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Indestructible Hulk: Return to Asgard

Indestructible Hulk: Return to Asgard Pt. 4

Walt Simonson amps up the action, talking about his approach to fight scenes, lettering and more!

Indestructible Hulk #6 preview art by Walt Simonson

By Jim Beard

True story: Legendary artist Walt Simonson has never worked before with equally-legendary writer Mark Waid. Longtime friends, the two creators waited until the absolute right project came along for them to combine their talents in one titanic tale. That story, years in the making, begins in INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK #6, out April 3.

However, an illustrator the caliber of Simonson demands more than just a single large personality like the Hulk to draw, so Waid brought in another character his friend’s somewhat familiar with: the Mighty Thor.

We wanted to know how Simonson approached such a massive undertaking like this three-part INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK epic “Gods and Monsters,” so we arranged an exclusive four-part interview to illuminate how he works.

In today’s final installment, Simonson gets down to action, talking fight scenes, sound effects and more.

Marvel.com: Walt, with the characters you’re working with in INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK, we presume there’s a lot of action in the story. In general, what’s your philosophy as far as approaching action? What do you do to get that sense of movement, that sense of explosive power in fights and in other sorts of action?

Walt Simonson: At the very bottom of all of it, I want the action to reveal character. I tried to write THOR that way. Mark has some nice stuff with the Hulk and with Thor in this one. And so, it’s not always a question of, “Well how can I get the biggest action?” but the specific actions occurring here have something to do with the characters that are involved. I’m not a very big fan of, “Oh, let’s you and him meet, and we’ll fight.” I mean, it’s an interesting comic book trope, I’m happy with that and it’s good to identify it, but I want that to grow out of their characters, not just because, “Well, I can’t wait to watch these two guys fight.” Essentially, I want the fight, the action, the energy, and all the rest of that stuff, but I also want it to be character-driven in some way.

Indestructible Hulk #6 preview art by Walt Simonson

The other thing I do try to do in my art in general, which is part of this, although it’s kind of off to one side, is that a piece of art can be seen two ways simultaneously. Van Gogh is a good example because everybody’s familiar with his stuff. There was a huge Van Gogh exhibition in New York 25-30 years ago now, and we were living in the city at the time and I went to see it. I can still remember standing in front of a big pencil drawing he’d done. It seemed huge. I don’t know, but I remember it being very large, and it was a shot across probably the fields of France somewhere. It was just a pencil drawing; it wasn’t one of his paintings. But he had high horizons and a long look across the landscape. When you stood back to look at it, you saw the landscape, the depth. Essentially you saw the three dimensional landscape he was drawing, I presume, from life or from other sketches. When you stepped up close to it, as close as the nervous guards would allow you, you see all the marks from the pencils. And you can see just all these dashes and dots, and I just got a sense of his hand flying across this paper like tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap. And I don’t mean that, “Wow, it’s better if it’s fast.” What I do mean is, when you see it like that, you are aware of the surface of the paper and the hand of the artist.

And so, essentially, what you have going simultaneously is a three dimensional view of the landscape and a two dimensional view of the medium: of a piece of paper, or a canvas, or whatever it happens to be. I like art that has that dichotomy at the same time. I admire guys who do photorealism; I’m blown away by their technical prowess. I’m not often engaged by such art. I guess that’s just me. And so, in my own work, I try to get it so that the marks on the paper have a life of their own. And the drawing has a life of its own. And in part, I hope that the life of the marks on the paper will impart to the drawing some additional life or energy or whatever you want to call it. So that’s kind of my approach on that stuff.

Indestructible Hulk #6 preview art by Walt Simonson

Marvel.com: In the past, you’ve used sound effects in a way that almost gave the illusion of movement or force. Are you doing any of that here in this story?

Walt Simonson: No, I’m not. Chris Eliopoulos is the letterer on this. It’s being done digitally and I haven’t seen much of it yet. And I get the impression that Chris is working really hard to make it work out well, and so I’m dying to see it one of these days, but I haven’t seen it yet. I actually haven’t had any control on where the balloons are placed, where the lettering is placed, or where the sound effects are placed, so in that sense, I’m a step further back from the way the final work is going to look.

Marvel.com: How has digital technology in such things as the lettering impacted anything you yourself do today?

Walt Simonson: It is several things. It is one more tool. It’s not one I really use, so I haven’t done my own lettering. I probably could. I could learn to do it, it wouldn’t be that complicated, but I haven’t really done that. I did talk to Mark about getting this stuff lettered on the boards of the three INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK issues. In the end, it didn’t work out, but, you know, Chris is a really good letterer. I don’t know how Chris’ is going to look, I’m very curious to see it, but I haven’t seen it yet.

Indestructible Hulk #6 preview art by Walt Simonson

Marvel.com: It really sounds like you’re really enjoying this project.

Walt Simonson: I am.

Marvel.com: It sounds like it was worth it for you to wait to work with Mark and that it’s all coming together. Would you say that’s true?

Walt Simonson: Oh, yeah! I’ve known Mark for years—a long time. We’ve never had a chance to work together. I’m a big admirer of what he does. He’s probably far too busy for my taste as far as that goes. He’s a busy guy. But, yeah, I thought this would be a lot of fun, and so far that’s exactly what it’s proven to be.


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