The Hulk, by contrast, is like Godzilla: he’s all about the bomb. If you’ve only seen the TV show or the Ang Lee movie, you might not realize how much the Hulk’s origin ties in with nuclear bomb testing. In the comics, Dr. Bruce Banner is a repressed nerd who creates the most destructive bomb in history: the Gamma Bomb. He’s about to test it, when he sees a teenager has sneaked out onto the test grounds. Bruce manages to rescue the teenager from the blast (by getting him into a magically protective trench) but catches the full brunt of the explosion himself. Miraculously, Bruce doesn’t die, but instead starts turning into a big green (or occasionally grey) rampaging monster.
Despite the fact that we still have enough nuclear warheads to destroy the entire world a zillion times over, and loose nukes are still a huge problem, people don’t worry about nuclear destruction as much as they used to. It’s no longer hotwired into the zeitgeist the way it once was. And that may be why people always leave the bomb out of the Hulk’s origin when they retell it. (Actually, I think the TV show left out the bomb just because it would be too violent and disturbing to show Bill Bixby transfixed in the glow of a mushroom cloud.) Instead, you always have Bruce sitting in a chair and getting bathed with Gamma radiation, or injecting it into his arms, or in a big chamber of Gamma rays or whatever. It’s all about laboratories and irresponsible experiments, instead of nukes.
I’m not sure I agree. After all, people still get angry and want to destroy things. I can’t imagine that ever going out of style.
Like I said before, go back to the TV show with drifter Banner.