Published October 30, 2018

This Week in Marvel Bonus Video: Al Ewing Reveals the Horror Influences Behind 'Immortal Hulk'

Ewing leans into the "Man or Monster" side of Bruce Banner that has haunted him since the beginning...

IMMORTAL HULK is a super creepy Hulk story, really digging into the monster aspects of the Jade Giant, but it’s also pulling in some horror vibes. I spoke with series writer Al Ewing to dig into that a bit in our chat, but I wanted to drop some thoughts on how IMMORTAL, and all of Hulk, really, was influenced by Marvel monster and horror titles!

If you think about it at its base — and listen to writer Stan Lee — the stories of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Frankenstein certainly played a part in Hulk’s creation. The idea of a man who transforms into a monster has always been key. And especially so now with IMMORTAL HULK, as Banner goes away and Hulk rises at night. The night-time change was an initial idea back in the day for triggering the transformation, while it’s also been due to stress and anger and adrenaline over the years. And with Frankenstein’s monster, it’s this tortured beast who is given life but hated and feared by most, run out of town, hunted, feared, really would like to be left alone, but ultimately lashes out.

Hulk first appeared in 1962, the first issue by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, about less than a year after the introduction of the Fantastic Four and proper birth of the age of heroes. So before Hulk, there was the Thing, the orange rocky bruiser with a sad heart member of the FF. You can see some similarities between them, with Hulk going bigger and deeper into the big rage and power aspects. And Hulk didn’t have that support system of a family like Thing had. Sad.

Incredible Hulk (1962) #1

Incredible Hulk (1962) #1

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And before FF, before we were even called Marvel, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and others were making cool monster and horror titles as Atlas Comics. The pages of TALES OF SUSPENSE and TALES TO ASTONISH were filled with amazing monsters and creatures and horrors. Some speaking, some not. Some from space, some from the depths of the earth, some reawakened from long past, some a result of science gone awry.

Like TALES TO ASTONISH #11, with Monstrom, the Dweller in the black Swamp! This big swamp monster who fights an alligator and goes after people, yet finds himself hunted and frightened and sad and ultimately sinks back down underground. And the twist is that he wasn’t evil, he was an alien stranded on Earth and needed help from people. But they couldn’t understand him, and lashed out thinking he was a threat because he was big and different. And so he wants to be away from the barbaric humans.

There are numerous stories like this, of creatures who mean humans no harm, who are chased and hurt by humans. And there are stories of rampage and fury and massive hulking creatures vs the military and other forces of humanity.

Al’s also delving into the trauma that Bruce experienced as a child at the hands of his father. Brian Banner was first introduced in the ‘80s and there have been numerous stories with him, turning him into a gamma-powered monster. I add that because it’s intense and another way Al’s forging Hulk’s future by digging into the past. So good.

As we move deeper into IMMORTAL HULK, we know that January’s IMMORTAL HULK #11 kicks off the “Hulk in Hell” arc. We get to see a bit more of The One Below All.

You can listen to the full audio of This Week in Marvel's conversation with Al Ewing below!

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