August 31, 2009

Bruce Banner is The Hulk

I saw the news today that the Walt Disney Co. bought Marvel Entertainment, Inc. for FOUR BILLION DOLLARS.

Like I said, I don’t collect comic books anymore, but I do retain a fondness for the form and the characters. Marvel revolutionized comics in the 1960s by making their characters more psychologically well-defined and (sort of) three-dimensional. Take, for instance, The Hulk. Mild mannered (repressed) physicist Bruce Banner gets blasted with gamma rays, resulting in the ultimate split personality: the slightest emotional provocation causes him morph into the raging, rampaging, remorseless Hulk. Has there ever been a more blatantly Freudian comic book anti-hero? The Hulk is pure Id. Of course, there’s only so much that can be done with such a conceit, and after forty years, bad TV shows, and even worse movies, I suppose there is not a whole lot more damage Disney could inflict on the franchise. Still, there’s something just wrong about Snow White’s Disney owning The Hulk. FOUR BILLION DOLLARS is a ridiculously huge amount of money, and Disney will do whatever it takes to turn that investment into a hefty profit. Whatever happens going forward, today marks the end of an era.

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