Peter David Talks About Tempest Fugit
Thursday, November 4, 2004

The following was originally posted on The Pulse:

Peter David Returns to Hulk Monthly
BY JENNIFER M. CONTINO

Peter David returns to The Hulk this January with a five-part story drawn by Lee Weeks. The story, Tempest Fugit was originally supposed to be a six-part David/Weeks miniseries, but it's been changed to five and David's been confirmed as the new writer of the monthly Incredible Hulk comic book. He described the story as "Monster Island meets The Tempest." We have details about the new and where to start with the old if you've previously never checked out any of David's Hulk.

Peter David said there were a variety of reasons he was interested in working on The Hulk again. One of them was because he still had a lot of ideas about the Jade Giant. "It's not as if I threw up my hands one day and said, 'I'm out of ideas, sorry, so long' and left the book," David said. "I was forced off it, because a lot of people who are no longer there, were absolutely sure what the reading public wanted (and turned out to be absolutely wrong.) So given the opportunity to reconnect with the character again, sure, I'm there. When someone lives in your head for twelve years and you have the chance to hook up with him again, why not?"

The writer said if someone had never checked out his Hulk work in the past, there were a few stories he or she could read to get an idea of just how David regarded the character and what he was able to do with the Incredible Hulk. "Future Imperfect would certainly be something that I'd steer them toward," he stated. "It's a nice stand-alone piece with some of my favorite artwork ever. Right after that would be Hulk: The End. In terms of the series itself, Hulk #377 (I think it was: I'm not the best with numbers) which resulted in the creation of the merged Hulk (not 'The Professor.' I think Paul Jenkins is a great guy, but jeez, I despise that nickname and hate that it stuck.) Issues #417 and #418, which was Rick's bachelor party and the subsequent marriage issue are the ones I get most often to autograph. Issue #420, the AIDS issue where Jim Wilson dies was pretty good, if depressing. And probably #467, my last issue. That wasn't all that difficult to write. All I did was stick a knife into my guts and twist and it all just came spilling out onto the page." "The Hulk is a microcosm of America today," continued David of why so many other people are interested in the character. "America is split in two. The conservatives sees liberals as intellectual weaklings. And the liberals see the conservatives as bullying monsters. You think Captain America epitomizes America today? Nonsense. It's Bruce Banner and the Hulk."
When asked a little about the greatest potential for this story, David replied, "It has the potential to satisfy every fan who's been saying for years, 'Gee, we wish Peter David were writing the Hulk again.' My immediate goal? Not to suck."

David said this story starts with a clean slate and all that anyone really needed to know before checking out the issue to enjoy it was "Bruce Banner turns into the Hulk and vice versa," David stated. "I mean, anyone who picks up the book and says, 'Whoa, this guy's green. What's up with that ... holy crap! Now he transformed into some skinny dude! This is whacked!' is going to feel kind of lost. But other than that, no, we start with a clean slate. No reason not to. Although there will be a subplot involving an extended flashback to Bruce's youth. So in a sense it's evocative of the beginning of the character, but we're not just recycling the beginning and starting over."

"The mastermind behind what's going on is someone we've seen before," continued David. "I figured when I do the reveal, it should be something other than, 'Oh my God, it's ... wait, who's this now?' And I can personally guarantee you ... it ain't the Leader. Other than that, though, I'm not retreading ground I've covered if for no other reason than that it's exactly what people are expecting me to do ... and, most likely, will then complain about it. Fans want to see just enough of the old style to make them feel they're getting what they expected ... but enough new thoughts and directions so they don't feel like it's retread. It's something of a high-wire act. At the moment, I'm keeping it simple. I'm playing the Hulk as that aspect of Bruce Banner that's really, truly sick of being a decent, upstanding guy, and doesn't understand why Banner would bother with any of that. He's Banner's basic personality but translated into physical terms. Bruce knows he's smarter than just about anybody, but he tries to be cool about it. The Hulk knows he's stronger than just about anybody, and therefore gets in your face about it. Every place where Banner would zig, the Hulk will zag, just to prove he's as different from Banner as can be."

David compared this Hulk tale to two other classic stories. "Think of it as Monster Island meets The Tempest," said David. "The Hulk is washed up on a Mysterious Island (TM) which is populated by two castaways whom Banner tries to save, and a serious bunch of monsters including some from the Hulk's past who cannot possibly be there."

David said things haven't changed much for him in the way he regards the Hulk and his alter ego Bruce Banner. "The way I regard them hasn't changed all that much, but the way I'll tell stories about them has," admitted David. "I write full script now, which gives me much more control over pacing and such. As for my approach, that's the same: Try to get into his head and see what makes him tick, and then determine how stories can grow out of that. But what's different is that I'm different, which means I'll likely find things that I wasn't expecting to find that I can explore."

"I feel as if it's a case of 'Together again for the first time,'" continued David of working with artist Lee Weeks. "Lee has developed and changed as an artist over the years, and I like to think the same goes for me as a writer. His greatest strengths? Storytelling and facial expressions."

The writer joked with THE PULSE when asked about guest superheroes might be in this five-part tale. "What do you think?" David asked. "Think a guest appearance by the Fallen Angel will serve to confuse everybody?"

Speaking of Fallen Angel, David gave us the lowdown on some of his other upcoming projects. "Fallen Angel for DC, the book that is the best reviewed comic book work of my life," David began. "The trade is out and I would also highly recommend issue #14 of the monthly. It's a great jumping on point, and anyone who has never tried the book or tried it and dismissed it ... it's one you should definitely check out. There's also Madrox for Marvel, and, of course, Soulsearchers and Company for Claypool, the best kept secret in comics. Ten years it's been running and people still just stare at me in confusion and say 'What's that?' whenever I bring it up."

The first part of his new work on Hulk begins in January with Incredible Hulk # 77.

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