Friday, November 9, 2012

The Incredible Hulk

Jack has recently told us that his favorite superhero is The Hulk. I worked in comic books for many years and have had many a debate with Jack about which superheroes he is allowed to emulate. He can never be Superman, Spiderman, or the Hulk, because they are mutated or alien. Exposing yourself to that many Gamma Rays would more likely give you cancer than super human strength. Batman, Iron Man, Rorshach (one of The Watchmen) are human beings that have overcome adversity to become superhumans. You could be Batman if you worked hard enough (and had enough money as well). But he likes The Hulk.

The Hulk is a conflicted dude. My son is a conflicted dude.

One of the things that Jack is working on with his Occupational Therapist is energy awareness. His "engine" is running red (too fast, rage, overstimulated, etc.) or green (level, calm yet not sedated) or blue (low energy, tired, unfocused).

He was tasked to make a meter for his "engine" and this is what he made:
It's important to mention that he chose to use The Hulk. He could have used smiley faces (which most kids chose) instead.

It got me thinking. The Hulk is a character that is conflicted. Bruce Banner turns into The Hulk when he cannot control his rage or anger (in the later comic book mythos, he has learned to, but let's not start that debate... although I would love to have it with you). So, enraged, he turns into this hulking beast that can destroy anything. A hulking beast that has the urge to simply destroy for the sake of destruction... ever heard "Hulk Smash!"?

So, I get the red section. The green section contains something interesting... friends. The Hulk is social enough to have them. In the sticker Jack chose, he is surrounded by them. Jack sees the "proper energy level" as a social situation. To enjoy others company, and be enjoyed.

The blue section is troubling, or at least sad. He didn't choose a picture of Banner. He chose a picture of The Hulk alone... solemn. Sadness and solitude are the same thing to my boy. Even more interesting is he sees solitude as the opposite of rage.

Jack struggles so much with social norms. It goes with the territory, I guess. However, he sees having friends, conversations, or simple interactions as the level he desires to maintain Who knew an art project could be so revealing about a child's entire psyche?

This was his Halloween costume this year:
Trick or treating with his gothic vampire Betty Ross. The one person who can keep The Hulk mellow, or "in the green".

I get it. I understand why you want to be The Hulk. Because In the end, with the right guidance, you are indeed incredible.


  1. That is the best How does your engine run chart I have ever seen and I have seen/ made a lot. Auntie may have to borrow it!!!!!

  2. I'm making this. For Ben. Today. I loooove this idea!! I have a hulk too, for sure.