One of the best things about comic-book characters is how they are born from a truly human place. It’s not about being extraordinary at all — it’s about things that tie the human race together. In a Comic Journal interview that was discovered by io9, legendary Marvel artist Jack Kirby (who died in 1994) revealed what inspired him to create the Hulk. And it’s pretty incredible:
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.
He goes on to say that he never wanted his characters to be “contrived,” that there had to be “an element of truth.” But mostly, Kirby’s creation came from an “ordinary person in desperate circumstances” going above and beyond their own perceived abilities. Humans really never know their full potential until they’re actually called upon to apply themselves.
Think about that the next time you try to cheat during your next workout.