British social media users haven’t been kind to Boris Johnson, who compared the country to superhero Bruce ‘the Hulk’ Banner in a recent interview, just one day ahead of a meeting with Brussels negotiators.
“Banner might be bound in manacles, but when provoked he would explode out of them,” he told the Daily Mail. “Hulk always escaped, no matter how tightly bound in he seemed to be – and that is the case for this country. We will come out on October 31 and we will get it done.”
His analogy has caused mixed reactions on both sides of the Brexit debate. The Leave.EU campaign group picked up the playful tone, writing under a photoshopped photo of Johnson with a strong green skin tint:
“Let's hope Boris sticks to his pledge to break the manacles of Brussels like the Incredible Hulk on October 31 - we don't remember the Hulk ever begging anyone for a worthless European treaty!”
"The madder Hulk gets, the STRONGER Hulk gets!" 😂 Let's hope Boris sticks to his pledge to break the manacles of Brussels like the Incredible Hulk on October 31 - we don't remember the Hulk ever begging anyone for a worthless European treaty!— Leave.EU (@LeaveEUOfficial) September 15, 2019
Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said in a TV interview that the Hulk was a “winner” and “extremely popular.”
"The Hulk was a winner" – Brexit secretary @SteveBarclay reacts to comments made by Boris Johnson that likened Britain to the comic book character, The Incredible Hulk. #Ridge— Ridge on Sunday (@RidgeOnSunday) September 15, 2019
For more, head here: https://t.co/wp1ylDj7vu pic.twitter.com/dvLacFRwpo
But plenty of people were less well-disposed. One artist even drew a comic story about a botched experiment exposing a man to “gammon radiation”. Gammon is a pejorative term used to describe middle-aged Brexit supporters, referring to the unhealthy pink skin colour resembling the salted hind leg of pork (called gammon in Britain).
Boris says "we'll break free of the EU like the Incredible Hulk" so a sad man, walking alone down a street to a heartbreaking theme tune, unable to talk to anyone because of his anger issues and terrible life choices. pic.twitter.com/5dVm8nnUTj— HappyToast ★ (@IamHappyToast) September 15, 2019
One popular Twitter account elaborated on the metaphor, recalling that in Marvel Comics, Bruce Banner was “a tragic loner, left to follow a friendless path through the world, because of an experiment that went horribly wrong.”
Boris Johnson comparing us to the Incredible Hulk seems sadly apt, especially the TV series. He was a tragic loner, left to follow a friendless path through the world, because of an experiment that went horribly wrong. pic.twitter.com/48FPAFXN0w— The Media Tweets (@TheMediaTweets) September 15, 2019
A grotesque cartoon character with anger management issues - and the Incredible Hulk. pic.twitter.com/iuyRpjKpt4— russjackson (@docrussjackson) September 14, 2019
Boris Incredible Hulk Johnson 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/nMtVpq8n1Q— Auntie Pegg (@AuntiePegg) September 15, 2019
"Boris, I know you think you're the incredible hulk, but others don't see the world in the same way. Once the medication gets to work, maybe you'll think differently too. What do you say?" pic.twitter.com/u0SrKF3nZq— Mike W 🔶️ #FPHD #FBLD #PECS (@mikew4EU) September 15, 2019
To avoid confusion...— kimdurham (@mrkimdurham) September 15, 2019
The Incredible Hulk. Boris Johnson pic.twitter.com/YAuydxWsLv
On Monday, 16 September, Boris Johnson will have to prove his self-praised Hulk-like perseverance during talks with Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president, and Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator.
Johnson has indicated that he wants to renegotiate a withdrawal agreement with the European Union (after Theresa May’s version of the deal was voted down three times in Parliament due to the contentious Irish backstop clause). However, Juncker said this week that Britain has yet to set out “concrete proposals.”
Johnson has promised to leave the EU on 31 October regardless of whether there is a deal in place or not – with lawmakers going to great lengths to prevent the much-feared no-deal scenario, which could spell economic trouble for the UK.
Last week, Parliament passed a law forcing the prime minister to request a Brexit extension beyond the 31 October deadline if he is unable to strike a deal by then and if legislators do not give their consent to a no-deal Brexit.
Johnson signalled he was resolved to disobey the law – and is expected to defy a possible motion against him in court.