Frankenstein v. Hulk: Jeff Parker on Monster Size Hulk

Jeff Parker on Monster Size Hulk

He's battled the Thing. He's pounded Tony Stark. But can the Hulk take on Frankenstein?

In October's Monster-Size Hulk #1, writer Jeff Parker will pit the two against each other in a story that explores a younger Bruce Banner against the monster of Frankenstein lore just in time for Halloween.

"We're jumping back a bit in Hulk history, maybe a couple of years," Parker said of the oversized issue, which features art by Gabriel Hardman. "Bruce Banner is being pursued as usual by the U.S. military, and an anonymous person has been providing him with passports and tickets to escape them in Europe. Once in Lyon, France, he finds that his benefactor is Victoria Frankenstein, last of the famous family of science-meddlers. She has a 'favor' to ask of Banner."

And while it may seem implausible that Frankenstein would have enough power to go toe-to-toe with Hulk, the writer said there's a story reason for the match-up. "You'll see! He gets a nice big monster-sized boost," Parker said.

The writer said he can't take credit for the story idea himself. "I wish I could say it's mine, but it was actually one of those mad hunches of Mark Paniccia's. He kind of enjoys positing an unlikely scenario and then making me figure out how it could happen," he said.

Fans of Parker's Agents of Atlas mini-series, a team that's returning next year in a new ongoing series, know the writer's got a thing for talking gorillas, but we asked if he's got a similar penchant for Marvel's monsters? "Oh yeah, I loved the Monster, Werewolf By Night, Marvel's version of Dracula, Man-Thing... I would be very happy if Marvel could get back in the horror business again," Parker said. ""It's very much me and artist Gabriel Hardman indulging in doing a Frankenstein monster story."

While superhero fans may think the Hulk doesn't seem to mesh with a horror character like Frankenstein, Parker said it's "not out of place at all for Hulk."

"He owes a lot to that particular modern myth," Parker said. "Look at the first appearance of gray, flat-head Hulk. All he needs is bolts in him somewhere and he's the Frankenstein Monster. Even Stan and Jack always acknowledged that. Of course, he's also Jeckyll and Hyde, but he's closer in appearance to the Monster and the theme of man meddling with forces beyond him and loosing destructive force upon the world."

The issue's set to be released right around the time people are in the mood for a Frankenstein story, which isn't a coincidence. "The timing is of course right for it, but I think this will be a good one for readers who want to get in the Halloween mood in October," Parker said. "I always loved Halloween specials, and I'm happy to have a chance to write one. Two actually, because Giant Sized X-Men First Class is one as well.

"In a similar vein, Giant Sized XFC is an homage to 1950s/early '60s monster movies, with Beast being the driving force in all the stories," Parker explained. "We have guest artists Dean Haspiel, Nick Kilisian, Michael Cho, and me and Kevin Nowlan! Also, I crossed a line and finally turned over writing duties to someone else on one feature: Roger Langridge writes and draws a two-pager that pokes at Village of the Damned/Midwich Cuckoos, which was arguably a big influence on the X-Men originally. Not as much as another book by same author John Wyndham, The Chrysalids – but we were doing more of a cinema tribute here. I wasn't about to write Roger's, because he's most brilliant on his own, he needs no collaborators. And David Williams does a spectacular double page pin-up that really has to be seen, words won't prepare you for it!"

As for artist Gabriel Hardman's work on the Monster-Size Hulk issue, it impressed the folks at Marvel enough that readers should look for more from him soon. "[He] usually does storyboards for feature film, but he loves comics and pokes into them as he has time," Parker said. "He's a powerhouse, too. Everybody is going to want to work with him after they see this story, but I think Brubaker already got his clutches into Gabriel for a project next. "

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