By Marc Strom
The Hulk's seen his share of changes over the last few years, from a red counterpart to meeting his son, but now he'll experience one more upheaval as writer Jeph Loeb and artist Ed McGuinness bring their run to a stunning conclusion in HULK #24.
Looking back, Loeb reveals that he had everything planned right from the beginning.
"It was all there," he remembers. "Ed McGuinness, [editor] Mark Paniccia and I went over the little arcs within the big arc-"Red Hulk," "Defenders/Offenders," "Hulk No More," "Code Red" and "World War Hulks"-from the very beginning. Each piece led to another, but also could stand alone as stories. But as with any big project there are surprises, so things like the KING-SIZE HULK special, Arthur Adams and Frank Cho stepping in [on HULK #7-9, or] issue #18, the Doc Samson one-off with Whilce Portacio, became things we happily found along the way."
While nothing from that original plan changed in any significant way, Loeb adds that "things fleshed out better. The Intelligencia were there, but the backstory and the [FALL OF THE HULKS: ALPHA and GAMMA] stories that we got to do were gifts that we found."
The Red Hulk's identity remained a mystery until just recently, but Loeb sees his story as much larger than that single element.
"It was never intended to be a big mystery story," remarks the writer. "These were the adventures of the Red Hulk and how they affected the Green Hulk's world. We wanted to introduce the character and then give out the origin near the end after you were invested in who he was. The closest thing I guess we can compare it to is Wolverine, who was there a long time before his backstory was told and even then, it was just the beginning."
|HULK #24 cover by Ed McGuinness|
"We're happy with how it turned out," he admits. "We hope that the readers are too. The narration was always part of the plan-there had been Banner-narrated pieces-after HULK #600 when the Green Hulk went away."
The creative team will go out with a bang, as HULK #24 concludes the current "World War Hulks" storyline shaking up the characters' world-just don't expect Loeb to reveal what type of repercussions that conclusion will have.
"Ah, that would be telling," he teases. "But there's definitely a switch which is great for the incoming team."
Loeb, who has worked together with McGuinness on a regular basis since 2000, says that their HULK run came about as a result of the artist's love of the character.
"This was a book that Ed wanted to do since he came to Marvel," reveals the writer. "We didn't know about the Red Hulk at the time, but a lot of those themes got to play out. He's my partner and my pal and I couldn't have done this without him."
Looking both backwards and forwards, Loeb appreciates just how exciting his time on HULK was, and can't wait to re-team with McGuinness.
"We had fun and hope the readers did too! And we're super psyched for our next big thing which will be announced soon!"
For all the latest news, videos, photos, live blogs and more from San Diego Comic-Con International, keep visiting Marvel.com's official hub page!
To find a comic shop near you, call 1-888-comicbook or visit www.comicshoplocator.com
Not a subscriber to Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited yet? Join now!
Download episodes of "X-Men: Evolution", "Wolverine and the X-Men", "Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes" and "The Super Hero Squad Show" now on iTunes!
Check out the official Marvel Shop for your favorite Marvel Heroes!