FAN EXPO: Pak and Panicia Talk "Hulk Family"

Comic fans are used to seeing a whole crop of characters pop up around a mainstream star, but sometimes the bond between characters is even stronger than that of heroic allies. As the upcoming "Hulk Family" one-shot from Marvel that was announced yesterday at Fan Expo in Toronto is out to show, sometimes the bond between characters is in the blood...the green blood, that is.

"Besides giving readers cool stories with the gamma-irradiated characters they know and love, we also wanted to introduce Hulk fans to other parts of the mythos they may not be familiar with," explained Marvel editor Mark Paniccia. The one-shot, which ships in December, features solo stories of different characters with some kind of relation to the rampaging Hulk including a new "Skaar" short written by series creator Greg Pak, a She-Hulk story, a tale of the all-new female Scorpion by co-creator Fred Van Lente with Jonboy Meyers and a short featuring Hulk and Thundra's as of yet unnamed daughter.

"'Thulkrda' was created by Jeff Parker in the 'Hulk: Raging Thunder' one-shot, but his dance card is pretty full right now [with] 'X-Men First Class,' 'Age of Sentry' and the new 'Agents of Atlas' ongoing...so we passed the baton to frequent collaborator, Paul Tobin, who may yet reveal her real name!" added the editor of the creative lineups. "And Fred created Scorpion and has been waiting for an opportunity to script her again and this seemed like a natural place. The question has been out there for a long time whether she's related to Banner or not. I'm not saying we answer that here but the connection will be explored."

As for how exactly all of these characters fit into the Hulk's world and possibly into his bloodline, Paniccia added that "Hulk and Thundra's genetic offspring is a relatively newly revealed development, Scorpion's connection is murky and only briefly touched on, and there's a ton of really interesting back story to Skaar. We gained a lot of new readers with 'Planet Hulk' and 'Hulk Family' will give those who haven't picked up 'Skaar: Son of Hulk' a get a chance to sample Greg Pak's great follow up."

"With 'Planet Hulk' and 'Skaar,' we created an entire world with its own history, sociology, religion, mythology, zoology, geography, and ecology," added Pak about his contribution to the one-shot and the broader Hulk mythos. "So I'd worked out a huge amount of back story for all of the characters and peoples of the world that informed everything we did. That makes it pretty easy to come up with fun little stories to do as backups or one-shots that are still totally enmeshed in the continuity of the world and contribute towards the development of the characters.

"And I think that's the key to the success of these kinds of stories " that they reveal something essential about the characters that we haven't seen elsewhere. This particular story is no exception " we'll get a glimpse into one of young Skaar's formative experiences that you won't find anywhere else."

As for story specifics, Pak teased, "We're telling the story of young Skaar's first encounter with the mysterious stranger known as Old Sam. We'll learn a bit more about Old Sam's motives, Skaar's artistic abilities, and proper loincloth usage.

"In terms of timeline, the story fits in the middle of issue #1, after the young Skaar's encounter with the barbarians who slaughter the children in the radioactive swamps. And it's immediately after the Skaar story in the 'Savage Tales of Sakaar' one-shot."

Those special one off issues have become rather popular of late from Paniccia's office with October's "Monster Size Hulk" featuring a Hulk Vs. Frankenstein battle being the next to hit stands. And to hear the editor explain it, these projects will continue coming out for a good long while. "We try to plan for roughly four specials a year and 'Hulk Family' is something that's been percolating for a while," he said. "I think readers appreciate anytime that something takes place in or respects continuity. And we love to add to Hulk's rich mythology, giving something for future writers to build off of. This whole special is a veritable cornucopia of green goodness. From untold tales to future fables, there's going to be something for everyone."

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