A general falls. A red monster rises. Stay tuned.

The Disappearing Mustache

What happens to the mustache of General Ross when he transforms into the Red Hulk?

If you are a fan of the Red Hulk, you have heard the question before:  Why doesn’t the Red Hulk have a mustache? 

After typing the same explanation over and over again regarding the disappearing facial hair of Ross, I had an epiphany to create this quick reference page that all Red Hulk fans could easily direct to, when faced with an inquiring mind… (often humorously from a cynical comic fan who is more perplexed by the General’s disappearing mustache than how their favorite superhero has the ability to fly.)

Now it’s important to understand the removal of the trademark Ross mustache was first and foremost a necessary plot device to conceal the Rulk’s identity from readers until Marvel was ready to make the big reveal.  Fortunately though, the creators gave it plenty of logical thought.

They consistently made the General’s eyebrows disappear along with his mustache, allowing readers to conclude that all short hairs on the body of Ross withdraw within his swollen red transforming flesh.   Or more correctly stated, the skin layers of Ross expand over and above the exposed tops of his short hairs.  Behold!


The chest hair of Thaddeus Ross withdraws too

So why didn’t this happen to the mustache and full bearded Maestro Hulk or Jason Aaron’s bearded rendition of the Incredible Hulk you ask?  Simple.  The Incredible Hulk is only a byproduct of gamma energy.  This reaction that Ross endures is a byproduct of both gamma and cosmic energy absorption.  It’s not solely a gamma energy exposure trait.


That cosmic agent (a negative energy that has an intimate link to black holes) is the same energy that alters the Red Hulk’s nails and exposed longer head of hair to appear blackened.. affecting dead cells (hair and nails) differently from live cells (his body).

Until the next time Red Hulk fans!

A general falls. A red monster rises. Stay tuned.
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5 responses

  1. Zombie-Wolf

    The retreating hair scenario i pretty much like the werewolf transformations set up back in the 80’s. But wouldn’t it be less taxing on the body for Rulk to simply shed the excess hair, then regrow it upon shrinking?

    (ex. Van Helsing reverting to human form in the 2004 film of the same name.)

    February 21, 2012 at 1:25 AM

    • Strudelbullets

      Talk about ingrown hairs!!!! LMAO

      Shedding and regrowing hair would appear more taxing to me. Now the only thing required is for the swelling to go down.

      February 21, 2012 at 9:39 AM

  2. Rulk’s flesh growing over the hair sounds okay, but I’m not too convinced by the ‘Ross does it because of cosmic energy!’ bit.

    I think there’s a slightly more simple explanation: Hulk’s and Maestro’s beards grew during prolonged periods in Hulk-form, with no reversion to Banner to have a quick shave. (that’s, like, more of ‘The Man’ keeping the poor li’l Hulk down, or something) It’s only slightly (completely) negated by the fact that Hulk’s gone for long periods before with no facial fuzz (Heroes Reborn, Planet Hulk). Red Hulk too, after being infected by Fortean’s nano-mines. And then there’s ‘Young Maestro’ from IH #439, which suggests the Hulk’s appearance – including facial hair – can be affected by his state of mind or concentration.
    And that leads me onto my own theory on Rulk’s disappearing mustache: all Hulks are manifestations of subconscious desires, to some degree. Banner’s rage, Jen’s assertiveness, etc. In Ross’ case, he’s envied the Hulk, his power, and his relationship with Betty for years. When given the chance to become *a* hulk, his fixation on *the* Hulk affected Rulk’s physical appearance in his first transformation. And the Hulk ain’t known for his ‘tache.

    I’d be interested to see if Ross can affect his transformation in a similar way to Young Maestro, *if* the ‘tache is a matter of subconscious. I think a lot of people’d like to see that. Though in that case maybe the lack of ‘tache is an extra layer of disguise in the current ‘Ross is dead’ situation.

    And I can’t explain the eyebrows (never noticed, TBH), but I’m still cynical about the cosmic energy explanation. And if Ross’ hair gets swallowed up by Rulk’s skin, why does Rulk’s head hair usually look longer and spikier than Ross’ buzzcut?

    February 25, 2012 at 12:02 AM

    • Great post and theories Warren. They are well thought out.

      I would only counter that the disappearance of his eyebrows negates his subconscious either mimicking the Banner Hulk…(because the Green Hulk has eyebrows) or an intentional action of disguise… (because every man has eyebrows leaving only a need to make his trademark mustache disappear to hide his true Ross identity.) The fact that his eyebrows still disappear points to the transformation itself hiding the short hairs rather than something else.

      Regarding his hair, once transformed into the Red Hulk I would suggest his hair is actually shorter but appears longer. Ross somewhat combs his hair back and when he transforms… more of the shaft of the hair is overcome with swollen flesh, making the hairs “spike” out and upwards.

      If you ever saw a woman with straight long hair, and compared it to a woman with shorter teased hair, the teased head of hair actually appears fuller and larger. It’s the same principle!

      -AJ 🙂

      February 25, 2012 at 2:36 PM

  3. Farfour

    Why didn’t the creators just say that Ross shaved his mustache and leave it at that?

    June 28, 2012 at 2:34 PM

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