Jeph Loeb Talks Hulk: Gray

Thursday, August 28 2003

Posted on Wizard Universe

The following was originally posted on Wizard Universe:

COLOR GUIDE
5 Questions With...Jeph Loeb

Jeph Loeb likes a bit of color in his life. After two highly successful color themed mini-series' (Daredevil: Yellow and Spiderman: Blue) the third installment of the ultra-successful team up with artist Tim Sale starts to go gray--Hulk: Gray that is! Wizard will not only preview a portion of it in Wizard 144 (on sale Wednesday) but managed to also track Loeb down to give us the skinny on what the project is about.

Chronologically speaking, when do the events of Hulk: Gray take place?

More or less in between the original Incredible Hulk #1 and Incredible Hulk #2. It doesn’t adhere exactly to that because there are a few things that happened shortly after that worked really well for this story. What’s more important is that these are the things that happened right after the gamma bomb went off. The insanity that ensued when Banner disappeared and the Hulk appeared. How General Thunderbolt Ross simply took control of the surrounding area and pretty much had the authority to do whatever he wanted and that’s, as we’ll see, not necessarily a good thing.

Will we see a retelling of the origin? If yes, do you plan to alter any of the details?

Yes. Jason Todd is the Hulk. [Laughs] Actually, we’ll see a version. I didn’t really want to dwell on how Daredevil got his powers in Daredevil: Yellow or the spider biting Peter in Spider-Man: Blue...but this story, as with all Hulk stories in my mind, begin with the gamma bomb going off. The first issue is called “‘A’ is For Apple” because that’s how things begin when you lay them all out. To Bruce, there was life before the bomb and after the bomb. That’s how his world is divided.

Your “color books” always have some sort of dual meaning for the color. What’s the dual meaning for gray?

The Hulk himself is gray. That’s what color he was when he first appeared. After the first issue, he only appeared as green until [former Hulk writer] Peter David brought about the Joe Fixit character [in the 1980s] so Banner had a third distinct personality. That’s not here. This is gray “out of the box” Hulk, beautifully rendered by Tim Sale.

In a grander scale, there are people—Ross in particular—who see the world in black and white. There is a clear line between good and evil. In Ross’ mind, the Hulk is a monster. There is no other choice. But, what the Hulk brought to all of them was a matter of gray. He wasn’t purely evil, but he was a mean S.O.B. who was not to be messed with and could trash the army. And some could handle it and some couldn’t.

What’s the conflict for Banner/Hulk in this story?

What’s the Banner/Hulk conflict in every Hulk story? Control. Responsibility. As the story opens, Banner, in the present, is trying to understand...something. By the end of the tale, he’ll have an understanding...not necessarily the understanding, and like with most questions you don’t want to know the answer to, he might not be pleased with what he learns. All I can say is that the feeling that you get with Daredevil: Yellow and Spider-Man: Blue is not what we went for here. That’s always a risk, but the Hulk is about risk. Let it ride...

What I'm really proud of is Tim’s artwork which has, once again, reached a new level. We decided that we wanted the Hulk to look different from the rest of the world and toward that end, Tim used the ink wash technique he used throughout Daredevil: Yellow but only on the Hulk. So, in an odd way, he looks...off from his surroundings. Not like a CGI man in a live action world [Laughs], but more organic. It’s pretty remarkable what Tim has a created. That’s a joy.

Will we ever see any more color books...post-DC exclusive, perhaps?

Never say never. There were things in the works when Tim and I went across the street—those stories are still to be told. My guess is they will be.

For an exclusive 6-page preview of Hulk: Gray check out Wizard 144, on sale Wednesday!

--Richard Ho

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