hulk save. The Hulk is male, but the original, real-life Hulk was a woman. Jack Kirby, the comic book artist who conceived of the Hulk, explained in a 1990 interview that an incident in which a mother rescued her baby by lifting a car off him was the inspiration behind the Hulk:

The Hulk I created when I saw a woman lift a car. Her baby was caught under the running board of this car. The little child was playing in the gutter and he was crawling from the gutter onto the sidewalk under the running board of this car — he was playing in the gutter. His mother was horrified. She looked from the rear window of the car, and this woman in desperation lifted the rear end of the car. It suddenly came to me that in desperation we can all do that — we can knock down walls, we can go berserk, which we do. You know what happens when we’re in a rage — you can tear a house down. I created a character who did all that and called him the Hulk. I inserted him in a lot of the stories I was doing. Whatever the Hulk was at the beginning I got from that incident. A character to me can’t be contrived. I don’t like to contrive characters. They have to have an element of truth. This woman proved to me that the ordinary person in desperate circumstances can transcend himself and do things that he wouldn’t ordinarily do. I’ve done it myself. I’ve bent steel.

-via io9

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