Wolverine and The Hulk were both created by Marvel Comics. Wolverine first appeared in the Incredible Hulk series as a Canadian enemy of Hulk with a violent temper. They have since appeared together (and fought with each other) on several occasions. This is a comparison of their origins, backstory, personality and superpowers.
The Hulk was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby for Marvel Comics, and first appeared in The Incredible Hulk #1 in 1962. Lee claims he was influenced by both Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde when creating the Hulk, and some critics consider his invention to be a reaction to the nuclear threat in the Cold War.
Wolverine was created by Roy Thomas and Len Wein as a short Canadian hero with a fierce temper. He first appeared in the teaser panel of The Incredible Hulk 181 in 1974.
Bruce Banner is a physicist educated at Pennsylvania State University. He designed a gamma bomb, and drove onto the testing field to save a teenager during a test explosion. He absorbed massive amounts of radiation, and that night, turned into a huge and violent figure that he cannot fully control. He turns into the Hulk every time he gets angry or his life is in danger.
The first episode of the classic Hulk animated cartoon segment that appeared on Marvel Super Heroes in 1966 reveals the story of Hulk:
Wolverine was born James Howlett in Alberta, Canada. He believes his parents are John and Elizabeth Howlett, rich farm owners, but his actual father is their groundskeeper, Thomas Logan. Thomas kills John, and in response, James kills him with bone claw that emerge from the back of his hands. His grandfather sends him away to a mining colony in Yukon, but he leaves to live among wolves after accidentally killing his childhood friend, Rose. He later joins Canada’s Military Defense Program, from which he is kidnapped by the Weapon X program and experimented on.
This video narrates the background of Wolverine as narrated in the Origins comic book series:
Wolverine first appeared as Hulk’s adversary in The Incredible Hulk comic series. They have since appeared together in several issues of this series.
A brutal Hulk vs Wolverine smackdown from Marvel Animated Features:
Bruce Banner is generally portrayed as sarcastic, self-assured, but emotionally withdrawn. His transformations into the Hulk are sometimes involuntary, when he becomes angry, or can be triggered using a gamma-ray device. The Hulk is generally portrayed as simple and quick to anger. He speaks in third person and has modest intelligence.
Wolverine is extremely intelligent, and is fluent in English, Japanese, Russian, Chinese, Cheyenne, Spanish, Arabic and Lakota. He is also a heavy smoker and drinker. He is often depicted as a gruff loner who rebels against authority, although he is also a reliable ally and leader.
The Hulk has almost limitless physical strength, depending on his emotional state. He is durable, with regeneration skills and impressive endurance. He can jump into lower earth orbit or across continents and has superhuman speed. He is also seen resisting psychic control and can interact with astral forms. Bruce Banner, meanwhile, is considered one of the greatest geniuses on earth.
Wolverine has accelerated healing powers, and his skeleton is reinforced with the virtually indestructible metal adamantium. He also has pronounced, fang-like canines and three retractable claws in each arm that can block attacks and help him climb structures. He has heighted agility and stamina, as well as superhuman sight, smell and hearing.
The Hulk has many allies, particularly in the superhero groups in which he participates. His cousin, Jennifer Walters, becomes a powerful ally as She-Hulk, and his childhood friend Jim Wilson often acts as his sidekick. He used to be adversaries with Thor, but later joined forces with him.
Wolverine’s allies include Professor X, founder and mentor of the X-Men, and fellow X-Men, including Jubilee and Nightcrawler.
Bruce Banner’s father, Brian, was abusive to him as a child. Bruce was protected by his mother, and his father accidentally killed her by smacking her across the face. He has two children, named Skaar and Hiro-Kala, and is close to his cousin, Jennifer Walters, who later becomes the She Hulk.
Wolverine’s believed father, John, was killed by his actual father, Thomas. Wolverine killed him in revenge, and was sent away by his mother and grandfather. His mother then killed herself.
Bruce Banner marries Betty Ross Banner (later the Red She-Hulk), and later Caiera Oldstrong.
Wolverine acts as a mentor to several female characters, including Jubilee, Rogue, Kitty Pryde, and X-23, and has many romantic relationships, including with Mariko Yashida, Rogue, Squirrel Girl and Jean Grey. He married Viper as part of a date, but later divorced her.
The Hulk has appeared in many types of media, including 9 animated TV shows and the live-action show The Incredible Hulk. Recently, he has appeared in many live action films, including Hulk, The Incredible Hulk, and The Avengers.
Wolverine has appeared in every media adaptation of the X-Men, including film, TV, and video games. He had an animated series, Wolverine and the X-Men, and an X-Men spinoff movie, called X-Men Origins: Wolverine.