Click Here To Purchase You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry: A Hulk Companion

Author: Patrick A. Jankiewicz

Publisher: BearManor Media
ISBN-10: 1593936508: ISBN-13: 978-1593936501
Book-length histories of television shows tend to follow the same formula. Most open with an introduction by one of the participants, say a star, creator, producer. Then the historian takes over and sets the stage by exploring how a series was created: the pre-production, casting, wrangles with the networks, filming of the pilot, and then the launch of the hopeful hit.  Usually, biographies of the stars and the creative team blend with descriptions of what all involved felt the main ingredients of the show would be. Then, an episode guide takes up the bulk of the text with episode synopses, broadcast dates, and anecdotes by those involved, normally noted guest-stars, scriptwriters, or stunt-men for action-adventure shows. Finally, any after-life of the program is discussed including reunion movies, theatrical remakes, or references to the show in later programs and films.
Three elements distinguish the better books in this genre, and A Hulk Companion has all of them. First, the author takes the time to get all the air-dates and cast lists right, going above and beyond reprinting what can be found at the IMDB.  Second, instead of relying on recycling previously published material from magazines of the era, the writer—in this case Patrick Jankiewicz—conducts his own interviews with the surviving cast and crew to tell the story. Ultimately, the saga itself has to be interesting on its own providing fans with fun nuggets and insights behind the scenes of a beloved program, and it helps when the writer, interviewees, and the reader enjoy the ride.
A Hulk Companion delivers on several levels. There’s the pivotal role of Bill Bixby, already a TV icon before the Hulk with several major credits behind him. Why did he take on the risk of playing in a TV comic book? How did producer Kenneth Johnson hit all the right notes, merging The Fugitive with Frankenstein and avoiding the campiness of previous TV superheroes? There’s the experimentation of the special effects in the pre-CGI era which turned partially deaf body builder Lou Ferrigno into a loveable monster. Many of the most memorable moments involved his green makeup, as when a bear Ferrigno had to wrestle preferred to lick off the green stuff rather than fight. Many an actress remembers how many clothes they had to change as the makeup stained everything.      
Then, there’s the poignant personal tragedy of Bill Bixby who lost a marriage and only son during production, and finally his own life while planning a film that would resurrect the apparently demised David Banner.

Certainly, the main audience for A Hulk Companion will be Hulk and comic book fans. Those interested in TV history will appreciate the insights into the evolution and decline of a series not given its proper due for creativity and freshness. So far, A Hulk Companion is one of the better TV books of 2011.
Click Here To Purchase You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry: A Hulk Companion

Listen to Dr. Wes Britton’s two-part audio interview with author Patrick A. Jankiewicz for the “Dave White Presents” radio program posted at: