The Interview: 'Hulk' Writer Jeph Loeb
When Marvel Comics decided to do a Hulk mystery story, it knew it had the perfect man for the job: Jeph Loeb, who's one of the comic industry's best mystery writers. Loeb -- who has put Batman through such adventures as "The Long Halloween," "Dark Victory" and "Hush" -- writes stories worth reading again and again, partly because of the clues he deftly inserts. And Loeb's color spectrum of work for Marvel includes Spider-Man Blue, Daredevil Yellow, Hulk Grey and the forthcoming Captain America White. Right now, red is the color of choice for Loeb -- his red Hulk is crushing everyone in his path, including the green Hulk and the Mighty Thor. Loeb took some time to speak with Comic Riffs about all things Hulk.
David Betancourt: So how did this version of Hulk come about?
Jeph Loeb: Ed McGuinness and I were working on a miniseries that was originally going to be a part of the regular Hulk book. Ed came over from DC for one reason, and that's he wanted to draw the Hulk. Had this idea for this story called "The Strongest There Is" and it was an opportunity to have the Hulk beat [up] everybody in the Marvel universe and sort of return him to the place where he was the strongest there is. We came up with a lot of great ideas -- not for least of which was, we wanted the Hulk to punch out the Watcher, because nobody had ever done that. So we sort of figured, here's the guy who always stands there and says, "Hi, I'm here to watch," and then we just have the Hulk look at him and say, you know, "I don't want you watching even if you paid for good seats." ... And Joe Quesada called and said that they'd had this idea for the red Hulk and that he wanted it to be a mystery.
DB: One of the things that drives fans nuts about this title is not knowing who the red Hulk is. Is that something you do intentionally with your writing?
JL: Now why would I do that to David?
DB: Because you're trying to drive fans crazy?
JL: As I became very fond of saying during "The Long Halloween" and subsequently in "Dark Victory" -- thanks for playing our game.
DB: What's it like writing a book that is centered on the bad guy? And now that the green Hulk has arrived in the storyline, is the series going to take a turn where the green Hulk is the star or is it still all about the red Hulk?
JL: I think you're going to have to stay tuned. I'm not sure the red Hulk or the green Hulk is going to survive this fight. I mean, I think that's the fun of the book. To figure out who everybody is, and what happened, and what happens when two Hulks collide. Again, I think the best villains are the ones that don't think of themselves as villains.
DB: You definitely give hints to the fact that this red Hulk may have some kind of a conscience -- when given the chance to dismantle the She-Hulk, he let her know that he could have killed her but that he wasn't going to.
JL: Again, I think this (red) Hulk is very much a strategist and knows a lot about the psychology of the people that he's working with. Ohh, could that be a clue?!
DB: It's also intriguing that when the red Hulk is "hulked out" he remains intelligent and it's not "Hulk Smash" like Bruce Banner's Hulk. He has the brains to go with the brawn.
JL: Actually, we may find out that he may get smarter when he becomes the Hulk.
DB: If the Hulk movie merits a sequel, do you think that the red Hulk storyline would be great to transfer to the big screen?
JL: Dude, come on! You gotta go with the red Hulk. Who knows. Right now, after "Iron Man." I'm not betting against anybody at Marvel. They know exactly what they're doing.
| September 3, 2008; 11:00 AM ET
Categories: Interviews With Cartoonists
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