The Incredible Hulk and the Rhizome

The Incredible Hulk was created in 1962 by writer Stan Lee and illustrator Jack Kirby, featuring the titular monster, and his mild-mannered scientist alter ego, Dr. Bruce Banner. Stan Lee envisioned a combination of his favorite literary characters, a gentle but scary-looking monster like Frankenstein but one who could also transform into a monster, not unlike Jekyll and Hyde. Originally, the Hulk in his debut issue was colored in shades of gray, but due to inconsistencies with printing, Stan Lee made a decision that would pay off greatly to recolor him green, as he could not think of a notable green superhero at the time. Initially created to reflect Cold War tensions and the fears of an Atomic Age, The Incredible Hulk has become a bona fide pop culture icon, a modern myth comparable to Frankenstein or even Prometheus. The Marvel Comics character has dominated Saturday morning cartoons, prime-time television, and even the big screen with the help of Universal Pictures in 2003 and in 2008. Known the world many times over, the Hulk is as synonymous with rage and rampage as Columbia is to the American Dream.

Gilles Deleuze is a French philosopher and Felix Guattari is a French psychoanalyst, who make a collective duo usually referred to as Deleuze and Guattari, and have authored many written influential pieces in the fields of philosophy, psychoanalysis, and sociology together. In 1972, they released the first volume of Capitalism and Schizophrenia entitled Anti-Oedipus, and later in 1980, they released A Thousand Plateaus, both seminal philosophical pieces and celebrated in both their contemporary times and even to this day. These two books laid the foundation for what is known as "schizoanalysis," which was more or less boiled down by the duo themselves in A Thousand Plateaus: "Schizoanalysis... has no other meaning: make a rhizome," (Deleuze and Guattari, 251). These ideas brought forth by the duo, such as assemblages, multiplicities, de- and re-territorialization, the body without organs, and the rhizome serve to further the aim of complexity in contrast to reductionism and perhaps, to reveal the rhizome that seeps underneath the cracks in our society, the mass of complexity that is ever expanding, inching both three-dimensionally and four-dimensionally. Perhaps the rhizome is always there.

Click below to find short essays on each of the topics as they connect to The Hulk.

Becoming-animal Body without organs The rhizome

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