At the Incredible Hulk panel at New York Comic Con, Marvel Comics SVP CB Cebulski joined writer Jason Aaron, Editor Bill Rosemann and “Hulk” editor Jacob Thomas and moderator Director Of Communications Arune Singh joined to talk about plans for the Hulk, both in his new series and otherwise.
Bringing a fan wearing a Hulk hat onstage to read a printout of the very first issue of Aaron and artist Marc Silvestri’s “The Incredible Hulk,” the panel then threw over to a motion comic trailer for the upcoming issue #1, showing Bruce Banner and Hulk separated, with Hulk finding piece among the Moloids while Bruce Banner starts to go crazy without Hulk.
“What I wanted to do was flip the idea that Banner is this sweet, little, super-smart scientist who has this terrible burden to bear,” said Aaron. “The way [Hulk] sees it, Banner is his burden. Banner has held him back.”
“Plus, there’s weird monsters and things getting punched in the face,” added Aaron.
“If you are Hulk fan, I think you are going to go out of your mind for this book,” said Thomas, praising both Aaron and Marc Silvestri. “Jason knows how to rip a guys heart out, and Silvestri knows how to draw it.”
Rosemann agreed, adding that at first, he had no idea how they were going to make the Banner and Hulk split, an idea that has been done multiple times in the past, feel fresh and new.
“Then I read issue #1 and I just read issue #2 — No, they have not done it like this at all!” said Rosemann.
Switching to the Red Hulk, Singh said that this month is the perfect time for new readers to get into the storyline in “Hulk,” titled “Hulk Of Arabia,” written by Jeff Parker and art by Patrick Zircher.
“This is General Ross going to the Middle East to find out who killed his compatriots,” said Cebulski, adding that Machine Man will also be appearing in the storyline. “I know we say this a lot, but it is literally going to change the face of the Marvel Universe — if we had maps, it would look different!” added Cebulski, touching on a brand new villain.
Singh then asked the fan who had just finished reading the first issue, for his thoughts.
“It’s taking old stuff from Hulk and expanding on it…and giving us something to be happy about,” said the fan.
Singh then invited a second fan who he recognized from earlier panels and Comic-Con International in San Diego to read the comic.
In January, “Hulk” General Ross will meet up with his daughter again — Betty Ross the Red She-Hulk. The story will deal with their relationship and will be drawn by artist Elena Casagrande.
“[Casagrande] did the Fear itself arc where Modoc and Zero One had an almost romantic moment,” said Thomas, praising Casagrande.
ingh then announced a brand new Hulk miniseries, “Hulk Smash: Avengers,” a five-issue weekly miniseries shipping in February.
“I like when the Hulk fights the Avengers!” said Rosemann about the series. Explaining that each issue encapsulates a different era and is done by an entirely different creative team, Rosemann said each issue also jumps about ten to twelve years.
According to Rosemann, issue #1 is set in the Stan and Jack ’60s era, Sal Buscema is inking with Tom DeFalco writing and Ron Frenz drawing. Issue #2 is set in the ’70s era, right before the “Avengers” #181 through #187, and is written by Joe Casey. Issue #3 is set in the ’80s and is written by Roger Stern and drawn by Karl Moline. The ’90s era issue will be written by Jim McCann and is set at “Hulk” #347 and incorporating the West Coast Avengers. The final issue is set during the current era, written by Fred Van Lente and drawn by Michael Avon Oeming, featuring Red Hulk
“So we’re going Green, we’re going Gray, we’re going Red,” added Rosemann.
Singh continued to rotate enthusiastic fans up to read the first issue onstage, while hyping “The Defenders” by Matt Fraction and drawn by Terry Dodson, which will use Red She-Hulk and Iron Fist, out in stores this December. Singh then discussed artist Mark Bagley and writer Brian Michael Bendis’ “Avengers Assemble,” coming out in March of 2012, featuring the movie “Avengers” team.
