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Incredible Hulk Anatomy

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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Like millions of other superhero comic fans, I loved Joss Whedon’s & Marvel’s The Avengers when I saw it (in 2D) opening weekend. Motion-captured Mark Ruffalo turned in the most incredible version of the Hulk we’ve seen yet on the screen.  Squeeing and cheering, it reminded me of a drawing I had made back  in 2002.  I drew this fan art of Marvel Comics’ Incredible Hulk, dissected and analyzed. Here it is with a new lick of paint.

Hulk © Marvel Comics. This fan art has moral © Glendon Mellow. Share under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License..

At the time, I tried to draw on not only my mother’s nursing school anatomy textbooks, but also gorilla and hominid ancestor skulls (such as Paranthropus, though my murky text  identitifies it with the outdated Zinjanthropus name), inspiration for things like the cranial ridge and large jaw muscles. I included details such as 3 scars on the bone (I’m Canadian: Wolverine wrecked his face a few times and I wanted to document that) and perfect glowing teeth. If anyone has perfect shiny teeth, it needs to be Hulk.

The science and geekery site recently listed 10 Science Concepts that Could Spawn Awesome Supervillains (by Esther Ingliss-Arkell). Established characters borne of exaggerated real world scientific causes could probably use science-inspired revisions too.  Can’t wait to get my hands on The Art of Marvels The Avengers to see what scientific concepts the pros who designed the movie concept art came up with.
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Above image done in pencil and painted in ArtRage Studio Pro. The Incredible Hulk is © Marvel Comics and I did this piece of fan art without permission but with respect.  I claim only a moral copyright to this specific rendition of their character.
***Edit – added a newer version with more legible text that links to a larger version. Also, you can read the full text here.

Glendon Mellow About the Author: Glendon Mellow is a fine artist, illustrator and tattoo designer working in oil and digital media based in Toronto, Canada. He tweets @FlyingTrilobite and is on Instagram. You can see Glendon's work-in-progress at The Flying Trilobite blog and portfolio at Follow on Twitter @symbiartic.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. rtbinc 8:39 pm 05/24/2012

    Sadly, the linked version is not high enough quality to read the labels.

    Link to this
  2. 2. Glendon Mellow 11:23 pm 05/24/2012

    You’re right rtbinc, I didn’t think anyone would be too interested in the specifics. Hmm. Perhaps I’ll list ‘em out and post them over at The Flying Trilobite.

    Link to this
  3. 3. hnyvek 1:24 am 05/25/2012

    Booo! What rtbinc said.

    Link to this
  4. 4. Glendon Mellow 9:23 pm 05/25/2012

    Okay, uploaded a version that’s easier to read! Thanks for the feedback rtbinc and hnyvek.

    Also, the image has appeared on my art blog, The Flying Trilobite and is rocking with comments over at since it was posted there earlier today.

    Link to this
  5. 5. Percival 9:20 pm 05/27/2012

    When I saw your drawing my first thought was of Larry Niven’s sci-fictional Protectors:

    Pretty much the same gene-altered ubermensch idea as Hulk, only via virus instead of gamma rays (and them newfangled nanobots).

    Link to this
  6. 6. Glendon Mellow 10:16 pm 05/27/2012

    Thanks Percival! I don’t think I’ve read any stories from Niven about the Protectors…I went through a Man-Kzin War phase for a bit. Loved those Steven Hickman covers.

    Link to this
  7. 7. Percival 11:59 pm 05/28/2012

    You’re welcome, Glendon. Protector stories are fun walks through what might have been. Human protectors also exist in the stories. They’re like the Pak versions- very strong, frighteningly smart, and love their children fiercely.
    Some of the older Niven paperbacks include drawings of the various species’ skeletons.
    There’s a convention poster that goes:
    “How many kzinti does it take to beat one human protector?” “There aren’t that many Kzinti.” ;>)

    Link to this
  8. 8. archmeg 9:18 pm 05/29/2012

    Nice! I may have my anthropology students look this over in the fall when we discuss the debate over whether Marvel characters are or are not human, and what evidence we can use to determine this (see my last blog post Thanks for the post!

    Link to this

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