Marvel's "Hulk" Podcast with Jeph Loeb

Wed, January 16th, 2008 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Shaun Manning, Staff Writer

"HULK" #1 SPOILER WARNING IN FULL EFFECT!

"Hulk" #1 on sale now
Marvel recorded its latest podcast Wednesday afternoon, with writer Jeph Loeb discussing the new "Hulk" title. Loeb spoke with Marvel's Senior Art Director Jeff Suter about the developments in the first issue, some of the thinking behind the mysterious Red Hulk, and the smash-fests fans can expect in future storylines.

Following up on "Planet Hulk" and "World War Hulk," both written by Greg Pak, Loeb admitted there were high expectations for the new series. "Joe Quesada, to his credit, thought we could take that ball and go a little bit further," Loeb said, "and we're still out there charging along."

Throughout the conversation, Loeb emphasized his series would be full of "Hulk Smash!" moments, and that these may take different turns that what we've seen before.

Suter's first question for Loeb is one that's every fan's mind: can Bruce Banner still be the Hulk, given that the Hulk kills the Abomination while Banner is locked safely away five stories below ground? "Well, he's the first one you have to look at," Loeb said.

"Hulk" #2
Later, the writer indicated one of the goals of the new series was to restore some of the mystery to the Hulk. "In 'Astonishing Stories,' before we knew Banner was the Hulk, it would be one of these things where he'd only come out and night; and then somebody saw the Hulk, and they reported it, and the police were like, 'What do you mean? A giant bear?' No! Not a bear! It's the Hulk. But now, your immediate reaction is, 'Oh, it's the Hulk.' So in this series, we're getting a reaction you haven't had in thirty or forty years, where the world doesn't know if Banner is the Hulk."

However, Loeb promised "Hulk" #4 would hold some answers.

Regarding Banner's bunker prison, Loeb says readers will find out exactly how tight security is in issue #3. "If you're going to keep Banner under lock and key, this is the way to do it," the writer said. "But we'll see if that means anything to the Hulk." Loeb revealed there are no human guards at the base, with S.H.I.E.L.D. hoping to avoid a repeat of past scenarios in which the Green Goliath would escape and "a whole bunch of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents end up getting their heads ripped off."

Loeb suggested his new Hulk has several notable differences from the familiar character. In addition to being red, this Hulk is incredibly fast, popping up "like the alien in 'Aliens'" and ruthlessly attacking his opponents-among them, the Avengers. "By the end of issue #2, Iron Man will know what he's up against," the writer said.

"Hulk" #3
Perhaps more significantly, the Hulk is now radioactive. Still, Tony Stark believes he can take him. "If you win against Mike Tyson, you probably think you can do it again," Loeb said. "The Hulk's been defeated time and again, but the only reason that he could be defeated is, at the end of the day, Banner doesn't want that [destruction] to happen. Otherwise, Hulk just gets more and more powerful, until he can rip the moon apart. Or the internet in half."

She-Hulk and Iron Man will continue to be in the "Hulk" supporting cast, and Rick Jones will also have a role. "I suspect he won't be in the Alaskan frontier for very long," Loeb said. "And whenever he and Banner get together, nothing good's going to happen." Additionally, Tony Stark will be undergoing something of a redemption story in "Hulk," following his controversial role in "Civil War."

Ed McGuinness gets a lot of credit from Loeb for the quality of the "Hulk" series. Whereas their collaboration on "Superman/Batman" was largely writer-driven, he said, "Ed came to Marvel to do the Hulk the way he wanted to do it" and that the artist was throwing Loeb "one wacked-out idea after the next." Loeb compared McGuinness's ability to come up with weird, wild adversaries to that of Jack Kirby, saying "Modok was basically a big giant head with little tiny hands" and suggesting the series would head in this direction following the first six-issue story arc. "I promised [McGuinness] that the Hulk is going to punch the Watcher in the face."

The complete podcast will be available on Marvel.com on Thursday or Friday of this week.

Now discuss this story in CBR's Hulk forum.

 
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