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The Living Hulk (Monsterbus p.383)

Another prophetic message, the same message Kirby drives home again and again: do not create beings more intelligent and powerful than yourself!!!

The birth of the Marvel Universe   

Here we continue to see the birth of the Marvel Universe: another two parter, and the first Hulk. The next page of the Monsterbus shows a cover that's close to the cover of Fantastic Four 1, and announces a precursor to "The Thing" in the familiar font that would be used for years later. The only difference with Fantastic Four 1 is that it began its own title. Otherwise it simply continued the direction Kirby was already taking.

Layered stories

This is a good example of a layered story. On the surface we have a hero with a cliche of the nagging wife. But look at the evidence: she is right. What the man did was irresponsible. This was an electrical machine, not living in the normal sense. He should have alerted the authorities rather than try to immediately revive it.

Even if we decide it was living and he had a moral need to act quickly, he could have kept it minimally alive rather than fully powering it. His lack of concern for danger almost ended life on Earth. And did he ever remember his promise to the man who phoned him at the start?

His wife said he had ten years of doing irresponsible things, and we are given no reason to doubt her. While the surface layer is that she was in the wrong, the deeper layer shows that she was right. listening to her criticism would have saved the human race.

And one final layer: Kirby addresses the question of consciousness. The electronic machine has hair and is in effect alive and conscious. Ye the proportions of its limbs alone tell us it is still a machine. In this blog I often claim that networks are essentially alive. The usual response is that they are not conscious. Even if that were true, why would it matter? If a machine looks and acts conscious, if it acts to preserve itself, if it behaves like a living thing, it is measurably the same in every way that can affect us.