Axcel-In-Charge: Mark Waid's Indestructible Hulk
This week, Axel welcomes writer Mark Waid to the proceedings for a look inside the growing contingent of Marvel titles under his pen. An industry vet with damn near any character you can name under his belt, Waid is currently working away at "Daredevil" with artist Chris Samnee and "Indestructible Hulk" with artist Walt Simonson (soon to welcome new ongoing penciler Matteo Scalera). But in addition to the blind swashbuckler and the newly S.H.I.E.L.D. affiliated Hulk, Waid will also be spinning a new tale of Hank "Ant-Man" Pym in July's "Age of Ultron" #10A.I. -- a follow up to Brian Bendis and company's current apocalyptic event. Teaming with artist Andre Araujo, Waid will take Ultron's creator from the wastelands of his evil android's takeover to his new role in "Avengers A.I." Below, the writer and Alonso discuss Waid's award-winning run on "Daredevil," the time-shattering future ahead of Hulk, the trick to getting Ant-Man right and much more. Read on!
Kiel Phegley: Welcome, Mark! You've got so much Marvel stuff coming up in the months ahead, and it feels as though a lot of those projects are linking up in small story ways. Where do you feel you're at with all your Marvel work? Do those connections just come out of the writing, or is there a larger plan you're building to?
Mark Waid: I think it really did happen spontaneously, but as I got into it, I kind of liked this idea of building up my own little corner of the Marvel Universe over here that's self-feeding but not separate or apart from the larger Universe. If I can have Daredevil and Hulk have more adventures together, if I can have Hank Pym swing in on both books from time to time to create some connective tissue, all the better. Marvel has been great about letting me play with the toys I'm most attracted to rather than trying to keep things out of my hands. That flexibility makes it a lot of fun, and it helps that little corner of the Marvel Universe -- this super science corner -- feel like a place.
EXCLUSIVE: A first look at Walter Simonson's pages for "Indestructible Hulk" #8
As we look at "Indestructible Hulk," the connecting thread is that you're writing another story of a super genius. What does it take to write a character who's so much smarter than you?
Waid: I spend a lot of time on the internet. [Laughter] I've got to do a loooooot of homework. Even if I'm just focusing on one line of dialogue, sometimes I can spend an hour online trying to find the right scientific journal or the right citation that helps me make these characters speak in ways that make sense. But beyond that, there's a commonality to super geniuses. And I'm the furthest thing from a genius you can find, just ask my family, but I do feel the thing I have in common with all of them is a curiosity. It's a desire to want to know what happens next and why and how. If you approach that idea from an emotional standpoint, then the rest of it is just window dressing. You've got to understand what makes a scientist tick.
EXCLUSIVE: "Daredevil" #26 pages by Chris Samnee, and future issue pages by Javier Rodriguez
The Hulk story that's coming immediately in the wake of the current story drawn by Walt Simonson is a crossover between "Indestructible" and "Daredevil." I'm not sure I can name one story where those two characters have teamed up that's not some giant spread of 45 heroes in some event. What's the draw or the in to getting these two personalities together in a logical way?
Waid: Well, there is a commonality. I think we've hinted at this, but the two of them have been in communcation for quite some time, and this two-parter is the next step in something big happening between the two series.
Alonso: Hulk will become Daredevil!
Waid: Aw, you blew it, Axel! [Laughter]
Speaking of "Age of Ultron" as we were a minute ago, the next big Hulk arc follows up on the event where the Hulk gets some crazy time-powered armor of sorts. What's the deal there? If you've been playing with super science and "Age of Ultron" is a super science event, what did you draw from it to press on forward in this book?
Waid: Part of the aftermath of "Age of Ultron" is while Hulk is the strongest there is, the question is going to be whether he's strong enough to hold all of the space-time continuum together.
Moving into fan questions, I wanted to start with Tekkaman Blade as he had a query that could have just as easily come from my own list. He asks, "Your run on Ka-Zar with Andy Kubert was awesome and is my favorite era featuring the Lord of the Savage Land. In 'Urban Jungle' you had Ka-Zar square off against Thanos, which may have been perceived by some fans as a villain far beyond Ka-Zar's league to handle. What led you to select Thanos for this story?"
