The first “Hulk” story comes from Halloween of 2013, when we all dressed up as the Avengers. We were trying to decide who was going to be what character. Alex knew he wanted to be Hawkeye, and Nicholas had an Iron Man costume. But we had to figure out Christian (Nick Fury or Thor?) and Julianna and Michael. We sort of assumed they’d go with whatever we did. By the time we realized Julianna was determined to be the Hulk, we’d already ordered her a Captain America t-shirt, and we had to tell her no. It was the first time Julianna had ever expressed any sort of preference outside of food choices.
So that’s the background for the next story.
We went to see Marvel Universe Live this weekend. It was a gift from “Santa,” and as we were feeling a bit expansive, we let the kids pick souvenirs.
Julianna wanted—I kid you not—a stuffed Hulk. That’s it. Expansive is one thing, but $40 for a stuffed doll was a little too rich for our budget, so we told her sorry, but she just stood there while everyone else debated. After a minute I looked down and saw her stroking Hulk’s big green arm gently…even reverently. Then she petted his hair and fingered his plastic teeth.
(We did eventually let her get a Hulk t shirt.)
Michael was tired—the show started at the end of his nap time, and we’d already ridden the train and had to walk through spitting snow—and I was a little worried that he wouldn’t enjoy it. He was scared and wanted to sit on my lap. But as things progressed, he climbed off down and perched on the end of his own seat, his hands folded in his lap and he back ramrod straight, and he didn’t blink at all. Nor did he respond when I leaned down to ask if he was liking it. He was utterly entranced.
When the show was over, with the Hulk making his one dramatic appearance at the end, I asked Michael, “Did you like the show?”
He turned to me with big, earnest 4-year-old eyes, and said, “Mommy, we saw the HULK!”
“I know! How cool was that?”
“He was WEARING A SHIRT!”
Well, I suppose you have to admit that’s not something you see every day: the Hulk wearing a shirt.
The love affair continues.
Incidentally, there is this one particular high-pitched, male falsetto stock scream that I’ve heard in a ridiculous number of movies, spanning several decades. I heard it in the original Star Wars movies; I heard it when some nameless phaser magnet fell off the wall in The Two Towers, I’ve heard it in more than one Marvel movie, and last weekend I heard it in the Marvel Universe Live. I am really tired of this particular scream, which has begun to pull me out of the action, but mostly I just hope whoever recorded that scream was well paid, because Hollywood has certainly gotten a lot of use out of his work.