Mark Waid & Leinil Yu’s Plans For Hulk: ‘Bring The Sexy Back’
Among the many Marvel Comics characters who are part of the publisher’s Marvel NOW relaunch initiative is of course the Hulk, who’s now quite the star thanks to some scene-stealing moments in Joss Whedon’s Avengers film. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1962, Bruce Banner and his destructive alter ego have gone through numerous variations over the decades — different colors, different personalities, different powers and even different planets — but what’s generally always remained consistent is the character’s central dramatic desire: to cure himself of the Hulk. But in the forthcoming Indestructible Hulk series, readers will meet a Bruce Banner who’s resigned to his fate, keen to do what he can to compensate for the actions of his monstrous other persona, and integrated into the broader Marvel Universe as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
The series reunites writer Mark Waid and artist Leinil Yu, creators of the celebrated Superman: Birthright graphic novel that put forth what many fans hold up as the best modern expression of the Man of Steel’s origin story. The pair participated in a conference call with members of the press to discuss Indestructible Hulk, which artist Yu said he’s using as an opportunity to “bring the sexy back” to the giant green monster.
The following highlights come to us courtesy of Marvel.com Associate Editor Ben Morse, who administered a live blog of the conference call that was hosted by Sales & Communications Coordinator James Viscardi.
- The Bruce Banner of this new series is one who’s come to terms with the fact that he cannot rid himself of the Hulk curse, and is determined to move forward. “The Hulk destroys and Banner builds” is the key phrase, and Banner will spend his time and energy “making up” for what the Hulk gets up to. The Hulk is something Banner can control by some measure, but “Hulk happens,” Waid elaborated, comparing Banner’s new insights to those of Matt Murdock aka Daredevil, who Waid also revitalized in a recent series that took a severe tonal diversion from what had come before. “It’s a less human, street-level book, so all the things that worked in Daredevil were harder to duplicate in Hulk,” he said. “The commonality in the two books is that Bruce Banner, much like Matt Murdock, reaches a point in his life where he realizes the things he’s been doing have not been working. That’s how you honor what’s gone before without disavowing it. The characters look back at their history and say, I want to try something different because what I have is not working.”
- Waid specifically cited Banner’s post- Avengers Vs. X-Men realization that because of his quest for a cure, he doesn’t “get to be the science hero” like Reed Richards or Tony Stark, which also informs his decision to “take a bit of a sabbatical from worrying about trying to control the Hulk.”
- Like his Daredevil refresh, Waid’s Hulk approach is in defiance of the downer superhero story trend that the writer suggested actually began with the original Hulk story. “What Stan Lee and Jack Kirby did back in the day was they created the world’s first persecuted super hero in the Hulk. Bruce Banner was the seminal morose, tortured super hero. Fifty years later, you can go to a comic shop, pick up a random stack of superhero comics, and most of them will probably feature tortured super heroes.”
- Waid sees the new Hulk series as a way of “taking readers on the most imaginative Marvel Universe ride possible,” a goal that’s facilitated by Banner’s signing on with S.H.I.E.L.D. That development comes with some “back room deals” that will come to the surface as the series progresses. For its part, S.H.I.E.L.D. thinks of the Hulk “as a cannon, not a bomb,” and Banner’s handler Maria Hill thinks she has the Hulk on “a tight leash.” Waid indicated that Ms. Hill is mistaken. “It’s not above Banner to purposefully drop a box on his foot in front of Maria just to see her heart stop for a beat.”
- The new armor seen in the preview material is not actually for the Hulk. It’s for Banner.
- Villains will include Attuma, Frost Giants, and a new Quintronic Man who Yu said he had the most fun redesigning. There is a “big bad” in the first year whose identity Waid isn’t ready to give away.
- For his part, Yu is attempting to depict a more human kind of Hulk, in contrast to the “lumbering brute” seen elsewhere. Waid said Yu captured “the sense of the Hulk as a force of nature,” and Yu’s Hulk is distinctly “fast” and “sleek.” Numerous outlets who were on the call reported that the artist joked he was trying to “bring the sexy back” to the green goliath.
- Mark Waid on his creative process: “If you ever want to get into character for writing the Hulk, go to the DMV for half an hour. That’ll do it.”