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> Features
RED HULK SKETCHBOOK
Ed McGuinness’ redesigns of Marvel’s angriest hero have Jeph Loeb seeing red

By Kiel Phegley

Posted December 18, 2007  12:00 PM

Jeph Loeb’s put some thought into his upcoming run on Marvel’s Incredible Hulk, but not too much. “I’m a much bigger fan of ‘Hulk Smash!’ than ‘Hulk Think!’” laughs the writer.

However, Loeb’s partner on January’s brand-new series simply titled Hulk had been thinking about it for quite a while. “I’ve wanted to do a Hulk story for so long,” explains artist Ed McGuinness. And while landing the gig fulfilled his dream of telling his own long-gestating tale, it came with a twist in the form of Marvel’s suggestion of a new Hulk of a different color. “The Red Hulk was a curveball. But then I thought, ‘Wait a minute. We can tell that story with the Red Hulk instead.’ It became a brand-new thing, which was a lot of fun.”

And with the new crimson version of irradiated Jekyll and Hyde hero hot on the heels of the earth-shattering “World War Hulk” event which found Bruce Banner defeated, detained and possibly deceased, expect all the big red rage of the new book to mask a more secretive storyline.

“The first issue starts with a mystery,” teases Loeb. “I love the ‘monster who’s misunderstood’ aspect of the story, and I like that there’s all this buzz—people wondering who is the Red Hulk, how does that happen and what’s that about.”

To cut to the heart of the matter, the former Superman/Batman partners open a page from McGuinness’ sketchbook to reveal the roles the new Hulk and an old foe play when Hulk #1 hits stands.

RED HULK
 

 
“We are trying to create a new look for the Hulk while at the same time remaining really true to his beginnings,” explains Loeb of the lead character who may or may not be Bruce Banner.

McGuinness notes that the inspiration for his extra-rage-filled Red Hulk came from the most unlikely of sources. “A lot of my inspiration for the character came from, of all places, that movie ‘The Last Unicorn,’” laughs the artist. There’s this character in there called the Red Bull, and it’s just this giant, flaming red bull who would chase these unicorns. I had that impression in my head, and I’m like, ‘Well, I could merge that with the Hulk and make it a brand-new character.’ He’s the next level of what the Hulk could possibly be.”

ABOMINATION

 

 
Expect McGuinness to unleash a new, murderous look for the Hulk’s longtime nemesis. “The best Hulk stories are the ones where the Hulk is going up against someone who is formidable—where you actually believe he’s going to get his ass handed to him,” says Loeb of Abomination’s threat potential. However, this next fight may go much differently than before. “Because of the [change in Hulk’s] power, he’s very much a force of nature. It isn’t just that he’s smashing things, he’s actually changing things as he’s growing and growing more powerful.”
 
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