the Hulk

Despite the fairly firm denial earlier this month by Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige that another Hulk solo film could be on the horizon, we get word from a second Marvel insider that the positive early feedback from the green one's appearance in Joss Whedon's The Avengers has made the studio rethink that stance.

Marvel's President of Consumer Products, Paul Gitter recently told Forbes magazine that the repositioning of Hulkie's (Mark Ruffalo) persona in Avengers from a misunderstood character to one of a more heroic, inspirational superhero has had a tremendous effect, and the studio is "pleasantly surprised by the phenomenal response to the green superhero, and expect this fan affinity to further strengthen once the movie opens."

Gitter went on to say that as Hulk's popularity turnaround continues, Marvel "will spin him off to a stand-alone program next year," supported by a big budget franchise movie in 2015. That's a very promising endorsement of the Hulk's solo return. Does a Consumer Products exec beat out a CEO? If he can sell a lot of dolls, probably so.

A bit of a let down follows however, when Gitter adds that the studio is thinking about lifting the Hulk to the status of a "corporate icon" similar to say, MetLife's usage of Peanuts' Snoopy.  The thinking being that The Hulk can help a worker channel strength to overcome workplace challenges. *Rolls eyes*. Leave it to movie execs to screw up a wet dream.

After failing to connect the character to large audiences in two previous tries - Eric Bana and Edward Norton - why not leave well enough alone and let Hulk's eternal fame rest on the looming Avengers' tidal wave? Could the angry green giant's success this time around in The Avengers come from his being a supporting character, rather than a lead?