Incredible HULK comics scripting sample/old submission

Some time ago, while in touch w/the New Talent dept. at Marvel, I was asked to send in writing samples; I included the X-Men scripting test I’d done previously. In reply, Marvel requested some pitches. I sent three. They liked two and asked me to write 1st-issue scripts for them. This is one of those scripts. (The other is here. The X-Men test and other samples here.)



[Pardon the formatting issues — WP was…uncooperative.]

It’s a flurry of familiar action in an unnamed city:

Panel 1/ Well-armored men in black riot gear (like S.W.A.T., but let’s just call them soldiers, as I want this aspect to remain vague. They could be the law, they could be a group of bad guys chasing Banner.) arm a grenade launcher.

Panel 2/ A man in charge seems to be calling more soldiers.

Panel 3/ Choppers, armed with missile launchers, speed out from over the horizon.

Panel 4/ Tanks roll in.

Panel 5/ We now see these soldiers forcing back crowds of people…every face in the crowd shows fear.


Panel 1/ Bruce Banner, looking as he looks in current comics continuity, is running.

Panel 2/ A soldier has him in the site of his rifle.

3/ We now see a line-up of soldiers (they could be on their bellies, sniper-style, atop a building, standing on the ground, on top of a truck — whatever), all of whom have Bruce Banner in their sites.

4/ Shots are fired all around Bruce; he’s covering his head and trying to duck…

5/ Bruce is grazed in the ear, hit in the shoulder, the arm; he’s lost some meat between a thumb and forefinger.


Above the splash panel, the following statement:

(1) The synapses of the human brain can send over 1 billion signals every single second of the day. 

This story takes place in the mind of Bruce Banner, the Incredible Hulk,

in just a few of those seconds.

In the middle of this city street Bruce Banner screams in pain and his change has begun…



(4) Writer: K e i t h  P l a n i t

(5) Artist: TBD

(6) Letters: TBD

(7) Colors: TBD


SPLASH COLLAGE or Double-Page Spread to Page 5…

We need to see that we are now in the mind of Bruce Banner.  This can be done in the old comics standard of having a profile of Bruce’s face on the left, with the surreal world of his mind spreading out from there or in any other way you wish to interpret.

It is a world of Hulks and Bettys and symbols of anger and misery and love and death, and somewhere in there is Bruce Banner, drowning (not necessarily in water).

Other superheroes can appear as well, but they should be depicted more as symbols rather than as literal versions of who they are (i.e., Cap would probably mean goodness and heroism to Bruce, Thor might be strength and arrogance, Iron Man, gluttony…).

A broken metronome (part of Bruce’s current regimen for staying calm) floats somewhere, a green eye burns like a sun over a desert…
This collage can segue into the layout of…


The surreal background can continue into these panels…

Panel 1/ A strong, muscular Bruce Banner is pushing on a wall of rock.  He is calm but pushing hard.  On the other side, straining and pushing back, is a weak, skinny Hulk.

(1) BRUCE: The lake.  The lake and the fir trees, with a breeze coming down off the mountains.  Birds sing…There is no need for you there…Birds sing.

(2) HULK: Hmph!

Panel 2/ Bruce has weakened and lost some muscle mass but is still calm…Hulk has grown.

(3) BRUCE: I am loved!  I have friends!  People who care for me!  And the birds sing!  And all is calm!  All is calm!  All is calm!  Tick…. Tick…. Tick…. Tick…. The metronome speaks to me.

(4) BRUCE: So much good in my life.  Lives saved.  People helped.  And the birds sing!!

(5) HULK: Puny…

Panel 3/ Bruce is his normal size gritting his teeth, sweating; Hulk is the full-size, monstrous, dark green savage we know.  The wall is moving toward Bruce.

(6) BRUCE: Birds…Please!…Quiet…a Desert…Please!…You are not needed here!

(7) HULK: …Banner!

Panel 4/ The wall is crumbling, and Hulk is smacking the rock-dust off his hands…Bruce is distraught.

(8) BRUCE: But why?  Why?!  Why do you keep coming…you’re not needed!

(9) HULK: *grunt!*



Panel 1/ Bruce explaining.  The edges of his head melting away and forming images, phantoms, of his past….

(1) BRUCE: I know I’m not the one to blame — for death I’ve seen, or abuse I suffered, or the destructive will of others.

2/ Bruce still explaining himself; something bright green is behind him.

