Marvel’s Generations: How Heavy Are the Hearts of Hulks?
Jun 11, 2017
by Vince Brusio
Greg Pak is at the front of a tractor pull. Two opposite forces pulling in different directions, and he has to stand in the middle to mediate. He’s the writer, of course, for Marvel’s Generations: Banner Hulk & The Totally Awesome Hulk #1 (JUN170852). It’s a cocktail that serves up Bruce Banner and Amadeus Cho, and Greg’s job as the writer is to tell a story about these two mountains that have to come to each other. How does one do that without disturbing the Earth’s tectonic plates? And if the plates do shift, who gets hurt, and who sheds a tear? As Greg explains in this PREVIEWSworld Exclusive interview, it’s not enough to take two green guys and just set them in front of one another so they can slug it out hour after hour. The contest rules are just as important. Especially with continuity on the line.
Vince Brusio: Greg! With a storyline this big there couldn't be any time for fine dining at a steak house. You existed on cheese and crackers, right?
Greg Pak: Japanese chicken curry, Korean naeng myun, burritos, apples, and ice tea, actually! Gotta feed the machine!
Vince Brusio: Tell us: what provided the muse for this book? How did you wrap your head around the scope of your project given that it's interconnected with the future of the Marvel Universe?
Greg Pak: My editors told me this was a chance to tell a big story with Amadeus Cho and Bruce Banner, and that's all I needed. Those are two of the characters I've loved the most during my writing career, they're both Hulks, and it's the perfect time for the two of them to have a huge story.
Vince Brusio: We have the potential for a conflict that can possibly be the closest thing to a nuclear reactor meltdown. Two Hulks go at it? The shockwaves could crack the Earth. You know that everyone is going to look for nothing short of an MTV Death Match. Considering how fans would expect this, how did you toy with such expectations? What were you thinking when it came to developing the idea of what was "right" for this story?
Greg Pak: The biggest action means nothing if it's not invested with emotion. So the first challenge in making a story like this matter is figuring out what's the emotional hook — what's really going on between these characters and how are they going to be changed through this monumental conflict? Then every Hulktastic smash has consequence — it all matters. And yes, this story will matter.
And then, of course, you give your artists awesome stuff to smash and back up while they go wild. Matteo Buffagni is drawing the book, and you know he's gonna tear it to pieces.
Vince Brusio: Your job is to show two titans of the Marvel Universe clash shortly after the events of Civil War II – Banner’s death. How do you think this reunion is going to go?
Greg Pak: When Amadeus was struggling with the responsibility of being the Hulk last year, we saw him reach out to Banner in Totally Awesome Hulk #7 and #8, a couple of my favorite issues of the series thus far. But since then, Amadeus has gone through a lot as the Hulk — and is about to go through a lot more harrowing action in the upcoming Weapons Of Mutant Destruction crossover with the Weapon X book. So presumably, Amadeus may have a lot he'd like to discuss with Banner, who has of course had many more years of experience with the glory and horror being the Hulk. Meanwhile, the last time we saw Banner, he was dead, wasn't he? So Banner may have his own complications that a friend and supergenius like Amadeus might be able to help with. I'll say no more -- read the book, friends, read the book!
Vince Brusio: We have an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object in this one-shot. The pressure you must have been under to give us the greatest show of strength on Earth is immense. So how many meetings or emails did it take to best decide how to show this clash of titans?
Greg Pak: I'm lucky enough to live in New York, so I've been in and out of the Marvel offices pretty frequently over the past few months to talk about all things Hulk with editors Mark Paniccia, Chris Robinson, and Axel Alonso. It's been great — we bounce around big ideas, hone in on what works, and talk it all through to make sure the emotional story lines up, makes sense, and pays off. There's a lot of thought and love and gleeful cackling behind the scenes here — hope it translates to the page and you dig!
Vince Brusio writes about comics, and writes comics. He is the long-serving Editor of PREVIEWSworld.com, the creator of PUSSYCATS, and encourages everyone to keep the faith...and keep reading comics.