Marvel’s not releasing its “Hulk Vs.” animated DVD feature until January, but the fans who filled the massive Hall H to two-thirds capacity got to see one half of the show in its entirety.
Supervising producer and co-writer of the film Craig Kyle introduced the screening of “Hulk vs. Wolverine,” a 40-minute episode that will appear on the DVD along with a similar “Hulk vs. Thor” feature.
The film begins much as Wolverine and Hulk’s very first comic book meeting did, with the Hulk landing in Canadian territory and the military sending Wolverine in to stop him. After a fairly long and bruising battle between the two, the story veers off into Wolverine’s back story with both characters being captured by the rogue Weapon X operation. As in the comics, Weapon X is headed up by The Professor, and Logan has a lengthy flashbacks that effectively recaps the original Barry Windsor-Smith comic story from Marvel Comics Presents #72-84.
When Logan comes to, he finds that Weapon X — whose agents now include Sabretooth, Omega Red, Lady Deathstrike, and Deadpool — is looking to reclaim him as an agent while making a weapon of the Hulk as well. After The Professor is killed, the story focuses on Logan escaping the personal vendettas of his foes and ending Weapon X’s operation with the help of the Hulk. The pic was packed with action, with fans enjoying the heavy action and, particularly, the very good one-liners from Deadpool.
After the screening, Kyle returned to the stage with the project’s producer and supervising director Frank Paur, co-writer Christopher Yost and voice actor Fred Tatasciore, who provided the voice of the Hulk in the film.
Kyle says he was glad to see a good response to the appearance of Deadpool, who hadn’t previously been confirmed as being in the film. “These are the kind of films I think we should be making for you guys,” he says.
Tatasciore says the Hulk in this film, who speaks dialogue, is different from the one in “Hulk vs. Thor,” which Kyle described as “huge, ugly monsters destroying gods.” Tatasciore also says voicing the Hulk — a role he played in both “Ultimate Avengers” animated features — forces him to get physical to get into character. “It’s a lot of fun, but it’s a difficult workout.” Tatasciore also played Jarvis in the “Ultimate Avengers,” and will voice Beast on the upcoming “Wolverine and the X-Men” animated TV series, which Kyle adds will feature its own Logan-Hulk battle in its first season.
The animation in the feature had a slightly different look from previous Marvel direct-to-DVD features, with designs by Jeff Matsuda. Again, the look will be quite different for “Hulk vs. Thor.” “It’s really a David Lean approach for Thor and a David Fincher approach for Wolverine,” Kyle says.
Doing these projects on DVD allows them to be a little more violent than what can be done on TV, where the audience is younger and broadcast standards apply. The DVDs allow a lot more creative freedom in the writing, says Yost. “Literally, the only (requirement) was that Hulk to be in it and Wolverine had to be in it,” he says.
He says he thinks “Hulk vs. Wolverine” will contrast nicely with “Hulk vs. Thor.” “It was dark and gritty and ‘Hulk vs. Thor’ is almost the exact opposite,” Yost says. “We really tried to capture the land of the gods and we tried to put the Hulk in the middle of that.”
The idea for the Wolverine episode, Yost says, was to go for the big action comics fans love and to delve a bit into Wolverine’s history. “Everything fans like about the comic book, we tried to put in there,” he says.
Paur says doing the DVDs allows the animation designs to vary from show to show. “We can do some things that are not cost-conscious on a TV series.” The challenge of creating two different looks for this DVD was another pleasant change, he says.
Kyle says the lineup for Marvel’s upcoming animated DVD features continues with “Next Avengers” in September; followed by “Hulk vs.” in January; then “Tales of Asgard,” featuring early tales of Thor; and an adaptation of the comic book story “Planet Hulk.”
Opening it up to questions, one fan said he loved Deadpool in the series and wanted to know if the character might get his own feature. Kyle replied they try to sneak in as much stuff like as they can — one sequence featured a nod to Kyle and Yost’s X-23 character — but it was up to fans to support the material by buying it.
He continued that he thinks there’s room for features aimed at younger audiences, such as “Power Pack” or “The New Mutants,” as well as titles for older viewers. But sales need to be there and people watching for free on the Internet undermines his efforts to get these made. “Show us you want this, and I will fight for you on our side.”