AlphaFlight.net is proud to present an interview with Jeff Parker, writer of the monthly Hulk comic whose Mayan Rule arc, starting with June's #53, features Alpha Flight.
AF.net: First of all Jeff, thanks for agreeing to this interview. The news of your inclusion of Alpha Flight within the arc made a lot of fans happy!
JP: Thank you all!
Before we get into the specifics of the storyline, I'd like to try and get to know a bit more about you; for starters, how did you first discover comics?
They were in the grocery store my dad ran, on the spinner rack. It's how I learned to read, starting with Dennis the Menace comics.
What was it that made you want to get into the industry? Any major influences?
When I was a teenager, I wanted to draw like Berni Wrightson so much. Even though there's probably none of that influence left in my art when I draw. I loved the EC comics, and Wally Wood. It was being into Berni and thus Swamp Thing that had me getting the new Saga of the Swamp Thing comics when they came out, and then discovering Alan Moore's writing. That hit me like an atom bomb.
You seem to have gained a reputation for taking less well known characters and making them shine, due to your work on books such as Agents of Atlas and Thunderbolts. Would you say this is representative of books you read growing up?
Did you ever read any Alpha Flight?
I liked all kinds of genres, not just superheroes. And with Atlas and Thunderbolts I can do a lot of genres with their stories.
Alpha Flight I only read sporadically because by that time I was getting comics from a newsstand and I don't think they carried it. But I'd seen them in X-Men and knew who they were. I liked that they were this special group from nearby but still their own thing.
Are there any characters/properties you'd really like to write?
Marvel? I still want to write Dr. Strange. If DC, Batman, Superman. I am writing a ten page Batman digital story that Gabriel Hardman is drawing this summer.
Is there a piece of your work that you're most proud of/happy with?
I'm still very proud of my original graphic novel The Interman that came out in 03. It was a lot of the adventure and science stuff I really enjoy.
Moving on to the main subject, for those who've never read the title what's the story with (Red) Hulk?
He's General Thunderbolt Ross, the man who hunted Hulk ever since he was created. And he became so obsessed, he let MODOK and The Leader turn him into a Hulk. Now he knows what he subjected Banner to all those years, firsthand!
How does writing this Hulk differ from writing the original Banner version?
A lot of the dynamic is the same, but Red Hulk has his faculties. He can think as clearly- maybe better- than he does as Ross.
Without giving too much away, can you set the scene of the Mayan Rule arc for us?
Rick Jones, the A-Bomb, was tricked into freeing some ancient Mayan figures who were once worshipped as gods. He and She-Hulk and Lyra the Savage She-Hulk track the Mayans down and the situation gets a lot worse. So Rick has to go to Red Hulk for help. They locate an entire missing pyramid in Banff, and bring Alpha Flight in on the operation.
Do Alpha Flight appear in the entire arc? If so which issues does this form?
Off and on, yes. Their inclusion actually adds fuel to the fire, as you'll see. It's Hulk 53 to 57.
From the information we've seen so far Alpha Flight's appearance in the arc leads straight on from their previous series, was it your plan to have Alpha Flight guest from the start or did it stem from Dale Eaglesham coming on board?
From Dale, once he agreed to draw this, I realized they would fit perfectly and planned it to include them. I loved the idea that they would tag along with Dale.
Dale gained a lot of fans from his Alpha Flight run, with many feeling the characters looked the best since Byrne drew them. How has working with Dale been?
He's terrific, a lot of fun and obviously a brilliant artist. He's also done the most outrageously awesome designs for the Mayan Gods, it's very Kirby in spirit. The guy knows what he's doing!
To finish; why should Alpha Flight fans pick this book up, is there anything you'd like to tease us with?
Come for Alpha, stay for the Hulks! You won't be disappointed, we have a lot of action in this title.
Thanks once again, Jeff!
Jeff Parker currently writes Hulk and Dark Avengers (Formerly Thunderbolts) for Marvel and can be found on-line at http://www.parkerspace.com/ and on Twitter as http://www.twitter.com/jeffparker
Hulk #53 is in stores from tomorrow(June 6th).