Which superhero are you? There’s a test here which takes about a minute, and includes some pretty hilarious questions, like, ‘do you wear a push-up bra?‘ to which of course I said no, as I’m more of a minimiser type of guy. Don’t like the puppies getting too rowdy. Anyhoo, back to the point: do the test, you might be surprised!

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I’m the Incredible Hulk.  As in, more than 90% compatible with Bruce Banner’s alter ego. I was surprised, and secretly disappointed not to be aligned more closely with Batman (75%), who is my lifelong favourite superhero for the simple fact he’s not super, but then, you know, gamma-rays, that’s still pretty cool. I was going to dismiss it right there without a second thought, but then my brain–stupid brain!–latched on, desperate to exercise the little grey cells on something that doesn’t involve Donald Trump. And I have to say, the mental excursion has been very interesting.

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Backstory for newbs. Six years before I was born, a comic series began that was different from all the others. Superman, born in ’38; Wonder Woman ’39, Batman ’40, Captain America ’41 — these WWII era superheros were little more than stylised representations of human perfection at a time when the US was basking in the self-anointed aura of the nation that ‘won’ the war by unleashing hell at Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Twenty years later, the US were spiralling towards Vietnam, and from that growing sense of dread was born a monster with superhero strength and subhuman sensibilities. The Hulk was a villain, the symbol of uncontrollable destructive power. It would be years before he became anything other than a pure threat. Even in his latest incarnations they struggle to keep him on a leash.

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The Hulk’s motive force is unmeasured destructiveness triggered by immeasurable anger: when he’s threatened, confused, irritated, scared, troubled, or uncertain, he gets angry. He hulks-out. When the threat (etc) is removed, he crumples back into the apologetic, remorseful, anxious form of Dr Bruce Banner, not at all aware of the damage he’s wrought until it’s revealed to him. I can relate to this. I can’t throw a schoolbus over the horizon, but I can (and have) walked through a locked door without noticing because I’m angry enough. Surprise injuries appear on my body which, when I think back, should’ve hurt like bejesus at the time, but which didn’t even register. I’ve never thought of my anger as anything but a liability in my personal life, but in my public role it’s armor.

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You just have to remember to leave your armor at work; that’s the problem. When I’m confused, irritated, scared, troubled or uncertain, I get angry at home as well. Never raging-angry, not even furious-angry, just annoyed-angry. It’s automatic, and for that reason it’s difficult to guard against. I don’t know, moment to moment, if something will trigger a domestic hulk-out, so I can’t prepare against it, and when I’m in it, there’s not a lot I can do except let it all out. As a result I’m often left like Dr Banner: apologetic, remorseful, anxious. It would be good if someone invented a sticker I could wear on my forehead that activated when I was in a triggering mood. I never go out looking for a quarrel, I don’t enjoy them, but I’m always ready for them when they come. Maybe if they saw my head blinking green, people would know to leave me alone.

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But we don’t live in that world, and I’m not married to a She-Hulk who can respond in kind. I’ll be interested to hear what kind of superhero she is, actually. I’m not sure of the list of available options, but I doubt the original love interest of Dr Bruce Banner (Betty Ross) is on the list, even though in later iterations she comes back as the Red She-Hulk. My wife, however, doesn’t look like a steroidal bodybuilder dipped in tomato sauce, so if I had to guess from the available female superheroes then I’d have to go with the most famous brunette of them all, Wonder Woman. The Lynda Carter version, of course. I would’ve gone with Power girl too, but that outfit, you know, its just so exploitative … !

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