Bronx-born bachata singer Romeo Santos is staggeringly successful. At 35, he could easily retire and live in a small fortress built from his RIAA plaques: his single "Propuesta Indecente" has been certified 20 times platinum, "Promise" 19 times, "Odio" 13, "Eres Mia" 11… the list goes on. For a less mathematical distillation of his talents, consult the "Propuesta Indecente" video, which has amassed more than one billion views, where balletic dancing and cherubic falsetto fuse into a seductive Tomahawk missile.
In short, this is a man with special powers, and that's the conceit behind the artwork for his latest single, "Héroe Favorito." The singer teamed up with Marvel Custom, the comics giant's in-house content and marketing agency, to design a superhero version of himself to promote his first new material since 2014's Formula, Vol. 2. "I always had this fascination with superheroes," Santos tells Billboard. "Who didn't love Hulk and Spider-Man?"
That's a fitting declaration, since Santos is sitting in "The Hulk Room," a meeting space in Marvel's offices in midtown Manhattan. At one end of the room, there's a stocky, life-size Iron Man get-up standing on a pedestal near another Avenger, War Machine, and the suit that Paul Rudd reportedly wore in the movie Ant Man; all three sport signs politely issuing the hard-to-follow instruction "don't touch." Look almost anywhere else in the room, and your eye will catch something Hulk-related: a painting of the hero takes up half a wall, there's a vintage poster from the '70s, when Bill Bixby played David Banner on TV, a vivid green bust of Hulk's upper half where muscles flex with enough force to shred a less-sturdy torso, and a few smaller action figures.