SPOILERS AHOY: We're taking this opportunity to revive a long-lost column here at Newsarama called Spoiler Sport. Here, we'll chat with a creator or editor involved in a comic directly after it's released about the events actually in the comic. If you have suggestions for one you'd like us to go after tomorrow, let us know here!
As such, this story will talk about story elements from this week's one-shot "Hulk: Let the Battle Begin." The story is a semi-continuity tale, meaning it has no direct consequence on current Hulk or Thor stories, but ye have been warned regardless. In yesterday's Hulk: Let the Battle Begin, writer Jesse Blaze Snider told a story of Bruce Banner between Hulk-outs. What does Bruce do between those big crazy fight scenes? However, many fans are only talking about one moment in the book, just a couple of panels, in fact: Hulk beating Thor down with Mjolnir, his enchanted, godly hammer.
So... how the heck did THAT happen? We went straight to the source, Snider himself, to be the voice of the fans and see why their outrage is unjustified (or is it?).Newsarama: Before we get to the main event of Hulk vs. Thor, I have to say, the early humor, even little things like Banner's fake ID being Gamma, Raymond; that's something we don't usually think of when we think "Hulk," but it works here- why did you bring humor into it?
Jesse Blaze Snider: Well, my favorite HULK has always been the dumb-as-rocks, temper-tantrum Hulk and there has always been something inherently funny about him to me. He's just like a little kid and Peter David, Paul Jenkins and Erik Larsen have exploited that aspect of his personality to great effect and I always thought it worked very well for him, because the overall tone of the book is still rather tragic. Laughing in the face of that tragedy, becomes that great sort of "laughing in church" type humor, which is hard to resist.
At the end of the day though, modern comic books tend to take everything so seriously and ignore a lot of the absurdity of it all and I think that does a great injustice to all comics and comic book fans, because really its the ABSURDITY that we LOVE.
Nrama: In the credits, there's a little something extra, a dedication to your father Dee Snider. What about this story made it jump out as something to dedicate to him for you?
Snider: Well, my father is an old school comic fan and HULK, especially "dumb-as-rocks Hulk," is his all time favorite character. He bought me my first comic when I was 9 or 10 "The Thing #34" where he fights the Sphinx and the Puppet Master! Anyway, my dad was a pretty hardcore reader himself, but eventually I took comic book reading to the next level. I've been reading 100 comics a month since I was 14 or 15 and have been trying to break into the business as a writer for over 10 years. It's a hard thing to do. As my friend Jai Nitz has pointed out a few times, there are more professional Basketball Players that professional comic book writers at any given moment.
Anyway, through it all, my father has been one of my MAIN editors. He has literally read EVERY single script I've ever written, plus copy edited and offered suggestions. Granted, that was a lot more work when I started writing scripts at 16, but we're going on something like 100 plus scripts now, its a fair amount of work and he has never complained. Not once.
You wouldn't believe how proud this man was when I told him I sold a HULK script, he was just beaming. The tricky part is I sold this script THREE YEARS AGO! Announced it on this very site TWO-YEARS-AGO and my father has been patiently waiting for the day that he could go to the store and buy a copy of the HULK with his son's name on it.
So, when I found out that the release date for the issue was ending up so close to his 55TH BIRTHDAY on the 15th of MARCH, I asked if we could dedicate it to him, as thanks for all of the editing he has done for me over the years to help me get to this point. My editor Michael Horwitz was great about getting it in there and I'm proud to say I gave the issue to my dad last night and he was very touched. I'm actually having it framed with the cover, credits page and a two page spread with the Hulk for his birthday next week.
My dad deserves the dedication, he has been a dedicated Hulk fan for forever and I wouldn't have inherited such an amazing collection of back issues and a ravenous love for comic books if not for him.
Nrama: So, to the meat of the story- The Hulk beats down the Wrecking Crew. OK, that happens, and is well within the realm of possibility. The Wrecking Crew seems to just be the link you put in for the real faceoff with Thor though, is that right?
Snider: Well, kind of. When they asked me to write an Hulk inventory story, I had to put together a tale that was OUT OF TIME and didn't greatly change the course of Marvel History. At the same time, I wanted it to matter to fans. So, I came up with the idea of explaining EXACTLY how Bruce Banner goes from half naked to fully clothed and hitch hiking all the time. Because it's rarely explained. How many episodes of the Hulk TV series or various comic series have started with him just hitchhiking? Well, I wanted to know how he got his clothes and EYE GLASSES back!
Of course, the next most important thing for me was filling the book with some memorable fights!
Now, THE WRECKING CREW are my FAVORITE VILLAINS. I can't even explain why, I just love them and that new set of BOWEN BUSTS will shortly be displayed prominently on my desk. Anyway, they were a no brainer. And at the time I wrote this thing (ALMOST THREE YEARS AGO-Got the Marvel check with Spidey on it for proof) the HULK had NEVER fought anyone at MOUNT RUSHMORE! And I loved the four presidents, four bad guys thing, which ended up making for a pretty cool cover!
So, they were not a throw away, I love the Wrecking Crew. Though we really need to give Piledriver a better gimmick. He's got nothing!Spoiler Puppies are hiding the page in question- Click to Reveal! Nrama: Now, being a Thor fan, I'm sure you know the inscription on Mjolnir. It says "Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of... THOR" Are you saying that Bruce Banner is worthy? Or that Hulk is?
Snider: Not at all, Hulk never touches the hammer! He is completely unworthy of it!
