POOR SPIDERMAN. It seems just minutes ago when Universal Pictures' movie version of the Marvel Entertainment character and the marketing phenomena it sparked was the latest and greatest for every self-respecting superhero wannabe. But 2003 is predicted to be a year of lurid green for boys throughout the world and Spidey will be on the back burner - at least until the Spiderman sequel comes out. According to toy licensee company Rand International spokesman Steven Goldmeier, that old favourite The Incredible Hulk is going to be the super-hero of choice for the next 12 months. Mr Goldmeier is in Hong Kong from the United States this week for the Toys and Games Fair at the Convention and Exhibition Centre. Rand, in conjunction with Hong Kong-based Sky Victorious, has set up space at the fair to promote the goods to global buyers and wholesalers, many of whom are looking for this year's golden egg. It may just seem like child's play, but according to Mr Goldmeier, Spiderman spin-offs (drink bottles, clothing, costumes, frisbees and so on) netted 'something like US$800 million' for Marvel. Marvel makes Spiderman and Hulk products (among others) through Toy Biz. Marvel president and chief executive Peter Cuneo said in a statement last October the company's resurgence throughout 2002 had been supported by the overwhelming popularity of Spiderman: The Movie. Marvel's toy division sales increased 81.8 per cent in the third quarter compared to the same period in 2001. 'In 7-Eleven's [in the US] there will be giant Hulk slurpies. When the kids wake up, they could ride on their Hulk bikes or tricycles, or get into their Hulk playhouse. We also have a strength-building programme, the one the Hulk does [this is a set of toys such as a grip enhancer and dumb bells],' said Mr Goldmeier. The film is being released in June in the US with a Hong Kong date as yet unknown, but as early as December 9, last year, enthusiasts were discussing on movie-related Web sites sightings of Hulk toys. Mr Goldmeier said initial sales of Hulk goods were already going very well in the US. 'Spiderman really helped. Everyone knows the success of that.' Rand has multinational rights to the Hulk (including pan-Asian) and Mr Goldmeier said so far the response from the global marketplace had been positive. 'The market is in to strong brands. We know that every child is going to see it. 'Nabisco is even going to do a Hulk Oreo with green in the middle. Lifesavers are going to do a giant Hulk candy.' For those not in the know, The Incredible Hulk centres on a man called Bruce Banner. When he is exposed to intense bursts of gamma rays, Bruce transforms into a big green monster. When Bruce is angry (at the bad guys), he becomes the Hulk, intent on setting things straight. The film, which is still in development, is being directed by Ang Lee, of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon fame. The original series was a big success for US television in the 1970s. But children are so fickle. Who else are we going to see rehashed in a bid to get the lucrative toy dollar? Mr Goldmeier said there was talk about the Green Hornet coming to the big screen (and to every toy store in the world), a series that co-starred Bruce Lee. But do not throw out those Spiderman diving goggles just yet. 'In 2004, it will be Spiderman again.'