PAD Talks Hulk: Tempest Fugit
Monday, August 23, 2004

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Previously announced, Peter David’s Hulk miniseries illustrated by Lee Weeks, will tentatively launch in January, and will be the Hulk series for its run. While the six-issue miniseries is still a little ways off, the writer sat down with Newsarama to spill a few more details on the hows, whats and whos.

As David explained it, the miniseries came about after a plan for a new, Ultimate Hulk series. “They spoke to me about it and I was intrigued by the idea...and also a bit daunted considering the character, y'know, eats people,” the writers said. “Talks progressed, including discussions of the type of story we might do to launch it continued, I wrote a script, and then Marvel decided against doing an Ultimate Hulk title. Not sure why. Maybe timing problems with Ultimates. Maybe the market. Or maybe because the character, y'know, eats people.

“But so many people--most particularly Joe [Quesada] - were so jazzed about the overall plot and the first script I'd turned in that it was decided, what the heck, let's do it as a limited series set in the Marvel Universe. Which I was more than happy to do since it meant I didn't have to deal with the whole eating people thing. So ultimately - no pun intended - it was Quesada who got me back for this go-around.”

And no, there’s no “bad blood” going on. David has long been a creator who clearly delineates between companies and people. “How can you have ‘bad blood’ with a company? The company is only the people who work there. It's not this separate pulsing entity with a long memory for people it doesn't like. And the guy who everyone figures is still angry with me was the one leading the full court press to get me on the limited series. So what's to stop me?”

Returning to the character with whom he’s still best associated with does come with its own pitfalls, David admitted. After all, in many instances, when a creator goes back to a character he was so well known for, they’re ultimately competing against themselves in the fans’ eyes – worse yet, a romanticized version of their previous work, as people more likely remember the good parts rather than the flaws.

“Fandom really does send mixed messages, doesn't it? When I was at San Diego, I can't tell you how many people said, ‘You're my favorite writer, I love all your work, I read everything of yours.’ But when I'd say, ‘Do you read Fallen Angel,’ same reaction from almost every single one: Blank stares. Didn't know about it. Hadn't registered on them. My best and most well-reviewed work and it hadn't penetrated the fan consciousness. But every single person knew about MadroX, which is a return to my X-Factor characters. Almost every single person knew about the Hulk limited series, and Marvel hadn't even done an official announcement yet. Do I have reservations about it? Sure. But the fans have no reservations about saying that's what they want to see from me. Not only that, but suddenly I'm being flooded with interview requests. Okay. Fine. For me, returning to the Hulk is like visiting with an old friend. I like visiting with old friends, particularly when both of us have become very different people and there's that sense of rediscovery. And if having my name on high profile stuff reminds people that there's books like Fallen Angel out there, so much the better.”

Asked to further give an idea of what it’s like to come back to writing the Hulk, David compared it to flexing muscles that haven’t been flexed in a while. “Or shaking off some cobwebs from particular chambers in your mind that haven't been explored for some time. Or, if you will, it's like falling off a bicycle: You never forget how.”

While it follows the conclusion of writer Bruce Jones run on Hulk, the story of the miniseries will be completely independent of anything that happened over the course of Jones’s run.

“Remember, when I redid the script to set it in the Marvel Universe, it was wholly apart from the ongoing series. Now it turns out that apparently there is no ongoing series aside from us. Which is a weird place to be in, because I was used to us just being this sort of side novelty, and suddenly we're the only game in town.”

That said, David revealed that the story of the miniseries is something new, but something rooted in the classics of the character. “We're going for something timeless. Something with depth. Something we can rip off but it's okay because the guy we're ripping off ripped off other people. Yes, that's right, we're sourcing Shakespeare. Entitled ‘Tempest Fugit,’ the Hulk is washed up on an island populated entirely by monsters, including several drawn from his own past. He fights to protect two helpless castaways there while trying to figure out who's behind it all. If riffing The Tempest was good enough for Forbidden Planet, it's good enough for Marvel.

And will there be any familiar points from his years-long previous run? “In terms of ‘familiar points,’ I'm not bringing in the Pantheon, if that's what you mean. What I am doing is playing up the Hulk/Banner dichotomy. In Bruce Jones's work it seemed to me that Hulk and Banner were basically the same guy. If you read Hulk #467, my last issue, you'll realize that Bruce Banner as I played him in that issue was exactly the way that Bruce Jones wound up portraying him during his run. Everything from Banner effortlessly switching to Hulk, to the sequence toward the end when he's with Rick, completely in control of the Hulk and with glowing green eyes.

“I'm restoring the notion that the Hulk is constantly trying to find ways to thwart Banner and has nothing but contempt for him. In this story, however, they have to find a way to work together. Banner needs the Hulk's muscle in order to survive the physical ordeal, while the Hulk needs Banner's intelligence to figure out what the hell is going on.”

While the miniseries’ length is six issues, David has a deal for you…

“I'll tell you what: I should be writing issue #5 right around the time we see what the orders are like for issue #1. If the news is positive, then I'll start laying some groundwork. If it's not, hey, we're done in six, so long and thanks for all the fish.”

Wanna talk about this bit of news? Start a discussion over at the boards.

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