This whole sequence is a showcase of Joe Bennett's stellar art skills, but I think these pages with the robber, the gas station clerk, and the young girl really showcases his "acting" ability as well. What's it like writing these emotional beats for Joe? How much direction do you give him?
Joe is absolutely wonderful, and he keeps getting better with every issue. I gave him a lot of direction on the emotional side - going deep into what the characters were feeling, what the mood was - it's really good knowing I can get into fairly difficult-to-render emotional spaces and Joe will give me something back that conveys them perfectly to the reader.
Of course, I always do an extra lettering pass between the artist and the letterer, so sometimes I'll see what Joe's done and it'll inspire me to tweak what was there into something more interesting, dialogue-wise.
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To me, this page really establishes the different horrific tone of Immortal Hulk. Banner's green eyes indicate he's about to transform into the Hulk and stop the robber, but he's gunned down instead. Was that sort of your intent for this page, to sort of say this isn't necessarily the superhero book you're expecting?
Yeah, that flash of green is a promise, and it's one we immediately break. With issue #1, we're deliberately looking in at Banner from the outside, a little bit - readers are going to be introduced to the Hulk the same way a regular citizen of the Marvel Universe would be. You might go into this thinking you know about the Hulk, but new reader or old... there will come a moment when you look into the eyes of this Hulk and you'll feel that moment of fear. Because you don't know him at all.
Speaking of tone, this pages seems to hammer home the consequences of violent actions in Immortal Hulk. What was it like writing this page? Is this indicative of a tone we'll see in the book?
Writing this whole sequence - I wanted it to be fairly queasy and unpleasant. I suppose I wanted the first horror we see to be a depressingly everyday one. Is it indicative of a frequent tone - yes and no. While there are going to be grisly moments going forward, I definitely don't want to do the same kind of grisly twice if I can help it.
But on the other hand, the consequences of violence, of wrongs done, that is an ongoing theme in the book. The things we don't believe ourselves capable of - the shadow in ourselves, the versions of ourselves we don't want to see in the mirror - that's definitely a theme. So all of this is going to echo.