Marvel Star Mark Ruffalo Once Chose an Obvious Disguise to Walk Around Comic-Con

Mark Ruffalo of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has become a fan favorite in his portrayal as The Hulk. Taking on the role in 2012 in The Avengers, Ruffalo replaced actor Ed Norton after his turn as Bruce Banner in 2008.

Wanting to experience the legendary Comic Con event as a spectator rather than a celebrity, the superhero star decided to don a costume that may have been a little too spot on.

'Avengers: Endgame" star Mark Ruffalo attends Swing Left's "The Last Weekend" Election Rally at Cooper Union
‘Avengers: Endgame’ star Mark Ruffalo | Noam Galai/Getty Images

Mark Ruffalo lands a commercial for an acne product

As a young actor, Ruffalo’s big break came when he was cast in a 1989 Clearasil commercial. The aspiring thespian was so encouraged by landing the small role that he gave notice at his current place of employment.

“I was 19, maybe 20, that was my first paying job,” Ruffalo told Rolling Stone in 2015 of his commercial gig. “I went and quit my day job, stringing guitars at a guitar store on Sunset Boulevard, Freedom Guitar. I made like $30,000 – and I was like, ‘I’ve made it, I’m rich, I’m quitting my job, I’m on my way!’”

Sadly, Ruffalo’s enthusiasm was a bit premature where the payout for the Clearasil bit didn’t last too long.

“Two months later, after lending money and treating friends to dinner, and buying a new car stereo system, it was all gone,” The Hulk actor shared. “And then it was back to whatever small jobs I could get. Busboy, waiting tables, gardening, house painting, moving, whatever s*** –  I did everything when I was in L.A.”

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How ‘The Hulk’ changed the actor’s career

Ruffalo had a list of credits to his name before taking on the role of the green rage machine including 13 Going on 30, Reservation Road, and The Kids Are Alright. Yet the Marvel role was a game-changer for Ruffalo and allowed him to pursue a host of passion projects that he previously had to put on the shelf.

“I’m like a Depression-era person, as far as acting goes. It’s sort of like, grab it while you can and make the most of what’s in front of you,” the MCU actor said. “The first Avengers opened up a host of things that I’ve been struggling to get made for a long period of time. It created this whole, sort of, avalanche of work.”

For the Avengers actor, the consistency of his role in the franchise is welcomed work. “It’s like a television show where you do one episode every two years and get paid well, and have economic reliability in what’s otherwise a completely chaotic market,” Ruffalo explained. “So, as long as they’re happy, I see this being a really nice thing.”

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Attending Comic Con as his alter ego

With the overwhelming popularity of Comic Con events around the country, Ruffalo wanted to experience the legendary convention from a fan’s perspective. He showed up wearing – ironically – a Hulk mask so he wouldn’t be recognized.

“It’s mindblowing. I was walking around there with a Hulk mask on, just to see what it’s like in there,” Ruffalo recalled. “It’s this whole subculture that’s kind of sweet actually — this outside culture that finally had its due. I mean, how cool is it? They get dressed up.”

The actor noted that the caped-and-sans-caped crusaders are positive role models to emulate. “The values of the superheroes are actually pretty damn good, when you think about it,” Ruffalo said. “Fighting for the little guy, fighting world domination.”

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