(2) BRUCE: I’ve reconciled.  Do I miss Betty?  Yes.  But I did all I could.  I’ve gained understanding about so much.  You’re irrelevant.  Pain is just a part of life!

3/ Bruce talking; it is now clear that the green thing behind him is a body.

(3) BRUCE: That is the only conclusion. Everyone knows it!  It’s simply logi–

4/ Bruce notices the green person standing over him.

(4) BRUCE: –cal?

5/ Bruce looking up at a smiling bright green Hulk — Professor Hulk, the smart one.

(5) PROFESSOR HULK: I agree completely.

6/ A mighty green fist of Prof. Hulk’s is blasting toward a frightened Banner — it looks as if he’s about to be pounded to pulp!



1/ Surreal images fill the backgrounds still (maybe a tease of the character introduced later called Middle Hulk somewhere here?…see description page 12.).

In this shot the focus is Professor Hulk as he continues his lunge, but it wasn’t Banner he was after…the punch is swinging past Banner and landing on Savage Hulk.

Panel 2 until  End of Page (ARTIST: as many panels as you feel nec.)/ Professor Hulk and Savage Hulk fight.  It’s a gruesome, gory battle.  Bruce watches in excited awe!

(1) PROFESSOR HULK (toward bottom of page): I believe…



1/ Professor Hulk delivers the deathblow….

(1) PROFESSOR HULK: …we’re through here!

2/ Bruce stands proud but modest near the victorious Professor Hulk.

(2) PROFESSSOR HULK:  I like the way…

(3) PROFESSOR HULK: …you think, Banner.

3/ Bruce stands over what remains of Savage Hulk — surreal images still swirl in the background….

(4) BRUCE: Does this mean he’s gone?  For good?

4/ Both still talk…dark gray clouds are rolling in, covering the surreal landscape…

(5) PROFESSOR HULK: Don’t be unreasonable. You wanted logic, you needed strength.  You like being in control of the savage side….

5/ Angle on Bruce agreeing.  The background is shades of gray — the clouds now thick.

(6) BRUCE:  Hm. True….

(7) PROFESSOR HULK: Of course, you being who you are, you examine your position, you decipher causes, reason effects.  All very sensible.



1/ Fog, wind, thunderclouds — they all fill up the panel around Prof. and Bruce (neither of whom seem to notice this change in climate).  The moon pokes through the clouds in the corner….
Professor Hulk drones on.  Bruce looks bored.  Is there a shape somewhere in that fog?….

(1) PROFESSOR HULK:  It’s simple, Bruce.  It’s just who you are.  You’re a scientist — brilliant at that — and whatever you ascertain you need most, just comes….

2/ This is a big panel.  Mr. Fix-It has stepped from the fog (yet it seems there may still be another form hiding within it).

(2) PROFESSOR HULK (cont’d): …out?



1/ A punch from Fix-It knocks Prof’s teeth out!

(1) FIX-IT: It’s me, Prof!  Tired of your jabberin’ and ready for some old-fashioned butt-whuppin’!

2/ Bruce looks like he’s backing away, but again he watches with wonder.

3 to End of Page/ Another brutal conflagration of symbols wages in the surreal landscape of Bruce Banner’s mind.  In other words: the Hulks are beating the snot out of each other — Fix-It slaughtering Professor Hulk.



1/ Professor Hulk is a pile of blood and broken bones — he’s in pain, quivering.

2/ Prof Hulk is sinking as if in quicksand (but there need not be any actual sand present necessarily) reaching out to Bruce who has recoiled….

(1) PROFESSOR HULK: If you can beat the rage, the want, just once…you will have the ability to do it again!

3/ Professor Hulk is gone, Fix-It stands over the spot where he was, laughing.  Bruce looks angry.

4/ Close on Fix-It.

(2) FIX-IT: Yeah, right!

5/ Bruce is facing the spot where Fix-It was just standing, but he’s gone now.  Vanished.  Behind Bruce, however, is a mysterious figure.

(3) Middle-Hulk CAPTION: Bruce.



1/ Bruce has spun around.  He’s facing the entity we will call Middle-Hulk.  This creature is an even cross between Banner and Savage Hulk — his color would be a muddy mix of gray, green, and skin color.  Right now he’s looking like he’s in pain.  Middle-Hulk’s a very moody sort.

