Joe, what can you tell us about your take on the Hulk?
Joe Bennett: Tom Brevoort asked me if I'd be interested in a new Hulk series featuring unique visuals and atmosphere. Al's scripts really evoke those elements, too, so I decided I should approach the book with a style reminiscent of Bernie Wrightson. The Green Goliath will have a darker and more nocturnal look in this book. I'm trying to evoke the feel of all those great Warren magazines like Eerie, and Creepy
What kind of role does Banner play in your story? How would you describe his initial dynamic with the Hulk?
Ewing: There's one line that resonates strongly with me when it comes to Banner and Hulk. It's the line from the cover of the very first issue - "Is he man or monster or... is he both?" And that's the line we explore with Bruce Banner. When we join him, he's walking the Earth, his return from the dead whispered about but not yet public knowledge. He's attempting to use the power inside him - the rage inside him - to atone for his sins, to right wrongs, to bring a measure of justice - or vengeance - to the situations he finds himself in. He's allowing the Hulk to guide him a little. And if that idea sends a little chill down your spine... you're not alone.
In terms of the Banner/Hulk dynamic - I've been getting a little Jungian. I've been thinking of the Hulk as Banner's shadow, the personification of all the things he doesn't like to see in himself. That leads to some interesting interplay between them - the Hulk side lives in mirrors, and during the day he brings hunches, sudden intuitions, magical thinking - but there's one difference between them I think people will want to know about right away.
Banner can die. The Hulk can't. If you shoot Banner in the head - he'll fall over dead. He'll lie there all day, dead as dirt, growing cold, getting stiff... right up until the sun goes down. And then... well, night is the Hulk's time.
And the Hulk remembers.
Who are some of the initial supporting characters we'll see in Immortal Hulk? Will this book feature familiar Hulk characters, brand new ones, or sort of a mix of both?
Ewing: In the spirit of the fresh start, we're bringing in some entirely new supporting characters - or at least new to Hulk. As time goes by, and word of Banner's return to the land of the living gets out into the public, you might see certain old characters making an appearance. But initially, we focus on a trio - there's Banner himself, so often a supporting character in his own life. We've heard plenty about him already.
Then there's Jackie McGee, who's a slight borrowing from the TV show - since we were looking at Banner walking the Earth and moving from one situation to the next, I thought it'd be nice to have a reporter tracking him, looking for the story. After all, in a world where the Hulk is a beloved celebrity in some states and a natural disaster to be feared in others, his comings and goings have the potential to be big news. Jackie finds herself on Banner's trail in Arizona, and as the Hulk makes his presence felt in the world more and more, she's right behind him. Banner, of course, doesn't want to be found, or written about, or noticed, and he especially doesn't want to be questioned. People in denial about themselves rarely do.
And finally, there's an old favorite who's new to this title - Walter Langkowski, aka the Sasquatch. He's taking a leave of absence from Alpha Flight to sort out some personal issues, and he needs Bruce Banner to do it. Langkowski and Banner were college friends, and Langkowski ended up duplicating Banner's experiments and becoming Canada's own hairy half-a-Hulk - I've been fascinated by Langkowski as a kind of healthy version of Banner, an intellectual jock, a big, handsome ex-Quarterback, millionaire, beloved hero of his country and his planet, and gosh-darned nice with it. How did Banner ever get along with this guy? And maybe more importantly - if Langkowski is so healthy and normal, why doesn't he want to change into Sasquatch any more? And why does Sasquatch suddenly have matted, filthy fur, drool on his muzzle and a vicious gleam in his eye? Alpha Flight fans might remember the Great Beasts - but as I said, we're not doing old continuity. This is something new...
Bennett: I've been a huge fan of Sasquatch since I was a teenager! So it's a real joy to get a chance to redesign the guy.