Gerry Duggan is taking over writing on the Hulk comic book and his initial storyline is going to be huge. The Hulk, now smart, has decided to do something about all the gamma-powered people running around the Marvel universe. I am excited to see what he does as I was never really happy with Rick Jones as A-Bomb or even Betty Ross as Red She-Hulk. The Hulk needs his regular supporting cast back. I got a chance to ask Gerry some questions so read on below!
IH.ME: First of all, welcome to the world of the Incredible Hulk! What was the biggest draw for becoming the new writer on the Incredible Hulk comic book? What do you think you bring to the book?
GD: The Omega Hulk is very tightly plotted, and will run through the spring of 2015. It will have earth shattering action, and small character moments. I’m also bringing a bit of tonally appropriate humor to the proceedings (I hope).
IH.ME: Did you have a lot of discussions with Mark Waid once you were officially on the book?
GD: Yes, Mark was very helpful and gracious and kind to me. We discussed some story elements on a phone call and I told him my roadmap, and he dug it. I’ve inherited some great new characters from him, we’ll see Banner’s assistance, and I think we have a gut punch of the resolution to the mystery of “Who Shot Banner?”. Mark Waid is one of my all-time favorite writers, he’s written some of my favorite comics, but the highest compliment I can pay him is that he makes me care about characters that I otherwise wouldn’t have gravitated towards. On a personal note, I often try to avoid any interaction with personal heroes. For example I stood silently in an elevator with Jeff Bridges once,which he probably appreciated, but my point is — I’d rather not meet someone I admire and have the exchange go south. Now when I think of Bridges’ work I don’t have to think about the time I accidentally pissed him off. Mark is another artist whose work I greatly admire, and even before I was asked to join Hulk — Mark has always been supportive, and I can’t thank him enough for that. Between Hulk, Daredevil, Empire almost easy to let his previous masterpieces slip your mind. I know everyone has read Kingdom Come his collaboration with Alex Ross, but my shelf is filled with Waid. JLA: Tower Of Babel is another personal favorite. His Daredevil run is so wonderful. So, to answer the question yes, I guess we did chat.
IH.ME: The first storyline has the Hulk dealing with all the other gamma-based characters in the Marvel Universe. What are you trying to accomplish with your first storyline on the book?
GD: I know why every addition to the Hulk family was a good idea, but when you look down on it from a bird’s eye perspective, that’s too many Hulks. It would present a clear and present danger to the world. Depowering Hulks makes sense from behind the scenes too. Recently at a Marvel retreat James Robinson threw out some thoughts about Rick Jones. By chance, these were ideas that had already been written into the Omega Hulk. I think everyone at the table agreed that these were good thoughts for the character. Don’t forget — “depowering” doesn’t necessarily mean “killing”. If a Hulk comes off the board, in most cases, a wonderful old supporting member of the Incredible Hulk returns. I can promise the next 12 issues of Hulk will have have ginormous action, and important character development throughout the Hulk family. Plus the addition of a new Hulk villain in the back end of the story.
IH.ME: Do you already have story lines planned out far into the future?
GD: The first of two Omega Hulk trades is basically complete, and I’m scripting the back end. The Omega Hulk is plotted out and approved. I’ll turn in the script for issue 9 in early August. We’re a motivated team at the moment. Mark Paniccia & Emily Shaw over at Marvel have been wonderful, as has Bags’ art team of Andy Hennessy & Jason Keith. It’s been a treat to see these art come in. Also, how about those covers? Alex Ross. Gary Frank. Bags just did one for 9 starring some special guests that is going to make people excited. There might be some fun names announced soon about upcoming Hulk covers.
IH.ME: How much interaction do you have with Mark Bagley on the storyline and overall look of the book?
GD: He’s been a prince. A very talented, committed, excellent and fast prince. He has been so cool to work with, and I’m biased, but these pages are his best work ever in my opinion. We’re going from double page spread of unrelenting action that would short out richter scales, to turning pages and finding silent panels with real emotion. I’m proud and honored to have the opportunity to work with him on this story.
IH.ME: Will you be creating any new characters to add to the Hulk’s rogue gallery?
GD: Yes, but not for a little while yet…
IH.ME: What makes the Hulk an interesting character for you to write?
GD: So much tragedy. Banner was destroyed by what he loved. He wanted his science to change the world, and it did, but not in the way he intended. Look at what Bruce and Hulk have done to the world, look at what has happened to the people around them. The good news is, when we need that monster — he’s there to save us all…
IH.ME: What do you think is the basic aspect to the Hulk book and Hulk character?
GD: I could go on and on here, but I think my remarks on the previous question will give you a good feel for my broad strokes about the two characters. I also want to be careful not to spoil any of the events that occur before my run begins with issue 5 in August. Thanks.
IH.ME: There is a long history to the Hulk, any particular storylines from that past that are your favorite?
GD: I remember having Hulk comics right alongside Spidey. One of my cherished toys was the Hulk rage cage. Future Imperfect is of course a standout. I love Mark’s run, I also loved the Simonson/Adams Fantastic Four run with Hulk. I know this is hubris, through and through — but I think the story we’re telling in the Omega Hulk is my favorite Hulk story at the moment. I run to the computer to write it. I wake up in the middle of the night and make notes. I’m that excited for it. Banner’s first appearance should be quite memorable, I hope.
IH.ME: Any villains out there that the Hulk hasn’t fought that you would like to throw at him?
GD: Yes, but I’d like to pass on this question for now, thanks.
IH.ME: The Hulk fan base is very passionate and protective over the character, why do you think that is?
GD: As a current Deadpool character, I can take the heat. I’m writing for one person: me. If I’m writing for anyone else, it’s Bags and my editors. I hope you like it, but it’s unrealistic to expect it will be everyone’s favorite Hulk ever, but — that is not the goal. I promise every copy is going to be one that I would happily shell out my hard earned money to buy. As for why people are protective about comic characters — it’s about investment. Not just financial, but emotional. We’re all invested in what we love, or we wouldn’t be reading comics.
IH.ME: Besides writing comics (which you seem to be doing a lot of right now), what else have you been up to?
GD: I wrote some of the dialogue for SUNSET OVERDRIVE out on X-Box One this October 28th. Insomniac Games has made something truly special and tremendously fun. It’s like a unicorn puked up the apocalypse. I’m buying the console just to play the game, and I promise you — it’s worth it for you to do the same. It’s going to be a game that you’ll play through to the end and I would expect it would spawn some imitators. Please do check it out.
IH.ME: Favorite (non-Marvel) summer movie so far?
GD: EDGE OF TOMORROW is a really smart, fun film. Christopher McQuarrie wrote it, and he’s brilliant. Use your Google-Fu to find his draft of “THE WOLVERINE” which is a perfect screenplay. Not a single letter out of place. It’s like if Akira Kursawa was to take on the character. It is NOT the film that got made. Go treat yourself to both the Tom Cruise movie and that Wolvie script.
IH.ME: What was your favorite site from SDCC 2014 this year?
GD: Do you mean favorite sighting? The Lego booth is always amazing. The Dark Knight Batmobile was stunning. The Marvel booth always puts out a nice spread that changes everyday. Ant-Man’s helmet and Cap’s shattered shield were pretty bad-ass.
IH.ME: Do you think you can convince Gary Frank to keep doing covers for the Hulk?
GD: Never say never, but he’s a busy man and I feel lucky to snag the covers we did. The covers that we have on the way are going to blow your mind, including a living legend that has never drawn the Hulk before. In the meantime — thanks for reading the Hulk, I promise these books will be worth it for Bagley’s work alone.