Incredible Hulk Anatomy

(This post originally appeared yesterday on Symbiartic, the art+science blog I co-author on the Scientific American Blog Network.)
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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. Feel free to share under Creative Commons.

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but also gorilla and hominid ancestor skulls (such as Paranthropus, though my murky text  identitifies it with the outdated Zinjanthropus name), inspiration for things like the cranial ridge and large jaw muscles.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 io9.com 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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As a bonus not featured on Symbiartic, here's what the labels around ol' Jade Jaws' head say.
TOP LEFT
  • The Hulk Reviewed
  • Points of interest concerning the osteological and muscular systems. 


TOP LEFT: The Skull

  • Note muscle-anchoring protuberances and ridges not found in average frontal and zygomatic bones. 
  • Enlarged and bifurcated nasal cavities; see Appendix 3.1 for discussion and speculation of respiratory efficiency. See also; ribcage and spinal cord sinuses. 
  • Note disproportion of maxilla to mandible. 


TOP RIGHT: The Skull
  • Grossly enlarged frontal fontanelle, similarity to Zinjanthropus found in 1959. 
  • Three scars unhealed grazing left ocular cavity; unusually, no traces of foreign molecules present. 
  • Connective tissue spurs above eyeteeth at gumline. 
  • Note complete absence of tooth decay or erosion. 
  • Analysis of blood vessel to marrow ratios reveals skeletal system itself surprisingly fragile relative to comparisons with muscle and tissue tensile densities. 


BOTTOM RIGHT: Musculature

  • Layers of cartilage and dense marrow-like tumours surround blood vessels; protecting both vessels and braincase simultaneously. 
  • Jaw muscles extend to skull ridge homologous to gorilla. 
  • Note muscles allowing subject to shut nostrils: unheard of in primates. This trait normally found in desert-dwelling ungulates such as dromedary camel. 
  • Jaw may lock while mandible is at any degree of extension. 
  • Elasticity of muscle tissues allows striations and contractions on 4-axis per muscle. Eyes and mouth can close using enormous, continuous pressure. 


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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.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite © to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.

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