The New Yorker has invited Twitter hero @FILMCRITHILK to write a great, insightful, ALL-CAPS essay on the attraction of The Hulk in stories.
SO PERHAPS THERE IS A MUCH BETTER QUESTION AT HAND: WHAT MAKES THE HULK DRAMATIC? WHAT ARE WE ROOTING FOR WHEN WE WATCH HIM? WHAT IS IT THAT WE WANT TO HAPPEN IN ANY GIVEN SCENE?
WE HAVE TO GO BACK TO THE CENTRAL QUESTION: WHAT MAKES THE HULK SO COMPELLING TO US?
HULK WRITES ABOUT IT ALL THE TIME, BUT ONE OF THE ONGOING PROBLEMS OF BLOCKBUSTER CINEMA THESE DAYS IS ASSUMED EMPATHY. IT’S AS IF OUR STORYTELLERS JUST PLOP A FILM IN OUR LAPS AND SAY, “HERE’S OUR MAIN CHARACTER AND WE’RE GOING TO ASSUME THAT YOU’RE INTERESTED IN THEM FOR THAT REASON ALONE. THEY’RE THE MAIN CHARACTER!” … HULK DESPISES THIS TREND. IT TENDS TO GET EVEN WORSE WHEN STORYTELLERS FALL INTO THE MARKETING-CENTRIC TRAP OF “LIKABILITY,” WHICH IS A WORD THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MAKING CHARACTERS INTERESTING. USUALLY IT’S JUST A CODE WORD USED BY EXECUTIVES WHEN THEY’RE WORRIED A CHARACTER IS “DOING BAD THINGS.” AND TO ADHERE TO THE WORRIES OF LIKABILITY IS TO THUS EMBARK ON A FOOL’S PLAY AT DRAMA.
Which gives me the chance to drop in my favorite joke from last weekend, shamelessly cribbed from The Observer: "YOU WON'T LIKE ME WHEN I'M ANGRY. I BACK UP MY RAGE WITH SOURCES AND DOCUMENTATION." -The Credible Hulk
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.