What's the sort of the status quo and tone of the initial stories you have planned for Immortal Hulk?
Ewing: The status quo of the book, to begin with, is fairly classic - Banner walking the Earth, using the power of the Hulk to address situations he comes across - but it's all in the tonal shift. Tone is very important for this - it was the first thing I talked about in the pitch - and in terms of the general feel of the book, it's probably closest to some of the horror work I did when I was working solely in the UK comics field, where I got my start in the writing game. That said, I don't think I could have written this in my twenties - I'm got a command of my craft now that I didn't have then, and the confidence to take the work in a more interesting direction. What I'm hoping here is that this will be another of the periodic big shifts in what can be done with the character - in the same way that the Peter David era opened up the psychology of Banner and the Hulk a lot more, and that led to an explosion of story possibilities, I'd like to take the Hulk down a new path of my own and see where that leads. I think the readers are going to enjoy joining us on that journey.
One thing I will say, for anyone reading that and feeling nervous - I've been a fan of the Hulk since I was a little kid. He was my first ever "favorite superhero" - I had a Hulk cake for my birthday, I had a Hulk cardboard decal hanging on my wall, Hulk stickers on my door, a tape of Hulk cartoons on VHS that almost wore out with the number of times I watched them. I have nothing but love for the Hulk, and I'm showing that love by doing my absolute very best work on the character - and, with any luck, by making his solo book the most read, most talked-about, most exciting cape comic of the year. I famously don't even believe in "A-list" heroes, but if they exist, the Hulk is definitely one of them. And I'm bringing my A-game.
Bennett: Al's scripts are a joy to work from. All the images are already there. I just push them out. He's such a great writer.
Al, I know in the past you have worked Marvel style or different variations of it with your artists. Are you and Joe doing something similar here?
Ewing: For Immortal Hulk, I'm going very structured - laying out panels per page, what's in the panels, being very mindful of how the beats fall and where. Then, when the art comes back, I tinker with the dialogue until it works perfectly before it goes to the letterer. So in a way, it's Full Script Plus. Joe's been absolutely fantastic on his end - he brings a beautiful mix of realism and stylistic touches that really makes everything jump off the page. And then our inker, Ruy Jose, adds a wonderful Wrightson-esque shadowy tone. There's a particular moment in issue #1 that I think people are going to be talking about for a very long time to come.
Joe, there were some pretty creepy scenes in the issues of Phoenix Resurrection that you recently drew, but what's it like working on a full on horror book like this?
Bennett: If you thought I drew some creepy scenes in Phoenix Resurrection, you ain't seen nothing yet! The pages of the first issue will feature some pure psychological horror. I'll set up a lot of bad things there. [Laughs]
I started my career doing horror stories for Brazilian publishers. So the lines of time are crossing and I now can do a horror story with a superhero book. For that hero to be the Hulk is a dream come true. I've always loved the character and to have the chance to work with this classic hero and give him a brand new look has been amazing.