Friday, March 15, 2013

What If The Incredible Hulk TV Series Never Happened?

What if?  Marvel's What If? title was one of the more interesting and enduring experimental ideas that was published out of the imagination of the comic book world.  The first volume (1977-1984) had a significant run and was followed by second volume (1989-1998) with the former clearly the strongest of the two sets.  Mind you, that's entirely subjective.  My memories of the books are strongest from the first volume.  These Hulk/ Avengers captions reminded me of that classic What If? series.

The What if? scenario format provided for all kinds of science fiction potential including alien team-ups, villains as superheroes, superheroes as villains, big name deaths, alternate time lines and realities. You name it and the potential existed for a pretty sizable story in the Mighty Marvel Manner as they say.

The fantastic first issue was What If Spider-Man Had Joined The Fantastic Four?  (1977). Of course, that actually did become a reality, well, as far as comic book reality goes many years later.

Some of my favorites and the very best of the story ideas included What If The Hulk Had The Brain Of Bruce Banner? (#2).  There would be a whole lot less smashing that's for sure.  The Hulk would just be far too reasonable.

What If The Avengers Had Never Been? (#3).  That's right people, no Joss Whedon movie.

What If The Invaders Stayed Together After World War II? (#4).  Maybe we would have seen that Invaders movie.

What If Captain America Hadn't Vanished During World War II? (#5).

What If The Avengers Fought Evil In The 1950s? (#9).  Well, we would have had them to battle the ants in Them! (1954), take on the aliens in The War Of The Worlds (1952), handle body snatchers, flying saucers, blobs and beasts and even perhaps take on the big one himself in Godzilla.  Earth could have used them and regardless it's a terrifically cool looking team.  Get them their own official comic already.

What If Rick Jones Had Become The Hulk? (#12).  Would we have a TV series?  Would we have a Bill Bixby as David Banner?

What If Captain America Had Been Elected President? (#26).  We'd be a hell of a lot better off that's for sure.

What If Wolverine Had Killed The Hulk? (#31).  The good news is the TV series was in production by this point and our series was safe.

What If Iron Man Was Trapped In The Time Of King Arthur? (#33).  It's safe to say the films would have looked a little different.  It's also conceivable he might have made an appearance in the final seasons of Stargate SG-1.  Now that would be something to see.

What If The Hulk Went Berserk? (#45).  Really, this is a What If??  Did Stan Lee approve this one?

The newer second volume gave us some pretty interesting concepts like What If Iron Man Had Been A Traitor? (a 1988 special).

The Hulk titles that arrived were in that era included What If The Hulk Killed Wolverine? (#50).  So long Wolverine films.  What If The Gamma Bomb Spawned A Thousand Hulks? (#71).  That's just crazy talk, but one can imagine Planet Hulk.  Finally, What If Bruce Banner Was Savage And The Hulk Intelligent? Okay, the latter of course, but maybe not the most compelling of ideas as far as the Bruce factor goes.  It's fair to say the nuthouse might have been in order.  But what if?, what if?, what if?  I love What If?!

So, we take a little break from the more intensive sci-fi action with a post from The Incredible Hulk TV series era.  I've been going a little insane in the membrane of late with a steady diet of The X-Files, Fringe and Falling Skies.  It's an incredible dose of terrific science fiction, but a brief respite was in order from that mind-altering excellence.  Unfortunately with The Incredible Hulk, unless it's one of the stronger episodes, it's a bit like looking at the television like a heavily medicated or lobotomized Jack Nicholson from One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.  When you're exhausted you can generate that blank look like the one from The Shining.

So What If The Incredible Hulk TV Series Never Happened?  Well, we'd certainly be none the wiser.  But the difficulty in getting a TV series greenlit (no pun intended, but then I colored the green and intended it) makes the aforementioned What If? conceivable.  The ramifications of such a reality are long.  In fact, you could probably assign a Marvel Giant-Sized Annual to that one.

But more importantly, What If The Sci-Fi Fanatic Was Abducted By Aliens Last Saturday?  Well, it's safe to say you wouldn't be reading this post here at Musings Of A Sci-Fi FanaticWhat If The Sci-Fi Fanatic Was Abducted And Brought To A World Without Science Fiction?  Oh, the ever frightening alternate realities and what ifs of it all.  Perish the thought.  I must go.  There's no place like home.  There's no place like home.


le0pard13 said...

Great read, SFF. Keep 'em comin', my friend.

Unknown said...

Unfortunately these What if comics books never made it to Sweden I think. But I love all these glorious looking covers... I'm also a pretty big fan of the Hulk TV-series.

Maurice Mitchell said...

I love the "What If" books although some are sillier than others (Fantastic Four with different powers), some raised really important questions. Without Thor vs. Hulk we wouldn't have Avengers. Perish the thought. BTW
Join us for Star Wars March Madness!

Anonymous said...

Well if there had been no TV show-Lou Ferrigno wouldn't have been on any of the "Battle of the Network Stars" shows-the consequences of which are incalculable.

Also, he wouldn't have been on "The King of Queens". Possibly, that would have deprived us of "Paul Blart, Mall Cop" and "Here comes the Boom".

Would live be worth living, without those?

Perhaps, the December 2012 Apocalypse would have been one of Mass Ennui without those movies.

You asked!

SFF said...

Tks all.

Joel. Gosh the covers were often AMAZING in the 1970s and the 1980s. In many respects the aritsts works from that era has simply never been replicated even today as good as the artists are today, but gosh you're right those covers by Jack Kirby and others were simply mindblowing in their excellence. Sorry they never made it to the beautiful country of Sweden.

Agreed Maurice some great What if ideas matched by some real lame ones.

Saroe, thank you for the additional commentary. I love it.

In Fact, maybe Ferrigno never makes it on Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice.

One thing is certain, there would have been some pretty empty nights in my childhood without it.

Thank you.