Singh then moved on to questions from the fans, handing out copies of Jeff Parker-“Hulk” comics to those with good queries. The first fan asked if A-Bomb, Lira and She-Hulk storyline will ever be resolved.
“There’s actually a really cool arc that is going to get planned for around ‘Hulk’ #50,” said Thomas.
Another fan asked Aaron if he saw Banner and Hulk as two different people or two sides of the same person.
“They are quite literally two separate entities,” said Aaron, adding, “That’s not to say that’s going to be the status quo forever.”
The next fan asked, now that Betty is a Red Hulk and Banner is green, what color would be their child?
“Purple!” laughed Thomas.
Another audience member asked if there was any chance to make the Hulk closer to the ’70s Hulk of Sal Buscema’s era. Hinting that there may be some characters coming back from that era fairly soon, Cebulski added, “Dead is dead — unless someone has the right idea to bring the character back respectfully and in the right story.”
The next fan up wanted to know how the split will affect Skaar and if the Hulk is still the worldbreaker.
“Certainly things are different than what we’ver seen on the past,” said Aaron, who also stated that while there will be more supporting cast in the future, “For now I just want to focus on these guys and set up this duo dynamic.”
Singh then announced a new animated series done by Bruce Timm called “Hulk: Agents of Smash.”
Singh then asked the next fan who had read the first issue to give a quick review. “I think it’s very transformational — I love the idea that Hulk has a beard!”
The next audience member asked how the panelists felt about the “Avengers” movie starring Mark Ruffalo rather than Edward Norton.
“All I’ve seen is the trailer; he looks great in that one little shot,” said Aaron before Singh said that they couldn’t really talk about the movie.
The next fan asked if Red Hulk could have a mustache and whether they would see an A-Bomb miniseries.
“You win a No-Prize!” laughed Thomas.
“And a comic!” added Singh, handing over a signed copy.
“[A-Bomb’s] an unsung everyman — we’ve had some talks about where to put him, but no plans at the moment,” added Thomas.
The next audience member wanted to know about Aaron’s writing process.
“I write full script like most people,” said Aaron adding that as far as ideas go, “they come when I look at the faces of my hungry children!”
“It makes it sound like they’ll eat you!” laughed Singh.
The next fan asked if Betty Ross and Bruce Banner could mend their relationship. “Is there going to be a happy couple Hulk book? No,” laughed Aaron, adding that he will be using Betty in issue #2 and further issues down the road.
Another audience member asked about Banner’s role as the split’s villains.
“I don’t think he sees himself as the bad guy,” said Aaron, adding that there were plans for new villains and villains the Hulk has never faced rather than his typical rogues gallery.
“Check out ‘Avenging Spider-Man’ in November,” said Singh, adding that there will be a code for a digital version of the comic included in every copy, “for no extra cost.”
“I can only say that the cover we showed for ‘Avengers Assembled’ may be short a few members,” said Singh to a fan who wanted to know if Red Hulk might join the series.
Singh then asked the last fan to read the first issue his opinion onstage.
“It’s definitely jaw-dropping, absolutely awesome. I can’t wait for the next one,” answered the fan as the audience cheered.
Another audience member asked if Banner would become less sympathetic now that he is split up form the Hulk.
“He’s not going around killing babies or anything. I’m not throwing out Banner’s characterization up until this point,” said Aaron.
Another fan asked if other heroes will become involved in Aaron’s book.
“As things go forward you will see ramifications for the whole Marvel universe,” said Aaron.
A little girl asked how many Hulks could be different colors, saying that she wanted to see a blue or black Hulk.
“Or what about the Pink Hulk?” asked Aaron.
“There is a blue hulk,” said Singh, adding that there is a black Hulk, but there is currently no pink Hulk.
“It sounds like we have similar sensibilities when it comes to creating characters,” laughed Aaron.
The very last question came from a fan who said he wanted to see Bruce Banner relax more.
“Drama comes from tension, and we certainly play up the tension between the two,” replied Aaron, adding, “Otherwise: boring book.”