Incredible No More: Fred Van Lente Talks The New Herc

Today’s interview is conducted by regular Daily P.O.P. contributor Gary M. Miller.

Thanks again, Gary!

Visit Gary Miller's blog!


By Gary M. Miller

Some months ago, writers Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente solemnly announced that CHAOS WAR was the end of the road for the adventures they’d begun in the aftermath of WORLD WAR HULK with INCREDIBLE HERCULES. However, as Mark Twain wrote–well, enough quoting a highfalutin’ author an Olympian god wouldn’t recognize! Hercules is coming back, and Greg & Fred are prepping one more round in the wake of CHAOS WAR #5. Recently, I had the sincere pleasure of speaking with one half of the writing team about the new status quo.

Go no further if you don’t want some mild SPOILERS about the conclusion of CHAOS WAR.

But if you’re okay with it, to paraphrase someone Herc probably would recognize from late night TV hanging around Avengers Mansion: Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere’s Fred!

DAILY P.O.P.: Since there’s a new HERC series coming on the heels of CHAOS WAR, I guess the obvious question is, how did the idea for the new series come about?

Cover to Herc #1

FRED VAN LENTE: I wasn’t sure I was going to do more Herc after CHAOS WAR. I didn’t want to just to more Herc & Cho stories; those were done with CW. The last thing I want to do to a series is have it outstay its welcome.

But it occurred to me that since we were going to have Herc expend his supergod powers to restore reality anyway, wouldn’t it be interesting for Herc to lose all his power? Then we could follow a god transformed as a man, on his own, trying to make his way through the mean streets alone, no sidekicks, no sisters backing him up. And that I thought would be an interesting enough hook to sign up for.

DP: Briefly describe the status quo at the beginning of this series. What’s become of Hercules?

FVL: Some time has passed between his last appearance–which are Greg’s recent issues of INCREDIBLE HULKS [#621-622], so pick them up–and now. Herc is tormented by prayers of people who still worship him as a god, and are persecuted by worshippers of his brother Ares–the WARHAWKS. But they don’t know he’s a mere mortal now–and that fact won’t let him stop them from helping him. So he raids Olympus’s arsenal and arms himself with the most fearsome weapons of myth and hops an A train to Brooklyn to begin KICKING. ASS.

DP: The last page of CHAOS WAR states it was the end of the “eighth and final volume of The Incredible Hercules.” Now we have HERC. What are the key differences that distinguish HERC #1 from what came before?

FVL: For me, INCREDIBLE HERCULES was about the Herc/Cho relationship. That is gone. Amadeus has learned all he can from Herc and his moved on to become a hero in his own right. Herc is on his own, with nothing but his weapons to help him. Everything has become more dangerous, and the stakes couldn’t be higher.

DP: Who else among Herc’s friends and family might we see?

FVL: The Olympians are being treated very differently in HERC than in INCREDIBLE, I will say that. But Herc’s constant conflict with his father Zeus will always been an important aspect.


Cover to Herc #2

DP: Looking back at INCREDIBLE HERCULES, do you have any favorite moments, either in development or execution?

FVL: Just the whole scope of it, in total, is probably the most fun I’ve had working at Marvel, both from the aspect of becoming friends with Greg, to the reaction its gotten from my peers and the fans. I enjoyed immersing myself in the Greek myths, and the culture aspect of it too, so that strokes my research fetish. The crazy recaps, the nutty SFX, both of which were the inspiration of our redoubtable associate editor Mr. Nate Cosby, who brought me and Greg together in the first place.

I loved working on all the big character moments between our principals–from Herc’s speech to Cho in the first arc to Athena’s tearful confession that closed the series’ main run. Like all successful series, [INCREDIBLE HERCULES] was just about people and their relationship to each other and how those bonds were challenged and strengthened over time.

DP: How does the writing process between you and co-writer Greg Pak typically work?

FVL: It varies. These days, to save time, one of us writes a draft and gives it to the other, and we pass it back and forth until we unanimously agree on it. Every script is a 50/50 collaboration.

DP: Who’s drawing the new HERC series, and how did the artist come on board?

FVL: Neil Edwards, who’s doing a great job. He’s fresh off WARRIORS THREE and one of my top-secret projects, so I couldn’t be happier working with him again.


Cover to Herc #3

DP: I last interviewed you a few years ago, back when you were just getting your feet wet with Marvel. Now you’re a seasoned pro, with miniseries like MARVEL ZOMBIES 3, 4 and 5, and projects like INCREDIBLE HERCULES and IRON MAN: LEGACY. What have you learned since getting in on the ground floor?

FVL: It’s as hard to stay in as it is to get in. (laughs) But I’m managing okay so far.

DP: Do you have any other projects in development you can discuss?

FVL: Unfortunately, I don’t! (laughs) I’m working on a ton of stuff, but it’s all kinda hush-hush at the moment. HERC fans should keep their peepers peeled around C2E2 in Chicago, that’s where me and Greg’s Next Big Thing will be announced.

DP: Always a pleasure, Fred!

HERC #1 and 2 are now available for preorder in the current DIAMOND PREVIEWS catalog.

Variant Cover by JOHN ROMITA JR.
Rated T+…$3.99
On-Sale 4/6/11

Rated T+…$2.99
On-Sale 4/20/11

Read more of Gary Miller’s eloquence and Hulkistry at his blog.

Recommended reading:
Incredible Hercules Vol.0: World War Hulk
Incredible Hercules Vol. 1: Against The World
Incredible Hercules Vol. 2: Secret Invasion
Incredible Hercules Vol.3: Love And War

One thought on “Incredible No More: Fred Van Lente Talks The New Herc

  1. That was a good interview Gary. I left some more comments about the next Hulk issue,622. They should be posted on your review for issue 621.


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