Sunday, September 23, 2012

Virtual Comic Con 2012: Jeff Parker, writer of Red She-Hulk

Welcome to my first ever Virtual Comic Con! I've been thinking of doing this for months now, and I'm really excited to finally bring this event to you. Before I get into it, I first want to explain my thoughts behind this.

Until two years ago, when I finally had the chance to attend my first ever large comic convention, I'd always pine about missing them. Instead, I would throw myself into the comics I had, kind of my own comic con made for one. Then, inspired in part by the Comic-Non of the blog Trusty Plinko Stick by Bill Doughty, I thought I'd have a "virtual" con for those who couldn't attend the big cons in San Diego or New York, etc. I contacted some creators who I admired and had prior contact with before in the hopes of doing an interview, and they graciously said yes, for which I'm eternally grateful.

With all that being said, let's get to it! First up: Jeff Parker, the current writer of HULK and DARK AVENGERS for Marvel. The HULK series, following the exploits of General "Thunderbolt" Ross as the Red Hulk, is turning the spotlight to Ross's daughter Betty, the even more volatile Red She-Hulk. I've really enjoyed Parker's work on HULK and I'm eager to see what he does with Betty. Jeff only had time for a couple of quick questions, but I'm thrilled he could take the time for me.

Brian: Red She-Hulk has been an integral part of the Hulkverse since her creation by Jeph Loeb a few years ago. Has her debut in her own book been in the works for some time now, or was this something that came together quickly, and is this related to the Marvel NOW! launch coming this fall?

Jeff: It came together quickly. I think they realized with the timing we had the chance to try something different and big by putting her in the lead. Though I can never say for sure how things happen. I just know when Mark Paniccia asked what I'd do with her in charge, I immediately said "she's a menace!"

Brian: As much as I've enjoyed Red She-Hulk, it's sometime been difficult to tell whether or not she is a separate personality from Betty Ross or if Betty is in control the whole time. Will her duality be a major focus of the series?

Jeff: My opinion is that like her dad, she's still Betty, but at the far other end of her personality spectrum. That's my favorite portrayal of Hulk too, the idea that he's the same guy, but his head is all full of testosterone and rage and gamma energy so he can't think very rationally, he can only lash out. 

THAT SAID, there will be duality at play, and big inner conflict.

Brian: You've described the series as "Red She-Hulk versus everyone." Is there one event that makes her want to lash out at everyone, or is this just the culmination of the heartwrenching experiences she's gone through her whole life that makes her want to take on the world this time?

Jeff: It's both really, but on the surface she's reacting to a program designed to roll out new superhumans. But that's going to take her farther down a road where she'll have very few allies. The bright side is: she doesn't care.

Brian: What can we expect from artist Carlo Pagulayan? He's done a great job teaming with you before on HULK and AGENTS OF ATLAS.

Jeff: You can expect a beautiful woman who can convincingly knock down a building. Which is really, really not easy to do. And Wellinton Alves is also working in with Carlo, who is not the speedster of artists with his love of detail. Wellinton is excellent, and their styles are very compatible.

Brian: Finally, is there any chance Red will find at least some peace down the road, some bit of happiness she can take comfort in, or will things get worse for her before they get better?

Jeff: She's a true Hulk, things are always going to go wrong. But she will take some happiness in smashing those wrongs!

Thanks Jeff! Be sure to check out Red She-Hulk's debut in her own series when RED SHE-HULK #58 hits print and digital comic shops in October! You can also check out Jeff's work in DARK AVENGERS, also from Marvel, as well as his self-published Web comic, Bucko.

See you tomorrow for Day 2 of Virtual Comic Con!

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