Thursday, October 13, 2011

From Comics to Toons: The Incredible Hulk (1982)

The live-action Incredible Hulk, with Lou Ferrigno & the late Bill Bixby, had come to an end. Much like Batman 14 years earlier, the green goliath moved to animated form and to Saturday mornings, changing networks along the way. Only in this case, it was from CBS to NBC.

NBC had overhauled their Saturday slate a year earlier, producing only 2 legitimate hits: Smurfs & Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends. For the latter series, Marvel frontman Stan Lee came on board to serve as narrator, as if that was really necessary, and would have the same chores for this animated incarnation of Hulk. Hewey1972 uploaded the open to YouTube:

Veteran voice actor Bob Holt provided the Hulk's growls, while ever-busy Michael Bell voiced Bruce Banner (no longer David, as was the case in the primetime series). Only 13 episodes were produced, and NBC kept the series around for an extra year or two, as they got caught short on new material the following year. It's notable also for the toon debut of ol' greenskin's cousin, She-Hulk, who would also resurface in the 1996 revival of the series on UPN. Was Lee's narration a deterrent? It all depends on your point of view. I get he was trying to create the same kind of atmosphere for the series, a la The Fugitive, that the live-action show did, but it was unnecessary.

Rating: B.


magicdog said...

I never minded Stan Lee's narration. In fact, with most Marvel shows, I've come to expect it. Even if he's not on board narrating, he's usually voicing an expy of himself.

The suits at NBC were hoping for lightning to strike twice with Hulk after the Spiderman series, although I think the Spiderman show was a bit better myself.

I remember this show being my first introduction to the She-Hulk character qnd I thought Jennifer had the best of both worlds; being able to go back and forth between two forms at will and still keep her basic personality. I think that's since changed in the comics though.

hobbyfan said...

Aye, they've gone back & forth on Jen being She-Hulk full-time or part time over the 30+ years since her debut, which says that every writer has his take, and applies his vision without regard to what others have done before him. No wonder most comics are a mess these days.