Marvel's Season One line of original graphic novels have thus far shown the early days of characters including Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, Daredevil and the X-Men, and in August, the Hulk — now the breakout character from the billion-dollar Avengers film — gets his turn, from the creative team of writer Fred Van Lente and artist Tom Fowler. Like the previous Season One releases, Hulk: Season One is a 136-page hardcover featuring both a new story — presenting an early tale from a character's history set in modern times — along with a recent reprint; in this case 2011's Incredible Hulk #1 by Jason Aaron and Marc Silvestri. Van Lente, who is also writing October's Marvel Zombies Halloween one-shot, talked with Newsarama about what makes Hulk: Season One a fresh take on the Green Goliath's oriign story. Newsarama: Fred, your next release from Marvel is Hulk: Season One in August. What can you tell us about that book?
Fred Van Lente: That book turned out to be really special. I was very super-happy with it. It's definitely one of my proudest works.
Tom [Fowler] is just great. Not just with acting, but there's all sorts of crazy monsters, and clones, and robots, and the Gargoyle — the first Hulk villain — is in there. He just does a terrific job with all of it.
Nrama: With some of the past Season One books, they've kind of read in a way that if they had to be split up into single issues — which hasn't happen — they could have, with something of an act break every 20 pages or so. Did you employ that kind of approach?
Van Lente: I think the idea was at some point they were going to serialize them digitally, I think they changed their minds about that.
Also originally they were supposed to be in-between continuity, and then at some point, thank goodness, we were just allowed to go crazy, and so continuity just got thrown out of the window — which I was thrilled with.
Nrama: So there are some pretty big breaks from established Hulk history in the book?
Van Lente: Yes. There are some pretty obvious changes. The most obvious one is, Betty, in the original Hulk comic, gets to hang around this top-secret military installation because she's the general's daughter, and she stands around dressed like Jackie O and holding her pillbox purse, and it's very bizarre. In this versions she's actually the head of the MPs of Gamma Base, so she's followed in her father's footsteps and joined the military, so you get a much more — I'll use a total cliché word — badass Betty Ross in this version of Hulk.
It's sort of Hulk #1 remade into 100 pages. I took the phrase "Season One" very literally, and so I literally tried to plot it out like a TV show, with intersecting plotlines. Betty has her own plotline, this new character called Major Halperin has his own plotline, Rick Jones is very important, Ross has his own plotline. We introduce this character named Monica Rappaccini who's been head of A.I.M. for a long time. I was happy to use her because I created her in the first Marvel comic that I ever wrote, and she's somehow managed to stick around this long. It's been hinted that she played an important part in the early role of the Hulk, I was able to sort of canonize her as part of that.
It's just a great, solid book, and to be honest with you, I really am more comfortable working in the novel form. I like things that end. I like things that have a climax. I have difficulty with serialized television in the same way. I like sitcoms that are completely self-contained episodes, or things like , where you have very definitive seasons.
Nrama: Beyond Archer & Armstrong at Valiant and Hulk: Season One, what else should fans look out for from you?
Van Lente: I guess I'd be remiss not to namedrop the Comic Book History of Comics. Which just came out from IDW, and instantly sold out. The second printing is being rushed into stores, and by rushed I mean being put on very slow barges from Korea, so they'll get here very soon.
Nrama: And I've heard that you've been working in the video game world — anything you can say at this point about that?
Van Lente: I am, but unfortunately nothing I can talk about. All I can say is hopefully we'll be able to announce something very late summer/early fall.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!