Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
Culture: American comics fandom
Setting: Marvel Comics

Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)

* Superheroes 2008 p65
"Compared to their presence in World War II narratives, superheroes played a minor role in the mythologizing of the Cold War.  An exception was the Hulk, created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby, and inspired by Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.  Debuting in The Incredible Hulk No. 1, May 1962, the Hulk was a response to fears inherent in the atomic age.  Dr. Bruce Banner, the inventor of the 'gamma bomb,' was caught in the bomb's first test blast owing to the machinations of a communist spy.  Despite absorbing massive amount of radiation, Banner seemed unharmed.  Later, however, he undergoes [sic] a monstrous metamorphosis as the Hulk.  Originally, Banner's transformation was triggered by sundown but later it was prompted by emotion, usually anger or frustration.  In the first issue, the Hulk was gray in response to Stan Lee's request for a color that did not suggest any particular ethnicity.  By issue two, however, the Hulk had acquired his green coloration.  At the time, little was known about the effects of radiation on the human body.  As the terrible by-product of nuclear science, the Hulk represented an escalation of this uncertainty to paranoiac proportions."


​* Superheroes 2008 p65, 69
​"[T]he Hulk is the embodiment of hegemonic masculinity.  As Alan M. Klein has observed, 'Comic-book depictions of masculinity are so obviously exaggerated that they represent fiction twice over, as genre and as gender representation.'  Klein compared the hyperbolic musculature of superheroes to bodybuilding, an appropriate comparison considering that superheroes have been closely aligned with bodybuilders since their inception.  Indeed, the concept and the costume of late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century strongmen like Eugen Sandow provided inspiration for Superman.  When casting the Hulk in the television series The Incredible Hulk (1978), Lou Ferrigno, a former Mr. America and Mr. Universe, seemed an obvious selection.  As a child, the Hulk was one of his role models.  Indeed, the Hulk, in all his overstated supersolidity, incarnates adolescent fantasies of physical empowerment.  Massively muscled, this stiffly posed pinup is forever frozen in a display of bodily strength.  But the Hulk also personifies pubescent metamorphosis.  As Peter Coogan has noted, 'When soft, flabby, small Bruce Banner gets excited he swells into the hard, strong, large Hulk ....'  While phallic symbolism is implicit in the representation of most superheroes, their hard bodies swathed in prophylactic unitards, it is explicit in the case of the Hulk.  With his thick neck, bulging tendons, and throbbing veins, he suggests the turgidity of male arousal."