Marvel’s Immortal Hulk, written by Al Ewing and drawn by Joe Bennett, has been a critical success for Marvel Comics. On the surface, its tone seems as far from the 1978 Incredible Hulk television series as possible. Yet, the comic has taken character inspirations from the beloved TV show on more than one occasion.
Immortal Hulk tied itself to the television series from its first issue. Immortal Hulk #1 brought the first appearance of Jackie McGee. McGee is a reporter whose childhood home was destroyed when she was 15-years-old. That experience left her obsessed with the Hulk. After Hulk’s most recent resurrection, McGee began using her job working for the Arizona Herald to follow the Hulk around the country. Her pursuit of the Hulk has even gotten her involved with Gamma Flight, Alpha Flight’s Hulk-focused special task force.
Jackie McGee is a new character in the Marvel Universe, but she’s based on a character from the Incredible Hulk TV show. Jack McGee, played by Jack Colvin in the TV show, was a tabloid journalist and cynic who pursued the Hulk across the country. McGee’s constant pursuit is one reason that David Bruce Banner could never stay in one town for too long.
McGee isn’t the only character Immortal Hulk has introduced that’s based on a TV show counterpart. Dell Frye is the antagonist of the Incredible Hulk two-part episode “The First." Harry Townes played the character. Frye was a lab assistant with psychological issues. When he began suffering from a blood infection, he tried to cure it with gamma radiation. It worked but also transformed Frye into a Hulk-like creature. Frye killed several people before the Hulk came to the town and stopped him.
In Immortal Hulk, Del Frye is the son of a Dr. Frye (his first name is never revealed). Del is a football player. His father experiments with Gamma Radiation. Dr. Frye uses gamma radiation to make himself immortal. He then forces Del to take his gamma serum to counteract whatever injuries he’d suffer playing football.
Del has a violent reaction to the serum and seems to die. He’s buried, but his radioactive body poisons the soil of the nearby town, causing others to die. Hulk comes to town and finds out what’s going on. First, he alerts the EPA, which comes to the town and exhumes Del’s body only to find he’s still alive and transformed into a Hulk-like creature. Then Hulk finds Dr. Frye, rips off his arms and legs, and buries him alive, where he’ll live out eternity in darkness.
What do you think of Immortal Hulk’s interpretations of these classic Incredible Hulk TV Show Characters? Let us know in the comments!