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Mark Waid Makes Bruce Banner The Man of a Thousand Faces

by Vince Brusio

Article ImageHe doesn’t have time to just cut the world off when he wants to write a story. For crying out loud, he now runs his own comic book shop! No, to expose the monsters in the closet Mark Waid says a magic word and goes to a place…forbidden. Until now! We’ve got Mark Waid right where we want him: in a PREVIEWSworld Exclusive interview that lets him talk about why he moved the man and the monster into a path of self-destruction. And Bill Bixby made him do it.


PREVIEWSworld: Mark, with Hulk #1 (FEB140684) we see that Bruce Banner is on the cusp of an epiphany. Things seem to be going his way (he has more autonomy, a lab, etc.) but in true tragic form things can never go the way the good doctor would like them, and a dark cloud is now edging on the horizon. How do you put yourself in such a place to write such a foreboding scenario? When you sat down to write this new history for the Hulk, what experiences did you bring to the table to serve as inspiration? Were there any outside influences you could cite (personal experiences, a TV drama that never left you), or did you shut yourself inside a room and keep the door locked until you emerged with a flash drive full of script?

Article ImageMark Waid: HA! If only. No, I really do just dive down inside myself and connect however I can. With Banner, I see a guy who claims he's driven by all the right things but, secretly, knows that some of his momentum comes from darker places he doesn't want to address —  places like jealousy, regret, fear of never leaving a mark. And he's come to find that it's all self-sabotaging nonsense. Unless he finds a way to purge himself of it, he'll never really achieve what he wants to achieve.

Man, I sure hope he gets that chance, but having written the last few pages of the current series, it looks bleak.

PREVIEWSworld: With all the pain and suffering that Bruce Banner has been through since Lee and Kirby first put the green goliath in comic books, what do you think cuts Bruce the deepest? The fact that his alter ego has helped saved the world many times before, and yet he’s still seen as a threat?  If he had his 15 minutes in front of an anchorman’s microphone, what would you have Banner say to his contemporaries if he called a press conference?

Mark Waid: He wouldn't need 15 minutes to say "For God's sake, stop leaving me out of your club. I can contribute." I think what cuts Bruce the deepest is how the Hulk has imposed a wall between him and his contemporaries that might never fall.

Article ImagePREVIEWSworld: So can you tell us a little about where this new series is going? We’re not after any spoilers, but we would like to know what new road you might be traveling once you hit the gas and take that bridge to nowhere.

Mark Waid: You bet. Something happens, something brutal, and the result is that we're flipping the script. Ordinarily, depending upon any number of circumstances around the moment of transformation, you're not sure which version of the Hulk you're going to get.  Well, that's stabilized now. Unfortunately, now you're not sure which version of Banner  you're going to get. Wise and confident? Shy and simpering? Smart? Savage? And how will that affect his relationship with SHIELD?

Article ImagePREVIEWSworld: When you have the time to go online, and do some recreational surfing, what sites do you like to visit that help you recharge the brain cells? Are they sites that deal with other hobbies? How do you unwind?

Mark Waid: "Other hobbies." "Unwind." I don't understand the question. Okay, be serious, I relax by creating order out of chaos — whether that means organizing my office or my files or (most often) building some insanely detailed and super-expensive Lego set, the bigger and more complex, the better. In another life, I'm making my living as the guy who builds all the display furniture at Ikea.

PREVIEWSworld: In looking at the history of the Hulk, what storylines/collections or writer/artist collaborations stand out for you the most?  And do you own/review any DVDs or BluRays that you enjoy? In regards to the Hulk in comics, or on TV/theaters, what would Mark Waid say is most deserving of a big “thumbs-up”?

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Mark Waid: Certainly, Peter David's whole Hulk run.  And Hulk's appearance in The Avengers movie.  And, for me, Steve Gerber's take on Hulk in The Defenders. And Grek Pak's run, okay, that's a lot. And, yes, I own all the DVDs and Blu-Rays of any and all comics-related material, and given my weird, lifelong man-crush on Bill Bixby, you won't be surprised to hear me say that I hear his voice a lot when I write dialogue.

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Hulk #1
Marvel Comics
Item Code: JAN140326
Price: $3.99
In Shops 4/16/2014

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