(1) BRUCE: Wh– who’re you?

(2) Middle-Hulk CAPTION: I’m the one in-between.

2/ Close on Bruce; curious, smirking

(3) BRUCE: This isn’t one of those “I am the yin and the yang” kind of things is it?

3/ A suddenly enraged Middle-Hulk…

(4) Middle-Hulk CAPTION (bold): You have nothING TO LAUGH ABOUT, BRUCE!

4/ Middle-Hulk is calm now.

(5) MIDDLE-HULK CAPTION: I’m sorry….I just can’t always control my rage — you must know how that feels.

5/ Bruce is even more curious now.

(6) BRUCE: …Who are you?

6/  M.H. explains it to Bruce….

(7) MIDDLE -HULK CAPTION: The one right in the middle.

(8) MIDDLE-HULK CAPTION: I’ve witnessed more than you, fought more times than the Savage, come to more conclusions than the Professor, and been stuck — broken — longer than Fix-It.



1/ Bruce and Middle-Hulk continue their journey together — walking toward a distant light…

(1) BRUCE: So you’re who I am…for those few seconds…those scant ticks of time when I’m–


(3) BRUCE: But before I’ve become…


2/ Continuing their walk in the ether of Bruce’s mind…

(5) MIDDLE-HULK CAPTION: I know it’s confusing, Bruce.  We’re all you…but we have individual thoughts and ideas, and we all think we know what we want —

(6) MIDDLE-HULK CAPTION: — Don’t we, Bruce?

(7) BRUCE: I… I don’t know what you’re getting at.

3/ Middle-Hulk looks evil now.

(8) MIDDLE-HULK CAPTION: Oh, but you do.  You know exactly.  There’re things you don’t tell anybody.  Not…any…

4/ Medium on Bruce; we can see Middle Hulk maybe in foreground.  Middle Hulk is reflected in one lens of Bruce’s glasses (if you’ve put glasses on Bruce — if not, make it a closer shot and put this in his eyes…)…some kind of doorway in surreal space around them reflects in the other.


(10) BRUCE: Well…But everyone has their secrets.  You have to have secrets.  It’s a way of coping, a way of keeping yourself out of harm.  It’s just…



1/ Bruce explaining simply, Middle-Hulk laughing.

(1) BRUCE: …Human nature!

SFX (above Middle-Hulk): HAH HAH HAH HAH!!!

(2) MIDDLE-HULK CAPTION:  What psychology magazines are you reading at all those bus stops, Bruce?…

2/ Middle-Hulk has grabbed Bruce.

(3) MIDDLE-HULK CAPTION:  …Psychology Distorted? Did P.T. Barnum write a book?

3/ Middle-Hulk throws Bruce to the ground.

4/ Leans in, like he’s telling Bruce a secret.

(4) MIDDLE-HULK CAPTION (small): Come on, Bruce, what do you really know?



1/ Bruce has shoved Middle-Hulk away with one hand, dusting himself off with the other.

(1) Bruce:  I don’t know what you mean.

(2) MIDDLE-HULK CAPTION: Tell me about secrets, Bruce.

2/ Bruce is hurt, disturbed now by Middle-Hulk’s presence.  The swirl of images behind them should look more convoluted now.

(3) BRUCE: You’re more twisted than the others.

(4) MIDDLE-HULK CAPTION: I’m just trying to affect…

3/ Middle-Hulk looks sad, depressed; Bruce, annoyed.


(6) MIDDLE-HULK CAPTION: But I guess I can’t do anything right.

4/ Bruce has turned to console Middle-Hulk who looks downright sad.

(7) BRUCE: Don’t say that!



1/ Middle-Hulk standing up proud and happy again.  Grabbing Bruce in a friendly manner, maybe even hugging him.

(1) MIDDLE-HULK CAPTION: Yes!  Yes, see?  See how easy it is?  Just face the truth!

(2) Bruce:  I didn’t say it though.  You did.

2/ Big hearty laugh from Middle-Hulk.  Bruce is sneering.


(3) MIDDLE-HULK CAPTION: Exactly, my friend!  Exactly!  Very good!  Very, very good!

3/ Middle-Hulk grabs Bruce like a good buddy about to offer some advice.

(4) BRUCE: I don’t get–

(5) MIDDLE-HULK CAPTION:  Listen, Bruce.  You know what the problem is, it’s there in front of your face…

(6) MIDDLE-HULK CAPTION: All you have to do is–

4/ Bruce has punched Middle-Hulk in the side of his head — he’s connected nicely.

