It was a year ago today that I was sitting at this very corner table when I had finished a short piece I had been working on. I used the opportunity to catch up on some websites and stumbled on an article about the Hulk. After that, I went to check my Twitter feed and somewhere along the way, the idea of the Hulk on Twitter and being very drunk hit me.
I checked to see if “drunkhulk” was available (Spoiler: It was!) and that was that. I honestly didn’t give it more thought than that. It would just be a fun thing to do when I took a break from writing.
At 11:19 AM, I posted Drunk Hulk’s mind blowing inaugural tweet: HULK DRUNK!
The plan was to simply make the Hulk drunk and more belligerent than usual. I had no idea how long the joke would last or what I’d do with the idea the next day.
The tweets that followed looked like this:
HULK’S PUNY FINGERS TOO BIG TO TEXT EX!
WHATEVER! DRUNK HULKS DOESN’T NEED YOU! DRUNK HULK NEEDS NOBODY! EXCEPT JOSE CUERVO!
YOU DON’T TELL DRUNK HULK WHAT TO DO!
YOU THINK YOU BETTER THAN DRUNK HULK!
DRUNK HULK WILL LISTEN TO AIR SUPPLY NOW!
YOU DON’T KNOW DRUNK HULK!
There are more, but you get the point. Surprisingly, I received a few followers on the first day. By the end of the first week there were about 100 followers, and there would be around 500 by the end of October.
Looking back at the first few weeks, it’s clear I was throwing every thing at the wall to see what stuck. The tweets tended to be comics-centric with a few diversions into pop culture. I don’t think I hit on what Drunk Hulk could really do until Halloween, when I had him trick or treating all day and slowly getting more and more inebriated until he finally passed out on someone’s lawn:
KID TOTALLY STEAL DRUNK HULK CANDY! DRUNK HULK PASS OUT ON LAWN FOR ONE MINUTE! ONE MINUTE!
WHAT KIND OF WORLD THIS! WHERE DRUNK HULK NO PASS OUT WITH OUT FEAR OF CANDY BE STOLE! DRUNK HULK HATE YOU ALL
500 YOU WATCH DRUNK HULK! AND NONE YOU STOP EIGHT YEAR OLD PIRATE FROM STEAL DRUNK HULK CANDY!
The response was immediate and extremely positive. It was around this time where I sat down to make a concrete plan about what I wanted to do with Drunk Hulk. I decided to back away from the more minute comic book references and instead have him reacting to pop culture and whatever was happening in the news. I also came up with 5 rules for Drunk Hulk to keep this challenging and interesting for myself.
The first rule was simple: Drunk Hulk never curses. I know this seems so trivial, but I did this for a couple of reasons. As a writer, I wanted to challenge myself, and to have a drunk version of the Hulk cursing felt too easy. But most importantly, I grew up on Marvel comic books. I understand Marvel characters are corporate driven properties, but to me, they are like family. I love these characters. When someone mentions Steve Rogers, the image of who this person is and what he represents is absolutely solid in my mind, and I can think of him the same way I can reflect on a real friend. I didn’t really have any interest in bastardizing the Hulk or any other character for that matter.
I’d explain the other rules, but I’m afraid you’d think I was insane.
As of yesterday, Drunk Hulk has over 50,000 followers. I know there are feeds that get this many followers in a day, but I really feel like I’ve earned my audience with every tweet I’ve made over the last year.
In the MediaBistro interview, I said:
“One of the things that make me laugh is the fact that even though I’ve been published before, the writing that has brought me the most attention is the project where I purposely use poor grammar and write in all caps. I publish long stories where the response is minimal, and then I post ‘DRUNK HULK JUST FIGURE OUT TWIST! M NIGHT SHYMALAN CAREER WAS DEAD WHOLE TIME!’ and the response is huge, and instantaneous. So here I am with this double life, one where my grammatically incorrect writing is a nice success with tens of thousands of readers, and another one where my carefully written books are read by a dozen people.”
That said, of all the things I’ve done in my life, none have had the impact and given me as many opportunities that Drunk Hulk has. The phone calls I’ve had in the last year alone have been incredibly exciting, and I know these people wouldn’t be giving me the time of day if it weren’t for Drunk Hulk. And for that, I’m extremely grateful. I honestly don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but right now it’s a fantastic ride.
I’d like to take this time to thank some people:
I want to thank my wife for her patience and for the enormous support she’s shown for this ridiculous thing I do. And for listening to the annoying and persistent beep of TweetDeck from the other room.
I want to thank my friends (especially Derrek) for letting me bounce jokes off of them to see if they worked.
I want to thank Marvel Comics for letting me get away with this.
And I want to thank all of you for your enthusiasm and support. You’ve all been wonderful. I read everything you write and it absolutely means the world to me.
Happy Birthday, Drunk Hulk!
Let’s see what tomorrow brings for the big guy…