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I was re-reading some older Hulk comics the other day from the 1970s, and it struck me, no one writes the “classic” Hulk dialogue anymore. Now, Peter David had an excuse, as his Hulk was not in the vein of the classic Hulk, but that has not been the case for a long while since David, and yet basically every writer after David on the Incredible Hulk has kept the Hulk as basically a silent creature, which struck me…could it be because writers feel weird writing that goofy dialogue? If so, that’s not a good reason, because I do not think you can afford to be self-conscious when writing superhero comics.
Do not get me wrong, I think the same idea applies to other mediums, such as television and film, but in those cases, if the WRITER feels weird about the goofy dialogue, you sure as hell better bet that the ACTOR feels even weirder about the goofy dialogue, so there is a tagteam approach to dealing with feeling self-conscious. For the comic writer, it is all him or her on the line. If people make fun of the dialogue, it is strictly the writer who will take the heat. But if fear of this is keeping writers from writing comics a certain way, then I think that is awfully silly. Just as silly as I think it is to not have Hulk talk in the “Puny humans, Hulk smash!” dialogue anymore (except, of course, when Mark Millar does it in Ultimates ironically. Everything can be accepted if you just look at it with “irony”).
This goes beyond Hulk’s dialogue, of course. I think it is something that pervades a lot of modern comic book writers. That is why we see so many stories like, “Why would a guy who can build a gun that shoots fire waste his time robbing banks when he could just patent the gun and sell it?” It shows a certain level of dissatisfaction with the very genre the writer is working in…a dissatisfaction that is quite telling, in regards to the writer’s approach on matters.
If you don’t want to write superhero comics, that’s cool. We could always use good new comics in other genres.
But if you’re GOING to write superhero comics, just do it. Commit to the idea.
Do not be self-conscious about it.
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