Just saw The Incredible Hulk (grade: B) and quickly began to think of Hulk vs. different superheroes, mythological beings, movie monsters, Dungeons & Dragons beasts, and science fiction entities, particularly from Star Wars.
The Superman vs. Hulk match up is as old as time and was sort of resolved in a Marvel-DC Crossover comic books miniseries, with Superman winning, but this was based on popular vote. As if basing the properties of the elements of the periodic table on a popular vote would decide their nature forevermore. This is science. Hard facts, cold data, metrics, and calculations should have been employed to determine the victor, a la Animal Face Off. Nevertheless, Superman vs. The Hulk is a great confrontation.
I Googled a few more match ups, such as Hulk vs. The Silver Surfer and Hulk vs. The Emperor, and then remembered a descriptive line from Deities & Demigods, an early Advanced Dungeons & Dragons volume: 'Nothing he can't lift, nothing he can't bend, and nothing he can't break'. I believe this described Hercules, though it may have been describing Atlas.
Was this unlimited strength game-determined or was it derived from myth? The 11th Labor of Hercules involved Hercules holding up the heavens, but it is not clear whether the heavens were supposed to be THAT heavy to the ancient Greeks. The balance of the tales are all brutal and might very well imply that Hercules has god-infused strength.
Results: Hercules over The Hulk, Superman, Silver Surfer, Palpatine, and the rest of them.
You need not look in modern graphic novels to find superheroes.
The ancient mythologies contain the most exciting, sci-fi, gadget-laden, powerful, magical, superhuman, and charismatic beings the world has ever known.
But, finally, before seeming to imply that modern comic book heroes are anything less than awesome, they DO have a certain style and they do rule. Their costumes are unparalleled. Their adventures are geekriffic in the best of ways, and they excite in a way that the ancients do not.