The Hulk is missing in action. No one seems to know where he is… BUT this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The Hulk may just be going through a phase, one he’s been through before. So lets talk about the jade giants rough upbringing and how he has always been a problem child for Marvel. And what the future might hold.
Few could argue that the Hulk has become much more popular and mainstream since hitting the screen with his fellow Avengers. Prior to this success the Hulk was barely scraping by with two satisfactory films. The second one arguably more faithful and enjoyable then the previous one.
Thankfully the Hulk found his place when assembled alongside other Marvel heroes. But unless you have been collecting comics since the 60’s you probably wouldn’t know that this all happened once before. The Hulk wasn’t a success when he first appeared in comics either.
The Hulk debuted in Incredible Hulk #1 released in 1962. By 1963 he would be cancelled with a whopping six issues total. Just six! The Hulk was seemingly dead, at least until later that year he would show up with friends.The Avengers
Alongside the Avengers would the Hulk stay for roughly 5 years. Also during this time he would show up in the pages of ‘Tales to Astonish’ where he would either fight other heroes or team up for a short time. However, in 1968, the jade giant would explode onto the scene again in his own exclusive magazine, Incredible Hulk #102. This would begin the Hulk’s legacy anew and despite later “re-imaginings” of the character he would continue to SMASH more or less well into the new millennium.
So what does this say about ol’ greenie? Well it means that the Hulk is finding his audience again. He is finding himself again. The Hulk is a notoriously hard character to sell to people because of his literary heritage. The Hulk is literally the son of Frankenstein and Jekyll n’ Hyde (even Stan Lee admits this). Both are very deep, nuanced stories about not so very good people. So trying to sell the hybrid of these two as a superhero is a hard thing to pull off. It was difficult back in the 1960’s and its difficult now in the early 2000’s. It’s relatively easy to write and explain a story about Captain America or Iron Man. Their motivations and quirks can be more enjoyable and easier to understand. The Hulk is a loose cannon and can be the greatest hero or the worst enemy depending on the situation. Not to mention the whole dark psychology of Banner.
The Hulk endured two decent, but not really catchy movies (much like his 6 initial comic issues). The Hulk was then teamed up with the Avengers (just like how he was transferred to the Avengers in the comics when his magazine ended). And in the near future it is confirmed Hulk and Thor will be teamed up in Thor: Ragnarok (much like in Tales to Astonish).
If this pattern continues then one could infer the Hulk is only beginning to make his mark in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A solo film could very well be on the horizon. And not just one film but many. He and Marvel just need time to find his green groove.