Issue(s): Hulk #141
Granted he turns Betty Ross from a block of glass back into a real girl (somehow, Samson figured out that he could do so using the Hulk's gamma radiation, even though he's a psychologist - and no explanation as to why General Ross would come to Samson in the first place - did he think Betty's problems were only in her mind?).
But then he turns the Hulk's radiation on himself...
...steals Bruce's girl, picks a fight with the Hulk (and gets trounced)...
...and generally acts like an arrogant prick. Some psychiatrist.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel Super Heroes #91
Inbound References (7): show
Considering this is the same company that had their scientist characters do utterly ridiculous things in their early days that they shouldn't (need I remind you of Donald Blake making a synthetic man?), I could sort of believe Leonard Samson doing research of the effects of gamma radiation on the side of his psychological studies. Yeah he's a psychologist but even he needs a hobby...I think.
Posted by: Ataru320 | May 8, 2013 8:26 PM
Doc Samson's costume was based on Captain Tootsie, a character created for Tootsie Roll ads in the 1940s by the artists on the Golden Age Captain Marvel.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | May 24, 2014 5:23 PM
With that stupid hair and ridiculous costume I've never been able to take Doc Samson seriously. I don't know that there's a dumber looking costume that lasted longer.
Posted by: Erik Beck | February 4, 2015 11:29 AM
Yeah, it's interesting to see that the guy whose niche in the Marvel Universe for the past 35 years has been "voice of reason" started out as an utter douchebag.
Posted by: entzauberung | June 29, 2015 2:45 PM
I suppose there's a little lip service paid to the idea that Samson is a psychiatrist, since his gadget is called a cathexis-ray. Quite how Freudian theory translates into power-transferrign ray guns, I have no idea. (Perhaps Wilhelm Reich is involved?)
Posted by: Omar Karindu | October 18, 2015 10:43 AM
Omar, that's an interesting point. In the Marvel Universe it is possible that one aspect of "psychology" is the study of mental energy, psychic powers, telepathy, telekinesis, etc. It would not be a pseudoscience since these things actually exist. So in addition to normal psychology, Samson might also be much more of a "hard science" scientist who built his own devices and such to measure, control, and manipulate psi-power.
Exactly how that enabled him to restore Betty isn't explained, but hey - SCIENCE!
However, to go back to your point on Wilhelm Reich, Reich's "organic energy" was previously mentioned in Tales to Astonish 78-81 when a Dr Zaxon attempted to steal the Hulk's organic energy. So there is some continuity there, although probably not intentional.
Posted by: Chris | October 18, 2015 2:13 PM
Aside from Doc Samson acting like a jerk(and his motivations are at least the most clearly delineated of all the characters in the book, unless you count the Hulk) this story is so plot driven that characterization goes to the wayside. Betty dates Samson because Bruce doesn't call? Bruce doesn't call Betty because Samson? Betty doesn't call Bruce because Samson? Bruce becomes the Hulk again because Betty calls Samson Jarella? Who knows? The story makes me want to run to an "LABORATORY" in the middle of New York City and play with Gamma Rays, because the captions don't nearly justify any of this enough in the few pages given to cure the Hulk and then bring him back. True, I shall surely die instead of becoming the Hulk, but at least I'll never see the back of this issue of the Hulk again, which establishes the Cathexis Ray to be used again to create Red Hulk and more in World War Hulks...
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | March 19, 2016 4:47 AM
Mark, thanks for the info about Captain Tootsie. Good lord, what was Thomas thinking?
As for the psychiatrist Samson creating such an exotic machine, it was later retconned that the Intelligencia, a collection of Marvel's smartest villains, provided him with the technology as part of their scheme to create their own Hulk.
Posted by: Andrew | July 3, 2016 10:59 AM
"With that stupid hair and ridiculous costume I've never been able to take Doc Samson seriously."
And yet…still IMO far better than the pony-tail and bare-chest-con-shoulder-pads revamp John Byrne did for him, down the road. The Tee-shirt works for me, conceptually.
Have to agree with Brian C. Saunders that everyone has taken a triple-dose of stupid pills here. The absolute worst is that Bruce Banner, finally and completely cured of being the Hulk, willingly turns back into Ol' Purple-Pants because his love life has hit a rough patch. Oy.
Posted by: Dan Spector | June 14, 2017 10:23 AM
To be fair, Bruce voluntarily turning himself back into the Hulk can be interpreted as the Hulk personality subconsciously guiding his actions in order to be released. His frustration over Betty's wandering affections triggered the need to release his anger in the only way he was psychologically capable of.
Posted by: Gary Himes | September 26, 2017 9:06 PM
@Gary- that's exactly the explanation Samson gave in Hulk 393.
Posted by: Michael | September 26, 2017 10:13 PM
So, it was actually the gamma rays that made Samson's hair grow out? Is this because he secretly wanted to get his groove on, or because his name was "Samson?" If his luscious glory gets cut, will he lose his super-strength? This kind of silliness could only happen in the swingin' 70s!
Posted by: Holt | October 14, 2017 8:03 PM
I think the hair thing was just to make him in line with the Samson legend. It's bizarre he had to get green hair of all thing but at least he still looks more human than practically every other gamma being.
Posted by: Ataru320 | October 14, 2017 10:15 PM
I had never realized that his hair was short before the gamma treatment. Story-wise, I suppose it's plausible that his hair growth was a coincidental effect of the gamma rays, but still, it seems like quite a coincidence in light of his name. It would make more sense if the longer hair had just been a personal choice of his before the gamma rays turned it green. Makes me think, "How did the gamma rays know his name was Samson?" lol But I guess that's just Roy Thomas for ya in his early days. *shrugs*
Posted by: Holt | October 14, 2017 10:29 PM
Leonard Sampson later told Jen Walters that the form gamma-irradiated people take is influenced by their subconscious thoughts. The Hulk is the embodiment of Bruce's repressed anger, the Abomination's ugliness reflects Emil Blonsky's poor self-image, the Leader is the result of Sam Sterns' wish to be more intelligent, and Leonard's physique is an expression of his love of heroes (and subconscious identification with his Biblical namesake).
Posted by: Gary Himes | October 14, 2017 11:18 PM
That makes sense. I'm pretty familiar with all those characters up to '71, but I've got a lot to catch up on. Thanks guys. From the back issue boxes I know Jennifer Walters was the Savage She-Hulk before she became Sensational during Byrne's FF run and Sensational She-Hulk series which I did collect in the 80s. She doesn't seem so Savage anymore but... I feel like I'm rambling too much & asking too many dumb questions; I'll catch up on her psychological motivations eventually. This site helps a lot.
These other gamma-effected characters all have green skin, it's a bit different that Doc Samson doesn't, but no big deal. He honestly still seems a bit silly to me but it's plain to see I'm not the only one. Most of Thomas' early stuff didn't ever really hit the right notes for me but I liked his later DC stuff a lot better.
Posted by: Holt | October 15, 2017 12:20 AM
"If his luscious glory gets cut, will he lose his super-strength?" That's exactly the explanation Thomas will give in a few issues: http://www.supermegamonkey.net/chronocomic/entries/hulk_143-144.shtml
Posted by: Morgan Wick | October 15, 2017 1:43 AM
Really? Here I thought I was the one being silly, but Roy beat me to the crazy train again. Damn!
Posted by: Holt | October 15, 2017 5:06 AM
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