Marvel Comics Incredible Hulk possess a super human physique that allows him to confront almost any foe and travel great distances in several leaps and bounds. The Jade Juggernaut’s often savage intellect means he doesn’t always fare well in situations that can’t be solved by smashing things, but when you factor in his alter ego, brilliant scientist Bruce Banner, you have a character who can go anywhere and be part of almost any story.
This June, readers will get to see just how diverse the Hulk’s adventures can be with the launch of “Savage Hulk,” a new ongoing series featuring rotating creative teams that tell original tales from the Hulk’s past, recent present and perhaps even his possible future. Legendary writer/artist Alan Davis will start the series off with an arc that follows up on the Hulk’s original encounter with the X-Men in the pages of 1970’s “X-Men” #66 by writer Roy Thomas and artist Sal Buscema. CBR News spoke with Davis about the new series and why the X-Men are a perfect foil to Banner and his monstrous alter ego.
CBR News: Alan, I understand over the years the Hulk has appeared in some of the stories you’ve worked on, but you’ve never actually worked on a story starring the Jade Juggernaut. How does it feel to be given a chance to both write and draw a Hulk adventure?
Alan Davis: I think since I was first known as a penciller it should really be a chance to not only draw the Hulk but write as well. Both are a lot of fun.
What do you find most interesting about Bruce Banner and his alter ego? Which aspects of their personalities are you interested in exploring in this story?
The same answer to both questions. The heroism of Bruce Banner.
I imagine part of the appeal of working on “Savage Hulk” is the chance to tell stories that take place at various points in the title character’s history.
Let’s talk a little bit about when this story take place. Banner and Hulk have had many different relationships over the years, and based on their dynamic at any given time it’s affected the Hulk’s transformations. Approximately when in the Hulk’s history does your story take place? Is this more of the classic brilliant scientist transforms into savage brute story, or does your story take place during one of the eras when Banner exerted more control of the Hulk?
It’s the classic Hulk from the early ’70s but obviously informed by the revelations and rationalizations since that time. That is the most interesting and challenging aspect of the job.
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In your story you’re bouncing the Hulk off a group of characters you have quite bit of history with, the X-Men. What made you want to bring the X-Men into this story?
When [“Savage Hulk” editor] Mark Paniccia outlined the title concept of Hulk stories from periods in his past, my first question was which periods? And which characters could the Hulk interact with? I sent a list of possibilities and Mark selected the X-Men.
What do you find most interesting about the dynamic between the Hulk and the X-Men? And which X-Men lineup will readers get to see you tackle?
The X-Men team from the early ’70s. The story I’m telling follows on from events in “X-Men” 66 when the X-Men first encountered the Hulk. I’d always felt it was an unresolved episode.
Are the X-Men the primary antagonists of your “Savage Hulk” story or
does that role fall to some other characters? What sort of hints or teases can you offer up about their identities?
The Leader and Abomination also have significant roles.
In terms of plot and themes what is your “Savage Hulk” story about?
And how many issues is your run scheduled to be?
Anyone familiar with “X-Men” #66 will know that Banner and/or the Hulk saved Xavier’s life. The premise of my story is that Xavier would want to return the favor. It will be four issues.
Since we’ve talked about story and characters, let’s wrap up by chatting about the visuals of your “Savage Hulk” story. What can you tell us about the overall look of your tale? How does it compare to some of your recent work on books like “Wolverine?”
Well, I always give any job my best but ultimately all any penciller can do is draw what’s in the script. Since I’m writing the Hulk I know where the story is going and can flesh out the characterizations as space allows in the pencils — and, since this is the Hulk, I’ve included a lot of action, big action– but my primary concern is to tell a good story. So I’d say this is the best work I’ve done in a few years.
“Savage Hulk” #1 debuts in June from Marvel Comics.