McFarlane Speaks!

I don’t hear McFarlane talk about his days drawing the Hulk – here is a small story he told on Facebook:

I told my editor ” The Incredible Hulk should be…um…HULKISH!” It seemed fairly obvious to me.

Years ago when I was working/drawing for Marvel Comics, i was given the job of penciling the INCREDIBLE HULK comic. It was really my first regular gig on a book that my mom had heard of, so she thought I had final made something of myself. But as I began to draw the book over the next few months, I began to be aware of the fact that the writer on the book was, to me anyway, putting way too much story content into his plot outlines he gave me each month.

What this meant, was that to get everything on to the pages, I was constantly drawing pages that had 6 to 8 panels (or more) on most of the interior pages (part of the problem too was that I was still trying to learn things as an artist, so I am sure another skilled drawer might have been able to problem solve better than me at that time). But the problem was, that if each page had all of these smaller panels squeezed on each page, that meant nothing was BIG, which seems wrong for a book with the work HULK on it.

So, one day after getting my latest plot outline to draw, I phoned my editor (this was before I started drawing The Amazing Spider-Man comic) and said something like “Hey, boss, this latest plot is so crowded, I think this story might be better served if we made it into TWO ISSUES instead of just one. If we do that, then I can let some of the pages breathe a little…but more importantly I can finally make the Hulk BIG! I haven’t had the chance to do that yet.” My editor agreed and I was able to open up the pages to give more of a scope as to how HUGE this creature called the Hulk was.

The page you see below is the original art from one of those issues (Idid the pencils and someone else inked it) and you can see how much bigger the Hulk is compared to Betty Ross. That was all I ever wanted to show. Finally I had the opportunity. As a side note, the Hulk was colored gray at this time for reasons I have forgotten, but my interpretation of him was that he would be 1) HUGE, 2) With wrinked skin, like and elephant and that 3) he would be so massive that he could barely stand upright (*see the second photo I’ve posted*). Think of a giant Hunch back of Notre Dame, if you will. Later in the books run, he would be turned back to green and become much more handsome, thanks to the skilled drawing of Dale Keown and John Byrne.

I was just trying to make this character something that would visually be it’s own look, since there were many large heroes and villains in the Marvel Universe at the time.

TODD

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3 responses to “McFarlane Speaks!

  1. Wow, thanks for that Ratchet. That’s why I love your site. I would never have seen this if it weren’t for you. What a great behind the scenes insight into one of my favourite and most interesting periods in Hulk’s history.
    Thanks

  2. I really wish McFarlane’s run had lasted longer. He wasn’t the best Hulk artist, but he is one of my personal favorites. I just LOVED the way he drew the Grey Hulk, and when I think of the Grey incarnation of the Hulk, I always think of McFarlane’s illustrations of the character. It’s very fascinating to hear him talk about it, especially how he thinks a creature like Hulk should be very massive to the point he is hunched over like Quasimodo, and has rough, elephant-like wrinkled skin. Such an interesting envisioning of the Hulk, and it worked well for the Grey incarnation in my opinion. It seems like all of the best illustrators never get too long with Hulk (Keown, Byrne, etc..) with the exception of Sal Buscema.

  3. Saw this on Facebook. Loved it. Loved McFarlane’s run. I bought his “Art of Todd McFarlane” illustrated-bio last fall. You’re right, he doesn’t talk about his Hulk run enough. There are some interesting sketches and thumbnails, like he was originally going to pencil the cover to #339, but it ended up being a panel in the issue instead. There were some turnaround thumbnails that would have made a great replacement for the Byrne cornerbox artwork. I still want him to draw a shaggy-haired, bushy eyebrowed, no shirt-wearing GREEN Hulk…>sigh<…

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