Hot on the heels of Marvel Studios’ announcement that She-Hulk is joining the MCU, this Wednesday brings Shulkie back to the spotlight in Marvel Comics as well, in the pages of an ‘Acts of Evil’ tie-in annual courtesy of Washington Post columnist writer Alexandra Petrie and longtime Marvel artist Andy MacDonald.
Newsarama previously spoke to Petrie about August 28’s She-Hulk Annual #1, and now we’re talking to MacDonald to find out his strategies for depicting a Marvel Comics icon – and for how someone like Bullseye, who also features in the annual, can take on a full-on Hulk.
With She-Hulk about to get her biggest starring role yet, read on to find out about MacDonald’s approach to bringing her back to comic book headlining status.
Newsarama: Andy, She-Hulk is a Marvel icon, but she’s gone through some visual changes recently. What’s your approach to her here in this annual?
Andy MacDonald: She-Hulk is a powerful woman who also happens to be a Hulk, and I tried my best to follow that line while drawing her throughout this story.
She’s not just massive muscles and gritted teeth, roaring at a fearful world, but an intelligent, self-aware optimist that doesn’t necessarily need to lift tens of tons to accomplish what needs to be done. Keeping these things in mind, I wanted her to look natural and comfortable wherever she is.
Visually, I referenced the hell out of some older Raquel Welch photos for great-looking wild hair. As much control as She-Hulk has over her hulked-out muscles and gamma-juiced body, I like that her hair is wild and even out of her control.
Nrama: She-Hulk is fighting Bullseye in this "Acts of Evil" story, which probably leaves room for some crazy fights. How does a guy like Bullseye plan to take down an actual Hulk?
MacDonald: You will have to read it! I can hint with a phrase like “it takes a thief to catch a thief” to what Bullseye’s plan is, but y’know … Bullseye isn’t a thief, soooo …
I’ve said too much.
Bullseye’s a deadly, deadly killer, and She-Hulk is invulnerable and can crush dump trucks. But they are also intelligent enough to know that they might need to use their heads as well as their superhuman abilities.
Nrama: You’re no stranger to drawing Marvel characters, but this is your first time tackling She-Hulk. What steps do you take to convey her raw power on the page?
MacDonald: As much as possible, I wanted to make her movements have some sort of (occasionally clumsy) grace, where she never really strains to do these mighty, powerful things, and almost floats through mundane things that we normal humans do.
That’s not to say that there aren’t any big, smash-y Hulk moments, but we almost expect that so I worked to balance them with her enormous potential power in the more quiet moments.
Nrama: Did the "Acts of Evil" branding affect the tone with which you approached this annual?
MacDonald: I’d like to say that I had that in the forefront of my mind the whole time, as it’s part of the larger thing, but I was honestly too stoked to be working on a She-Hulk project. I may have been more focused on how tremendous it was to work with a character I’ve enjoyed reading for years.
Nrama: What’s it like working with Alexandra Petri on this story? What’s your favorite thing she threw in the script?
MacDonald: It’s great! Alexandra has each player in this story done right. There are a few moments in this story where She-Hulk is kinda talking to herself and I really enjoyed drawing those moments. It’s a fun grasp of the character that was fun to bring to the page.
Nrama: Is there any iconic Hulk stuff you left on the table for this annual you’d like to tackle later, given the chance?
I’m not very shy about my love of the Hulks (both Bruce and Jen) and have a ton I would love to tackle later. Hulkbusters, Ruby Thursday, Wyatt Wingfoot…
I can go on, but maybe I’ll let you wait to read them down the line.
Nrama: Bottom line, what makes She-Hulk Annual #1 essential reading?
MacDonald: Because She-Hulk!