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Evolution of Comic Book Super Heroes

22 Jun

Comic book influence has dominated movie block busters for several years. It seems  the comic book hero has taken on an increased share of the market and are a strength unto themselves. I can’t imagine this lasting for too many more years, but for now the major movie studios are raking in the coin.
Hulk cover from 1st issueSuperrman Action Comics 1940s


When some of the most powerful comic book characters were introduced, they seemed to have manageable limits to their strength and powers. As of this time, there are seemingly no limits. These original stories showed the powerful were able to lift cars and trucks over their head as well as smashing brick walls. Soon that wasn’t enough, they were hoisting tanks in the air. Since those early halcyon days, this is just small stuff. They now are able to travel beyond the limits of atmosphere and punching out planets.

Stan Lee said Thor was specifically created to be stronger than the Hulk. Hulk is nowhere near as strong as Thor. Thor is cosmic/sky-father level strong.

Thor was conspicuously absent during World War Hulk because of this specific fact. Since Thor comes from Norse mythology and is almost treated as a god, it’s difficult to get your head around someone of his nature. If there were parameters more in keeping with another galaxy theory like Superman, rather than Asgard has all kinds of gods on it, then maybe his description might fit within the realm of belief.Thor full on lightning

What started out as a brute with moderate levels of super strength, the Hulk has now reached the point of breaking worlds. He now has a base strength of 100+ tons, which increases radically the angrier he becomes. He’s the original rage machine.

Superman vs the Hulk early crossover issue

Superman vs the Hulk in an early crossover issue ended in draw.

 

And now the Hulk has destroyed an asteroid twice size of Earth with a single blow and reversed energy strong enough to destroy a cosmos with a thunder-clap.

Readers respond:

Hulk versus Superman – Hulk’s Anger Management Issues

This is the pivotal ability of the green gamma monster. Because Hulk’s strength is tied to his emotional state, it is often regarded as incalculable – the angrier he gets, the greater his strength.

I don’t know how he (Hulk) could have unlimited strength. Ultimately we’re talking about energy and mass, and they have to come from somewhere. Superman’s strength comes from the conversion of sunlight to energy, much like photosynthesis in a plant. What is the Hulk accessing to gain size and strength? And no, rage isn’t a unit of energy measurement.

The problems for the Hulk may be insurmountable when facing the Kryptonian. I’ve always felt that no opponent, no matter how strong or durable (within “reason”; if such a thing can be applied to fiction) can stand against a motivated and unleashed Superman without possessing super-speed or ultra-fast reflexes. Hulk, to put it mildly, is too slow for Clark in a battle that takes into account all their powers.

This is a huge problem for someone with so much strength; and even if we take their respective strengths to be equal or close, the power added by super-speed puts Kal-El clearly over the top. The heat vision is another problem, because it represents an extremely powerful distance attack – although I doubt it could put Hulk down, it’ll give him something to think about.

Every physicist knows that if you really want to break something – even resilient material like fire-proof glass, etc., you apply heat and then quickly douse it with cold. Perhaps heat vision followed by an ice-storm would start to tax the Incredible Hulk’s healing factor, enough for super-speed and super-strength to start wearing Hulk down faster than he could recover. Something to think about….

Verdict: the Incredible Hulk can probably hit Superman harder than anyone not named Doomsday ever has…but Superman can probably take the punch.

My thoughts:

If we are a bit more practical, considering the idea that a person was accidentally given powers and strength beyond normal human capacity due to radical doses of gamma radiation, this is difficult enough to believe. Now add the idea that something formed from the elements of the earth can somehow be made durable to a level beyond anything imagined, to the point of being invincible and regenerative, which is well beyond reason. The closest scientific proof we have of this incredible energy is from an excerpt from NASA.

Gamma-rays are the most energetic form of light and are produced by the hottest regions of the universe. They are also produced by such violent events as supernova explosions or the destruction of atoms, and by less dramatic events, such as the decay of radioactive material in space. Things like supernova explosions (the way massive stars die), neutron stars and pulsars, and black holes are all sources of celestial gamma-rays. Gamma-ray bursts can release more energy in 10 seconds than the Sun will emit in its entire 10 billion-year lifetime! So far, it appears that all of the bursts we have observed have come from outside the Milky Way Galaxy. Scientists believe that a gamma-ray burst will occur once every few million years here in the Milky Way, and in fact may occur once every several hundred million years within a few thousand light-years of Earth.

Superman initially receives a pass on this topic, after all, we’re to imagine he was sent here from another planet and that gave him special abilities beyond those of people from earth. His original powers were at least within the realm of imagination. How could we predict the durability and strength of someone from an entirely different galaxy? The believability ends when he acquires X-Ray vision, Laser like heat emanating from his eyes and flying ability that defies any known limits (supersonic) along with interplanetary travel. In what way can we imagine he can propel himself like that, super flatulence? He derives his power from earth’s sun.

Where these super heroes end up as well as the huge financial investment by companies such as 20th Century Fox and Disney is a matter of mystery, just like where did these characters obtain all of this power… The future and graphic art is a huge topic to discuss. What do you think? Enter your comments below. Superman in the 1940's.

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