Hulk Artist Signs 3 Year Exclusive Deal WIth Marvel

Tuesday, August 26 2003

Posted on Newsarama

The following was originally posted on Newsarama:


Incredible Hulk #60by Benjamin Ong Pang Kean

If you like seeing Mike Deodato Jr.'s pencils on Incredible Hulk and other Marvel projects - the next three years will be good times for you. Both the artist and Marvel have confirmed for Newsarama that Deodato Jr. has signed an exclusive, three-year contract with the publisher.

"I'm very happy," Deodato said. "Happy because I'm working with people I trust. Everybody at Marvel treats me very well -- and Axel [Alonso, Hulk editor], specially, has been extremely supportive in all aspects. Axel has been great to work for, he gives me the freedom I need and he's not afraid to experiment. Only recently I noticed that he approves 99.99 % of my layouts with no changes at all. I think it's a sign we are in the same track.

"But the main reason to stick with Marvel was to keep working with Bruce Jones. It's rare to find someone you can team-up so well, and I want enjoy it for the longest time. There's nothing like a good, very well written script to inspire an artist. I'm in love with Bruce's scripts, and I'm just trying to match the quality of his work. I never felt so comfortable working with another writer before. It just flows, you know. Working with him makes my art look better."

Deodato Jr. came on board as part of the Incredible Hulk creative team in the double-sized #50, which featured the return of the Abomination. He drew the entire arc before fill-in artist Leandro Fernandez brought the Absorbing Man back into the life of the Hulk in time for the release of the Ang Lee-directed movie. But - as Alonso has explained, Fernandez's arc wasn't a break for Deodato, per se.

Amazing Spider-Man 55 "Break? Hahaha! I did a bunch of Amazing Spider-Man covers, then jumped straight into the next Hulk, even while I was traveling in the U.S. What 'rejuvenated' me was all the good words the fans had for my Hulk work, and how well everyone at Marvel told me they loved it. So it inspired me to try even more things." Deodato Jr. revealed that he would be doing more than just the pencils this time around. "I'm inking it in the traditional way from now on," he said, "instead of printing from the tight pencils I was using in the first story arc. I realized that the cleaning process in Photoshop that I use when I do enhanced pencils was taking a lot of time. After comparing the two styles of finishing, I noticed that my brush lines were more elegant with the real ink. I think that the inks bring additional clarity and focus to the art. I'm also experimenting on doing some lettering here and there, trying to integrate it more to some specific sequences and splash pages."

Despite lukewarm reviews and less than expected domestic box office, Deodato and his family did their part to boost Hulk's Brazilian box office gross. "While watching Hulk with my family -- we all went wearing Hulk t-shirts that I custom-drew -- I wondered how the fans would respond to Ang Lee's interpretation. Then I realized, Marvel itself has re-imagined Hulk so many times, from Stan and Jack's original Jeckyl-and-Hyde creature that changed at night, to a smart gray guy, to a lumbering beast and everything in between. The Hulk movie is a good Universal Monster Movie in that tradition, ignited from an intense family drama and exploding into action scenes against the military that are right out of the comic books."

Hulk #60 black and whiteAs much as he loved the movie, however, the artist admitted that he still draws the monster the way he knows best and would not be influenced by the silver screen version. "I'm satisfied with the way I draw him, with a smaller head, bigger mouth and squarer jaw -- lots more of muscles and veins... I think each works very well in its own medium. I wouldn't change a thing from what Bruce has been doing."

When asked about who he would like to work with in his three years with marvel as well as projects that he would like to take a shot at, it is clear that he is truly in love with, Jones' work, that is. "Bruce, Jones and ... Bruce Jones. Seriously! For now my heart is only on Hulk, but in the future, I'd like to have the chance to do something on Captain America or Wolverine."

Deodato's return to the Hulk series will get a two-pronged start in September as issues #60 and #61 both ship that month, and begin a new six-issue arc entitled "Split Decisions," with promises of the return of Doc Samson as well as the revelation of the real Mr. Blue's identity.

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