WonderCon 2012: Hulk

WonderCon 2012: Hulk

By TJ Dietsch

The countdown to the end of the world begins in HULK #53.

Hulk #53 preview art by Dale Eaglesham

As time keeps on slipping towards the Mayan doomsday in 2012, Red Hulk, A-Bomb and a group of other heroes will have more to worry about than building bunkers and buying up all the water. In this case, they'll have to contend with actual Mayan gods returning to Earth, attacking false deities in the form of super people and clearing the way for their brand new world.

And who better to bring this cataclysm than ongoing HULK writer Jeff Parker and incoming artist Dale Eaglesham? The daring duo have big plans for Red Hulk and his compatriots as they fight to stop Armageddon.

“These beings have been imprisoned for centuries, and they managed to lure Rick Jones—A-Bomb—to break them out,” Parker says of the Mayan menaces. “Now they're on a return to power, completing the Mayan cycle, which involves killing a lot of what they consider modern gods, mutants and super heroes.

“It's not the end of their world; it's the end of ours to be replaced by theirs. And Rick makes his way back to Red Hulk and briefs him and Machine Man. Once the Mayan gods come back, it's hard to miss. And it's important to note that they don't care about Washington or New York or any of our U.S. traditional centers of power struggle, they want back the region of Middle America they ruled, first.”

While Red Hulk rises to the occasion for several reasons, Parker highlights two in particular:

“Doesn't he always assume he's the best for the job? But also, even with the tumultuous relationship he's had with Rick ever since The Hulk was created, he still has a connection to him. He wouldn't say it, but he wants to help.”

Hulk, A-Bomb and Machine Man will also team up with members of Alpha Flight and the She-Hulks, who Parker says all join the ruckus organically, but notes that Eaglesham's run on ALPHA FLIGHT definitely influenced their appearance in this book.

Hulk #53 preview art by Dale Eaglesham

“Once I found out [Dale] could do it, I didn't want to miss the chance to connect to the ALPHA FLIGHT stories he just did,” Parker says. “So we pick up right from that series with him, [Greg] Pak and [Fred] Van Lente with the Canuck Brigade!”

“I really hated to see ALPHA FLIGHT end, I could have kept drawing that book for years,” Eaglesham says. “So it was a huge and very pleasant surprise to find out they would be in this arc. I didn’t even know that when I accepted the gig! I thought it was all over, but I got to draw them again. Bonus!”

For the artist, working on HULK made a lot of sense after enjoying himself so much on a three issue arc of INCREDIBLE HULKS last year.

“Drawing Hulk doesn’t feel like work to me,” Eaglesham says. “I also love Mayan history, imagery and culture, and have visited several Mayan sites, including Chichen Itza. I’ve also been hoping for an opportunity to work with Jeff at some point. So when I heard about the combination of Red Hulk, Mayan culture and Jeff, it was a no-brainer!”

Eaglesham does admit to stumbling a bit when composing Red Hulk on the page.

“Honestly, for the first three pages of the arc I started off just drawing classic Hulk because I didn’t know that much about Red Hulk,” he admits. “Then a friend pointed out that I had the hair all wrong, that Red Hulk has an army buzz-cut. That’s when I started paying attention to the differences. This guy’s not a scientist, he’s a soldier! That started to influence the way I handled the character.”

Hulk #53 preview art by Dale Eaglesham

The differences between Red Hulk and classic Hulk constantly play out for Parker who has written both over the years, but he feels like he has a grasp on what makes the character tick.

“He's still a difficult guy, but at least being a Hulk has got him to a point he wasn't before; he doesn't think regular humans and people with amped abilities are fundamentally different,” the writer says. “[That] was a big Hulk-distance leap in viewpoint for him. He's still mission-oriented, and values loyalty. He's completely replaced his military career with this new one of tackling whatever threat is within his power to affect, and that's gotten him to a better place than he was at the end of World War Hulks, mentally. Also, he seems to be sweet on a lady android.”

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