(7) Bruce (bold): Don’t tell me what I have to do!  Don’t tell me how to “deal”!  I’m the master of dealing!

(8) BRUCE: I’m the master of doing what I have to do!

5/ Middle-Hulk pushing back…

(9) MIDDLE-HULK CAPTION: If that were true!…



1/ Large panel…Middle-Hulk has grabbed hold of the surreal background, crushing folds of it in his hands — an endless nothingness being revealed behind it (this nothingness should not be pure white or pure black, both give the wrong effect…let’s try to find another way to show “nothing.”)

(1) MIDDLE-HULK CAPTION: …We wouldn’t be here now!

2/ Smaller panels to end of page…Bruce tears away the “blanket” from Middle-Hulk’s hands.

(2) Bruce: What do you want me to do!

(3) MIDDLE-HULK CAPTION: You don’t really want to know!

3/ Bruce tearing away more of the blanket…He’s desperate, angry, pleading.

(4) BRUCE: I do!  Tell me, I do.

(5) BRUCE: I have to know, don’t I?

4/ Bruce almost looking like a sad little boy here…Nothingness framing him and Middle-Hulk.

(6) BRUCE: To make the– to do the right thing?

(7) MIDDLE-HULK CAPTION: Since when are you concerned with the…



1/ Middle-Hulk is looking exhausted.

(1) MIDDLE-HULK CAPTION: …“Right thing”?

2/ Middle-Hulk is stepping through a hole (a tear) in the nothingness.

(2) MIDDLE-HULK CAPTION: I’m not sure if you’ve ever really been concerned with that, Bruce.

3/ Larger panel — it’s the Hades of Bruce’s mind.  All the previously met Hulks are there doing evil things, doing the evil Bruce finds abhorrent.
Savage Hulk is tearing apart (literally) a bunch of Army soldiers who look like Bruce.

Professor Hulk is wiring some sort of large, ticking bomb (Should we have Betty strapped to it?).

Fix-It is having some sinful fun with a number of women — purple pants and striped jacket on a hanger nearby.

(3) BRUCE: Where are we?

(4) BRUCE: ….

(5) BRUCE: It’s hell.



1/ Middle-Hulk has opened a door (or double doors).  To the left is blue sky and fluffy white clouds.  To the right a yellow sky with an orange sun.

(1) MIDDLE-HULK CAPTION: There’s places you haven’t gone yet.

(2) BRUCE: In order to do the right thing?  In order to try?

2/ Middle-Hulk is heading to the right.

(3) MIDDLE-HULK CAPTION: The Professor said if you do it, just once, you’ll be able to do it again.

(4)BRUCE: What did he mean?

3/ Middle-Hulk angry now.  Bruce recoiling.

(5) MIDDLE-HULK CAPTION (bold): I won’t tell you, don’t ask!

(6) MIDDLE-HULK CAPTION: …But what I will tell you, Brucie, is if you don’t do what he says, it’ll just get harder and harder!

4/  Middle-Hulk calm, waving for Bruce to follow him all the way through to the other side of the doors.

(7) MIDDLE-HULK CAPTION: …But you know that.

(8) BRUCE: Wait.  I’m confused…which “it” do you mean?  Why does “it” get harder??  I want–

5/ At a vast empty desert, they stand.

(9) MIDDLE-HULK CAPTION: Look at this.

(10) BRUCE: Nothing.

(11) MIDDLE-HULK CAPTION: Now look….



Double-page spread of the same large desert, now with hundreds, maybe thousands of gestating Hulk fetuses.  They’re of a variety of shades of green and gray — some can be a muddy mix of skin color and green and so forth.

Banner and Middle-Hulk are small shapes in this vast landscape that does not end.

(1) MIDDLE-HULK CAPTION (bold):  …Again!




Close on Middle-Hulk leaning in on Bruce’s shoulder; a wry smile playing upon his face.  True shock is the only way to describe Bruce’s expression…In the background we can see the landscape of gestating Hulks continuing into forever behind them….

(1) MIDDLE-HULK (this is a word balloon): They’re coming, Bruce!

(2) CAPTION: It Continues…



All characters TM and Copyright Marvel Enterprises
(First submitted to Marvel Comics [by request] July 2003)

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