Mark Waid and Leinil Francis Yu are the team behind the relaunch for Marvel’s Hulk, who will NOW! be known as ‘The Indestructible Hulk’. After a conference call about Thor yesterday, today it was the turn of the Hulk creatives to take to the phones and answer questions from the greats of the comics press. And also me! I was there too.
To start with, Mark Waid is feeling pretty great today. Hurrah! Leinil Francis Yu was also feeling pretty good. Waid detailed his plans for the book, which looks to strengthen the tie between the Hulk and the Marvel Universe. As such, he’ll interact more with aspects of the MU which people might not expect – he’ll fight villains like Attuma and the Frost Giants, visit areas of the world which he hasn’t seen before, and join SHIELD. Well, not ‘join’ SHIELD, so much as… well, wait and see, I’ll get to that in a moment.
Bruce Banner is at the core of the new book, with Waid working hard to find a new entry point into the character. It took the end of AvX to find a good enough idea, in that regard – you see, while Banner didn’t show in the event at any point, Hulk was hired in to do some punching and kicking right at the end. And with that came a simple realisation for Banner that he has a great big science brain he isn’t using properly. All his scientific efforts go into trying to get rid of Hulk, which means he’s not there to help when Cyclops gets possessed by a giant burny bird which wants to destroy life.
So Banner realises that Hulk is a chronic condition he’ll likely never stop, and why should he spend his whole life doing that? Hulk is indestructible (see what Marvel have done there?), so Banner is going to leave that problem to one side and spend his time doing more productive things instead. Whenever Hulk smashes, Banner will build. I asked about this further, and if this means Hulk becomes essentially a force of nature which Banner has to weather. Waid said:
A lot of the Hulk’s personality comes from how angry Banner was at the time he changes. So sometimes he transforms and has the more talkative personality which Brian Michael Bendis has often used. And sometimes he’s more like the film version of the character, violent and non-verbal. This is where SHIELD come into play. Their job will be to point Hulk in the right direction, and let him go. He’s a cannon, not a bomb.
Of course, you don’t just hire Hulk, and Waid promises that there will be many layers to the deal SHIELD are making with Banner. iFanboy theorised that perhaps SHIELD have put some sort of mind control device into Hulk’s pants – the most indestructible part of him, as we all know – and Waid said that they ARE trying to keep him under leash. However, they might not have quite the best handle on how they should be doing such a thing.
Newsarama specifically asked about Maria Hill as a character, whom Waid characterises as:
a control freak. She’s never able to relax, which is why she’s the perfect foil for Banner. Banner will have a lot of fun messing around with her, trying to scare her. Perhaps he’ll drop a box on his foot and pretend to Hulk out, just to get a rise out of her.
Bruce, it has to be said, sounds like he’ll be enjoying himself a lot more than usual. He’ll be hiring a group of interns to help him out – again, not the easiest position to hire for – and each of the new recruits will bring both a skill and a secret to the table. They’ll show up in issue #3.
One of the other villains showing up will be a new Quintronic Man (yes!), which proved to be Yu’s favourite part of the book to draw. Yu said that the series has given him a lot of space to draw Hulk. Waid’s style of writing specifically plays to his strengths as an artist, which means he can try some new things and make each page as spectacular as possible. His initial designs for Hulk were slightly left-field – a Mohawk was involved at one point – before the team settled on this new design.
The range of locations have also proved interesting research for Yu, he said – at which point Mark happily interrupted “by the way, issue #5 is going to be set entirely underwater. Good luck!”
Yu retorted that at least this gives him a good reason to go to the beach. Ha!
CBR asked about the history of Hulk, and how easy it was for Waid to reconcile the past Hulk stories whilst still finding a new path for the character — like he has done with Daredevil. This was, probably, the best question asked.
It’s hard because Hulk doesn’t banter with people and you can’t put him in danger. So he’s different to Daredevil. There is a commonality between the two however, in that Bruce has now reached a point where he realises that everything he’s done in the past has failed to fix his situation. He’s not insane, he’s not going to keep repeating himself time and time again. So instead he’ll look back on his history and thinks “I want to try something different”.
Stan and Jack created the World’s first persecuted hero with Hulk. He had angst, turmoil, and agony about his powers, and he never got to laugh like other characters. He is perhaps the seminal tortured superhero. Which, now, is something repeated time and time again in superhero comics. So this is my way of taking a left turn away from that, to make Hulk unique again.
I then asked about the floating robot head. Because I know what people want to hear, you guys. Waid slinkily dodged the question, but did suggest again that perhaps SHIELD’s attempts to keep a leash on Hulk might not go over too well. Hmmm. So, basically, that was what happened during the conference call! You now know everything I do. Probably more! But if you DO want to find out about the robot head, which surely we all do, then the first issue of The Indestructible Hulk will be released on Nov 14th.