Jeff Parker on ‘Hulk’ Becoming ‘Red She-Hulk’

The Red Hulk scribe explains his excitement about bringing a rare female lead to Marvel Comics.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Red She-Hulk

One of the mysteries of recent weeks was the fact that Jeff Parker’s Red Hulk series was not solicited for October, leading us to speculate as to its fate. In San DIego last weekend, it was revealed that the series would change its face amidst the Marvel NOW initiative, and Parker would remain at the helm to bring Red She-Hulk in to take the starring role.

Parker recently took to his own blog to explain his excitement at trying to help break through the Marvel glass ceiling, following in the footsteps of Kelly Sue DeConnick’s impending Captain Marvel series in making an effort to establish a lasting series with a female lead. For some reason, Marvel hasn’t been able to get a foothold where DC has succeeded with Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Batgirl and more.

“It’s now been announced that Hulk, the title I write at Marvel, is switching focus to be about Red She-Hulk,” Parker said. “If you don’t know her character, she is the transformed version of Betty Ross-Banner, the longtime love of The Hulk proper, often a damsel in distress and pawn between powerful forces in the long running adventures of the monster-man hero created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee.

“My editor, Mark Paniccia, asked for permission to try something different and bring her in as our book’s lead,” he continued. “It would make for a serious shake-up. When I heard Marvel agreed, I couldn’t believe it- this would allow me to do a very different kind of story. I wanted to go even more off course. Marvel of course has had a She-Hulk book before, most recently excellently done by Dan Slott and company. So we’ve seen a female Hulk and how heroic she can be. I thought why not dive in with a woman lead, AND tap the very roots of Hulk? Originally he always walked the line between menace and hero. Even if Hulk liked you, that still didn’t guarantee you were safe around him once he started raging, it was like being friends with a category 4 hurricane. As the newest of the Hulks, Betty is still formative and unknown – in a perfect position to be that kind of Hulk to the world.

Parker also argues against the sadly held belief that women don’t sell superhero comics. “Though you may only know my superhero stories, I am far from someone who thinks that genre IS comics, and I know that others may fit female readers more naturally. But I don’t think we should abandon trying, because despite conventional wisdom, many do want stories about powerful women in big action- did Buffy the Vampire Slayer teach us nothing? This gender does have daydreams about throwing cars around and flattening fools with a backhand swat. The superhero model appeals to something fundamental in us- that we feel, despite appearances, we have untapped power that could break out in the right circumstances.”

And he also includes a plea to spread the word and give this a shot. “We’re working hard on this book and believe we have a dynamic that will get attention and make great stories. What it needs next is you- using your influence and persuasion to convince readers to to try it, and stores to double down. There’s some book you follow out of habit that hasn’t entertained you in a while. Let it sit out a couple of rounds and give the smashing red lady two months to convince you, that’s all I ask. Not only can it work, we’ll all be surprised what will happen next with this hitting the radar in a big way. Conventional wisdom will flip over. Suddenly more books become possible at Marvel and DC.”

So what say you? Will you give Red She-Hulk a try?