Waid: [Laughs] It was purely an accident! It was never meant to be Thanos. It was meant to be, like, three different villains, but other editorial offices kept changing who was available. A new issue of "Ka-Zar" would come out, and some other editor in another office would go "Oh no, we're using the Shaper of Worlds," so we’d decide it was Korvac, and then the next issue would come out and someone would say "Oh no, we're using Korvac." It eventually ended up being Thanos because he was literally the only guy left who fit the silhouette we’d drawn. I do think we made a hell of a convincing story about it--Thanos was at a point in his life when he was weak and rebuilding--but then I had to spend the next 15 years of my life being yelled at by Jim Starlin at every convention he sees me at. [Laughter]
He follows up with, "Would you ever consider a return to Ka-Zar or even want to feature him as a guest-star in Daredevil or Indestructible Hulk?"
Waid: Sure. You know, it didn't occur to me to use him as a guest star in "Daredevil," but when you think about it, there's Shanna and Daredevil’s history. She named the kid Matt after Matt Murdock. That's a good idea! So thanks for the question and look for your special "Thanks to" credit in issue #35 of "Daredevil."
Let's fire off some Daredevil questions as thumbs up or down as TsaiMeLemoni asks, "Are there any plans for Elektra to show up in Daredevil?"
Waid: Thumbs down until I can think of a new hook.
And rogerio follows up with "...and Black Widow?"
Waid: Thumbs...down? [Laughter]
Spidey616 notes how he's "Amazed at the fact that you're one of the few writers who knows Matt Murdock pretended to have an imaginary twin brother named Mike. Gotta know if you're still seriously thinking about revisiting the concept?"
Waid: Yes. Because it really was a brilliant concept unjustly mocked. Seriously, no kidding, if you had a longtime friend who was blind, who you knew unequivocally was blind, and then one day out of the blue his “twin brother” showed up and was clearly, unequivocally NOT blind, you’d think “How did I not know about this guy before?” not “This is a trick.” How could it be a trick? One can see, one can’t. At least, that’s the illusion that makes the trick work....
EXCLUSIVE: "Indestructible Hulk" #9 pages by Matteo Scalera
We had a ton of questions on the world of "Indestructible Hulk." Let's start with CMBMOOL who wants to know, "I enjoy seeing the Hulk taking on science mission/big threats for S.H.I.E.L.D. Given that the Hulk's a member of the Secret Avengers, any chance of you having story in the future featuring Hulk teaming up with Nick Fury Jr.?"
Waid: At some point, yeah. We've talked about in year two using more of the S.H.I.E.L.D. cast, actually...including Agent Coulson.
He continues, "I'm also curious about your upcoming Hulk/Daredevil team up and it makes me wonder why doesn't Matt go to the likes of Bruce Banner or Hank Pym or even Reed Richards to help out with Foggy's cancer problem?"
Waid: It's because we have to assume that they've had this conversation before. I hate, hate, hate superhero comics where two grown crimefighters turn to each other and one explains to the other why superheroes can't fix cancer. It trivializes cancer. It trivializes the suffering of cancer patients. I understand the impulse to ask the question in a universe full of superscience and Cosmic Cubes, but Starlin covered this ground well enough in "The Death of Captain Marvel" and that was like 30 years ago. I'd rather handle it with an off-hand line of Ant-Man saying to Matt, "There's just some things we can't do anything about." like they both already know this, because there is no good answer to that question that doesn’t make Reed Richards look like a jerk. And then when do you stop? Why don't you cure AIDs, Reed? Why don't you cure diabetes? Why don't you cure world hunger? Everything becomes about what the superheroes can't do. Trivializing real-world problems is not their function. Their function is to inspire and to catch bank robbers and stop Ultron.
A number of people asked about the other Hulks of the Marvel U showing up. Any word on that?
Waid: Yeah, we're talking about that for year two. I'm just trying not to make it "The War of the Rainbow Hulks."
GreenScar1990 was one of the people on the boards asking about some other classic Hulk tropes and villains, including Maestro-like stories with the time travel angle coming up?
Waid: Some of the Hulk-centric villains we'll be doing more with. I think the Abomination is overdue for a reintroduction. As far as other versions of Hulk, this is something Jason Aaron is doing really well with his "Thor: God of Thunder" book right now, and so I'm really nervous about treading on that ground.
Last one from him is, "What future artists can we expect on Indestructible and is there any that you'd like to work with? I don't know about you, but I'd love to see Paul Pelletier, Dale Keown and Olivier Coipel do some issues and a few story arcs."
Waid: I love a lot of those guys, but for now we're really happy with Matteo Scalera. He's doing great work, and he's doing it on time, and he's really talented. But if for some reason Matteo needed some time off, I would not be averse to knocking on Howard Chaykin's door and asking him to come visit. I think Chaykin's Hulk would just be a massive force of nature.