Look, I LOVE THOR and more to the point, I love THOR and HULK fights! So, that was my second big thing, I wanted to get Thor in there, but I needed to make the fight memorable, because after all this was an off-to-the-side, one-shot and as a fan I know how easy it is to forget this kind of book. So...
I came up with the concept, that if HULK was able to catch THOR's hand, he could hold the hammer THROUGH THOR. Again, at the time this had NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE. Once Hulk has Thor's hand with the hammer in it, there are only TWO QUESTIONS.
Question #1: Who is stronger?
Normally, I would say that the two are fairly evenly matched. BUT as EVERYONE know, the ANGRIER Hulk gets, the STRONGER Hulk gets, which is why Hulk can ultimately beat anyone, because unless you prevent him from getting upset or frustrated, he's just gonna keep getting angry until he over powers you. AND in this instance the Hulk has just finished fighting the Wrecking Crew, so he's already pretty revved up and tired of being hit by magic sticks! (He got hit by the Wreckers' Crowbar a whole bunch and THOR gives him a VERY REASONABLE beat down before this moment.)
So, who is stronger? Hulk! He is mad as Hell and not going to take being hit by magic sticks anymore!
Also, keep in mind the context of the fight, Bruce Banner was trying to help a pregnant lady who was about to be crushed to death by falling rock, he Hulks out and goes after the Wrecking Crew. But because of all the property damage he is causing Thor is sent to take him down, but the Hulk was just trying to do the right thing and now he's getting beat up for it.
Question #2: Is Thor ready to defend himself from this attack?
No! It has NEVER happened to him before. He has never even considered that it could! And at the time it happens he has the UPPER HAND in the fight! Hulk is down and bleeding and he goes to finish him off and Hulk CATCHES HIS HAND! He is stunned for a second and Hulk takes advantage of that and bashes him in the face a few times. And then RUNS AWAY! If I had more than a one shot, the fight would have went on longer and Thor could have come back, but Hulk ran away.
Nrama: You had Banner lie right towards the beginning of the story- wouldn't that inherently make him unworthy?
Snider: Oh, absolutely, but as I said, Hulk was just using the worthy Thor as an instrument to use the hammer for a moment. Thor is the only worthy one in this book.
Look the bottom line is THIS is a HULK ONE-SHOT! Which means HULK WINS. If it were a THOR ONE-SHOT than THOR would have to WIN. And if it was a HULK VERSUS THOR book then we would have found a clever way for them to TIE. But its a Hulk one-shot, read by mostly Hulk fans and they want to see the big green guy come out on top.
I did, do something to make Thor fans feel better about it though. When it cuts back to Banner who is trying to remember what happened he says, "Yeah, right...and then I woke up." Meaning he doesn't think he's remembering the fight correctly. BUT I really think that it IS a fair moment and IS reasonable to believe that it could have gone down that way...at least ONCE. Now, the next time HULK catches THOR'S hammer, he's going to be ready and things go down a lot different. Fool me once...
Nrama: If you intended this to be sheer strength, it seems that would either cheapen Mjolnir or make Hulk's strength at a near-cosmic level... What would you say to fans that argue that?
Snider: You know, if Hulk gets angry enough he COULD have cosmic level strength, but I think he would have to inadvertently kill someone he loves or something for that to happen. Again, this isn't about being worthy or strong enough to lift Mjolnir, its just about being stronger than THOR and at that moment the HULK was.
Nrama: Finally... what do you have against Thor? (laughs)
Snider: Ha! Nothing! I really LOVE THOR and if Marvel gives me the chance I'd be happy to write a REMATCH called "THOR: LET ME SEE YOU TRY THAT AGAIN!" where HULK tries to catch Thor's hand and he shows Hulk why that is a terrible idea! =)
Look this book was a one-shot and I was trying to do some memorable things with it, so I'm not going to lie, the controversy over it, is making me so happy, because it means people noticed my book! I know some people are mad, but it is a very LIGHT HEARTED comic, it wasn't meant as a vicious attack on Thor. I love him too much to do that. I hope those of you who can't take that moment, can read around it and forgive it, because I think Steve Kurth and I really wrote a fun, old school Hulk romp, that anyone can enjoy. The reviews have been great so far and none of the reviewers seem to be bothered by it, so either they are less sensitive or they REALLY hate Thor. Hopefully, you guys can forgive me.
Nrama: Anything else you'd like to say?
Snider: Yeah, firstly I will answer questions and continue to defend myself on the board below. But please, no Dee Snider's kid cheap shots. I'm just a geek like you guys who loves comic books, nothing more, nothing less. But if people have counter points to my points I am willing to acknowledge them.
Secondly, if you read this book and liked it, I am also the writer of Boom! Studios' ongoing TOY STORY comic, which Newsarama calls "the smartest kids book on the stands." And they also say that its not just for kids! Also i am writing the new MUPPET SNOW WHITE comic coming out in a month or two! AND my DEAD ROMEO collection from DC Comics (Named BEST VAMPIRE COMIC '09 by Aintitcoolnews) is in stores now! Sorry to plug with quotes, I just want to give you some incentive to check it out! When you're a new guy like me, you really have to pound the payment to make a a name for yourself.
Anyway, I'm a fan first. I love comic books with all my heart and I'M NOT GOING ANYWHERE. So, lay your snide comments at my feet and I shall only come back SNIDER! Guess I'm just your friendly neighborhood SNIDER-Man! ;)