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The Avengers Just Can't Quit the Hulk!

This is "From a Different Point of View," a feature where I discuss a comic book series with another writer. In this case, it is CBR's own Eileen Gonzalez who will be going over the history of the Avengers with me, story by story!

We continue with Avengers #5, "The Invasion of the Lava Men" by Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and Paul Reinman

Brian Cronin: Yet another inker change!

This issue picks up from the first major Avengers appearance in another title, as the Avengers and Fantastic Four teamed up to fight the Hulk in Fantastic Four #26 and it ended with that standard "Oops, he turned back into Bob Banner and then disappeared" cop out.

Eileen Gonzalez: Is this where the idea of Bruce Banner's middle name being Robert comes from?

Brian Cronin: Yeah, that's exactly where it came from, as Stan Lee coming up with an excuse for why he kept calling him Bob Banner.

Eileen Gonzalez: Ah, the creative process at work.

Brian Cronin: Oh, actually, apparently Robert is his FIRST name. So Stan wanted to really make sure he was "correct" with Bob!

Eileen Gonzalez: Ha!

Brian Cronin: Then the TV series adds David to the mix

Eileen Gonzalez: I haven't seen the series, but I did hear they called him David for some reason.

Brian Cronin: Kenneth Johnson, the creator of the TV series thought that alliterative names sounded too comic book-y. So that ruled out both Bruce AND Bob.

Eileen Gonzalez: I was gonna say my theory was they wanted to avoid associations with Bruce Wayne

Brian Cronin: And since Johnson's son's name was David, shockingly, that name was chosen.

Eileen Gonzalez: Who could have foreseen?

Brian Cronin: That led to a whole "thing" where people felt that it was because the name Bruce sounded "too gay." But suffice it to say that Kenneth Johnson is not that stupid and it was just the alliterative aspect of it all. Which is also kind of stupid, to be fair, but not nearly as much as "that name sounds gay!"

Eileen Gonzalez: Behind-the-scenes stories are always so fun! A shame they get blown out of proportion sometimes, like with the Bruce = gay thing.

Brian Cronin: So the issue picks right off from where the Avengers and the Fantastic Four have fought the Hulk through New York City, trashing Avengers Mansion in the process. Man, the Hulk was really the focal point of SO MUCH of the early issues.

Eileen Gonzalez: And all because Rick Jones picked Cap over him

Brian Cronin: We see the Avengers then go off to do their own private stuff, and you have to love how happy Cap is to go practice acrobatics with Rick.

Eileen Gonzalez: Rick AND all his Teen Brigade buddies. And he throws in an "eat your veggies" PSA for no extra charge!

Brian Cronin: Oh man, the "you have to eat right" PSA is amazing.

Eileen Gonzalez: "Eat right, get plenty of rest, agree to dangerous government experiments and you too can become a super soldier!"

Brian Cronin: Almost as amazing as the shot of Tony plugging his chestplate into an electrical outlet. WHILE SMOKING A CIGARETTE!

Eileen Gonzalez: And yeah, Tony, don't you have a heart condition? Put out the cigarette!

Brian Cronin: It's such a 1960s thing, right? Like you can imagine seeing some doctor, like, delivering a baby while smoking a cigarette

Eileen Gonzalez: Ha, yeah, wouldn't surprise me if Dr. Don Blake suddenly lit up in the middle of work

Brian Cronin: He needs it from the stress he gets from his back and forths with Jane Foster.

Eileen Gonzalez: Darn women driving men to ruin

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