Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Switcheroo: Hulk in Space

“What creators who are usually associated with a certain company (or, indeed, medium) would you like to see writing someone else’s title?”

So, after I butchered the creative team switcheroo meme instigated by plok and Madeley, turning it into yet another pathetic jeremiad against Judd Winick and Ian Churchill’s Titans series, plok suggested that more title-specific versions of these shenanigans might be fun. So, here goes…The Hulk!

The first Hulk stories I read were probably the ones collected in Marvel Treasury #20, the most memorable of which was not the Doctor Doom story featured on the cover, but a Hulk-in-space two-parter by Roy Thomas, Herb Trimpe, and Sal Buscema called “Klaatu! The Behemoth From Beyond Space!” and “The Stars Mine Enemy!” (originally presented in The Incredible Hulk, vol. 2 #136-7). The tale, which riffs heavily on Moby Dick, involves the Hulk getting caught up in Captain Cybor and Xeron the Star Slayer’s hunt for the powerful and enigmatic Klaatu aboard the Starship Andromeda. The Abomination shows up. The crew are all monsters. Lots of smashing ensues. It’s truly a glorious ride.

Of course, no Hulk story would be complete without a sharp tug at the heartstrings, and this one certainly delivers. The final page still gets me right here. First, we see the Hulk and the Abomination falling back to earth after a throw down in space; then the perspective changes to that of a little girl on earth who is watching the night sky with her father. Two “shooting stars” appear, but the girl sees better than her father that the cosmic bodies are not stars but men: “Two men who fell off a star… and fell so far… they can’t ever get back again…!”

sniff! Oh…excuse me. Anyway, this, to me, is what the Hulk is all about. When it comes right down to it, I’m more interested in the Hulk as a feeling monster than I am in the Jekyll and Hyde conceit that often drives the Banner/Hulk saga. A science fiction setting only adds to the sense of cosmic alienation that great Hulk stories do so well, and the science fiction conceits here all sail straight out of 1940s an 50s SF, one of those amazing Ace Doubles by Jack Vance, say—only with more monsters and mutants.

Who would I like to see writing and drawing my science fiction Hulk adventures? This is harder than it might seem…so many great creators have already worked on the Hulk. I think these are all relatively non-Hulky picks, though I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong.

1. plok has already suggested Alan Moore and Steve Bissette, and who wouldn't want to see that? We might as well as Rick Veitch to the list, too. His work on the Swamp Thing-in-space stories is particularly haunting.

2. Keith Giffen and Scott Kolins. Two key creative forces behind the (first) immensely satisfying Annihilation series would do a great cosmic Hulk, steeped in nods to Marvel space sagas of the past--and no skimping on the Kirby dots.

3. Steve Niles and Bill Sienkiewicz. I mean, just picture it. Brrrr….! Outer space has never been this cold and terrifying, has it?

4. Samuel R. Delany and Paul Pelletier. What would Delany do as a comic book writer? I’d love to find out! Some subversive crazy-ass shit, I’m guessing. Pelletier, who I’m convinced is the love child of John Byrne and Jack Kirby, would be more than up to the job of bringing Delany’s worlds to life. (Paul Pelletier is permanently on the list of artists that I'd like to see draw anything.)

5. And just because it's good, I'm also going to steal plok's suggestion of Grant Morrison and Jae Lee. So there!


Jason said...

Paul Pelletier drew Hulk #412. A good job he did of it too!

Jim Roeg said...


David Golding said...

Delany wrote Wonder Woman #202 and #203 back in 1972. No idea what it was like.

Jim Roeg said...

He did??? Neato. I'll have to track those down.

Anonymous said...

You nail the thing I want in my Hulk stories here, Jim: "...and fell so far...they can't ever get back again...!" The first Hulk comic I ever bought was the one where after being blown up by the Cobalt Man, he crashlands in the Great Refuge, and crawls out of the crater as Bruce Banner...just a few issues into the amazing Wein/Trimpe run which for me is the ultimate version of both the Hulk, and Bruce (you will forgive the pun) coloured my view of the Hulk forever...even when I was revisiting old Kirby or Gil Kane Hulk stories, I interpreted it all in light of the "feeling monster", the Frankenstein dynamic of my youth and not the Jekyll/Hyde dynamic so brilliantly instigated by the David/McFarlane run...which was great, but then again we were a long way from Frankenstein then, too, and something needed to be done. I truly wonder what the old Moore/Bissette team, or Veitch for that matter, would've chosen for their Hulk: the clumsy child who seems to break everything he loves, or the antagonistic alter-egos. Me, I always favoured the view that as time went on Bruce Banner himself became more active and badass an agent, just because of his circumstances...or maybe it was because the Hulk (who he at that time he thought of as a totally different personality/creature) was starting to rub off him? At the same time the Hulk himself was busy being, in Gerber's Defenders, a wise (if muddled) savage...

Good times.

You should have "Hulk Week", here. I'd do it, but I don't have a scanner.

Ooooh, more jobs for Jim! I'm a genius!