Put comics’ top creators on comics’ most popular characters. It’s an obvious formula, and Marvel is using that to cook up a second batch of creator-centric, continuity-light stories in the all-new Savage Hulk series. Following in the footsteps of the similarly-adjectived Savage Wolverine, this new series gives a select group of creators carte blanche to tell a story featuring the publisher’s Green Goliath. And for this first outing this June, they gave the reigns over to the multi-faceted, award-winning writer/artist Alan Davis.
In his 34 years in comics (and counting), Alan Davis has worked on virtually every major superhero franchise from the Justice League to the Avengers, from Wolverine to Batman, even stopping for stints on Spider-Man, Captain America, Daredevil, Fantastic Four, Thor and Iron Man; but in all that time, he’s never taken point on the Hulk. The closest he’s come is cameos on his ClanDestine series for Marvel and in an arc on Avengers, but never on a solo book – until now.
To paraphrase a line from the Avengers movie, Alan Davis has a Hulk…. And Hulk has the Alan Davis. And together they’re delving into an untold story in the early days of the Hulk and some unlikely friends, the X-Men.
Newsarama: Alan, what do you have planned with the story in this Savage Hulkarc you’re doing?
Alan Davis: It’s a four-issue story that takes place during an earlier period of the Hulk's history. Lots of action and hopefully a few surprises. I can't say much more without giving something away. My biggest concern has been to create a story that, even though it is set in the past-- inside a well-established continuity-- isn't predictable.
Nrama: This delves into some lesser-known and unknown connections between Bruce Banner /The Hulk and Professor Xavier and his team very earlier in their lives. Banner and Xavier are two of the leading scientists and thinkers in modern Marvel history, but have seemingly been worlds apart in the Marvel U. Can you talk about your interest in overlapping them and the circles they might share?
Davis: The story that established an overlap between Xavier and Banner is maybe not as well known as the oft reprinted classic Neal Adams work that immediately preceded it but the final issue of the original X-Men run (#66) featured the Hulk.
When Marvel Senior Editor Mark Paniccia asked me to contribute an arc for the Savage Hulk title, I asked in what period the story should be set and which characters could be used. I volunteered a half dozen possibilities that I thought had merit and Mark chose the X-Men scenario. My biggest concern at the time was that someone had already told the story -- It seemed such an inevitable and necessary encounter I was surprised it had been overlooked.
Nrama: You’ve worked on things all over Marvel, but never a solo Hulk title; you’ve drawn him in a run on Avengers, and he’s had cameos in Clandestine and Fantastic Four: The End but never have you worked on a Hulk book proper. Give me your impressions on the Hulk and Bruce Banner, and what you're looking forward to writing and drawing in this 4-issue arc?
Davis: There is an interesting dimension to writing and drawing the Hulk as he was in years past but fully informed by the knowledge of how he has evolved. But even with the complexity of now familiar additional facets the core strength is consistent. To my mind, at the heart of it all is the heroism of Bruce Banner.
Nrama: And X-Men; you’ve written and drawn them on several occasions. Are there any personal favorite X-Men you want to loop in – maybe some Excalibur even?
Davis: Not in this story. The original X-Men have a significant presence and are pivotal to the story but it is a Hulk story.
Nrama: From what Marvel says, they’re letting you and other top-flight creators cut loose in Savage Hulk. Overall, what are your goals coming into this?
Davis: To tell a good story and have fun.