When Stan Lee had his first thoughts about The Incredible Hulk comic series back in 1962, he saw Bruce Banner’s monstrous alter ego as almost a cross between Frankenstein's monster and the evil Mr. Hyde. Lee wanted his Hulk to have gray skin, so there’d be no link to any particular ethnic group.
But Marvel Comics colorist Stan Goldberg couldn’t make gray work visually. On proofs, the gray looked either too silvery or too dark. However, a touch of green made the character pop on the page. It turns out that green was a stroke of genius for both Lee and the Hulk. “By making him green,” Lee has said, “I was able to give him nicknames like ‘The Jolly Green Giant’ (or) ‘The Green Goliath.’ So, I’m very glad we made him green.”
Shades of the Hulk:
- Color was Lee’s way to making Hulk stand out. An angry Hulk wouldn’t wear tights or capes, so Lee initially decided to give him a strange skin color. He though gray would give the character a “spooky” demeanor, and that’s how he appeared in issue No. 1.
- Lee said he always had a soft spot for Frankenstein's monster. “He never wanted to hurt anyone; he merely groped his tortuous way through a second life trying to defend himself,” Lee wrote in The Origins of Marvel Comics.
- Though green is now iconic for the Hulk, in 1986, alter ego Bruce Banner unexpectedly turned into a granite colored badass who called himself Joe Fixit.