Um, super cool: It turns out that the Incredible Hulk was inspired by a woman who lifted up a car to save her baby. From a 2011 interview with Hulk creator Jack Kirby:
“The Hulk I created when I saw a woman lift a car. Her baby was caught under the running board of this car. The little child was playing in the gutter and he was crawling from the gutter onto the sidewalk under the running board of this car — he was playing in the gutter. His mother was horrified. She looked from the rear window of the car, and this woman in desperation lifted the rear end of the car. It suddenly came to me that in desperation we can all do that — we can knock down walls, we can go berserk, which we do. You know what happens when we’re in a rage — you can tear a house down. I created a character who did all that and called him the Hulk. I inserted him in a lot of the stories I was doing. Whatever the Hulk was at the beginning I got from that incident. A character to me can’t be contrived. I don’t like to contrive characters. They have to have an element of truth. This woman proved to me that the ordinary person in desperate circumstances can transcend himself and do things that he wouldn’t ordinarily do. I’ve done it myself. I’ve bent steel.”
Apparently, by the way, this is called “hysterical strength,” and the going theory is that a sudden upsurge in adrenaline can make humans perform superhuman feats of strength in life or death situations.
Big, green, and male? Nah, brah, we’ve all got a little bit of Hulk inside us.[h/t io9] [The Comics Journal] [Mental Floss]
Original by Rebecca Vipond Brink