In the case of his best known creation—Terry Fator’s famous “Hulk,” the Hulk—Fator makes no claim to the title.
A longtime fan and modeler who has created hundreds of pieces of his famous “Hulk” puppets with other artists, he did so not for the company—not even for Hulk, in part because he thought it was “a bad idea from the start”—but for one man: his wife, the artist, painter, and puppet master Mary Jo Fator.
How did Fator come up with the idea to create the Hulk?
Fator began drawing the Hulk in high school and, as Fator recalls, the characters were always a big inspiration. “I saw the image of the Hulk when I was a kid from a big picture in the newspaper,” Fator explains (Hulk’s first adventure in the comics is in Fantastic Four #12, April 1963). “I knew that was a huge comic about a person in his 30s, because I could see it in the covers. So that’s how I started designing him.”
The Hulk’s first encounter with the other members of the Fantastic Four (in Fantastic Four #1, January 1961), also took place in the newspaper. “I was a little shocked at just how strong they were in general, and how much fun it was to draw,” he says.
Later, he used his comic book experience to create, in collaboration with artists including Jack Kirby, Marvel’s first female action hero, Invisible Woman and Iron Fist, and writer Stan Lee. And by early 1965, Marvel had created its first major comic book in the form of The Incredible Hulk (which was serialized in The Fantastic Four from 1965 through 1968).
He wasn’t the first person to create The Hulk.
Fator had the green glow in his hair and the shape of the creature that’s still called “The Hulk” more than a decade before Stan Lee wrote his first words about the character. “The Hulk” is a portmanteau of the words “green,” “hulk,” and “monster”—a word Fator believes owes its origin to the late cartoonist, cartoonist, and comic book artist Jim Steranko, who coined the word “Steranko-isms” and coined the term “corpses” to describe such a creature.
In one “corpse” appearance in Fantastic Four #4 (1968), with “Hulk” as
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