By Tim Stevens
This month marks five decades of gamma bombs, science gone awry and, of course, plenty of smashing as The Hulk celebrates his 50th anniversary!
While the Mayan deities might be plotting the end of the world in the current HULK arc “Mayan Rule,” they cannot do it on their own. Aiding and abetting this pantheon: new artist on the book Dale Eaglesham. Alongside writer Jeff Parker, Eaglesham looks forward to taking Red Hulk’s adventures to a whole level.
Today he talks about that enjoyment and his love of stories where the monsters can be heroes too.
Marvel.com: The original Hulk is celebrating his 50th anniversary this year. Can you recall your first exposure to the character?
|Hulk #56 preview pencils by Dale Eaglesham|
Dale Eaglesham: I think my very first exposure was in high school, when I found this two-inch-thick Hulk book in the library. I thought it was so cool that they had a monster as the star of the book. Then, of course, there was the TV show with Lou Ferrigno. I used to watch that all the time. I didn’t think about deep concepts like duality back then, but I do very much appreciate that aspect of the character now. I still love drawing this big monster, though, and The Hulk is always one of my favorite sketch requests from fans at cons. Hulk himself has gone through a lot of change to break out of the ultra-limiting “Hulk smash” mentality and finding just the right mix has been the challenge over the years.
Marvel.com: Has your approach to Red Hulk or the book itself changed since you came on?
Dale Eaglesham: It has, absolutely. I confess I didn’t know much about Red Hulk when I first started this arc, and treated him pretty much like the green Hulk. Then after seeing one of my first pages, a friend of mine mentioned I had the hair wrong and that it should be a buzz cut. Then a fan mentioned that Red Hulk has no eyebrows. So I decided it was time to get to know General Thunderbolt Ross a little better. I read up on him more and I have to say, I really like this character. You can spot the changes pretty early on [in HULK #53], after the first few pages.
Marvel.com: As an artist, how did you approach making Red Hulk different visually, beyond the coloring, without sacrificing his unique "Hulk-ness"?
|Hulk #55 preview art by Dale Eaglesham|
Dale Eaglesham: You notice the difference in a few ways: when Red Hulk is not in action, he tends to be more human, more normal when in conversation, when interacting with Annie for example. His human side comes more readily to the surface than regular Hulk, giving him more nuanced posing overall. Being a General, he is more focused in battle as opposed to destroying whatever is in front of him. There is another change as well that has proven to be challenging—more an evolution of how I am approaching Hulk following the arc I did last year [on INCREDIBLE HULKS]: I am pushing the monster angle more and making his physique asymmetrical to a degree. I’m packing muscle on muscle and even making some up. I find myself lapsing back into symmetrical often though because in super hero work, the symmetrical bodybuilder look is predominant.
Marvel.com: Any favorite moment so far in drawing the Red Hulk?
Dale Eaglesham: I’ve had several. First, of course, was getting the surprise opportunity to work with Alpha Flight again and we all know how passionate I am about that team. Then, there’s the Mayan art, which I love, so I’ve indulged that by integrating a lot of Mayan design into the page borders, where I could. I’ve loved getting to know Jeff, and getting to know these characters. I’ve especially enjoyed scenes with Hulk and Annie, such a “beauty and the beast” contrast, and I’ve had fun with Machine Man’s various contraptions. Oh, and have I mentioned there are monkeys?! Explosive musculature, Mayan design, impending doom, monkeys—I’m a happy guy!